Robson's Guest Ranch is located at Mile Marker 90 on Rural Route 1 near Wickenburg. For more information, visit www.robsonsminingworld.com.
© Brendan Moore
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What's Mine Is YoursEverything you ever wanted to know about mining is yours to explore at Robson's Guest Ranch near Wickenburg. There are horses, too, but this isn't your typical dude ranch.
By Jacki Mieler
Wickenburg There are entire museums dedicated to Arizona's mining history, and then there's Robson's Guest Ranch. It's part antique treasure trove and part dude ranch, but all of Robson's is a tribute to the industry that helped build the state.
Nestled in the hills of the Sonoran Desert 20 miles west of Wickenburg, Robson's occupies a former mining camp that shut down at the start of World War II. The Robson family purchased it in 1979, complete with all of the original mining equipment. They re-created the camp, adding their own impressive collection of antiques, gathered from travels around the world. Fifty years after the mining operations ceased, Robson's Mining World opened to the public for tours in 1992.
The 26-room lodge offers basic, comfortable rooms free from modern distractions like telephones and televisions. An upgrade to one of four suites rewards guests with private balconies that feature unobstructed views of the cholla "teddy bear" cactuses that dominate the desert landscape. For guests with technology withdrawals, there is a common room stocked with games, movies and a pool table.
Even those who believe they're averse to the lure of antiques will be engaged by the self-guided tour of the artifact-filled buildings. Most items are out and begging to be touched, making Robson's more like grandma's house than a stuffy museum. Highlights include the original miners' cabins and a mercantile filled with midcentury clothes, shoes, food and other everyday items.
Hitting the trail on horseback seems the most natural way to explore the scenic hills surrounding Robson's. Guided tours on friendly horses meander past desert flora, which blooms in all its glory in the spring. Swiss military Pinzgauer vehicles take guests on off-road adventures, offering glimpses of the mine shafts in the hills and an opportunity for visitors to try their hands at skeet-shooting. Those who prefer to remain on their own two feet have access to miles of trails starting right on property.
You can learn about Arizona's mining history in a museum, or you can put on your new cowboy boots and live the mining experience at Robson's.