The 10 Best Dude & Guest Ranches for the Perfect Arizona Ranch Vacation

Without question, Arizona is a beautiful state and a wonderful destination for a dude & guest ranch vacation any time of year. The state is known for some of the most colorful characters in American history. Here, you can walk (or horseback ride) in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and more! With a personal guide for the many outdoor activities an Arizona ranch vacation can offer, you’ll get an in-depth lesson on the particular area of each dude ranch.

With a variety of geographical features, you might ride in the mountains, deserts, grasslands or all three! With 27 National Parks in Arizona the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and the Saguaro National Park will be just the start to exploring the state of Arizona.

Here are the 10 Best Dude & Guest Ranches for the Perfect Arizona Ranch Vacation and the top reasons for going to each one.

 

Experience the Town of Wickenburg, the Team Roping Capital of the World

A vacation at the Kay El Bar Guest Ranch located right outside of Wickenburg, AZ will give you the opportunity to do and see some pretty neat things. Not only will you enjoy the small, intimate feel of the ranch, you will get to experience the town of Wickenburg as well. With several museums, musical performances, historic walking tours and more, your chance to see real cowboys and the true Western lifestyle is guaranteed. Wickenburg was named the team roping capital of the world many years ago because of the daily events that happen here, especially in the winter months. It is not uncommon to see cowboys riding their horses down the washes headed from one roping to the next!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Visit One of the Most Iconic Western Towns

When you visit Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona you will get to walk the streets that Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and outlaw Curly Bill Brocius once walked. It has been said at this ranch the guests feel like they have traveled back in time to the old West. Also, while you are here, you will want to visit the fun tourist town of Bisbee, Arizona, home to one of the largest turquoise mines in the US!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Saguaro National Park with Western Adventure, Solitude and Luxury Amenities

The Tanque Verde Ranch just east of Tucson will make your next stay an unforgettable Arizona ranch vacation experience. With the La Sonora Spa, fine dining, great horseback riding and additional outdoor activities for all ages your whole family will love this dude ranch resort. Look out over the Saguaro National Park from the back of your horse or from the comfort of your room’s patio, regardless of where you are at, it is an incredible sight to see.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Mountains of Arizona provide a Different Atmosphere

Located in the White Mountains of North Eastern Arizona is where you will find the Sprucedale Guest Ranch, home to the Wiltbank Family. Here you will find a very different terrain than most other Arizona dude ranches. The mountains, pine trees and luscious meadows provide a cooler atmosphere and the chance to enjoy the south in the summer months. Sprucedale is able to offer different activities than other Arizona ranches because of its climate and location; fishing and natural water swimming are available here and quite popular for everyone! Horseback riding, hayrides and bonfires are just a few of the other activities you will find at this ranch.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Ride Across the Grasslands in Southern Arizona

At Circle Z Ranch you will get to experience the heart of Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands and thousands of acres of scenic horseback riding trails. You’ll get to ride out on the distinct Arizona grasslands, but also experience canyons and mountains rising suddenly and dramatically out of the desert lowlands. You might come for the views, but you’ll come back for the hospitality.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Where the Baboquivari Mountains and the Altar Valley Meet

Whether you travel solo, as a couple or with your whole family, you will find friendship, rest and adventure at the Elkhorn Ranch and the miles and miles of mountain and desert trails. The area is home to an extensive variety of curious Sonoran vegetation and birding. This ranch is near the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, so the chances of seeing some great desert wildlife is in store!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

All-Day Riding and Team Penning

At the White Stallion Ranch near Tucson, you can spend up to six hours a day in the saddle and practice your team penning skills three times a week. For your non-riding companions, there’s still plenty to do. A tennis court, sport court, petting zoo, game room, movie theater and hiking program provide fun activities for all ages. This ranch is where luxury meets Western hospitality, relax your worries away and truly enjoy your vacation.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Ride Horses and Tee off at One of Golf Digest’s Top 100 U.S. Courses

Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona offers the perfect getaway to the old southwest. At this ranch, you will feel the charm and intimacy of Western life with all of the amenities of a resort. Horseback riding and golf are just the start of the list of things to do at this Arizona ranch vacation. Relax at the spa or enjoy the Arizona winter sun on the course or back of a horse; the itinerary is completely up to you on your vacation.

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Arizona’s Most Historic Ranch

Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe, Arizona is a sportsman’s paradise and is surrounded by the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge near the Mexican Border. You can enjoy a scenic horseback ride on trails frequented by U.S. Presidents and legendary figures like Pancho Villa. You also will be able to enjoy the incredible Arizona sunsets overlooking the desert landscape. You haven’t seen a true sunset until you have seen one in Arizona. The riding and hiking trails are fantastic and the quaintness and charm of this ranch will leave you wanting to return for years to come.  

Arizona Ranch Vacation

Family Atmosphere Welcomes All

The Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch invites guests to stay at the ranch and be a part of the ranch family, even if it is only for a little while. At the feet of the Mohave and Hualapi mountains, you can be assured of breathtaking views, constant sunny days and a fantastic Arizona ranch vacation. Experience Arizona’s vast beauty and enjoy all of the wonderful amenities this ranch has to offer like stagecoach rides, shooting sports, a swimming pool, a hot tub and more. You will leave this ranch feeling like part of the family!

Arizona Ranch Vacation

For more information on an Arizona dude ranch vacation or to learn about other Western ranch vacations, visit www.duderanch.org or contact a ranch vacation expert at the Dude Ranchers’ Association.

307.587.2339, info2@duderanch.org.

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Pin for Later!

Without question, Arizona is a beautiful state and a wonderful destination for a dude & guest ranch vacation any time of year. The state is known for some of the most colorful characters in American history. Here, you can walk (or horseback ride) in the footsteps of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Pancho Villa, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and more! With a personal guide for the many outdoor activities an Arizona ranch vacation can offer, you’ll get an in-depth lesson on the particular area of each dude ranch.

Why Arizona Winters are Great for Ranch Vacations

Arizona is a wonderful place to vacation, especially to beat the winter blues. With a consistently warm and predictable climate, it’s no wonder people flock to Arizona during the winter months to enjoy the outdoors. On a ranch vacation you’ll enjoy horseback riding, fine western dining, perfectly appointed accommodations and many other western lifestyle activities. Here are four reasons Arizona winters are great for ranch vacations. 

1. Beautiful Weather 

Obviously, the weather is one of the most popular reasons you might want to go to Arizona during the winter. The sun shines most every day (300+ days a year) and temperatures average about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though you can find snow-covered mountains, the central to southern parts of the state often enjoy mild weather in shorts or t-shirts. At the Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, you’ll get to enjoy spectacular sunsets late into the evening comfortably around a camp fire. 

Arizona Winters

Sunset at the Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch in Yucca, Arizona. 

 

2. Culture of the Southwest 

With a combination of historical native American and Hispanic cultures, the atmosphere in Arizona is unique to the rest of the country. These cultures blend in with the history of the cowboy at some of the most famous locations. At Tombstone Monument Ranch you can relive what it was like to live in an old Southwestern Town like famous western characters did. Rancho de la Osa is off the beaten path near the border of Mexico and immerses guests into a different world. Want to learn about the local flora and fauna? Then you will want to be at the Circle Z Ranch, where local Naturalist, Ethnobotanist, and Survival Expert Vincent Pinto leads their guests on a 1-hour Nature walk. His expertise is inspiring, as he discusses birds, a variety of rich habitats, edible plants, and Arizona’s famed Sky Islands.  Arizona Winters

Southwestern town of the Tombstone Monument Ranch in Tombstone, Arizona. 

 

3. Outdoor Activities

With the beauty of the outdoors you’ll want to spend as much time outside as you can. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching and cattle drives are some activities you can do to enjoy the mountains or deserts in Arizona. The Flying E Ranch offers all of these adventures and more in an area that’s just minutes from Wickenburg, Arizona on 20,000 acres to ride and roam. Tee up your western vacation at Rancho de los Caballeros. The golf course located on the ranch was designed by Greg Nash and Jeff Hardin, the Los Caballeros course is a Golf Digest top-five rated course and a top 100 course nationally. Featuring rolling terrain, two beautiful lakes, bunkers and five sets of tees, this challenging course can be set up for a variety of playing styles and levels. What about rock climbing, have you ever tried it?  If you’ve never tried climbing before, here’s your chance to experience it in an incredible setting. If you’re an experienced climber, you will be wowed by the climbs at White Stallion Ranch.  Their AMGA, PCGI Certified Climbing Instructor will guide you climbing boulders and faces on the East end of the ranch. He has designed beginner, intermediate and advanced climbs.

Arizona Winters

Guests participating in team penning at the Flying E Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. 

 

4. Family Time

You’ll want to take the whole family with you on vacation. From babies to grandma and grandpa everybody will enjoy a wonderful winter getaway. You’ll be looking for a nice swimming pool, an ample supply of board games, tennis, basketball and kid’s counselors for the youngest ones. Elkhorn Ranch provides everything you need for a successful and unforgettable multi-generational vacation. Another great option with an excellent kid’s program is the Tanque Verde Ranch their activities will engage, educate, and entertain, in addition to teach kids the importance of working together. Their caring and knowledgeable team will ensure a safe and fun experience for your child.

Arizona Winters

Kids learning how to care for horses at the Elkhorn Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. 

 

 

Take a look at the other great ranches in Arizona below and read more from our blog about Arizona dude ranches.

Arizona Winters

Kids develop lifelong friends at Tanque Verde Guest Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

 

Arizona Winters

The unique cabins, or casitas of the Rancho de la Osa in Sasabe, Arizona. 

 

Arizona Winters

Ride or hike through beautiful desert plants at the Circle Z Ranch in Patagonia, Arizona. 

 

Arizona Winters

Play 18 holes at Rancho de los Caballeros in Wickenburg, Arizona

 

Arizona Winters

Experirnce rock climbing at the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona.

 

 

Pin this for later!

Arizona is a wonderful place to vacation, especially to beat the winter blues. With a consistently warm and predictable climate, it’s no wonder people flock to Arizona during the winter months to enjoy the outdoors. On a ranch vacation you’ll enjoy horseback riding, fine western dining, perfectly appointed accommodations and many other western lifestyle activities. Here are four reasons Arizona winters are great for ranch vacations.

All Aboard! Amtrak Train Rides to Dude Ranches

Train travel and dude ranches go way back in their relationship. In fact, the historical Northern Pacific Railway influenced early western expansion and the beginnings of leisure travel to Western States. Early dude ranchers, as in Larry Larom and his peers, founded the Dude Ranchers' Association in 1926. From the start the organization promoted leisure travel to dude ranches via train and established industry standards. Traveling to a dude ranch today is still possible. Amtrak is now the modern train travel company. They offer trips from the East coast of the United States to the West Coast and many places in between. Are you ready to take your next adventure via train?

Northern_Pacific_Railway_North_Coast_Limited_Diner

Immerse yourself in the spirit of the West and travel via train to your next dude ranch. Parasols, lace gloves, suits and heavy trunks are not necessary. Simply purchase your ticket and head out West. Below are some tools to plan your trip using the contemporary Amtrak trains. The stations are listed by state and the dude ranches close by are linked below the city. If you would like more information please call the Dude Ranchers' Association at 307.587.2339 or email us at info@duderanch.org. The Amtrak National Route Map (PDF) and the duderanch.org Interactive Map may be helpful as well.

Amtrak Train Stations by State

Norther Pacific Railroad Train Poster

Idaho

Sandpoint, Idaho Station

Western Pleasure Ranch, Sandpoint, Idaho

Washington

Spokane, Washington Station

Red Horse Mountain, Harrison, Idaho

Colorado

Granby, Colorado Station

C Lazy U Ranch, Granby, Colorado

Drowsy Water Ranch, Granby, Colorado

Bar Lazy J Ranch, Parshall, Colorado

Montana

Whitefish, Montana Station

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge, Bigfork, Montana

Bar W Guest Ranch, Whitefish, Montana

Arizona

Kingman, Arizona Station

Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch, Yucca, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona Station

White Stallion Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Benson, Arizona Station

Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch, Tombstone, Arizona


 Train Travel Stamp

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