By Alison Stanton
Sweeping views of the majestic Bulldog Cliffs. Rustic and comfortable cabins surrounded by awe-inspiring scenery. Horseback riding, kayaking, hiking and plenty of other outdoor activities.
These are just a few of the many things that bring people to Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch—in many cases, repeatedly.
Manager John Bevil has been with Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch for about 20 years. He said the location offers something for everyone—from guests who are looking for a relaxing bed and breakfast experience away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, to businesses that reserve the guest ranch for a corporate retreat.
“Depending on the time of the year we offer at least breakfast to our guests. It’s a full, traditional and heavy ranch breakfast,” Bevil said.
During peak season from October to May, they often offer lunch and dinner, too.
“We also hold a lot of weddings here, and we are now considered a destination wedding venue.”
People who want to kick back and read a book while admiring the surrounding scenery will enjoy their time at the ranch, Bevil said, as will those who want to kayak, go horseback riding, swim in the heated pool or go for a hike.
“We are 45 minutes from the airport and really so close to the Phoenix metropolitan area, but with our amazing cliffs and scenery you would think we were much farther away,” Bevil said.
The ranch opened in 1930, Bevil said. Originally the site of a work camp that was built to help with the construction of Stewart Mountain Dam, it was then converted to Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch by a couple from Kansas.
During the two decades he has worked at the guest ranch, Bevil said he has enjoyed meeting a wide variety of people from all over the world.
“We have guests who have been returning here for 50 years,” he said.
“We also have a lot of European travelers who have been returning guests, including people from Sweden and Germany. And just recently we had a group of kayakers from China stay with us.”
In 2012, when Arizona was celebrating its centennial, Bevil said the L.A. Times listed Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch as on the 100 must-see features in the state.
The article inspired some people, who had not been to the guest ranch in years, to return for another visit.
In one case, a 56-year-old man came to the ranch and told Bevil he had first visited 50 years earlier.
Bevil, who described his work at the guest ranch as “a labor of love,” said the long days he puts in there are well worth it.
“I have never worked harder—on most days it is from sunup to sundown and then some. But when I’m mowing the lawn or doing something else I’ll just pause and look up and think ‘what a great place this is to be,’” he said.
“There is only one Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch. It’s definitely one of a kind, and it’s a beautiful way to show off the Southwest.”
Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch is located at 13020 Bush Hwy., Mesa. For more information, call 480-984-2194 or visit saguarolakeranch.com.