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A fresh look at the world from between a horses ears - Dude ranching in Arizona

Along the trail in the Bulldog Mountains
Along the trail in the Bulldog Mountains
Saguaro Lake Ranch

There is a bit if the cowboy in all of us. Who hasn't heard the songs about riding the range, tossing the Holihan and driving the doggies along? If you are visiting in Arizona you have literally dozens of opportunities to live the dream - to just for a while experience what it was like when your only office was your saddle and you viewed the world from between your horses ears.

The Arizona Dude  lists over 30 accredited Dude Ranches, from "Working Ranches" where you help with the chores and work cattle to luxury estates where the wealthiest Texas Oilman would feel right at home. Most are "Come and Get It" dinner bell affairs mixing real western atmosphere and activities with their guests comfort and relaxation.

A good example is the Saguaro Lake Ranch, located along the Bush Highway in Mesa and protected within the Tonto National Forest. Built in 1930, the Saguaro offers it guests tidy little post fronted Ranchettes or accommodations in its Main Lodge with its four sided stone fireplace and Main Ranch House feel and decor. Guests are served Three Squares a day, breakfast - lunch and dinner - with a Bunk House Style buffet with a "Bed & Breakfast" option for those moving on in the morning.

Yet what puts the "Dude" in a Dude Ranch is climbing up in the saddle and heading down the trail. Even if the only horse you ever straddled had a pole in its center and went round in circles, the Saguaro's Wranglers will cut you out a gentle, trail wise mount so you can explore the back country of the Bulldog, Superstition and Goldfield Mountains. For many, the Sunrise Ride is the favorite with a camp breakfast as the new day spreads over the mountains.

There's lots more to fill the day then horseflesh. Hard on the Salt River and Saguaro Lake, there is tubing (in season) and Steamboat rides available on Saguaro Lake as well as Kayaking, Fishing and other wet water activities. Add to that Jeep Tours, mountain biking, hiking and nature walks and an afternoon spent in the sun and a ranch chair with a good book might sound pretty appealing.

In season rates at the Saguaro Lake Ranch are $150.00 per person (double occupancy) with all meals provided and $135.00 for Bed & Breakfast. There is a declining rate for children with kids 6-17 only $70.00, those 3-5 $30,00 and those under 2 free.

For reservation or information call Saguaro Lake Ranch at 480-984-2194 or visit their website at Their email address is and should you wish to goggle up directions on Mapquest their exact address is 13020 Bush Highway, Mesa AZ.

For a full listing of available Dude Ranching experiences throughout the State visit the Arizona Dude Ranches listings at


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