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Sprucedale Guest Ranch

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Wiltbank Road, Alpine, AZ 85920
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About

#1 of 10 in Alpine
Location
4.8
Cleanliness
4.2
Service
4.9
Value
4.9
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HOTEL STYLE
Quaint
Property amenities
Free parking
Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly)
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
36Reviews1Q+A7Room tips
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Jem C wrote a review Jun 11
Denver, Colorado63 contributions35 helpful votes
+1
Didn't know what to expect going into it, never experienced anything close to it before, my husband and I prepared for 4 months, leasing and taking horseback riding lessons weekly, and it exceeded any and all expectations! From check in we felt very welcome and excited, after putting luggage away and getting settled, having some pigs in a blanket and cold lemonade, you get to go on your first ride! Horses were friendly, eager to please and fun to ride! I was assigned to Legs the first day and she was wonderful. So easy and sweet. Next day you head out to camp, and every day after that is just filled with amazing moments. Sprucedale is in a class all its own, and the horse drive itself is so special.. like being a part of the changing of seasons. I love that two new babies were born in the herd during the drive (first day we found a baby born the night after we corraled them) and one that had it at the pasture in Lyman Lake. Being around all the horses, especially the cute yearlings ❤️, riding through some amazing Arizona scenery, and being able to ride some truly special and unique horses is beyond words. Highly recommend the horse drive experience but overall highly recommend Sprucedale providing you an absolutely unforgettable vacation be it a family, a couple, group of friends, or solo trip.
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Date of stay: May 2022Trip type: Traveled
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Mary L wrote a review Jan 2022
2 contributions1 helpful vote
Most of the reviews focus on the family aspects of staying at SGR. But there is another season where things are quieter, with few or no children, and the adventures are geared toward adults. This is the Fall. Those weeks in September and October when the mornings are crisp, the afternoons are warm and the nights are clear and cold. I stayed the last week of October for the Cattle Round-up. OMG, I have never had as much fun as I had that week. We were out looking for and rounding up cattle every morning and afternoon. There were only 10 guests, 4 wranglers and 2 kitchen staff. We were incredibly well looked after. We were split into two groups and we went cross-country, up and down mountains and through pastures and forests, looking for and then driving the cattle to a huge holding pasture. The last ride of the week was bringing the cattle from the holding pasture into the corral for counting and marking before shipping to their winter home. This wasn't a week of fast-paced riding. If you want to spend all week trotting or loping, look at some other weeks at Sprucedale. But if you want a taste of the old cowboy way, one of the cattle herding weeks at Sprucedale in the fall is just what you are looking for.
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Date of stay: October 2021
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LAgirl65BatonRouge wrote a review Jul 2021
Baton Rouge9 contributions3 helpful votes
Spending a week at Sprucedale Guest Ranch is a life altering event. The minute you arrive until the minute you leave you are bombarded in a good way with fun events, horseback riding, rodeo practice, good food and great hospitality. The Wiltbank family knows how to make each guest feel special. You discover things about yourself that may stay hidden but for a trip to Sprucedale. You can go a whole week without your iPhone and iPad. I highly recommend Sprucedale to anyone looking for adventure and experiences.
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Date of stay: July 2021
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Patrica Scott wrote a review Aug 2020
Tucson32 contributions16 helpful votes
W e went there to Rent some Horses, The place was so run down boards broken on the Porches of Cabins. I have to say that the people we saw were pretty run down looking also... There are a lot of really nice Guest Ranches in the Vicinity find one other then this one..... We turned and left/ I must say that their Horses looked in really good condition! I have never written a bad review BUT dont waste your money!!!!
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Date of stay: August 2020
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Room Tip: Please find another Ranch!!!
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Response from Whitney Wiltbank, Owner at Sprucedale Guest Ranch
Responded Sep 18, 2020
I am sorry you feel that from a few broken boards that we are "run down." We have been family owned and operated since 1941. The ranch was started around 1905. We are the oldest continually ran guest ranch in Arizona. Most cabins are over 100 years old and our historic to the White Mountain's. We love that we are a true working ranch with the perfect rustic feel. We want to provide a place for families to come and disconnect from the world. We try to keep our prices reasonable. If you want glitz and glam we are not your place. We want down to earth guests that come to really enjoy the outdoors and their friends and families.
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Lindsay S wrote a review Aug 2020
5 contributions
After spending a week at Sprucedale Guest Ranch, I don’t even know where to begin to describe the magic of this place. This is a family run and owned ranch where their passion for family, people, horses and nature are ever present. As we drive away, we are already counting the days to our next visit in 2021. I’ve visited a few different ranches, and none take the time to educate the riders to become capable at the walk, trot and lope. Thank you Whitney! While there is not a formal kids program, Stephanie assured us that our kids would learn better without us around, and each day the kids went on the child ride, and we went on the adult rides. By the end of the week, my 6 year old was steering like a champ and loping without fear. I am so grateful for the compassion and patience Stephanie had to help my daughter gain confidence not only with the horses but also herself! Thank you Stephanie. All the wranglers are amazing riders and do a great job teaching and helping along the rides. When we weren’t riding, we were porch sitting, visiting with new friends, and exploring nature. Our kids played hard from morning to night. We didn’t need half the games/toys we brought. They collected blue beetles, built them homes, held and released hummingbirds and all played hard and well together. Tiffany and Bryan, thank you for all the fun and games all week long! You two are an amazing team, and we are so grateful for the kindness you showed our family all week! Our cabin was appropriately rustic and comfortable. The generator run times were never an issue. We loved lighting the fire in the wood burning stove to warm up and roast s’mores. All of our meals were delicious and tasty, from fajitas to spaghetti, and family grown burgers, we were happy and full each meal. The amazing kitchen staff will even cook up the crawfish and trout that you catch from the creek or nearby Black River. We saw Elk and Bighorn Sheep. We saw our daughter dance with a boy for the first time. We are going home with more memories than we ever could have hoped for. If you’re on the fence, don’t be, this place is simply heaven on earth. Thank you to everyone at Sprucedale Guest Ranch. You’re Arizona’s best kept secret. See you next year!
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Date of stay: July 2020Trip type: Traveled
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Heather A R wrote a review Jun 2020
Cleveland, Ohio13 contributions8 helpful votes
If you are reading this, you have found a secret. You found a magical place where for one whole week you get to pretend you get to go back to that summer camp you remember so fondly (or perhaps that camp you fantasized about when you were stuck at home in the hot, hot summer with nothing better to do than watch TV). Better yet, your kids, no matter their age, will get to experience it with you... and they will LOVE it. It is hard to know where to start, there are so many things. Too many, really, so I will leave some of them as a surprise for you. Let’s get started. Your Kids - This is the hard part of any family vacation, right? Especially teens. You mention a dude ranch and you know you are going to get an eye roll at the very least. I have the official Emo Artist version of the average teenage American. Needless to say, there was much eye rolling. But within 24 hours, the young adult staff at Sprucedale had him smiling and gladly participating in all activities. See, the staff is literally taught how to drawn out shy and reluctant guests in a casual and inclusive way. There is plenty, plenty for your little ones to do too, but all of those magical touches you will have to discover for yourself, but I promise it involves kittens and getting muddy. HORSES! - What is the point of going to a dude ranch if there are not horses? The 14 year-old-girl in you will spend the whole week shrieking “squeee!” New to riding? It is ok. You will start the week off knowing nothing and can end the week comfortable enough that you can participate in the horseback tag (yes, you read that right). The staff are helpful, patient and non-judgemental. The horses are pasture raised and trail trained so most of them are not happy to leave the herd on or off trail, so if you are concerned your horse will run off unexpectedly, there is very little chance of that. That being said, the experienced rider will enjoy it as well. You can request a more free thinking horse, if you want. We actually heard about this place from a friend who has been riding competitively for 30 years and has been coming here for 20. She loves this place too. Not to ruin any surprises, but they also let you play with the baby horses. ;) Food - 3 meals a day, all served in a family style. It is simple fare like you would expect to find served to ranch hands. Pot pie, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, etc. The wonderful thing is that these recipes have been refined and perfected. For example, it is not “just” ranch dressing. It is the best ranch dressing you have ever had. Most of the food is prepared from scratch daily by an utterly charming kitchen staff. Lodging - I would consider it glamping if only because the cabins are intentionally rustic to give the feeling of “roughing it” in comfort. They are clean, the beds are very comfortable and the walls and roof are solid. There is a serviceable bathroom with a toilet and shower. But even the simple lodging is just wonderful for the experience. Remember, this is summer camp. Rustic cabins but these are far less drafty and more comfortable than the ones you remember from camp. Things to keep in mind: They are Mormon - Don’t let this dissuade you in the least from staying here. Religious talk is very much kept to a minimum. I am not a Christian. There was not a single thing that happened during our stay that made me uncomfortable. But it does have some influences on the camp that I will point out below as needed. You need to stay the whole week - Also keep in mind that you can only stay one week. They close Sunday and you cannot stay Sunday night. But, stay the week. You really need the whole week to be able to relax into and thoroughly enjoy the experience. The whole summer camp feel of the place also very much depends on going through the whole week’s schedule. If you drink, you need to bring your own - Being Mormon, they don’t serve alcohol (they do serve coffee though). And the ranch is literally an hour drive (in an area with no cell service) from the nearest town. Beer runs are a half day affair. So stop somewhere and stock up before you go. We drank on our porch but opted not to drink at meals out of respect for our hosts, but we saw many guests bring drinks to meals and no one minded. Electronic access will be limited - In the entire places, over acres and acres of land, there is only a 2.5’x2.5’ square box where you can get 1 bar... barely. It is enough to get and send text and phone calls. Nothing else. I loved it! It took it out of my hands completely. I was amazed how often I picked up up my phone casually to check it, even while on vacation. But there was simply nothing to check and within a day or two, I just stoped carrying the phone because it was pointless. It was a good feeling. Do the evening stuff - they have evening activities planned. They don’t push anyone to come, but I would recommend going. Guest participation is highly encouraged, so bring a musical instrument if you play, pipe up with your favorite sing along songs (old and new as the young adult staff has already retrofitted modern songs to the cowboy sound which they will also perform) and even feel free to bring poems and spoken word. Dance like nobody’s watching and then also watch your jaw drop when your super shy teen gladly dances as well. As I said, you found a secret. My family has traveled the world and every one of them, from the 8 & 9 year old to the 16 & 19 year old to myself and my husband, agree that this was one of the best trips we have ever taken. I think you will feel the same too.
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Date of stay: June 2020
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Room Tip: For people new to the ranch, the cabins near the main hose make for a better first trip.
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Donna wrote a review Aug 2019
4 contributions4 helpful votes
If you feel the need to get away from the pressures and pace of this hectic life we live, and return to a simpler time, then this is the place! It's off the beaten path, high in the White Mountains, a place where children can play in safety at the creek and feed the critters, and there are plenty, from kittens and puppies, to goats and pigs and sometimes rabbits! Wonderful guided horseback rides twice daily on real working ranch horses (not stable nags), great for beginners and experts alike. Hayrides, bonfires, mountain biking, hiking, fishing nearby at both the Black River and Big Lake, rock hounding, or just kicking back and relaxing, there are plenty of things to do. The cabins are rustic (don't expect 5 star, but do expect clean, simply furnished cabins with comfy beds with handmade quilts), and a wood burning stove in each one for those brisk mountain nights.The food is ample and delicious, and served family style in the Lodge dining room, cooked and served by the Ranch Kitchen Crew. Family owned and operated, come be a part of the legacy that is Sprucedale!
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Date of stay: July 2019Trip type: Traveled
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Lorna L wrote a review Jul 2019
Temecula, California11 contributions1 helpful vote
+1
Our first time I went to Sprucedale was in 1967. I was ten years old. I have returned many many times since then. I have to say the experience has been 5 ⭐️ throughout the years of adolescence, teen years, young adult years and now in my senior years. Our son has come here as a toddler and again as a child and now as a single adult young man. My 50 year old autistic brother has been going here since he was ten; the staff has always treated him with respect and kindness. Horseback riding is therapeutic to all! My husband loves to mountain bike and my brother likes to fish. My son loves to hike and wrangle the horses when asked. Sprucedale would be an awesome place for a destination wedding, family reunion, or even honeymoon. We plan to return next year!
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Date of stay: July 2019Trip type: Traveled
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Dana T wrote a review Jul 2019
2 contributions
My family went to Sprucedale two summers in a row about 35 years ago. We decided to go back with the next generation and the week did not disappoint. Wonderful memories created while spending time in a scenic place and riding horses. The Wiltbank family, their extensions and their staff were amazing just as we had remembered. The kids had a blast running around, playing with other kids, catching crawdads, learning how to ride horses and milk cows. If you are looking for good wholesome family fun or a great experience for you and a loved one, then look no further. There is no wifi, no cell service, no electronic screens for anyone to zone out on. Get outside, get dirty, get fresh air, get to experience life with one another. Can't say enough great things about this place. Already trying to plan the next trip.
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Date of stay: July 2019Trip type: Traveled
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MissyM wrote a review Jun 2019
6 contributions
Sprucedale Guest Ranch is the most amazing place! We had an incredible experience! The ranch is awesome! The people are amazing! The food is fabulous! It is a very authentic ranch surrounded by amazing scenery and high country. I can’t say enough good things about this place. We did not want to come home and can’t wait to go back!
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Date of stay: June 2019Trip type: Traveled
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LOCATION
United StatesArizonaAlpine
NUMBER OF ROOMS
21
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Frequently Asked Questions about Sprucedale Guest Ranch
Which popular attractions are close to Sprucedale Guest Ranch?
Nearby attractions include West Baldy Trail (3.2 miles), Tunnel Reservoir (2.3 miles), and Butterfly Lodge Museum (1.4 miles).
Is parking available at Sprucedale Guest Ranch?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Sprucedale Guest Ranch?
Conveniently located restaurants include Rendezvous Diner, Molly Butler Lodge Restaurant, and Omnivores Eatery.