In the early 1880's, two mule skinners and army scouts, John (Yank) Bartlett and Henry (Hank) Hewitt, retired from careers as adventurers to a quiet life of ranching in the well-watered upper reaches of Sycamore Canyon. Their retirement proved a bit premature, however, when the ranch was attacked by Indians in 1886. In the altercation, a neighbor was killed and Yank was wounded. Yank's son, Johnny, made a daring western movie-style escape from the besieged ranchero and returned to save the day with help from the nearby mining village of Oro Blanco.

On Hank and Yank's ranch, as in many frontier enterprises, daring and courage were not sufficient to ensure success. Eventually, their haven went the way of uncounted other frontier homesteads. All that is left of their heroic effort today is a piece of old adobe wall. Perhaps if you go strolling under the oaks and cottonwoods, you will see further evidence of the spirit and hard work these two Civil War Vets put into this place - a pile of rocks here may mark the edge of what was once a garden - a depression in the ground there could be all that is left of an old root cellar. 

While strolling around Hank and Yank's old homestead, you will be visiting an area of natural as well as historic interest. Sycamore Canyon supports a diverse community of plant and animal life notable enough for the canyon to have been designated a natural research area. Birdwatching can be especially rewarding here; as many as 130 species are frequent visitors. For further adventure, a trail leads down-canyon from the old homestead into an area of sculpted cliffs, clear pools and lush vegetation within the Pajarita Wilderness. It trail joins the Border Trail at the International border with Mexico.


Site of historic ranch and frontier adventure 

Beautiful setting 

Watchable wildlife/diverse plant community 

Wilderness canyon trail 

LOCATION: In scenic Sycamore Canyon 26 miles northwest of Nogales, just outside the northern boundary of the Pajarita Wilderness. 

ELEVATION: 4,000 feet. SEASON: Year-round.

ACCESS: Drive 8 miles north of Nogales, on Interstate 19 and exit at the Ruby Road (AZ289) Exit. Drive 10 miles west on paved Ruby Road to Peña Blanca Lake (where the road becomes unpaved Forest Road 39) and continue 9 more miles to Sycamore Canyon. Unpaved portions of this road are suitable for passenger vehicles, but may be slippery when wet. 


The Hank and Yank Ruins are located in the Goodding Research Natural Area. No special permits are required for entry. 

The Sycamore Canyon Trail is located within the Pajarita Wilderness. 

Motorized and mechanized vehicles and equipment, including mountain bikes, are not permitted in Wilderness areas.