Sonoita, Arizona – August 2022 – Empire Ranch

In the high grasslands of Southern Arizona lies the Empire Ranch. This ranch at it’s largest covered 180 square miles, larger than the city of Philadelphia. While there are still some cattle still on the land, it is mostly a nature preserve.

Located between the Whetstone Mountains and the Santa Rita Mountains, the land lies at 5000′ in elevation, providing enough rain for the grassy fields to support the cattle.

In addition the Cienega Creek runs through the ranch, providing nearly year round water.

It is not normally this green, Southern Arizona has had an active monsoon season, and everything now is very green.

The original homestead is maintained by a non profit group called the Empire Ranch Foundation. Among other things they maintain the house, and additional buildings.

The home, as well as most of the buildings, is built out of adobe and wood. Many have had a skim of stucco added later.

Inside the ranch house, and attached other buildings, there is a collection of items from when the ranch was active including a butter churn, cowboy spurs and other items.

This view shows evidence of the original adobe walls.

With the green grass, and the old outbuildings, it felt as though you were in the midwest, as long as you ignored the 7000′ to 9000′ mountains in the distance.

This structure is known as the saddle drying barn.

One final look at another of the old adobe buildings before we head off to the next adventure….

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