Ranch Riding at Tombstone Monument Ranch
Tombstone Monument Ranch is one of a kind. The accommodation is a replica of the main street of a Wild West town just two miles out of Tombstone itself. Opened in 2010 it now belongs to a consortium including the True family who own the White stallion ranch in Tucson.
|This is no one horse town..|
New corrals are under construction now and new horse related activity including team penning and even rodeos are being planned. A brand new entrance to the ranch maximises the stunning mountain views.
|Perfect Post Office accommodation|
The hotel side of things is pretty up market with beautifully furnished modern rooms with a Wild West twist. I stayed in the Post Office but you could stay in the Courthouse, the Mining Office, the jail or even Kitty’s Bordello!
There’s a pool and a Jacuzzi too to soak your saddle sores away should you so wish. You can even try your hand at archery and see if you can head the Apaches off at the pass.
|Heading them off at the pass|
Ranch riding and other excursions.
Out of the saddle, there’s always the attraction of the town of Tombstone. The world famous gunfight at the OK corral is re-enacted there three times a day. The good guys always win.
Another excursion, organised from the ranch, is to the nearby Dragoon mountains which majestically dominate the horizon. Your guide will be Charlie One horse a member of the local Yacqui Indian tribe.
Don’t get him confused with no horse Charlie who is a completely different person and apparently they don’t get on at all. Charlie One Horse, will tell you all about the history of the native people who lived and died here. This was real Apache country and you can still see the ancient petroglyphs when out riding. Pictures of animals and people and suns – scratched onto the rocks around the ranch. You half expect to see Cochise coming over the hill on a painted pony..
|Magical mountain rides|
Ranch riding at Tombstone – select your steed
There are plenty of lovely horses to choose from. Suitable for slow rides or for fast ones. I rode the tall, dark and very handsome Stretch, who was big and gentle and gave me a great view of the green desert.
Our wrangler Cody, was a real live cowboy. Brought up with horses, he also liked to ride 200 lb plus bulls for fun in the rodeo. He was nursing a few separated ribs as a consequence of contact with a flying hoof earlier that week.
|Make sure you have a spare handy..|
The riding trail
The landscape here is stunning. The green ‘three brothers’ hills close to the ranch looki like the backdrop to many a famous Western movie. There aren’t any big Saguaro cacti here but there are other smaller types, and cat tails and delicate desert flowers are in bloom.
There are huge black and white and colourful green and yellow and red grasshoppers everywhere. They are called Mexican Generals, because of their bright colouring which mimics the fancy garb of a high ranking officer in dress uniform.
You can walk your horse through the green rocky mountain trails. Then you lope along the sandy ‘wash’ or river beds which become full when the rains come in the summer. We wound our away past the Schieffelin Monument where Ed Schieffelin is supposed to be buried standing up. He is watching over the land that made him rich when he discovered silver deposits here, which led to the founding of Tombstone.
Then we swung past the ‘no shooting sign’ which was riddled with bullet holes, and spotted some recent Coyote tracks in the dust. Meals are in the dining room next door to the saloon. Three times a week there’s a breakfast cook out with a real pot of strong black cowboy coffee, bubbling over the fire.
|More beans dear?|
A night in the saloon
Managing the horse side of things at the ranch is Regina, who left her life as a lawyer in Germany to come and ride horses in the desert. ‘I love this job,’ she said ‘As a lawyer I had to solve everyone’s problems, now everyone is happy because they are on vacation!’
In the evening make your way to the Trappman saloon across the street for a shot of hard liquor, a beer, or some of the special blend on tap Margaritas.
The saloon is quite something and pretty realistic. A labour of love when it was built, it has been fitted out with bespoke wooden furniture handcrafted in Germany. While you are there maybe try a game of Faro, a French gambling card game played between a banker and several players. The game was popular in Tombstone during its 19th Century heyday. The good news is that nobody loses any real money!
|Here comes the high roller!|
The Tombstone Monument Ranch gives you the opportunity to live out your Wild West dreams as far away from the rat race as you could possibly get. Set in genuine cowboy countryside, the ranch welcomes couples, families, singles and corporate guests alike. A Harley Davidson convention recently brought fifty bikers into town! This ranch is as unique as a gold nugget and you need to saddle up your travel plans and get there before the Gold rush starts!
|Cody the Cowboy|
More about ranch riding in Arizona – the White Stallion Ranch