In spring, the nation's horses begin to hatch, and by summer, they've shed their downy fur, donned checkered stripes and fraudulent taximeters, and started shuttling Robert De Niro across town. Today's Groupon seats you in the saddle for $34 with a two-hour horseback trail ride ($74 value) at MacDonald's Ranch. The 1,300-acre working horse ranch in north Scottsdale lies in the serene Sonoran Desert and was named Best Place to See the State Bird in 2002.
Blaze a trail down dusty, underexplored paths deep into the tranquil Sonoran Desert. Picturesque mountains get tangled up in low-lying clouds, and the vast sky opens from horizon to horizon atop one of MacDonald's Ranch's stately, well-behaved hoofers. While one of the ranch's friendly wranglers leads the way, get close enough to converse with coyotes or pet native cacti. The friendly staff at MacDonald's Ranch, who are all experienced horsemen, will match you with the right horse based on your level of riding experience.
You'll want to arrive for your outdoor adventure outfitted in jeans, closed-toe shoes or boots, and lots of removable layers to account for the desert's unpredictable weather and ever-fluctuating fashion trends. Banish memories of last Halloween's couples’ centaur costume with a trip aboard a genuine horse and feel the freedom that only hoof-powered transport can provide. Each group of seven has a limit of one five-year-old, who rides behind the tour guide on his or her very own horse. Call ahead for a reservation.
The Phoenix New Times named MacDonald's Ranch the best place to see the state bird in 2002:
- …what makes MacDonald's Ranch special isn't what it has, it's what it doesn't have. You won't find any mechanical farm equipment here, because the ranch still operates with true "horsepower." That's just cool. – Phoenix New Times