by Eileen Ogintz
Saddle up for a cowboy adventure at Grand Canyon Ranch in the northwest corner of Arizona, among the giant Ponderosa Pines. There are five national parks within 80 miles, most of which you can see from the property. The family who runs this ranch has been in the ranching business for seven generations. Join trips to drive horses to summer and winter pastures, a fall and spring cattle drive or regular horseback riding. There are Thanksgiving and Christmas on the Ranch packages. Rustic cabins have beds with linens and a front porch to enjoy the sunsets and the scenery. There are group bath houses. There is home style “cowboy grub” that may be cooked over an open fire.
The ranch is 10 miles southeast of Fredonia, Arizona. Some of the trails have been used for the past 150 years to move cattle and horses to different pastures. Saddle time per day will vary between three to six hours. The idea is to experience the West by experiencing a working cattle ranch — including camping out every night. You will only stay in the cabins the first night and last night. The typical week’s stay is from Tuesday evening to Saturday morning breakfast.
Our Editor Loves
- Meeting real cowboys
- Horseback riding
- Camping out
- Horse Back Riding
by Anette S
Know a place from where you can see the wooded Kaibab Plateau rise to eventually give way to the grandest canyon of them all and just opposite the colorful Escalante Stairways across the Utah state line? From where you can spot the striking silhuette of the lonely mountain called Mollie's Nipple and, on a clear day, actually see as far as Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon on the far horizon? This is the magnificent setting for one of the nicest working ranches you are likely to find west of the great divide: Grand Canyon Ranch and Outfitters. Even if you are only using it as an overnight hub for your hiking/biking/rappeling adventures in northern Arizona and southern Utah, this is a perfect spot: smackdab in the middle of everything. But frankly, going to a working ranch and not work cattle? Impossible. So, if that inner cowboy of yours is pining for some wild and wooly action out west, you have come to the right place. If you are a rank beginner, the wonderful folks of G.C.R. will find a gentle horse for you that will faithfully carry you across the miles. If you are not so new to the ranch business, you might find yourself trailing a bunch of cows all by your lonesome, while the other hands are busy looking for strays on the other end of the pasture. You will occasionally crash through timber and battle the vegetation, and you will also spend long hours in the saddle without a break, and you will admire your horse for jogging or loping over rough terrain without tripping. Ever helped in the groundcrew during roundup, vaccinating calves? Or holding a cows head while she's being treated for lumpjaw? You have no idea what you missed. Come as a dude, leave as a top hand (more or less).
The people at the ranch welcome you to their big familiy and Debbie serves the best food you have ever sunk your lunchgrabbers into. If you rise from the ranch table hungry, it's all your fault. Don't even THINK about dieting. This is not the place for it. And you will need all that wholesome food to keep you going all day.
The cabins are rustic, but clean and cozy - and the beds have excellent mattresses. No, there is no electricity - just a generator that runs a few hours per day. But battery operated storm lamps help you find the way between your cabin and the bath house even in the dark of night.
I had the time of my life there and I am sure I will return as soon as possible for a second helping. Can I recommend it? Yes. And there is only one down side to this place: the folks are hard to reach via EMail or phone or their somewhat outdated website. It might take several tries. Keep trying and don't give up. It's all worthwhile.
by Dianna B
We had such a great time and unique experience. Home cooked food was amazing, I suggest not only the breakfast you get with your stay, but also supper for a reasonable fee. My husband went on a horse ride with other guests, they had a fire for s'mores and we played music 2 of the 3 nights we were there. Slept so well in the deep quiet of this expansive land. We especially LEARNED so much about ranching from the 7 generation family that runs it, they are the real deal. There is no power in the cabins, but a generator that runs in the morning and evening for a few hours. Although I panicked initially about no power or bathroom, it was very easy to get used to and we fell right into this community and took right to the bathhouse facility. It was a lovely 1 hour 20 minute drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon during the day. Highly Recommended for those that want a real ranch experience, but are well taken care of.