Deep in the heart of the American Southwest, Chiricahua National Monument is a place where time seems to stand still. Its rugged landscapes, towering rock formations, and rich history make it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a glimpse into the past. And when you visit Chiricahua National Monument, one of the most fascinating experiences awaits you at Faraway Ranch, a slice of history frozen in time.
A Glimpse into the Past
Faraway Ranch is a place where the Old West comes alive. Homesteaded in 1886 by Neil Erickson, it sprawls over 160 acres of pristine Arizona wilderness. However, the ranch truly came into its own when one of the Erickson family’s daughters, Lillian, married Ed Riggs. In 1923, they embarked on a new venture, opening Faraway Ranch as a guest ranch. This marked the beginning of an era that would see the ranch thrive for many years, attracting people from all corners of the country looking to get a taste of the Wild West.
A Unique Guest Ranch Experience
The allure of Faraway Ranch lay in its authenticity and the rugged charm of the Chiricahua Mountains that surrounded it. Guests arrived seeking adventure, tranquility, and a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life. They found all this and more at Faraway Ranch.
The guest ranch offered a variety of activities for visitors. Horseback riding through the stunning landscape, hiking the numerous trails, and even picnicking amidst the towering rock spires were among the experiences that beckoned to guests. Lillian Riggs was a gracious hostess, and her warm hospitality made every visitor feel like part of the family.
Preserving a Legacy
Today, Faraway Ranch is part of the Chiricahua National Monument and is meticulously preserved to offer a window into the past. When you step onto the ranch grounds, you’ll find yourself transported to a different era. The original buildings, including the ranch house, guest cottages, and barns, stand as they did in the early 20th century. The rustic charm of these structures tells the story of a time when life was simpler, yet more rugged.
Exploring Faraway Ranch Today
As you walk through Faraway Ranch, you’ll gain insight into the lives of the Riggs family and the guests who once roamed these grounds. You can visit Lillian’s quarters, where her personal artifacts provide a glimpse into her world. The photographs, furniture, and mementos scattered throughout the ranch house offer a deeper understanding of the family’s history and the era in which they lived.
The ranch is also surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of Chiricahua National Monument. After exploring the historic buildings, take the time to hike some of the trails that wind through the striking rock formations. The Echo Canyon Trail, in particular, is a favorite among visitors for its stunning views and unique rock features.
Plan Your Visit
Faraway Ranch at Chiricahua National Monument is a place where history, nature, and the spirit of the Old West converge. To make the most of your visit, consider these tips:
- Check Operating Hours: Ensure you visit during the monument’s open hours and check for any special events or guided tours.
- Respect the Environment: Remember that you’re in a national park. Practice Leave No Trace principles and help preserve this beautiful landscape for future generations.
- Take Your Time: Faraway Ranch and Chiricahua National Monument are best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Plan to spend a few hours exploring the area.
- Pack Essentials: Wear comfortable clothing, sturdy shoes for hiking, and bring essentials like water, sunscreen, and a camera to capture the stunning scenery.
Chiricahua National Monument’s Faraway Ranch is a hidden gem that allows you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the Old West. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique and memorable experience, a visit to Faraway Ranch will leave you with a deep appreciation for the rich heritage of the American Southwest. Don’t miss the chance to discover this captivating piece of history on your next adventure.