A Horseback Riding Vacation at Kay El Bar Ranch, Wickenburg, Arizona

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A Horseback Riding Vacation at Kay El Bar Ranch, Wickenburg, Arizona

Wrangler Joe Ferguson leading an Arizona horseback riding vacation

Wrangler Joe Ferguson leading an Arizona horseback riding vacation

KAY EL BAR UPDATE: Due to the economic climate, the ranch has closed. Please check website for re-opening updates.

Forget skiing and snowboarding in the winter. My vote is for a horseback riding vacation in Wickenburg, Arizona. We’d had snow on Mt. Diablo where I live in Northern California and that’s rare. Like the snow birds that flock to the desert every winter, I grabbed a riding partner for a girlfriend getaway weekend and headed to Arizona. For those looking for easy access to outstanding horseback riding, the Kay El Bar Guest Ranch is located and hour and 15 minutes from the Phoenix airport.

Wild West at its Best

“If you liked yesterday’s ride, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” laughed Dee the head wranger at the Kay El Bar Ranch. He turned his head away from us with a grin and settled into the saddle, the subtle que for Snickers, the lead horse, to motor into action.

A Whole Lot of Motion Going On

Have you ever been trail riding in the Sonoran desert on a Tennessee Walking Horse? It is a kick in the pants. Let’s just say there’s a whole lot of motion going on with those walkers. This was my first horseback riding vacation at a dude ranch and I’ll say it up front; I’m hooked. This weekend was some of the best horseback riding that I’ve experienced. The terrain was incredible with giant Saguaro cactus (pronounced sa war o) prickly pear, barrel and Jumping Cholla cactus.



The Kay El Bar Ranch can accommodate all types of riders and riding levels. We were fortunate to have a woman  from England join us on some trail rides. If you are considering a solo horseback riding vacation, I’ll be addressing that topic in a future post.

Cowboy hospitality on your horseback riding vacation

Cowboy hospitality on your horseback riding vacation


Cowboy Hospitality

My riding companion wanted to know if the ranch served alcohol. This is a valid  question to ask after a hard day of riding alongside cowboys at the Kay El Bar Ranch. Yes, Trisha. The Kay El Bar does, indeed, have a liquor license. They also have a top notch chef in the kitchen. You will not be disappointed with the quality of the food on your horseback riding vacation at the ranch.

The Kay El Bar Ranch can be found on Twitter and you can become a fan on Facebook. The ranch is a member of the Dude Ranchers’ Assocation and the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to the Kay El Bar Ranch for hosting my visit.

Kay El Bar Guest Ranch (800) 684-7583 or (928) 684-7593

Wickenburg, AZ 85358

Related Post:

Rancho de los Caballeros, Wickenburg, AZ

Photos, YouTube video and article by Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip.  I was a guest of Kay El Bar Ranch.

2017-06-27T11:45:30+00:00 January 15th, 2010|Equestrian Lodging, Horse Ranches & Equestrian Centers|


  1. Trisha Miller January 15, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Okay, I admit it – I’m a beerholic! And they did have a nice selection cold beers in the fridge….I really enjoyed every moment at the Kay El Bar, especially the horseback riding. And the deserts. Don’t get me wrong, all the food was great, but I DO love a good desert and their bread pudding was to-die-for good!

    DO be sure to call me next time you want to go back to the Kay El Bar – you can definitely count me in!

  2. Travelogged January 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    I’ve never been horseback riding (OK, one when I was 3), but it always looks so fun. Are these vacations pretty safe, as far as the riding goes?

  3. Nancy D. Brown January 17, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    As with any adventure vacation, there is risk involved. Add live animals to the mix and there is always a possibility of danger. Having said that, horseback riders can reduce their risk of possible injury by 1) wearing a helmet and 2) listening to the directions of your horseback riding guide.

    Have fun! You will love it!

  4. Tim Brown August 1, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Great Article. I have ridden at Kay El Bar several times and they do a great job. Great staff. The city of Wickenburg is one of the most underated places in my opinion.

  5. Ross O'Day December 4, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Hey there, I’m Ross O’Day from Wyoming. I’m looking for a Tim Brown that use to work with me at Paradise Guest Ranch in Buffall,Wy. He was our baker and I was the handy man. Had a good friendship and was trying to locate him before Christmas and thought maybe we could catch up on life. I thought he went down there in2008 but not sure. If you could help me out, that would be great.And if your ever look’n for a top notch maintenance man you can also keep me in touch.
    Thanks again,
    Ross O’Day

  6. Nancy D. Brown December 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Lots of folks out there with the last name of Brown. Good luck finding Tim. Happy Holidays to you.

  7. steve citron January 28, 2011 at 8:58 am

    My wife and I are looking for a place we can bring our two horses. We would like to find a place with corrals, water, and a place to park the Living Quarters type horse trailer near our horses.

    We are experienced campers, but have trouble finding a place with both a corral, and place to camp and ride. We have exhausted the trails in So. Calif, like Anza Borrego, Montana De Oro, Los Robles, Orange County, and the southern Sierras.

    We are thinking of also retiring in Az, so would love to check out the areas. Both of us have loved the Flagstaff area, and Sedona, but both are also VERY pricey for enough land to have large animals like our horses. I also would like some trails close by to ride that are a bit different.

    Utah is also on our agenda for exploration, but as you know, it is also becoming very expensive.

    “Slick Rock Steve”

  8. Nancy D. Brown January 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

    I’m a travel writer, based in northern California. Best for you to contact the Wickenburg, Arizona Chamber of Commerce. Good luck.

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