After a long day in the saddle, even the most grizzled of wranglers would enjoy a soothing massage, delicious food and wine, and a starlit soak in a hot tub. Besides offering traditional trail rides, cook-outs and hikes, many of Arizona’s fabled guest ranches are pampering guests with gourmet meals, wine tastings, spa services and more. Here are a few places that serve up a side of luxe along with cowboy steaks and beans.
Northwest of Phoenix, Wickenburg’s dude ranches are iconic, including Rancho de los Caballeros, a historic resort ranch and golf club on 20,000 wide-open acres of Sonoran desert. After a long ride or a round of golf, mosey over to the spa for a “rusty” brown-sugar body scrub and a Hassayampa hot-stone massage, then enjoy an evening meal in the charming lodge, which dates to the ranch’s founding in the late 1940s.
Hidden Meadow Ranch is all about rustic luxury. Located in Northern Arizona’s White Mountains near the town of Greer, its pine-scented setting is perfect for horseback riding, fly fishing, canoeing, mountain biking, hiking and even archery. In winter, the ranch takes care of everything to get you skiing at nearby Sunrise Park Resort. Retreat to your straight-out-of-a-Ralph-Lauren-catalog cabin, made cozy with turndown service and firewood delivery. Can’t sleep? Stroll over to the meadow for a relaxing soak in the hot tub or request an in-cabin massage.
In Southern Arizona, Tanque Verde Ranch, founded in 1868 by a wealthy Mexican estate owner, harkens back to old Tucson. It’s been a guest ranch since 1908, known for desert horseback treks, team penning, hiking, fishing, tennis and mountain biking. After you burn calories during a water aerobics class, head to the ranch’s La Sonora Spa, where you can scrub off trail dust with the Sonoran Sunrise body treatment, relax with The End of the Trail massage or just soak in the whirlpools.
Near the Mexican border in Sasabe, Rancho de la Osa has been operating as a guest ranch since 1924, and it was also part of an original Spanish land grant dating to 1812. Pancho Villa is said to have been an uninvited guest; others, such as John Wayne and President Lyndon Johnson had reservations. Hang out in the historic adobe buildings that are the main lodge and rooms, or go horseback riding in this remote piece of desert – it’s easy to imagine you’re no longer in the 21st Century.