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.

A special spring at Arizona’s Elkhorn Ranch

Elkhorn_2RANCH PROFILE

You know TripAdvisor, that popular travel website where guests can comment on their lodging experiences? Listen to TripAdvisor’s comments about Arizona’s Elkhorn Ranch: “Perfect family vacation” – 5.0 of 5 stars (Expatriat2012   March 27, 2012)”… an absolutely amazing week at Elkhorn! If you enjoy being in nature, this is your place. Beautiful nature with mountain and dessert…” And then there’s this: “Must be best small riding ranch in Arizona.” –5.0 of 5 stars (Griffon_10   December 12, 2010). “The Elkhorn Ranch, south of Tucson, is outstanding … If you enjoy riding, hiking and ranch life, this is for you…”

Elkhorn Ranch, located in the rugged Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson, Arizona, is a traditional family owned and operated guest ranch offering horseback riding and comfortable living for about 32 guests. The Miller Family has owned and operated Elkhorn continuously since 1946 and enjoys the friendship of many returning guests and crew.

I talked to co-owner Mary Miller recently about what makes Elkhorn so special.  “We are fundamentally a riding ranch. We have a swimming pool, ping pong, tether ball and a tennis court, but we’re a small, traditional riding ranch.We really tailor rides to your needs and abilities.”

It is family owned and operated, so you get that feeling of family hospitialty, too. which may account for all those rave reviews. “We have a lot of loving return folks,” Miller notes, “and people enjoy the comraderie of friends they make and return to visit here. But its wonderful to get new guests, too!” Miller adds.

Elkhorn_5And about that riding focus? “All of our rides are guided. Our horses are ranch raised and trained and only used here. They have summers off and we have a large variety of horses (and saddles) to match people’s abilities,” Miller contends. And rides here are kept small, with each one arranged for your needs and what you want to do.

“We talk to everybody before each ride and design rides accordingly,” Miller says, “so the emphasis shifts with the people we have here. At Elkhorn Ranch, they  have a lot of country to ride–open deseert for loping rides and mountain and valley for scenic rides. “You’re well away from the city and you get really big views–that’s not easy to find these days.”

“It’s been a lovely spring,” Mary reports. “The cactus flowers are blooming and the mares should be foaling toward end of the month.” But don’t wait too long to decide to visit. “We close at the end of April, so call soon to hold your spot or try for next season (from mid-November to end of April)!” Thanks for the update, Mary!

Details: Elkhorn Ranch’s twenty cabins and Long House where you gather for meals are tucked amidst the mesquites of Sabino Canyon, surrounded by mountain views and the wide open Altar Valley. The cabins provide comfortable living for singles, couples or families, each with a private bath, electric heaters, good reading lights, a sitting area, and your own birdfeeder with unlimited birdseed. No phones or televisions in the cabins. Daily housekeeping and nightly bed turn-downs. They’re happy to take care of special needs. Check Ranchweb.com for details.

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