White Stallion Ranch, a luxury dude ranch and working cattle ranch in Arizona, USA, is the latest ranch to gain the Top50 accolade. One thing that really stood out for us was not just the ranch's convenient location just 35 minutes from Tuscon International Airport, but the fact that as soon as you step cowboy boot-clad foot inside the Arizona ranch, you could be a hundred miles from the 'outside world'. One reason is that White Stallion Ranch sits right alongside Saguaro National Park, with access to mile upon mile of cactus-adorned desert plains and mountain wilderness. What's more, the luxury dude ranch is nestled into the west side of the Saguaro studded mountains, where only on reaching the very top is the nearest town in sight.
Don't be fooled by the ranch's high guest capacity of 70 and luxury, resort-style facilities and amenities. This family-owned and operated 3,000-acre ranch is steeped in history, and is still a working cattle ranch alongside providing luxury and family dude ranch vacations. Brothers Russell and Michael True took over the guest ranch from their parents, who bought White Stallion in 1965, and go out of their way to get to know each and every guest taking dude ranch vacations at the ranch. This is the kind of place where people treat you like one of the family - so no wonder the Trues are renowned for their high-quality service and first-rate hospitality.
At White Stallion Ranch, it's all about the horse riding. This is the perfect family ranch vacation for parents with children able to ride, as kids aged 5 and above are, if able, welcome to join in the beautiful, scenic trail rides on the diverse riding program. Children aged 8 and above can - again, if able - even join the faster, more adventurous rides, complete with loping and trickier terrain. And if you want to ride without the kids, you must go on the adults-only "Cheese and Wine Ride" - a slower, relaxing ride to one of the ranch's most beautiful areas where you'll enjoy wine, cheese and other treats. With 140 horses, the Arizona dude ranch runs one of the largest horse herds in the state and so can match each guest with more than one perfect horse. Whether you're a complete beginner or an advanced rider looking to tackle some 'real' riding, there is a horse and a trail ride for you.
Running 100 head of cattle across the ranch, White Stallion runs a hugely popular team penning program - an arena based riding activity where guests can learn the art of this tricky rodeo sport. And because you'll no doubt be hooked on rodeo by the end of the week, you'll love the weekly ranch rodeo featuring local cowboys and ranch wranglers demonstrating how the pros do it.
Not interested in riding? The guest ranch's wonderful location offers wonderful guided and unguided hiking opportunities, both through White Stallion Ranch and in the adjacent Saguaro National Park. There are also plenty of off-ranch activities to enjoy should you wish to head further afield - all made easy with the option of hiring a car direct from the ranch.
Aside from comfortable lodging and tasty meals, the luxury dude ranch boasts a heated pool with a large redwood hot tub; a fitness room with an exercise room, sauna and massage therapy; a lighted tennis court and sports court; a recreation room with a 27-seater movie theater, lots of fun games; a children’s playground and a petting zoo. Come evening, retire to the beautiful bar and hop up on one of the western-saddle bar stools for a drink with other guests - you don't have to be a rider to get in these saddles! And forget having to trek to town for souvenirs, as the ranch has its own gift shop where you can buy riding gear, gifts, travel items and lots more.
Whether you're travelling alone, with family and friends, with your partner or as part of a corporate retreat, White Stallion Ranch will give you a dude ranch vacation experience you will never forget - and want to return to year after year.
For more information on dude ranch vacations at White Stallion Ranch, visit their ranch profile at Top50Ranches.com