Find Your True North at the White Stallion Ranch
Have you ever walked into a resort or hotel and felt so relaxed you thought you were at home? That’s the immediate feeling I got when we arrived at the White Stallion Ranch. It’s probably because the True family has owned and operated the ranch for almost 50 years and they know what true (no pun intended) hospitality is and make sure each guest is treated that way.
Surrounded by unspoiled desert, rugged mountains and the most beautiful and unique species of cactus you’ve probably ever seen, sits the White Stallion Ranch just outside of Tucson. It is a peaceful, unique place where you can reconnect with family, friends, nature and serenity. In fact, while we were there we met several groups of friends that have been making this dude ranch their annual vacation for years.
Hollywood filmmakers have been coming to the area for over 70 years. Since the early days as a backdrop in Western feature films and the long-running location for the television series High Chaparral (1968-72), White Stallion Ranch has attracted attention from media outlets worldwide. The ranch has hosted prominent publications, photographers, filmmakers and journalists from around the globe. The media credits include such major highlights as: National Geographic; Sports Illustrated; Los Angeles Times, New York Times; GM, Dodge, Jeep and Toyota commercials; Today show; CBS Sunday Morning; Lonely Planet (BBC); Westerns and major motion pictures ranging from Arizona (1936) to The Last Blast (2006); and many others. It’s not difficult to see why so many people fall in love with this ranch.
We checked into a spacious and charming suite with a private patio with views of the cactus gardens, mountains, and horse corrals. I loved the nice touch of having chaise lounges right outside your door to relax on and watch the sunset. Some suites include gas fireplaces or whirlpool bath tubs. Generous floor plans offer sunny, comfortable rooms with plenty of closet space and adjoining suites create deluxe family suites. With 41 guest rooms and The Hacienda, a lovely and private four-bedroom, three-bathroom home perfect for larger groups, you’ll find the perfect accommodation at the White Stallion Ranch. Another perk – eco-friendly soaps, shampoos, lotions and other amenities!
One of the best things I found at White Stallion Ranch is that all the cooking is done for you so you don’t ever have to leave the property. A variety of meal options is offered to please meat lovers, vegetarians and everyone in between. They use fresh, quality ingredients and home-style cooking methods to serve flavorful meals throughout the day and all meals and snacks are included in your nightly rate. Breakfast includes a cooked-to-order menu as well as an extensive continental buffet, and the daily lunch buffet allows you to dine inside or on the patio with a selection of two entrees, side dishes and salads, a sandwich bar and fresh-baked cookies and fresh fruit. At 6pm the dinner bell is rung, calling you in after a long day riding – you can’t get more authentic than that. We were treated to barbecue chicken grilled outdoors with a full buffet of side dishes. If you get hungry between meals, snacks are always available, including fresh fruit, chips and salsa, peanuts and their famous homemade trail mix.
After dinner, relax in your cabin while listening to the coyotes calling in the distance, which we heard both nights during our stay. Or there is evening entertainment every night like a moonlight bonfire with a cowboy singer, an astronomy show with large telescopes, line dancing lessons, nature and animal programs, or watercolor classes with the resident artist. The night we were there, we experienced a reptile, spider and lizard show-and-tell and I actually got to hold a tarantula, scorpion and 6 foot Burmese Python!
But the real reason you come to a dude ranch is to ride, right? And what opportunities abound at White Stallion…slow rides, fast rides, mountain rides, all day rides, wine and cheese rides, lessons and team cattle penning. With one of the largest privately owned herds in Arizona, they have the right horse for every guest, from first-time trailblazers to life-long riders. Enjoy these truly unique experiences in a setting surrounded on three sides by beautiful mountains.
For guests who are comfortable on the fast ride, you’ll spend almost 8 hours in the saddle and cover 20 – 25 miles on the all-day ride with lunch served on the trail. Highlights of this ride include traveling through Saguaro National Park, Box Canyon and visiting a site with Native American petroglyphs. Or if cattle herding is calling to you, you and three teammates ride “Bonanza” style into a herd of cattle in their 2.35 acre rodeo arena and work to separate out three cattle and move them into a pen. This is a timed event but you are welcome to ride at any speed at which you are comfortable. Team Penning lasts about one hour, and each team gets three rounds to better their time. Where else can you feel like you’re actually part of a rodeo!
Need a break from the saddle? White Stallion Ranch offers many other amenities including a heated pool and hot tub, recreation room with a movie theater, fitness center and a petting zoo for the kids.
One of the coolest things I learned that is offered at White Stallion are their workshops and clinics on animal communication and spiritual retreats. In a supportive atmosphere, you will learn to enhance the animal communication skills you already have (even if you don’t know it) and share in a fun and rewarding experience. By learning to tap into and use your innate abilities, you will quickly discover how you too can converse with the animals. The women’s retreats offer connection with horses in ways that make it easier to connect with yourself, clarify your direction and add an exhilarating new chapter to your life story.
By their very nature, horses touch our spirits with their beauty, freedom, courage, power and heart. Attuned to subtle energies, they sense what’s going on with us and help us come to insights and learning that we don’t necessarily get by thinking, reading or talking.
All in all, the White Stallion Ranch is a place of beauty, serenity, peace, and discovery. The True family have created and maintained an authentic experience of a dude ranch with the comfort and hospitality of a luxury resort. I can’t think of a better way to find your true north.
For more information on rooms, packages or workshops, visit www.whitestallion.com or call 520.297.0252.