Hidden Gem in Arizona: Rincon Creek Ranch
Where to Stay in Southern Arizona?
Bunny recently had a chance to plan a three-night break in Southern Arizona. She was looking for a nice combination of relaxation and hiking, with some sightseeing thrown into the mix. As usual, Bunny wanted to stay in a quiet place in an excellent location with a touch of luxury.
She stumbled across Rincon Creek Ranch on TripAdvisor and was amazed that she had not seen it mentioned anywhere else. The place looked perfect!
Bunny ended up reserving all three nights at Rincon Creek Ranch and looked forward to her mini-break in this corner of Southern Arizona.
Rincon Creek Ranch
How to Get There
Rincon Creek Ranch is located in the Rincon Valley, about 30 minutes southeast of Tucson. Originally a working cattle ranch, Rincon Creek Ranch has now been transformed into a luxurious guest ranch. It covers 78 acres and borders the magnificent Saguaro National Park.
Access to Rincon Creek Ranch is via a well-maintained dirt road with a creek crossing. Bunny visited just days after an exceptional snow storm in Arizona, so the river was running very high. A private, single lane vehicle bridge is available for such occurrences. (Don’t worry, one of the owners of Rincon Creek Ranch was a professional bridge engineer in his previous life).
Bunny was directed to take this alternate route. It was a bit of extra hassle but it ensured that Bunny could visit the ranch even without a high clearance vehicle. Luckily, the driving instructions Bunny received from the ranch were spot on and easy to follow. Bunny is known to appreciate precise and clear instructions, regardless of the subject.
The Bunnies arrived at Rincon Creek Ranch around lunch time and were able to check in early. That was a great perk.
The ranch owners, Bill and Gretchen, greeted the Bunnies at their private residence which also functions as the ranch’s reception area. They were very friendly and helpful in welcoming the Bunnies, showing them around and explaining the workings of the ranch.
It was clear from the start that this was going to be a very special place to stay - particularly, as luck would have it, that the Bunnies were to be the only guests almost through their whole stay!
There are seven “small houses”, casitas, at Rincon Creek Ranch. Four casitas have one bedroom and three casitas have two bedrooms. Each casita is spacious and has its own private porch with charming rocking chairs and great views.
Gretchen has decorated each casita individually and they are all beautiful. Based on pictures online, Bunny chose the one-bedroom Sonoran Vineyard casita for her stay.
It truly was a fully equipped “home away from home”, as advertised on the ranch’s website. The kitchen was extremely well equipped and the casita also had a washing machine and a tumble dryer.
The very spacious bathroom had his and her sinks, a walk-in shower and a lovely champagne bubble bath. The bedroom had a very comfortable bed with luxurious bedding and plenty of storage space.
What’s best, all the furnishings were topnotch and every single detail had been thought of. There were candles around the bathtub (with a lighter at hand), high-quality toiletries and luxurious bath salts to choose from. Bunny particularly loved the plush bathrobes.
The fireplace was a lovely addition to the casita. It had an “easy light” fire log which burned beautifully on the first night. The following two nights, the Bunnies tried to use firewood from the handy supply left on their porch (more easy logs would also have been available), but without much success. In the end, the Bunnies concluded they would soon perish if there ever was a global emergency requiring some practical survival skills.
There were also some other curious details in the casita, such as a skylight brightening the kitchen area and Dutch doors (dividing into a top and bottom halves) leading out to the private porch. A bird feeder had been placed just outside the casita’s big main window, which attracted a constant parade of cardinals and other colourful birds. A pair of binoculars provided for the stay helped observe birds and scenery further afield from the comfort of the cozy casita.
Breakfast is not included as part of a stay at Rincon Creek Ranch. As the nearest restaurants are more than a short drive away, you are better off catering for yourself. Luckily, Rincon Creek Ranch is a perfect place for that.
Not only is the kitchen stylish and fully equipped, but also very functional. You have all the necessary appliances, equipment, cookware, dishes and cutlery at your disposal. There is a fridge, freezer, blender, coffee maker, toaster, dish washer, filtered drinking water, complimentary popcorn & other snacks, honesty wine bar… On arrival, you may also find a basket of fresh eggs in the fridge, provided the chickens at the ranch have been “cooperating”.
The Bunnies arrived with bags and bags of food they had stocked up on in advance of checking in and enjoyed lovely home-made meals during their stay. They lacked for nothing in the casita’s kitchen.
Guests at Rincon Creek Ranch have use of the Luella-Boomer Hall, a multi-purpose building, which has a pool table (which almost led to a divorce in the Bunny family), shuffleboard table, board games, books and DVDs, a desktop computer, and batches of complimentary home-made cookies. The multi-purpose hall also has bathrooms, two vending machines with various soda pop and snacks on offer as well as a trove of tourist brochures. Pleasant background music is always playing and the hall is open to guests 24-hour a day.
Most importantly for the Bunnies, the multi-purpose building had reliable Wi-Fi. The casitas at Rincon Creek Ranch have no internet connection or TV reception but Bunny actually preferred it that way. It contributed to the special tranquil feeling of the place, not to mention added romance.
Saguaro National Park
At Rincon Creek Ranch, you are literally just steps away from the Saguaro National Park trail system. Bunny had wanted to hike in the park and it couldn’t have been easier from the ranch. There is a well-marked trail taking you straight to Saguaro National Park. As an added bonus, there is no need to pay the park entrance fee as you enter directly from Rincon Creek Ranch, Mr. Bunny, the penny pincher, notes.
The Bunnies enjoyed a wonderful 2,5-hour hike in the Saguaro National Park, taking in the great scenery, solitude and silence. There were very handy maps inside the casita to borrow so there was no danger of getting lost on the trail. The Bunnies were practically the only ones on the beautiful trail that day and it was a marvellous feeling.
Mr. Bunny even spotted an owl, napping inside a small cave, and there were signs of other wildlife as well. The cacti were wonderful and ubiquitous, in all different varieties. Bunny had never seen so many cacti in her life, although her road trip in Northern Argentina comes close. Just be careful when you approach the cacti as Bunny somehow managed to get various thorny things stuck to her fur on more than one occasion. And don’t underestimate the power of the sun even if it seems chilly when you head out: brings lots of water, apply sun protection and wear a hat!
Rincon Creek Ranch has a wonderfully remote location but it is still very close to a number of attractions in the area.
As Bunny had plans to tour the region a bit more later in the year, she mostly wanted to cocoon at the ranch during her 3-night stay. However, she concluded that she just had to visit the Pima Air & Space Museum, which is a mere 30-minute drive from the ranch and one of the world's largest aerospace museums.
Bunny, who hates flying but loves planes, happily hopped around the museum for hours, exploring planes both inside the hangars and outside on the air fields. The museum has over 350 aircraft, including World War II planes, supersonic spy planes, the world's smallest bi-plane, a former Air Force One jet, plus many other unique private, military and commercial air and even spacecraft. It is a fascinating place well worth your time in Southern Arizona.
If you are the active type (Bunny wasn’t), the region near Rincon Creek Ranch also has horseback riding, mountain biking, golf and all sorts of other attractions. You can even go wine-tasting or visit vineyards in close-by Sonoita. The Colossal Cave Mountain Park, a mere 15-minute drive from the ranch, is apparently also worth a visit. Maybe next time.
In Bunny’s opinion, Rincon Creek Ranch is the place to stay in Southern Arizona if you are looking for luxurious, serene accommodation in a gorgeous natural setting.
You will stay in a lovely, well-equipped casita, have beautiful views in all directions, enjoy plenty of hiking opportunities at your doorstep and tolerate very few, if any, other people. That is a perfect holiday combination, Bunny says.