Circle Z Ranch is a family owned and operated all inclusive guest ranch in Patagonia, Arizona which began as a sheep ranch in the 1880’s and became a dude ranch in the 1920’s. Mere miles from the Mexico border, Circle Z offers horseback riding, hiking, and bird watching. From the moment you arrive, to the moment you depart, you’ll feel like part of the family.
I came to Circle Z on invitation from a few ladies I horseback ride with in New York. They are part of a group of women from all over the world who travel to the ranch every year for a week or two to ride together. These women have been returning year after year for almost ten years to Circle Z. They are not alone. Many families and friends keep coming back to the ranch annually. It’s that wonderful! We went in January when the weather is dry and cool. Perfect for horseback riding!
The property consists of a handful of cottages, houses, and Casa Rosa which is an adobe building with individual rooms with private baths that open up to a picturesque courtyard with a fountain and flowers. Our group was so large, some women rented the Hill House, a few others cottages, and I stayed in Casa Rosa. Three times a day the meal bell rings and the guests gather in the dining room for a home cooked meal served buffet style. Friday meals are authentic Mexican cuisine. Every meal at Circle Z is fresh, unique, and delicious! The main building has the dining room, offices, a lounge with a large fireplace and great selection of literature, and a patio to sit outside and soak up the sun and views. Also on the property is the cantina which has gaming tables, lounge chairs, and entertainment nightly.
The highlight of Circle Z is the extensive horseback riding trails. Almost all of the horses on the farm are ranch bred. The wranglers work with them extensively until they are ready to be used as guest horses. I had the pleasure of riding Amiga for my stay. There are a wide variety of trail rides offered that range from a few hours to full day. All of which are spectacular! In addition to trails, guests can participate in some traditional western riding activities including barrel racing, pole bending, and team penning.
Every Sunday the horses have a day of rest and are turned out onto the extensive acreage of the ranch. If your visit includes a Sunday, there are plenty of other activities to fill your time. I highly recommend a hike up to the top of the mountain overlooking the ranch. It offers spectacular views and well as a guestbook to sign and a handle of tequila to celebrate the accomplishment.