Wanted! City Slickers at Arizona Dude Ranches

The America West is alive and well for city slickers of the world.  Gather up your jeans, cowboy hat and boots and come visit the dude ranches owned and operated by True Ranch Hospitality in southern Arizona.  If you are looking for a soft adventure that includes trail riding, biking, hiking or just enjoying the scenery and fresh air, you will not be disappointed with a stay at the White Stallion Ranch, Tombstone Monument Ranch or historic Rancho de la Osa.  These ranches are where greenhorns and kids can visit with real cowboys and experience the Old West without losing the comforts of today.


The White Stallion Ranch is not what you would envision as your typical working ranch.  It is unique, high quality and quite elegant with spectacular views of the mountains.  The ranch features 44 spacious rooms of which 24 rooms comfortably accommodate four guests with one king size bed and two twins.  Of those 24, six will take five guests with a king bed and three twins.  All rooms have free Wi-Fi and ports for iPods. Small meetings of 50 to 100, depending on the configuration, can also be arranged.


An outdoor pool and hot tub, bar/lounge, restaurant, outdoor tennis court and fitness center are all part of the amenities offered at this ranch.  Every night, the ranch features an assortment of entertainment for its guests such as bonfires, country dancing, astronomy lessons, critter shows, singing cowboys, history talks and watching Loop Rawlins do his rope tricks, gun spinning and whip cracking.


Want to wake up in jail or the old post office, then book a stay at Tombstone Monument Ranch, the only guest ranch in Tombstone. Its 18 guest room doors are designed like the facades of old Tombstone store fronts. This is a horse lover’s paradise with all types of trails designed for beginners to advanced riders with a variety of terrain, petroglyphs, ghost towns and historic sites to visit. The ranch is surrounded by some abandoned mines with discarded tools and mining equipment left when Tombstone was a flourishing silver mining town in the 1800s.  Archery, roping lessons, and horseshoes are just some of the activities available for wannabe cowboys and cowgirls.  In the evening, enjoy live music or take card game lessons in the Old Trappmann Saloon.


Many presidents, authors and celebrities have stayed at Rancho de la Osa, Arizona’s most historic ranch located by the small town of Sasabe.  This property has 19 luxurious adobe guest rooms with Mexican antiques and vintage furniture as well as 33 wood burning fireplaces.  The rooms are named after famous guests who have stayed at the ranch, i.e. John Wayne, Joan Crawford, Tom Nix, Pancho Villa, Zane Grey, William O. Douglas, Hubert Humphrey, Margaret Mitchell, President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Franklyn Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor.  The Marshall Plan was even written in a guest room. The ranch encompasses 590 acres and is surrounded by 120,000 acres of national wildlife refuge.  It’s the perfect place to soak in the outdoors.


The ranch dates back to the 1700s when Jesuit priests built the first building as a place for missionaries to stay as well as a trading post doing business with local tribes.  This well preserved building is believed to be the oldest continually used building in Arizona.

A typical stay is three to five days so guests can take in the special activities since some only happen once a week. The cost begins at an average of $179 to $350 per person, per night, double occupancy depending on the season.  Besides the room, it includes all meals, transfers and most activities.


True Ranch Hospitality is the gold standard for dude ranches.  The company is preserving ranches so folks can experience the American West today and in the future.  It has plans to expand the number of ranches in its holdings. Recently, Russell True, the co-owner with partners of True Ranch Hospitality, was honored at the recent Arizona Governor’s Conference and inducted into the Arizona Hall of Fame for Tourism for a lifetime of work in dude ranching and Arizona Tourism, including his work to conserve and protect dude ranches in the state.

True is co-founder and past president of the Arizona Dude Ranch Association and was twice the president of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, the only multi-state group representing these types of properties.