In 1880, the Trappman family founded a cattle ranch a few miles northwest of Tombstone. Today, that location is the site of Tombstone Monument Ranch, and while the Trappmans are long gone, the spirit of the Old West is still there. “We have guests who’ve never seen a campfire before,” says Michelle DeSplinter, the ranch’s manager. “It’s about giving people the experience of things we took for granted growing up out here.”
The property’s new life as a dude ranch began in 2009, when a German investment group built 17 guest rooms in the style of an Old West town. Each room has either a king bed, two queen beds or one of each size, and each is
individually themed and decorated. All rooms have private baths, and the ones on the east side have back patios with panoramic views of the distant Dragoon Mountains. Just down the road, and visible from the ranch, is the stone
monument at the final resting place of Ed Schieffelin, the prospector whose 1877 silver strike spurred Tombstone’s boom.
The original investors left in 2014, and the landowners ran the property for a short time before Russell True, best known as the owner of the Tucson area’s White Stallion Ranch, took over the operation. “We haven’t looked back since,” DeSplinter says. A roof on what once was an outdoor dining area now allows the property to host larger groups and events, and the main dining room now has a large picture window to show off the view of the Dragoons.
The ranch offers packages intended to fit everyone’s vacation needs. Some guests simply want a room and breakfast, usually buffet style, every morning. Others spring for the full dude ranch experience: three meals a day — including a three-course dinner that might feature steak, ribs or fajitas — plus horseback riding, archery and other ranch activities. That package also comes with evening entertainment and even a shuttle to Tombstone for more diversions.
Those seeking an authentic ranching experience are covered, too. The “Cowboy Experience” gives guests a chance to participate in day-to-day activities at the property, which now is a working cattle ranch again. From checking cattle and wells to repairing fences on the property’s 15 square miles, there’s usually plenty to do. (When there isn’t, you can take a dip in the pool, which is open
seasonally, or the hot tub, which is available year-round.)
DeSplinter says spring and fall are the ranch’s busy seasons, but even in summer, the area is 12 to 15 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Whenever people visit — and recent guests have come from as far away as Ecuador and Denmark — they get an experience that’s new for most of them, but still deeply familiar. “We want them to feel like they’re home,” DeSplinter says. “We’re small enough that we know their names if they stay for a few days.”
Tombstone Monument Ranch
Near Tombstone, AZ