March 26, 2012
Yesterday, Neighbor Roy & I were on a Sunday drive in search of the Old West north of Tucson. We found it – big time.
We were cruising Twin Peaks Road through the pass that separates the city from the desert when we happened across a sign that read: “White Stallion Guest Ranch”. We did a quick U-turn and followed the signs down the unpaved road for about a mile.
The first thing we noticed was that this is a beautiful setting for a cattle ranch. From this vantage point we could see the backside of Sombrero Peak and the high ridge of rock formations that form the backdrop to the ranch.
Pulling into the ranch proper, we saw a very large corral with perhaps 20 horses just before a row of lodging accommodations, and then parked where the sign pointed to “Office”.
There we met Madison, who cheerfully offered to show us around, including a peak inside a couple of rooms. One of our first impressions was that White Stallion is big, with well-cared-for desert gardens, patios, and courtyards.
Madison showed us two casitas near the corral we saw when we entered. Both were spacious, clean, carpeted, and delightfully furnished in Early Ranch. Each had a fireplace and its own refrigerator, private bath, and patio. These accommodations looked to Roy & me to be very comfortable, the kind of place we could easily enjoy staying in for a week or more.
Madison told us White Stallion has 42 living quarters and can handle up to 100 guests. The accommodations vary in size from single rooms with one queen bed up to deluxe suites, and even a large 4 bedroom house they call ‘The Hacienda’ that was about to become the home for a family of eleven, including five children under 10 years of age. We could only imagine that they were about to have the time of their young lives.
Back at the office area we checked out the dining area, great room, bar, and billiard room. The dining rooms were set up so you almost had to interact with other guests, which we saw as a great way to make new friends.
The great room beyond the office is like a very large living room with many comfortable seating areas for drinks and conversation. No doubt, in the winter, the big stone fireplace gets a lot of company.
Beyond the great room is a full-bar. Here you don’t “belly-up” to the bar. Rather, you seat yourself on an actual saddle.
There’s a pleasant pool area of course, but also lighted tennis and basketball courts. Behind the swimming pool area is a petting zoo, and a recreation room where you can play billiards, ping pong, foosball, air hockey. Here too is a 27-seat theater. All first-class. There is also a fine fitness center, with professional exercise equipment.
Nevertheless, even with all these possible activities, the main reason to stay at White Stallion is the horses. Altogether we saw about 50, and not a nag among them. The wranglers and trainers offer clinics in horsemanship, but also teach rodeo and cattle-herding skills for all levels from beginner to experienced riders.
The trail rides in this part of the country have to be spectacular. The ranch alone has 3000 acres and is adjacent to Saguaro National Park – West, one of my favorite places on Planet Earth.
I can’t vouch for the food since we did not dine there. But everything we saw tells us that White Stallion is a first-class Western Dude Ranch. The reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor were universally glowing in every respect.
White Stallion Guest Ranch has been in the True family since 1965. In our brief visit, it was clear to Roy and me that owners, Russell and Michael True, take pride in offering their guests a unique and world-class Western Ranch experience. I will be recommending White Stallion to my friends and family who want to experience Southern Arizona’s best.
For more information, including rates and reservations, visit the White Stallion Guest Ranch website.
For more dining and lodging reviews, go to Southern Arizona Guide > Jim’s Picks & Pans