My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Winter Adventure at Hidden Meadow Ranch

2010/02/04by Donna Hull

Updated 01.01.2013

arizona-greer-hidden-meadow-ranch-snow

Fulfilling a boomer travel dream: horseback riding in the snow

Are you one of those active boomers who craves winter adventure? You know — the kind that includes snow. How about horses? You’ll find both, and more, at Hidden Meadow Ranch near Greer, Arizona.

When Alan and I visited Hidden Meadow Ranch, we discovered an off-the-beaten-path winter wonderland. The best part? The Rancher’s Package came wrapped in a luxury log cabin that included fine dining plus all the winter activities our baby boomer bodies could handle.

The adventure began when we traveled down a 6-mile forest road after one of Arizona’s largest snowstorms had dumped 8′ of the white stuff on this area of the White Mountains. Although the snow had melted down to only 3 or 4′, and the road had been plowed, we were happy to be driving a 4-wheel-drive vehicle.

Arriving at the ranch gate, Alan punched the call button on the intercom. Evan, our concierge for the weekend, directed us to meet him at the Welcome Cabin, then the gate swung open to three days of winter adventure.

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Sit by the fire in the Ranch House

Our accommodations included a one-bedroom cabin, with loft. In the living room, a fire had already been laid out in the wood-burning fireplace. Near the dining area, a mini-refrigerator was stocked with soft drinks and water. On the counter-top, jars of trail mix and chocolate malt balls provided snacking choices. By the way, those chocolate malt balls were the best I’ve ever tasted.

We ate our meals at the elegantly rustic Ranch House, a short walk down the road. The sofas that flanked the fireplace proved to be the perfect place for relaxing with a mug of hot chocolate after a morning trail ride or for talking over the day’s events with a glass of wine before dinner. The lodge’s 35′ ceiling soared overhead as we dined on multi-course dinners that rivaled any in the big city.

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Riding horses in the snow

While we appreciated the luxury lodging and fine dining, Alan and I were at Hidden Meadow Ranch for the winter activities. Horseback riding came first as I fulfilled my dream of riding in the snow. We started with an orientation in the riding arena. Once our instructor, Rachel, was satisfied that we were comfortable with Apache and Pecos, she led us on a ride through the property. Normally horseback rides traverse the many trails of the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest that surrounds the ranch. Unfortunately, the deep snow made off-site rides too dangerous during our visit.

arizona-greer-snowshoeing-white-mountains

Boomer adventure on snowshoes

One morning, Allen, a ranch naturalist, led us on a snowshoe hike. We followed him through the snowy woods as he set the pace. Walk—stop to rest—listen to Allen’s wildlife tales—walk some more—take photos—stop to examine animal tracks. Before we knew it, the almost two-hour hike had ended.

What other winter activities are available at Hidden Meadow Ranch? Go sledding, ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, practice target shooting with a BB gun or stay warm inside while learning leather crafting or woodworking. Skiers and snowboarders can purchase Sunrise Ski Resort lift tickets at the Welcome Cabin. The ranch provides transportation to and from the slopes plus a packed lunch.

Of course, I’ve only told you about the winter adventure at Hidden Meadow Ranch. Once the snow melts, try hiking, fly fishing, canoeing, archery or mountain biking.

Have you visited Hidden Meadow Ranch? Post a comment to share your experience. The next time Alan and I need a little winter adventure, you’ll know where to find us.

Hidden Meadow Ranch provided this travel experience.


A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer February 5, 2010 at 1:17 am

This sounds like a fantastic experience – I’ve really got to try to appreciate cold weather activities more. Great read!

Reply

NancydBrown
Twitter:
February 5, 2010 at 2:26 am

Very cool, Donna! I want to go horseback riding in the snow. I've ridden at the Kay El Bar Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. The Hidden Meadow Ranch looks like a part of Arizona that I need to check out.

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
February 5, 2010 at 3:30 am

Glad you enjoyed the post, Jennifer. Once we were bundled up and active, we didn't really notice the cold. And, with the strong AZ sunshine, it warms up quickly. We were much colder during our balloon ride in Bluff, UT. Besides, getting cold means warming up by that dreamy fire in the Ranch House.

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
February 5, 2010 at 3:32 am

Nancy, you would love Hidden Meadow Ranch. And the White Mountains are very different from the part of Arizona that you probably know. Here's a tip. You can board horses at HIdden Meadow Ranch. But that's all I'm saying until I write my guest post for WritingHorseback.com.

Reply

pen4hire February 5, 2010 at 4:35 am

As you know, I went to Hidden Meadow Ranch when the weather was nice and warm. Much more to my liking than riding–or walking– in the snow. Besides, we had the added benefit of very new colts frisking in the corral not far from our cabin–we could swing on the porch swing and watch them cavort. And in the morning an elk came strolling between the cabins.

Reply

ottsworld
Twitter:
February 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I LOVE snow shoeing! Such a great way to get exercise in the winter. The photos look beautiful , I wanna go!

Reply

Beth Blair
Twitter:
February 5, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Wow! That doesn't look anything like when we were there this summer. Wasn't the food divine? And the cabins are so cozy. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Reply

kerrydexter
Twitter:
February 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

the naturalist hike sounds perfect for me. I've done that sort of thing, on my own and guided, in other snowy places. always fun. glad to hear about Hidden Meadow ranch

Reply

Senafp January 2, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I have never been to Arizona. This will be put on my itinerary list of places to see!

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
January 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Arizona is filled with wonderful sites to see. It’s a big state so
plan to allocate enough time for a proper visit.

Reply

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