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hay ride at rancho de los caballeros in Wickenburg, AZ

Our Guests Say it Best!

Dude Ranch has Horse Trails and Spa Comforts

Nicola Bridges, 2018

"I’m a travel writer with horses and a ranch, and I can tell you that Rancho de los Caballeros is the best dude ranch, spa and golf resort I’ve visited so far — and returned to several times..."

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It’s a special place that brings people together and keeps them coming back, across generations. I’ve made great friends each time. The Sunset Rooms with a fireplace are my favorite. The sunrises are serene, too. And the star gazing is magnificent.

I’ve been to dude ranches in several states, including Montana and Idaho, and the wranglers here are the best I’ve experienced in every way — if you have kids, Debbie is fantastic and fun! The views on the Sonoran Desert trails are truly cinematic. And every time there there’s been wildlife — mule deer, jackrabbits, coyotes, a desert tortoise, road runners, quail, and — yes, a rattlesnake.

The horses are healthy and happy (not always the case at dude ranches), and if you’re intermediate and up, the wranglers will get you some lopes in. I just can’t wait to get back.

Read about her full experience in The San Diego Tribune!

Bridges is a lifestyle, celebrity and travel writer, and founder of Capability Ranch Special Needs Events Center in Ramona, CA.  Follow her on Instagram @cowgirltravels

 
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Finding My Way Toward Luxury

Roger Naylor, 2017

"You’ll find Rancho de los Caballeros at the intersection of a simple ranch life and a resort vacation experience..."

Read More Warm Welcome
It’s an unexpected welcome to this family-owned and operated guest ranch resort in the high desert of Wickenburg, Arizona. Rancho de los Caballeros translates loosely to “Ranch of the Gentlemen on Horseback.” It specializes in Old West hospitality blended with casual luxury. This is a quiet place spread across 20,000 acres of lush Sonoran Desert crowded by mountains.

Home sweet casita
The rooms are among my favorite in the state and a soothing peacefulness pervades. While different styles are available, each comes with handcrafted furniture, warm Southwestern colors, plush beds with luxurious linens and private patios. 
 
After unpacking, I head for my patio. Life spills outdoors in this swath of Arizona from autumn through the spring, when wonderfully warm days and cool, comfortable nights are the norm.

Take a guided hike
As I follow Richard Fredrickson up a slope toward a rocky outcropping, he identifies animal burrows, distant landmarks and surprising plants like night blooming cereus. Fredrickson, who trained as a biologist, has been with Rancho de los Caballeros for 34 years, a remarkable testament to the familial atmosphere of the property. The cowboy/biologist conducts nature walks mornings and some afternoons, tailoring each outing to the interest and physical fitness of participants. Fredrickson also leads tours to the Hassayampa River Preserve, offers nature horseback rides, gives evening talks and sings in the saloon on Wednesday nights. 

Eat like a ranch hand
The ranch offers the American Plan, which includes three daily meals in the rate. Breakfast and lunch are lavish buffets, the kind of eye-popping, belt-loosening spread you find on a cruise ship. And at lunch they have four different kinds of pie. 
 
Dinner hearkens back to a more genteel time. Men are asked to wear either a jacket or Western vest and ladies should dress accordingly. Since this is ranch country, jeans are always acceptable. Cell phones are discouraged. You’ll want all your attention focused on the meal—contemporary sophisticated cuisine with a Southwestern spin. The Angus filet is fork-tender. The chile relleno comes cloaked in a beautiful blend of spices and the pan-seared Mexican sea bass tastes so fresh you’ll expect to catch a whiff of ocean breeze walking back to your casita.

Riding the range
The beating heart of Rancho de los Caballeros is the corral. Two rides are scheduled daily, one on Sunday, and all experience levels are accommodated.   
 
Here’s an embarrassing admission: Even though I grew up watching cowboy movies and moved to Arizona because of my passion for the American West, I’m never completely comfortable on a horse. But that changed when I threw a leg over Will—a quarter horse and paint cross—and we moseyed through desert scrub behind wrangler Caroline Markham. I suddenly understood that whole horse-and-rider connection.
 
I didn’t need to explain it to Markham. Her family began making annual visits to the ranch when she was a little girl. She pursued a very successful career as a classically trained vocalist and has appeared on three Grammy winning albums. But she never forgot those wide-open spaces and for 24 years she’s worked at the ranch, including singing in the saloon on Friday nights.

Embrace your own pace
On my next visit, I’ll get one of the signature treatments at the spa. Maybe I’ll try my hand at trap shooting. I might hop on an ATV, take a jeep tour or hot air balloon ride. They’re all available at the ranch. It’s the kind of place where you can be as active as you want, but it also gives you permission to be lazy.

In a fast-paced, constantly connected world, it’s nice to disengage occasionally and move at a more deliberate pace. At Rancho de los Caballeros, you can swap your desk chair for a saddle and your computer screen for a panorama of mountains and sky. Turn off your phone because the only ringtone that matters is the dinner bell. Slow down. Breathe. Breathe some more.

Discover your pace at Rancho de los Caballeros.

Naylor is an author and travel writer specializing in the Southwest. His work regularly appears in Arizona Republic, and he has contributed to Arizona Highways, USA Today, Western Art & Architecture, Route 66 Magazine, and more.  Visit his website to learn more.
 
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Rancho de los Caballeros

1551 S. Vulture Mine Road

Wickenburg, AZ 85390

 

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