The San Rafael Valley is known for its breathtaking panoramas, sweeping vistas, undisturbed night skies, towering cottonwoods, and rambling riverbeds.
The Lazy J2 Ranch is located in the very center of the rolling grasslands of the San Rafael Valley. These high Sonoran Grasslands are one of the last intact short grass prairie ecosystems in the American West.
This magnificent valley is surrounded by a ring of mountain ranges, that present themselves in changing shades of lavender and blue. The Santa Cruz River runs through the belly of the valley and marks its course with lush stands of mature cottonwood trees along its banks.
Rainfall averages are 17-20 inches per year and in general, the summers are mild with spectacular monsoon rains that fall between July and September. Winters have cold nights, warm days and occasional light snows.
In 1539, one hundred years before the English pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock, a Franciscan friar, Fra Ninza and a cadre of Spanish troops, entered what has become known as the San Rafael Valley.
In the early 1800s a 20,000 acre Spanish Land Grant was designated as the San Rafael de Zanja and bequeathed to the community of Santa Cruz in Sonora. For well over 500 years the valley has been in continual use for the grazing of livestock.
Hundreds of tributaries run through the valley and become the headwaters of the Santa Cruz River. The river flows south into Mexico, then makes a “U” turn and travels north through Nogales – Sonora and Nogales – USA, then continues north to Tubac, Tumacacori, Green Valley, the Tohono O’tam Nation and finally to Tucson.
Over the years the valley has been fiercely protected. It is known by only a relative few and stoutly treasured by all those that have seen it or have the privilege to live there.
The rancher’s stewardship is apparent for all to see in the overall beauty of the place and by the fact that private landowners have voluntarily placed conservation easements over 80% of the private property in the valley.
Generations of ranching families have maintained the balance of man and nature in the San Rafael Valley creating one of the finest examples of an economically viable and environmentally sustainable landscapes in America.