When your world seems chaotic, White Stallion Ranch is the perfect remedy.
This southwestern paradise is only 30 miles northwest from the Tucson International Airport and 100 miles southeast from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Yet within an hour of arriving, I felt like I’d left my worries a million miles away.
Nestled against Saguaro National Park West, White Stallion Ranch occupies what may be the very finest 3,000 acres of Sonoran Desert. The panoramic mountain views, rocky hills, rugged canyons, and abundant desert flora helped me to reconnect with nature. (As well as that lingering cowboy fantasy I’ve suppressed since childhood.)
In fact, I probably couldn’t find a more authentic place to nurture my cowboy fantasies. White Stallion Ranch was originally built in the 1900s as a cattle ranch, so it’s as genuine as can be. It became a guest ranch in the 1940s, and was purchased by Cynthia and Allen True in the 1960s. Since then, three generations of the True family have cared for the ranch to ensure guests are given a faithful yet gracious experience of the southwest. Its reputation, as well as the multiple travel awards it has won, draws visitors from all over the world.
Check in at the ranch is warm and welcoming. Guest accommodations are charming brick casitas, many with their own patios and fireplaces. The grounds are richly planted with local flora such as saguaro cacti, cholla, Mexican fan palms, mesquite and palo verdes.
Inside the casitas, Pendleton blankets, wrought iron detailing and traditional ranch furnishings deliver a rustic yet comfortable regional style. Europeans will be relieved to find old-world shutters over the windows. (You can oversleep to your heart’s content!)
The ranch is blissfully relaxed, so the first afternoon is best enjoyed just wandering the grounds, visiting the horses and animals in the petting zoo, and getting the general lay of the land. I recommend heading over to the southwest garden each evening where you can enjoy the bubbling fountains and Tucson’s jaw-dropping sunsets.
When you’re ready for some adventure, you won’t know where to begin! White Stallion Ranch owns one of the largest private herds of horses in Arizona. So, whether you’re a first-time rider in need of lessons or a more advanced rider, you’ll be paired with a horse that’s just right for you. The variety of terrain, unique destinations, and thoughtful touches ensure you’ll never get bored. (Wine and cheese ride, anyone?)
If some of the horse trails look familiar, it’s probably because the location has been used in many Hollywood films. Be sure to pack some jeans, cowboy boots and Western shirts. Traditional cowboy attire is the most practical here. As an added bonus, you’ll feel like you’re in a Western movie yourself.
Not into riding? (The ranch will probably change that, but no matter!) Alternatives include rock climbing, hiking, shooting, fat tire e-bikes, tennis, swimming, spa services, a gym, a game room, a movie theater stocked with Westerns, a weekly ranch rodeo, and nightly entertainment like cowboy singers, trick ropers, and more.
If you’re still leaning towards peace and relaxation, think about this: How long has it been since you’ve really seen the stars? With minimal light pollution, Tucson is one of the best cities in the world for stargazing. You can gaze at the stars from your very own patio, or get a close-up look from the ranch’s large telescope.
With a romantic Southwestern setting, the promise of adventure, and a touch of Hollywood sparkle, White Stallion Ranch may just be the best vacation idea you’ve ever had.
9251 West Twin Peaks Road
Tucson, Arizona 85743