Desert in Bloom

March 25, 2013


Standing on the banks of Jojoba Wash at Tanque Verde Ranch is always a breathtaking sight when looking over the Saguaro Desert this time of year. While the cacti are riddled across the base of the Rincon Mountains—spring is coming and the desert is entering bloom.

Visiting Tucson in the spring is a sight to the true beauty of the desert while flowers begin their annual appearance. Hiking adjacent of the ranch’s property, Fairy Dusters will showcase their pink and white powder puffs, while the Daela and Indigo Bush try to hide their small blue flowers by a nearby Brittle Bush, that will soon also burst open with a burning yellow. Even the hummingbirds will begin their pass through on their ambitious migration to the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Alaska stopping through the Ranch to feed on Blue Dicks and Tackstem.

Cacti, true to their schedules, wait for the right moment to produce their flowers. You will see Hedgehog Cactus start the parade in late March with their magenta blossoms. Mountain biking excursion during late April will showcase the Saguaro’s first blossoms, but will soon peak in late May to early June. Members of the Opuntia, the Prickly Pear and the Cholla, add their flowers to the show just before the Saguaro in April and May.  While the petit Pincushion will be the last to make its fashionably, late appearance in June.

While words cannot describe the true beauty of the desert in bloom, it’s a perfect time to visit the Ranch and experience it for yourself. In celebration of another beautiful spring, we will be offering a special package just for just for you outdoor enthusiasts March 1-19 and April 8-17 — Desert in Bloom. The package will start at $329 per two people and includes two nights lodging, breakfast and dinner daily, private hike-planning session with our experienced hiking staff, along with scheduled guided hiking excursions in the Saguaro National Park. In addition, guests will have access to all other schedule hiking and nature activities, along with one sunset horseback ride per person and a special discounted rate on the schedule mountain biking activities.

Spring is the time to discover the joy and beauty of the Sonoran Desert. For more information on other packages available this spring, please call 1-800- 234 -3833 or visit our website. Click here to view the exciting activities offered this spring.



One of the biggest draws for outdoor enthusiasts to Tucson is the incredible challenges and marvels of the Saguaro National Park. An overnight trip into the Saguaro’s terrain can take you from a 3,000’ elevation to over 8,000’ in only a short 15 miles.

Saguaro National Park is composed of two districts; the Rincon Mountain District located to the East of Tucson and the Tucson Mountain District located to the West. The Saguaro National Monument was created in 1933, but it wasn’t until 1976 that the Saguaro Wilderness Area, an additional 71,400 acres, was added. Saguaro National Park was then created from these two areas in 1994 and currently encompasses 91,327 acres.

Hikes can be started from five trailheads, including the easy-to-access Douglas Spring Trailhead that is located next to the entrance at Tanque Verde Ranch. You can take auto or bike to explore around the Cactus Forest Loop Drive offering incredible views of the Rincon Mountains, or head over to the Signal Hill Picnic Area, which offers visitors the chance to view hundreds of ancient petroglyphs or rock engravings. Click here to access the official National Park Service trail maps to start planning your future journey through the Saguaro National Park!

Besides the unique animals you may see in this part of the desert, Tucson is home to the largest cacti in North America, the giant saguaro. A universal symbol to the American west, these majestic plants can only be found in a small portion of the United States. Learn more about the plant life in the Saguaro National park by clicking here.

Whether you’re planning a day hike, or overnight camping trip, make sure to read the The Saguaro Wilderness Area Booklet about animals, safety and restrictions. At the back of the booklet you will find an application for the permit that is required for your overnight stay. Otherwise, if you’re planning on making your base camp at Tanque Verde Ranch, make sure to join our naturalists on a guided tour through our property adjacent to the Saguaro National Forest to see the plant and animal in detail from the eyes of our local experts.


Tanque Verde’s Lisa Bedient may be the Kid’s Program Supervisor and Head Harmony with Horses Program Coordinator, but her impact on ranch, it’s guests and the horses is more than just a horses tale.

Lisa discovered her love for horses at the young age 6, when her family moved from Corning, New York to Tucson, Arizona. Her childhood consisted of sneaking over to the neighbors to ride bare back when they were away. In her Jr. High years, she worked out a deal with a local farm where she would board her first horse in exchange for milking goats, feeding chickens and tending to other ranch animals.

She continued her horsemanship education into her 20’s, where she eventually assumed an education role, upon the passing of her dressage instructor. She also attended Pima Community College, receiving her LPN license, then worked as a nurse at Santa Catalina Nursing Home in Tucson. Once she started a family of her own, she decided to work as a barn manager and horse trainer, “I wanted to have the best of both worlds,” Lisa said, “spend time with my family and pursue my passion.”

And so Lisa did! In 1998, she joined the team at Tanque Verde Ranch and began her journey with both guests and horses, alike! “I love teaching the old west with new insights,” said Lisa, “by keeping it fresh and keeping it real,” she hopes both the novice and experienced riders will instill a greater passion for horsemanship through her guidance and instruction.

As Lisa’s days are full of surprises, she always starts her day with a round of prayers, a positive mindset, and looks forward to another day of working with the kids at the ranch, “their wonder and energetic nature inspire me.” Her favorite horse is Yoder, or also known as her “partner in crime,” and after a six year partnership, she still claims he chose her and not the other way around.

In the future, Lisa hopes to develop a teen program at the ranch, which will accommodate the 13 to 18 year olds, as well as continue to enhance the kids program with new and exciting activities. For more information on the Kids Program or Harmony with Horses, call (800)-234-3833, or email

The Chicken With Mole Coloradito is a house favorite in the dining room.

The Chicken With Mole Coloradito is a house favorite in the dining room.

Looking for a challenging spring recipe? Bring a taste of Tanque Verde’s southwestern flavor to your table with this mouth watering Vanilla-Citrus Brined Chicken Roast and Mole Coloradito. (For a printable version of these recipes for your recipe box, click here, print and cut.)

Harmony with Horses

March 25, 2013


Tanque Verde Ranch offers a unique opportunity for those interested in advancing their knowledge and experience with horses. Families (12 years & up), friends and individuals, alike, can now learn teambuilding exercises between rider and horse!

Harmony with Horses provides riders with extensive horsemanship skills, improved riding ability, better self-understanding, and one of the most unique vacation experiences in the southwestern United States. Harmony with Horse Program Coordinator, Lisa Bedient, encourages that everyone can benefit from this program regardless of age or skill level. “Adults tend to be more anxious about riding,” she said, “which is why I like to teach the biomechanics of riding and break down everything step-by-step.”

While Harmony with Horses has been claimed to be “very therapeutic” by many of the program’s repeat riders, Lisa indicates that the program also carries a number of additional benefits. “The nuggets of knowledge,” otherwise known as the muscle memory, is taught and tested throughout the program, and is a tool that can be used back at home with rider’s personal horses, said Lisa. “You simply don’t have to think or worry anymore.” A prime example of how this program benefits riders comes from one of Lisa’s students who recently had a serious accident and was fearful to lope again. After program completion, she regained her confidence and was now able to go on a number of rides during the same visit.

Lisa welcomes all interested candidates in the program regardless of it being one individual or a large group of friends. Many of her students in the past have included couples, newlyweds, girlfriends, families and individuals. While many of her students do come in at different skill levels, they all “leave with a wealth of improved horsemanship knowledge, better self and horse respect and an unforgettable vacation,” said Lisa.

Advance reservations are required. For specific dates, times, rates, or to register, please call Tanque Verde Ranch 1-800- 234-3833 or email Also you can watch the video about the program by clicking here.