Saguaro Lake Ranch sits in a tranquil spot just beneath the dam that holds back ten-mile-long Saguaro Lake in central Arizona. Downstream, the Salt River twists beneath the striking Bulldog Cliffs and Goldfield Mountains before flexing some mild Class I muscles on its passage toward the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. This guest ranch has been run by the same family, the Durands, for four generations, and it shows in the hospitality and homey touches in evidence throughout the riverside property. Guests sleep in simple but comfortable "ranchettes," first built to house the workers who constructed Saguaro Lake's Stewart Mountain Dam between 1928-30. These days, however, you can also count on free property-wide WiFi, hooked up by the current owner's grandkids (but happily no phones or televisions in the rooms). Daytime activities include hiking and horseback riding along the desert trails of Tonto National Forest, kayaking and tubing on the Salt River, or special programs such as art weekends and family reunions. Meals are shared buffet-style in a communal dining room, where you'll feast on homemade treats such as BBQ chicken, biscuits, and fresh-baked cookies. It doesn't get much more relaxing than this.
Saguaro Lake Ranch is located 40 miles east of downtown Phoenix, about an hour by car. Bed and breakfast rates start at $130 for two; the ranch's American Plan includes three meals, plus lodging, and starts at $150 per person, assuming double occupancy. Activities such as trail rides or kayak rentals cost extra. Visit www.saguarolakeranch.com for full details.
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