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  • Writer's picturePaul and Teresa Lowe

An Authentic Dude Ranch Experience

Cowboys and Old West Style Fun...Grand Canyon Western Ranch

As you drive through the gate of the Grand Canyon Western Ranch you quickly discover that this is a rare gem of a getaway vacation spot for true rustic adventure seekers. The property is located just off of highway 93 in Meadview, Arizona. Step out of your car and you're greeted by one of the friendly smiling cowboys and believe it or not a couple of the coolest goats and a dog that you'd ever want to meet. This adorable oasis sits at the base of a towering picturesque peek that locals call 'Spirit Mountain.' The ranch is just one tank away from Los Angeles or Las Vegas.

The ranch's main house is a rather intriguing place to sit for a cold strong drink and a hearty meal presented in a family style atmosphere. The dinning hall is reminiscent of an old west saloon and chow house, right down to the rugged oak wood tables and sitting stools. While there Cowboy Casey L. Adams treats you to a rousing serenade. Casey is a legendary country/folk recording artist around these parts. Some of your meals are prepared to order by another gentleman cowboy - a chef who looks like he stepped out of the pages of Hollywood Central Casting. The Arizona desert and foothills are places of awesome beauty. Perhaps the best nature experience is enjoyed by hiking or on horseback with Cowboy Joe. By the way Joe sings too. When you reach the high country of the ranch trail you are treated to a glass of chilled champagne and an up close view of buffalo on the hill. There you will also learn about this majestic animal and the native people. During our recent visit we had opportunity to also explore the region by way of a helicopter tour. This aerial excursion is truly worth it. The ride takes you across and down into the western edge of the Grand Canyon – Wow a once in a lifetime spectacular view!

The Grand Canyon Western Ranch property was originally part of the Hualapai Native American nation. In the 1870's the Wellington Starky Mormon family obtained the land and its natural spring water well. Their mission was to serve as a rest stop for weary travelers. The Starky family later sold the ranch to George 'Tap' Duncan. Stories say Duncan was a bank and train robber and also cattle rustler who rode with the famed villain Kid Curry and the Hole in the Wall Gang. Area folks also say Tap Duncan also rode with the legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy. Duncan bought the ranch, which he named 'Diamond Bar,' for his new bride. He also wanted to escape his notorious lifestyle and to become a legitimate businessman.

This property is still today a working ranch with real cowboys and cowgirls, horses, cows, buffalo, goats and other critters. We found the folks here have genuine smiles and rugged fun attitudes when they greet folks. If real fun is your goal, they make it happen. The ranch is under new management. General Manager Robert Bravo (Hualapai Nation member) has grand ambitions for the property and the quaint and comfortable old west style wooden cabins and 'glamping tents.' Yes there is modern conveniences inside-indoor plumbing, a bathtub with a standup shower. The spirit of the Grand Canyon Western Ranch again is rustic. That means there is no Internet and cellular phone service is limited. We find there is plenty to do during a stay. Riding, roping, wrangling, shooting at a cowboy gun range and singing campfire songs while roasting s'mores are only some of the adventures. After a full day of activity it's refreshing to sit on the porch of your cabin and look up at the sky and gaze upon the stars. Wow, the big night sky is filled with amazement. As the nightly campfire fades our western ranch adventure concludes. The delightful conversations and friendships made while here are forever.

This ranch is a must do for anyone bucket list and one tank getaways.


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