Gene Kilgore’s Ranch Vacations

Ranch Vacations
The Leading Guide to Guest and Resort, Fly-Fishing, and Cross-Country Skiing Ranches in the United States and Canada, 6th Edition.

Sun-drenched Arizona dude ranch getaways

SMART RANCH TRAVELER
Tanque_1
Never mind that our winter season hasn’t been as snowy and miserable as it was last year. That doesn’t mean you still couldn’t use some fun in the sun and time to stop and smell the desert wildflowers.

It’s easy to  get away for a last-minute vacation at a warm, sunny Arizona dude ranch resort vacation. Can’t you just picture yourself saddled up at your guest ranch resort and riding through a spectacular show of blooms–or just hanging out by the pool and working some color back into your skin?

When to go?  Timing the wildflower season in the Southern Arizona and Tucson dude ranch region is tricky–those darn flowers are as unpredictable as the rainfall. Anytime from February through May, is peak season for everything from purple swaths of sand verbena to red, yellow, and white cactus flowers. And when you do get a great wildflower display in the desert, it can be awe-inspiring.19590032

But which ranch to choose? Arizona ranches have much to offer. One shining jewel is Rancho de los Caballeros, noted for its Old West lodge, and championship golf in Wickenburg (79 elegant casitas).  Don Weintraub of Rancho de los Caballeros adds: “We are proud that our property is a unique combination of traditional resort and western ranch, with horseback, award-winning golf, trap & skeet shooting, tennis, full-serice spa, and gourmet cuisine.”

The resort was recently chosen as one of Arizona’s best by Golf Weekly. Weintraub notes, “If a golf escape is what you’re looking for, our ‘Golf Getaway’ has everything you need. Play the award-winning Los Caballeros Golf Club and stay at The Ranch for a visit full of long drives, low scores, and resort-scale amenities.” Call 800/684-5030 or e-mail reservations@sunc.com for more info or to make reservations.

And Elkhorn Ranch is loaded with family-friendly fun, wide-open spaces, and bountiful meals served family style. At an altitude of 3,700 feet, the ranch is surrounded by the high peaks of the picturesque Baboquivari Mountains and the open desert of the Altar Valley.Elkhorn provides plenty of country for relaxed walks or vigorous hikes and other activities for those who choose not to ride. The tennis court and fifty foot heated pool supply fun and relaxation for kids of all ages, along with shuffleboard, ping pong and horseshoes. Bring your camera and binoculars – the wintering birds of Southern Arizona are numerous and colorful, views are magnificent and spring flowers can be glorious. And Family-friendly Bar 10 Ranch is near the Grand Canyon, with hearty ranch meals and genuine western hospitality (and high altitude, so summer is high season here).  Their Three-Day Outdoor Odyssey showcases the grandeur and history of the Grand Canyon and Arizona Strip. “Descend back in time as you traverse the heart of the Grand Canyon, learning the colorful history of Indians, ranchers, homesteaders, and outlaws who inhabited and hid out in this primitive land.” This package is all-inclusive including meals, lodging, and cowboy guided activities such as ATV tours, extended horseback rides, hiking, ranch demonstrations, living history, and free time activities. Add an additional day and night to your odyssey and book our four-day outdoor odyssey. Three-Day Outdoor Odyssey from $567.00/person

If you’re seeking a luxe hideaway, Hidden Meadow Ranch near Greer boasts an elegant log main house and 12 luxury log cabins. Their Valentine’s Day package is a pip, with a 2-night stay in a 900-square-foot private, luxuriously furnished log cabin. “Our getaway includes all your gourmet meals in front of a crackling fire in our beautiful Ranch House plus, on one night, a champagne toast before dinner followed by our “Two Hearts Eat as One” special dessert selections, a complimentary rose petal and chocolate heart truffle turndown, and a CD of romantic music to play and keep. You can also decorate a handmade Valentine’s sugar cookie for your sweet sugar!” Sweet. Book soon; since Valentine’s Day is on Tuesday, February 14th, this package is available from Friday, February 10th, through Tuesday, February 14th.

Both White Stallion Ranch and Tanque Verde Ranch outside Tucson have stellar reputations as resorts with lots of variety in family friendly amusements: nature walks, swimming, gourmet cuisine, along with the kind of classic southwestern design and décor that many clients come for.

At White Stallion Ranch, act fast and you can join the Dawson Bridge Vacation (February 6 thru February 10, 2012) and brush up on your card-playing skills (cost: $1,050 per person double occupancy, $1,321 single; includes tax and service charge; Does Not include riding). Call 888-977-2624.

And at Tanque Verde, you can swing a racket or swing into the luxe little spa. Check out Tanque Verde’s ‘Last Minute Vacancies’ for special rates for accommodations that are ready and waiting. Or try the ‘Back in the Saddle’ package (available| January 10 – February 29); Book 3 nights, get the 4th night free (Valid for stays taking place through March 4, 2012 ); 25% savings with rates starting at $225 per person/night. You get deluxe lodging, 3 daily meals, daily activities. Ahhh! Take me away.

Details: Need more help with your selection? Don’t forget how easy it is to simply turn to Ranchweb for help. To begin, click on Selecting A Ranch and you’ll see groupings of ranches by lists of all the options that various ranches have to offer, from riding, fishing, and cattle drives to spas and luxury options. If you’re looking for deals, click on Travel Bargains on the Ranchweb.com home page. It’s another handy sorting tool.  For a wildflower update, go to
www.desertusa.com/wildflo/wildupdates.html

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