The following article appeared in Ranch & Reserve Magazine’s 6th edition.
Are you looking for a stress-free vacation far from the madding crowd? If so, the White Stallion Ranch is the ideal place. Situated between Phoenix and Tucson this charming, informal ranch is easily accessible from Arizona’s two major airports. Steeped in the history of cowboy country and the location of many a Hollywood movie, this authentic guest ranch imparts that true Old West feeling to its guests. Located at the foot of the Tucson mountain range and directly adjacent to the Saguaro National Park, guests enjoy wide-open spaces, beautiful scenery and breathtaking sunsets. The White Stallion Ranch is a working ranch and open year round, which means that guests can choose to fill their days with the various ranch activities or simply kick back and relax….. either way you will enjoy exceptional hospitality and all the creature comforts of a top resort.
Built in the 1900’s this historic ranch started out as a cattle ranch with its original property constructed of Mexican adobe bricks made from straw and mud. Today, guests can still see a small part of the original adobe on display in the dining room, the first structure to be built at the ranch. In 1965, Allen and Cynthia True from Colorado decided to make The White Stallion Ranch their home and now 51 years later guests are greeted by third-generation Trues who continue to welcome people into their home. Over the years, the True family have maintained the traditions of the Old West by preserving many of the original buildings; however, Russel and Michael (Cynthia and Allen’s boys) have added many modern amenities and established one of the largest privately owned herds of cattle and horses in Arizona.
Movie buffs will love White Stallion Ranch’s extensive Hollywood history. The list of movies that have been filmed here throughout the years starting from 1939 until 2014 is truly impressive. In the earlier years the ranch was often used as a backdrop in Western feature films and later, as a location for the television series, The High Chaparral (1968-72). The ranch has been featured in 27 Hollywood films which include Confessions of a Dangerous Mind filmed in 2002 starring everyone’s favourite actor George Clooney with co-star Sam Rockwell. If Western movies are your ‘thing’ don’t hesitate to ask the staff for the complete list of movies shot at the ranch and they just might throw in some juicy insider gossip!
A dude ranch vacation is not complete without the opportunity to experience an authentic western rodeo. Every Wednesday afternoon (weather permitting) the ranch’s wranglers, family and friends take part in an exhibition rodeo that for almost 50 years has been a tradition at White Stallion Ranch. Guests can watch riders compete in team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping and sometimes bulldogging. If these terms are unfamiliar don’t worry since from your seat in the bleachers you will hear and see first-hand what a rodeo is all about and gain a better understanding of the cowboy way of life. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and soak up some Old West culture.
Aside from Wednesday afternoon rodeos, White Stallion Ranch offers lots of fun and interesting activities for guests to partake in such as hiking, rock climbing as well as a diverse children’s program for younger guests. Riding enthusiasts will appreciate the varied scenic trails and wide choice of rides available every day of the week except on Sundays when the horses rest. Horse lovers can choose from mountain rides, slow, fast or all day, as well as a hay ride and team cattle penning. Each rider is carefully matched with a horse suited to their specific riding experience for the duration of the stay. For those wishing to improve their riding skills, classes are available for $20/hour, payable to one of the friendly wranglers at the ranch, who will gladly help and assist guests to gain more confidence in the saddle.
In addition to the daily rides, the ranch also offers two unique riding opportunities for guests over the age of 21. These rides, available seasonally, are the perfect way to get to know your fellow guests in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. The “Wine & Cheese Ride” takes guests to a secluded area of the ranch surrounded by mountains and stunning scenery where an assortment of cheeses, crackers and bread are paired with a unique selection of wines. While you and your fellow guests sample different cheeses and wines, your horse waits patiently a short distance away. For those who prefer drinking a ‘cold one’ the ranch offers a “Beer & Cheetos” ride. Picnic tables are set up in a special spot in the desert where guests can snack on a childhood favourite, brightly-coloured orange Cheetos, washed down by ice-cold beers. Both rides are a wonderful way to make new friends or enjoy the company of old ones.
At the end of the day retire into one of the ranch’s 41 guest rooms or a 4 bedroom Hacienda ideal for larger groups or families. You’ll feel right at home in one of the spacious rooms all of which feature a private patio with views of either the cactus gardens, mountains or corrals. Some suites include gas fireplaces or whirlpool bathtubs and all the rooms have hair dryers, mini-refrigerators and personal safes. When you’re not off exploring the area by horseback there is a rec room & movie theatre, gift shop, heated pool & hot tub, sports courts, fitness center, bar, and a fun petting zoo for kids and adults alike.
Currently celebrating 51 years of western hospitality the True family invite you to reconnect with nature, family and friends while engaging in a variety of fun outdoor activities and enjoying the breathtaking scenery that has brought Hollywood filmmakers to the White Stallion Ranch for over 70 years.
So don’t forget to bring your camera along and your sense of adventure too!
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