Historic Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch Re-Opens Feb 1st

December 23, 2016

Several years ago, we had the opportunity to visit Rancho de la Osa and film there for Equitrekking, our Emmy-winning series on PBS and networks around the world. This three hundred year old, hacienda style ranch in the high Sonoran desert has a rich history and beautiful architecture. Located on the border of Mexico in Sasabe, Arizona, we enjoyed desert landscapes, but also riding high to see the rolling mountains of nearby Mexico.

Darley Newman Rancho de la Osa Equitrekking Arizona

Ron Schaefer, head wrangler at the ranch on our visit, lead us out to explore the desert and to a high peak, where you could see nearby Mexico.

The surrounding area was settled by Spanish Jesuit priests in the late 1600’s, who set up an outpost to trade with the Mexicans and Native Americans in the area. In 1812, the King of Spain granted the land to a Mexican family. The area where Rancho del la Osa stands did not became part of the U.S. until the 1850’s. In 1925 Rancho de la Osa was opened as a guest ranch and ran as one until 2014. 

Rancho de la Osa Equitrekking horseback riding Arizona

Between the ears view on the horse I rode, lovely Chewy!

dude ranch cactus horseback sonoroan Darley Newman Rancho de la Osa Equitrekking Arizona

Just one of the desert plants, saguaro cactus, you might spot riding here.

As we love the legacy and heritage that dude ranches foster in the USA, we were so happy to learn that Rancho de la Osa, which closed two years ago, is reopening February 1st. Two dude ranch owner operators are partnering to save the storied property, which dates from the 1700s. The new owners plan to reopen the ranch resort and welcome guests on February 1st.

Robert Bucksbaum, who owns the Majestic Dude Ranch outside of Durango, Colorado, and Russell True, who grew up at and is now co-owner of the White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona teamed up to reopen the ranch.

Rancho de la Osa Equitrekking Arizona interior

This ranch has some of the coolest Southwestern inspired decor.

The 240-acre property with 10 buildings had been owned and operated for the past 20 years by Veronica and Richard Schultz, who fully restored and upgraded the ranch. The ranch rests on vast open land that abuts the 117,000-acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge.

Rancho de la Osa Equitrekking Arizona dude ranches

La Osa is located roughly 70 miles southwest of Tucson just outside of Sasabe, a community of some 2,500 residents that straddles the Arizona/Mexico border.

La Osa has ties to Father Kino, the King of Spain, Pancho Villa, Hollywood stars and U.S. Presidents. The original adobe structure is believed to be the oldest continually used building in Arizona and was constructed by Jesuit missionaries to serve as a trading post for local tribes and a resting place for traveling missionaries. For much of the next century it was a large cattle ranch. The main hacienda still in use today was built in 1889 with adobe bricks made onsite. In 1916 Pancho Villa attempted to capture the ranch during the Mexican Revolution. A cannonball from the attack was removed from the adobe and is now on display. 

Rancho de la Osa Equitrekking Arizona dude ranch design

Mexican antiques remind travelers of the special history of this magnificent Spanish influenced ranch.

Bucksbaum and True plan to continue to showcase the ranch history and retain its traditional emphasis on fine cuisine, wines and tequila. They’ll bring back the horses and cattle. They also have ambitious plans to add more adventure to the guest experience – providing opportunities for rock climbing, fat-tire and electric bikes, hiking, stargazing, archery and shooting, birding, croquet, even human foosball, which Bucksbaum says is popular at ranches in Colorado.

Darley Newman Rancho de la Osa Equitrekking Arizona

When you have a cool cowboy to lead you riding, the trail ride is truly the best! With Ron Schaefer.

We're excited to see what's in store for this ranch!

Learn more about White Stallion Ranch and the True Family, including in our online guidebook to great ranches and Top20Ranches.

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Topics: Arizona, Arizona Dude Ranch, Arizona Ranch Vacations, Dude Ranches, Rancho del la Osa, Russell True, White Stallion Ranch