An eMagazine about wheelchair-accessible events, sports & locations in Arizona

Hidden Meadow Ranch


[July 2012 – Note: This month my family stayed at Hidden Meadow’s new 4 bedroom accessible cabin called Eagle’s Nest. The cabin is immaculate. It is very luxurious. I’ll only add that the wheelchair access is limited. The master bedroom is on the ground floor and is easy to roll around, however there’s no ramp down to the patio deck (nor at the main deck), so I had to improvise to get outside. The bed is the main problem. It’s way too high for a transfer. We removed the box springs and everything was a perfect height, but I’d expect better for the price. No access to the two bedrooms on 2nd floor but that’s no a big deal to us. The master bathroom is very accessible with a roll-in shower made from lava rock. Finally take note that the ever-so appealing outdoor hot tub is down to short flights of steps and completely inaccessible. The cabin is a great family cabin but read on for more details about all access.]

There just isn’t a lot of wheelchair accessible cabins to stay at in northern Arizona. So when I found Hidden Meadow Ranch had an accessible room, it became a priority to visit. Having enjoyed two great nights, I can say that this is not your everyday average cabin or dude ranch. The best way to describe it is to imagine if John Wayne and Donald Trump were to collaborate on a resort. That’s about what you have at Hidden Meadow Ranch.

On arrival, we were escorted to the cabin by a cowboy atop a horse, wearing a well-worn cowboy hat, full-length duster and spurs. He helped with the luggage and explained how the cabin functioned. Cowboy bellhops certainly gets you into the mood and swing of things.

{note: if you click on the photos above, I’ve added some descriptions}

Hidden Meadow Ranch consists of 12 cabins, an amazing restaurant, and a working ranch all surrounded by the Apache-Sitgraves National Forest in Northeastern Arizona, in between the interesting towns of Greer and Pinetop. The ranch is over 150 acres and has 2 trout ponds, numerous riding stalls, an arena and barn. Conde Nash recently voted Hidden Meadow Ranch it’s top ranch style destination for 2009. Best of all, the accessible cabin is really accessible and really nice.

From the moment you arrive it is apparent that this very secluded ranch has been designed by people who understand luxurious accommodations. Perhaps even more telling is in the way management and staff conduct themselves. Everyone is constantly catering to your enjoyment and yet still maintaining a ranch-style casual atmosphere.

History – The land was originally homesteaded in the early 1900’s. Two families owned the ranch up until recently when the current owners, who have hospitality backgrounds acquired the property and began the dramatic transition to what the ranch is today. We enjoyed a sunny lunch on the balcony with a family who had flown from London to Phoenix, and then driven direct the 4-hours to the ranch. Part of their 3-stops, the couple wanted their daughter to experience a real western ranch. No English saddles here for sure.

Accessibility – Let me preface my comments on accessibility by saying that this isn’t a flat resort with concrete paths everywhere. We’re at 8,500’ elevation and the mountains are steep and rugged in every direction. This is snow country and the ranch is not 100% accessible but a lot of thought, and planning and expense has gone into making the ranch as accessible as possible. Paths lead you from your cabin to the common areas. None are too steep or too narrow but they used crushed rock as a surface for the paths and roads which isn’t really compatible for wheelchairs with smaller casters. On this trip I brought a power chair and thankfully was able to go everywhere. An agile para could get about, but a scooter or power chair is going to make getting about the ranch much more enjoyable. As an amateur photographer I ‘saddled up’ the ‘ol Quickie and roamed about the entire ranch taking photos of the scenery and animals.

Strawberry Fields Cabin – The ranch offers the Strawberry Fields cabin to us needing accessible accommodations. The 2-bedroom log cabin is very quaint and very well furnished. The décor is rustic southwestern with plenty of art work, antiques and modern conveniences. The unit has a small refrigerator and microwave along with complimentary coffee, tea and soft drinks. We really enjoyed listening to the commercial-free satellite radio when we were in the cabin and it’s nice to be in touch with the free wi-fi internet as cellular coverage isn’t available. The ranch does accept pets however the Strawberry Fields Cabin is not one of their listed pet-friendly cabins which feature dog runs. So check ahead if you are wanting to bring Fido.

The main floor has a queen-size bedroom to accommodate wheelchairs. The doorways are sufficiently wide and the bed, which has a soft cozy pillow-top mattress and down comforter can be accessed on one side. Stairs lead you to the 2nd floor bedroom which includes a sitting area and desk for additional guests. The ground-floor bathroom is truly a beautiful. The doorway is plenty wide and the toilet is accessible. In addition to the all the candles, lotions, soaps, towels, and antiques, the bathroom has a roll-in shower that’s formed of large rocks. It like being in a little grotto.

The Food – Accommodations are all inclusive, meaning your meals are included and I must say that it was the three gourmet meals we enjoyed each day at the Ranch House that we shall remember the most. The Ranch House itself is impressive. It’s a massive log-framed building with a gorgeous balcony overlooking one of two trout ponds. Inside, the room offers dining for perhaps 50 with a sitting area around the large stone fire place. We spent a few hours enjoying their collection of photography books.

As we relaxed and explored, it didnt take long for us to start pondering and discussing what we were going to order for the next meal. The menu consists of steaks, filet mignon, chicken and fish along with a wilder selection of elk, duck, buffalo and quail. The vegetables were cooked superbly. Each morning we enjoyed fresh fruit and juices along with made to order omelets.

As testament to the superb vittles we were enjoying, numerous times we sat next to local folk who had made the trek back into the ranch just to enjoy the food. No question, Its worth the drive.

Activities – The ranch offers guests of any ability horseback lessons, group rides and use of their horses. Anyone needing adaptive riding equipment or lessons should contact management prior to arrival. As well, guests can enjoy use of mountain bikes, canoes and fishing tackle. Karla set out for a sunny morning jog one day after we had been taking photos at the second trout pond. At this elevation she was gasping for air before she’d gone even a half mile.

The ranch is great for kids. Each day an activity newsletter is delivered to your door which includes all the organized events for kids. Archery, fishing lessons, leather crafting, are offered. Perhaps the best experience for kids is to just see how a ranch operates. All of the employees were showing the kids how the animals are cared for, and what goes on at a ranch.

Whether you are grandparents wanting to show the grandkids how life use to be, or a family looking to escape the typical resort vacation, or a couple looking for a romantic getaway, Hidden Meadow Ranch offers enough accessibility to assure you can relax and enjoy such a scenic part of Arizona and yet still enjoy upscale accommodations, service and dining.

If you are ever coming through Pinetop, check out Woodland Lake, and the Interpretive Trail, and set aside time to visit what I think is Arizona’s best trail: Mogollon #622

Hidden Meadow Ranch

Greer, Arizona

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1 Responses »

  1. my girlfriend likes to be an archer and she is great both in Archery and Volleyball ::

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Accessing Arizona is primarily designed for people who are looking for wheelchair accessible events, locations and activities. If you have paralysis (paraplegic or quadriplegic), Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Bifida, or if you are an amputee, Accessing Arizona has information about an active lifestyle.
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