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Arizona

Rancho de la Osa: Ranch Life on the Southern Border

Program No. 23771RJ
Experience life at the most historic ranch in Arizona. Enjoy tranquil trail rides near the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge, and learn grooming, ranch crafts and ancient history.
Length
6 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,699

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Feb 5 - Feb 10, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Sep 24 - Sep 29, 2023
Starting at
1,699
Oct 8 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
1,699
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Feb 5 - Feb 10, 2023
Starting at
2,169
Feb 19 - Feb 24, 2023
Starting at
2,169
Sep 24 - Sep 29, 2023
Starting at
2,169
Oct 8 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
2,169

At a Glance

Experience authentic ranch life, surrounded by the stunning landscapes of southern Arizona and the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge. Hop into the saddle of gentle horses to ramble along easy scenic trails where John Wayne and Pancho Villa once roamed. Learn skills from roping to caring for ranch animals, and study the rich history of the area. Get hands-on lessons riding horses, making tortillas and take part in a tequila tasting. Learn about Navajo Weaving and Native American Jewelry. Plus, choose an extra activity each day, from off-road UTV adventures to sport shooting. This ranch adventure that will give you a window into ranch life on the Southern border.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Riding horses and UTVs, getting on and off horses, walking up to a mile daily on unpaved desert terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Take a field trip to the U.S.-Mexico border to discuss its historical significance its role in current events.
  • Explore the Presumido Ghost Town Ruins and Petroglyphs, and learn about the area’s 19th-century and ancient history.
  • Enjoy a variety of hands-on classes at the Ranch, from trail riding and roping to art classes, tortilla making and tequila tasting.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available. Select dates can be taken back-to-back with a sister program, “Ultimate Old West: The White Stallion Ranch Experience (#20193)”. Please check Dates and Prices of both programs for availability and then contact the Ranch directly to make arrangements.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Ute Vaughn
Ute Vaughan, originally hailing from Germany, is an artist and teacher who has studied art in Europe and the U.S. She is now based in Tucson, Arizona. Working primarily in watercolors and wall murals, her work is most often inspired by the colors, animals, and mysticism of the Southwest.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Ute Vaughn
Ute Vaughn View biography
Ute Vaughan, originally hailing from Germany, is an artist and teacher who has studied art in Europe and the U.S. She is now based in Tucson, Arizona. Working primarily in watercolors and wall murals, her work is most often inspired by the colors, animals, and mysticism of the Southwest.
Profile Image of Paul Bear
Being a native son of Arizona with family roots tracing back more than six generations, Paul Bear developed an early penchant for the history of the area. This led to a lifelong pursuit of knowledge about Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The passion evolved into a career of restoring and repurposing historic buildings. His newest project is a ranch steeped in legend and lore. After two years of research into source material he has the keys to separate the fiction from the fact.
Profile Image of Gail True
Gail True received her first passport when she was seven months old. She spent most of her career working in Human Resources for retail organizations and hospitals. Gail has lived in Arizona, Northern and Southern California, and in West Africa during her time in the Peace Corps. Her travels have taken her to more than 30 countries with plans to visit many more. She looks forward to getting to know her fellow Road Scholars, and to sharing the history and beauty of the true West.
Profile Image of Jerry Freund
Jerry Freund View biography
Jerry Freund was born on the plains of western Kansas. He has explored the natural world and the world of Native Americans for most of his life. His love of Navajo culture and their weavings has intrigued him for more than 60 years. Though retired, Jerry continues to work in an art gallery of Western art that specializes in Native American art.
Profile Image of Diego Dunn
Diego Dunn View biography
Diego Dunn has extensive knowledge about the desert and edible plants, studying under Charles W. Kane and Peter Bigfoot. He is the owner of Desert Gatherings, which sells native desert seeds and makes products such as prickly pear syrup, hot sauce, and cactus jelly. Diego now uses his knowledge to teach others about the edible Southwestern desert.
Profile Image of Doris Evans
Doris Evans View biography
Doris Evans taught elementary grades in Tucson Unified School District and in a small school for park employees in Big Bend National Park, Texas. She also held environmental education positions at TUSD and as Curator of Education at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. She has published several natural history books and her photographs have appeared in numerous publications including Arizona Highways. Doris is now retired and volunteers with the Tucson Audubon Society and Pima County Parks Natural Resources, Parks, and Recreation.
Profile Image of Janay Brun
Janay Brun View biography
Janay Brun is a former mountain lion and jaguar researcher. She spent 10 years roaming borderlands between Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, in search of the big cats’ sign. In the field, U.S. border security rhetoric became her forced reality as she encountered not only big cats, but also immigrants and law enforcement pursuers. Border wall construction forced jaguar conservation to the edge. She blew the whistle on her employer’s under-the-radar plan to capture the nation’s only known jaguar, known to the world as Macho B.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border
by Rachel C. St. John
Cowboys & the Trappings of the Old West
by William Manns, elizabeth Clair Flood & Charlotte Berney
Early Tucson (Images of America)
by Anne I. Woosley and Arizona Historical Society
Medicine in the Old West: A History, 1850-1900
by Jeremy Agnew
Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City
by C. L. Sonnichsen
Dude Ranching in Arizona (Images of America)
by Russell True
Levi's & Lace: Arizona Women who Made History
by Jan Cleere
True Tales and Amazing Legends of the Old West: From True West Magazine
by Editors of True West
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Ranch History
Sasabe, AZ
D
Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch

Activity note: Ranch check-in from 3:00 p.m. Walking several hundred feet over packed dirt terrain between housing and dining hall/meeting room. The ranch is in a dark sky area and has minimal outdoor lighting at night. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff, get any updated information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please locate your Group Leader and let them know you have arrived. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. For all meals, dietary restrictions and special diets (vegetarian and gluten free) will be accommodated with minimum three weeks advance notice. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Hacienda at the Ranch.

Evening: After dinner, we'll enjoy a presentation on the history of Rancho de la Osa with one of the ranch owners. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Horse & Ranch Demos, Border Visit, Tortillas & Tequila
Sasabe, AZ
B,L,D
Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch

Activity note: Walking one to two miles over the course of the day over varied terrain. Getting on/off horses (mounting blocks available) or in/out of UTVs; riding horses.

Breakfast: In the Hacienda.

Morning: We will begin the day with a horse safety class with ranch staff. This will help prepare us for an enjoyable and safe program experience. Next, we'll be treated to a class and demonstration on natural horsemanship, a fascinatingly effective technique for working with horses.

Lunch: In the Hacienda.

Afternoon: We will embark on a field trip to the nearby U.S. – Mexico border, either as a scenic introductory trail ride or as an off-road UTV trip. We'll learn about the historical significance of the border, as well as current issues in this rural section of the U.S. Southern border. Returning to the ranch, we'll participate in a hands-on tortilla making class with Ranch Staff.

Dinner: Cocktail hour in the Cantina followed by dinner in the Hacienda.

Evening: After dinner, we will enjoy a tequila tasting experience with a local expert. We will learn about the history and unique qualities of Mexcal, Tequila, Bacanora and Sotol, and will have a chance to sample each.

DAY
3
Ranch Activities, Art Class, Native American Jewelry
Sasabe, AZ
B,L,D
Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch

Activity note: Walking one to two miles over the course of the day over varied terrain. Getting on/off horses (mounting blocks available) or in/out of UTVs; riding horses. The extent of the ranch activity is dependent on participants’ choice. All material provided for art class.

Breakfast: In the Hacienda at the Ranch.

Morning: Each day we'll have the chance to choose from a variety of ranch activities that suit our interest. Activities this morning may include a horseback ride, an expert-led off-road UTV ride to the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge, or similar activities.

Lunch: In the Hacienda at the Ranch.

Afternoon: We'll choose between another hands-on class such as horse grooming or sport shooting, led by the expert ranch staff. Next, we’ll have a hands-on art class (materials provided) led by an expert instructor. Using watercolors and ink, we’ll create a little memento to take home with us.

Dinner: Cocktail hour in the Cantina followed by dinner in the Hacienda.

Evening: After dinner we'll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on Southwest Native American Jewelry.

DAY
4
Trail Ride Breakfast, Ranch Activities, Navajo Weaving
Sasabe, AZ
B,L,D
Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch

Activity note: Walking one to two miles over the course of the day over varied terrain. Getting on/off horses (mounting blocks available) or in/out of UTVs; riding horses. The extent of the ranch activity is dependent on participants’ choice.

Breakfast: We'll ride our horses out to a beautiful location for an "al fresco” cookout, weather permitting. (UTV transportation is available for those who don't wish to ride.)

Morning: We'll ride back to the ranch to participate in the activity of our choice. Activities this morning may include an expert-led off-road UTV ride to the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge, a class & walk on desert plants and herbs, or similar activities.

Lunch: In the Hacienda at the Ranch.

Afternoon: We'll choose an activity of our choice this afternoon, which may include a horseback ride or a trip to the nearby Presumido Ghost Town Ruins and Petroglyphs. The Presumido Ruins are located west of the ranch through a pass in the Pozo Verde Mountains. They are on state land leased by a neighboring ranch. The town of Presumido was built by Mexican laborers in 1888 at the request of a woman named Dona Leonora. The town operated as a trading post and was active until the Great Depression; a number of town buildings still stand. In a small canyon nearby, you can find Native American petroglyphs. The site is near the present-day Tohono O'Odham reservation.

Dinner: Cocktail hour in the Cantina followed by dinner in the Hacienda.

Evening: After dinner we'll be joined by a local expert for a presentation about Navajo Weaving.

DAY
5
Poker Horseback Ride, Roping & Grooming, Jaguar Conservation
Sasabe, AZ
B,L,D
Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch

Activity note: Walking one to two miles over the course of the day over varied terrain. Getting on/off horses (mounting blocks available) or in/out of UTVs; riding horses. The extent of the ranch activity is dependent on participants’ choice.

Breakfast: In the Hacienda at the Ranch.

Morning: We'll start the day with a special scenic trail ride and activity – a poker horseback ride where we will draw a card at a series of checkpoints. Our hands will be revealed this evening. (If you do not wish to ride, we’ll have extra cards to draw from prior to the evening poker event.) Or, you may choose to take a trip to the nearby Presumido Ghost Town Ruins and Petroglyphs.

Lunch: In the Hacienda at the Ranch.

Afternoon: After lunch we'll try our hand at roping or sport shooting in an interactive class. Then, we hear from a local expert and teacher about desert life and what makes the vast area around the Ranch so special.

Dinner: Cocktail hour in the Cantina; we will reveal our poker hands from this morning's ride. We will share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner in the Hacienda.

Evening: We'll hear from a local expert about jaguar conservation the story of Macho B, the last known wild jaguar in the United States. In 2009, Macho B was caught in a snare in southern Arizona and later euthanized at the Phoenix Zoo. The capture has been the subject of controversy and investigation. With our expert presenter we will learn more about the case and gain insight into these beautiful and rare big cats. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Sasabe, AZ
B

Activity note: Ranch check-out by 11:00 a.m. Airport shuttles depart for Tucson; check with your Group Leader for details.

Breakfast: In the Hacienda at the Ranch. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don't forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.