This was my third trip to TVGR. And if you had been there during my stay you'd know that, lol! They posted the guests' names, city/state they were from, and number of trips to the ranch. More than a third just said "numerous" - one woman I talked to had been coming every spring for over 10 years, first w/ her family (as a child), and this time with her fiance.
I was there with my niece - for her 10th birthday. She has been talking about this trip since I brought her brother (for his 10th b-day) 3 years earlier. And I think it was better than even she expected. We had a lovely room, even though we mostly just slept, showered, and changed there. It was spacious with a large bathroom, big walk-in closet (with 4 ft fridge), dining table, fireplace (with leather chairs), large private patio, and lots of storage space. She was disappointed (at first) that she didn't get to ride Flocko, one of the horses her brother talked about, but she was even happier with "her" horse, which she rode exclusively for the whole stay.
One thing about the kids rides - they are required to take a lesson before they can go out on the trail, so if they want to go on a morning ride on your first full day (for some this is the breakfast ride), they need to take the afternoon lesson (~1:15) the day before. Don't worry about check-in - if your room isn't ready, they'll hold your stuff for you in the office. (But your room will probably be ready.) Also, after you check out, you are welcome to stay for lunch and even the afternoon ride! (And w/ my nephew an additional dip in the pool.)
Adults are welcome to ride with the kids on the trail (I usually did). These rides are the same as the walk rides, but can be much less crowded. You load up at the usual place (for adult rides) and a wrangler (or experienced guest) takes you down to the kids corral, and will also bring you back up after the ride. I added the "or experienced guest" because it was me a couple times - when they needed all the wranglers to handle the kids after their ride, or there were so many adults waiting to be mounted before the ride.
This is also the place to add something about experienced vs. inexperienced riders. You will all have an enjoyable ride! I have been riding about 10 years (but not western), and at many trail/dude places the only choice of mount is the type who will follow the tail (yes, tail not trail, lol) in front of him - and refuse to do anything else. Unless you let him get away with eating on the way. The only enjoyment I get out of that is watching my niece/nephew learn to handle the horse. At TVGR, this was not the case. Yes, they had several VERY laid back horses, but I rode 2 who were very perky (w/out being "wild") and interested in everything around them. I found out later they were young. In fact I had a lesson on one (Frodo - an awesome little buckskin Indian pony) over the obstacle course - which he had never seen before. He also alerted me (by being interested, not by being spooky in any way) to the presence of a couple mule deer - they walked out of the brush about 20 feet away. I believe my niece and I were the only ones who saw them - we were at the end of the line of the kids ride to breakfast. And Joker was a nice responsive little Paint colt that I rode for the lope ride, and the "Fun-khana" - basically 3 different races in the arena. Between trail rides and lessons, I rode at least 3-4 hours each day.
One of the few things I didn't like, is that they don't post the schedules online - I only knew the schedule from previous experience. Be sure to ask about any things that are important to you when you book. The breakfast ride is Thursday (and I think the other day is Monday?) and the dinner in the Cottonwood Grove is Wednesday (and I think Saturday). There was also a lunch in the grove (which you can ride to - kids took a hayride there) on Friday. The same thing was the case for specific hiking and biking activities - if there's something you don't want to miss, be sure toask which day(s) it happens. Although if you stay for an entire week (too $$ for me), you will probably hit everything but the special stuff (like the Poker Rides and Harmony with Horses). I'm a little iffy about the exact days, because you lose track of things like the day of the week while you are there - it is so much it's own world.
The only other sad note was hearing that they no longer use the Bellota (sister ranch an hour's drive up into the Coronado Nat'l Forest) for Women of the West. They do have an occasional "adventure ride" up to the Bellota - and maybe a roundup. That place was even more remote and special.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Tanque Verde Ranch Resort was named "Best Dude Ranch in Arizona" by Dude Republic in 2012, as well as a "Top Ten Family Resort" by the Travel Channel since 2007, and a "Top Five Ranch" by Conde Nast in 2008. Tanque Verde Ranch is one of America’s old time cattle and guest ranches. Located on 60,000 acres of Tucson’s most breathtaking desert landscapes, nestled amongst the Rincon Mountains and adjacent to Saguaro National Park and Coronado National Forest. Established in 1868, the superb guest ranch is recognized as the last luxurious outpost of the old west providing guests with plush accommodations, unparalleled amenities and a vast array of exciting activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing and hiking. La Sonora Spa is the perfect place for a bit of quiet relaxation, and the kids will love all the supervised children's programs! Don't hesitate – getaway at one of the premier, all-inclusive dude ranches in the country. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tanque Verde Ranch Hotel Tucson