Best Preserved historic mining camp in Southwest Arizona
The historic mining camp of Ruby, Az encompasses about 300 acres in the area of the patented mining claims near Montana Peak. It is at moderate altitude and built on hills which have a great view of the cliffs of Montana Peak. Ruby has many old buildings, built by the mining company, which are in various stages of disrepair. They are mud adobe and wood frame with corrugated tin roofs.
Walking around the historic mining camp of Ruby, Arizona gives one a sense of past life of the town. Old photos of Ruby in its heyday show where the majority of the population lived in tent houses. The tent houses were set up by the mine, and faced the mine processing mill itself across a small valley.
Due to a dam, the valley eventually held water and was called Town Lake. The water was piped from the Santa Cruz River twelve miles away. Depending on the time of year, swimming is refreshing in Mineral (Sovako) Lake and surprising with its finely ground mine tailings beach. The tailings served as the dam at that second lake.
Hiking Montana Peak
Montana Peak is a favorite for the hiker, taking about 4 hours for the fit person. The adventuresome can hike to Sycamore Canyon. Plan ahead for such a venture and have a map so that you don’t head too far south. Mexico is only 4 miles away.
There is a beautiful valley leading south to the lower end of Ruby where a dam built in the early days, but it is now silted in.
The map of Ruby, Arizona below indicates the valley. It extends south from the mine tailings and requires crossing a barb wire fence, with care.
Historic mining camp cemetery
There is a very small cemetery that served this historic mining camp from 1870 til 1940. It is located east of the valley and across the barbed wire fence. The path is grassy but stainless steel crosses are visible if you look up. The graves are marked with very simple markers, which may be hard to find. Piles of rocks mark the more modest graves. The older site is SE through a steep ravine to the last 2 cross markers and 3 gravesites.
Exploring the historic mining camp of Ruby, Arizona is a day you won’t want to miss. Be sure to review the rules and bring plenty of water for your adventure into the past.
Download the Illustrated map of Ruby, Az as well as the map legend from the Explore Ruby permit page.