Summer Horseback Riding Vacation, Hidden Meadow Ranch, AZ

A horseback riding vacation at Hidden Meadow Ranch
A horseback riding vacation at Hidden Meadow Ranch

Hidden Meadow Ranch guest post by Vera Marie Badertscher

On our way to this Arizona horseback riding vacation,  we drive through some towns crowded with fast food joints and motels, then through smaller towns where the places to stay tend toward cabins instead of modern motels, then we turn off onto a Forest Service Road and leave the towns behind.  Now there are towering pines, green meadows, and a house here and there, some horses in a field, and maybe a deer or two. Quiet envelops us. The sky seems bigger, the greens more vibrant, the air smells fresh and piney.

You cannot arrive at Hidden Meadow Ranch for a horseback riding vacation all tensed up, because the drive through all that quiet, beautiful scenery in the White Mountains of Northern Arizona calms like a slow massage. As we drive through the gate we spy the horse barn and corrals. At the cabin that houses the office, we are greeted by our guide on horseback who will lead the car up a narrow road, past a half dozen peeled-log cabins to the one we will call our own for a short stay.

Luxury Cabins on your horseback riding vacation at Hidden Meadow Ranch
Luxury Cabins on your horseback riding vacation at Hidden Meadow Ranch

 Luxury cabins for your horseback riding vacation

When you see the inside of these cabins, it will be hard to believe that they were originally built for a summer camp for kids. Lots of money and three years of time went into spiffing them up into the luxury cabins they are today.  A loft, a tin water trough for a bathtub, luxurious bedding, and yummy snacks in the little kitchenette area all contribute to the homey atmosphere.  I really got a kick out of a little note with haiku left by the staff each day.

Trout Fishing on your horseback riding vacation
Trout Fishing on your horseback riding vacation

But what about the horseback riding vacation? Just peek through the trees behind our cabin for a view of some of the property’s 40 horses in a corral. We were there in the summer for a horseback riding vacation, so got to see the latest crop of colts cavorting. Trail rides here cover some dramatic trails that take horseback riders into Forest Service areas not reachable by road and difficult for hikers. As the enormous thunderheads build up in the wide blue sky each afternoon, the horseback riders head home to their cabin for rest from their horseback riding vacation. In the afternoon, there is fishing in the trout-stocked pond or classes in roping on horseback, horseshoeing and working cattle.

 Kid-Friendly Horseback Riding Vacation

Hidden Meadow provides a great horseback riding vacation for the sprouts, too.  Children have their own rides, tailored to their experience, and oh boy, do they love to rope that roping dummy. Everybody enjoys spotting deer traipsing across the property or the moose that wanders between cabins at dawn every day.

When the dinner bell rings, you may have an outdoor cowboy cookout around the fire with traditional biscuits, apple pan dowdy and barbequed beef, or you may have an elegant meal in the lodge with dishes like elk in anchiote marinade and truffle gelato.  The wine list here is the best in northern Arizona, too. Perhaps you’ll want to plan your next Hidden Meadow Ranch horseback riding vacation in the winter? The luxury continues year round for this Arizona horseback riding vacation.

If you go:

Hidden Meadow Ranch

Greer, AZ

(866) 333-4080 (toll free)

Vera Marie Badertscher is an Arizona free lance writer. She writes about books and travel at A Traveler’s Library

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