Rancho de la Osa: Ranch Life on the Southern Border

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

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 making leather crafts and tortillas, and take part in a tequila tasting. Plus, choose an extra activity each day, from off-road UTV adventures to fat tire electric bike rides. 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, 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 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Take a field trip to the U.S.-Mexico border to discuss the border’s historical significance and the role it’s playing in current events.
  • Explore the Presumido Ghost Town Ruins and Petroglyphs to learn about the area’s 19th-century and prehistoric past.
  • Meet world-champion mule packer, Ross Knox, as he demonstrates his craft and regales you with stories of packing mules in the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Ross Knox
Ross Knox was born and raised on a small cow outfit in central Oregon. He left home when he was 16 and headed for Nevada to work on the big outfits. He was “cowboyed” all over the western states and packed mules in the Grand Canyon for over 16 years. Ross is a nationally known cowboy poet. He brings his knowledge of horses, cattle and the western lifestyle into everything he does at Rancho de la Osa.

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

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Paul Bear
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Lynne Knox
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Ross Knox
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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.
Early Tucson (Images of America)
by Anne I. Woosley and Arizona Historical Society
True Tales and Amazing Legends of the Old West: From True West Magazine
by Editors of True West
Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City
by C. L. Sonnichsen
Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border
by Rachel C. St. John
Medicine in the Old West: A History, 1850-1900
by Jeremy Agnew
Cowboys & the Trappings of the Old West
by William Manns, elizabeth Clair Flood & Charlotte Berney
Dude Ranching in Arizona (Images of America)
by Russell True
Levi's & Lace: Arizona Women who Made History
by Jan Cleere

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