Apache Spirit Ranch is finally open to the public.
The Apache Spirit Ranch opened more than a year ago to specifically cater to European visitors. After a change in management two months ago, the ranch is going in a new direction by opening its services to a broader range of visitors.
The resort, which is two miles north of Tombstone, now lets the general public use the trail rides, gunfights, restaurant and other amenities. Before the new ranch supervisors Tim and Julia Hastings arrived, these facilities were only for resort guests.
“What we have done since my husband and I took over the management of this place two months ago, is we have opened up for the public and the American people as well,” Julia Hastings said. “We changed so that now you can come for a trial ride and then go for lunch, or just hang out at night in the saloon and have a nice beer and enjoy our live music.”
Since the change, Apache Spirit Ranch has seen an increase in visitors. This is a welcome sight for the ranch supervisors because their busy season is typically during the summer vacation months, June through August.
“It has really drawn in a lot of people and has helped with business,” Julia Hastings said.
Opening its doors wasn’t the only change the resort made; the Hastings also renovated the barn. Originally, it was only a place for storing hay, but now the barn is available to house events such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. The Hastings are also planning to have a barn dance at the resort once a month, which the public is invited to attend, starting next month.
“In this area around Sierra Vista, Tombstone, Benson, there is no place that really has a barn like we do, where you could host stuff like that,” Julia Hastings said.
Other future changes to the ranch include adding cows, along with a cow roping activity, building livery stables and cottage housing for timeshares.
To help get word out about the changes, Apache Spirit Ranch has been advertising locally in newspapers and on the radio, but Julia Hastings said that travel agencies are the most successful method for promoting the ranch.
“We are working with several big travel agencies throughout the whole world,” Julia Hastings said. “We are also on online booking engines like booking.com, Expedia and Trip Advisor.”
Even though Apache Spirit Ranch has recently put more emphasis on promoting to the general public, the managers say there is still a high appeal for European guests to visit the resort. Peter Stenger, the resort’s owner, is from Germany and goes to trade shows throughout Europe to promote the ranch.
“We went to a travel trade show in Germany and met the owner of (Apache Spirit Ranch) at a booth,” Rolf Hurlbeck, a visitor from Bayreuth, Germany, said about how he found out about the ranch. “We looked it up on the Internet and decided to come down here.”
One of the main reasons why the resort is so popular to European tourists is because of the work of German author Karl May in the late 1800s. He wrote books about the Wild West that included stories with vivid details about Indian and cowboy encounters.
“Most children and teenagers have read his books or seen movies about it,” Julia Hastings said. “More or less that is the most popular Indian stories you can hear in Germany and Europe.”
Apache Spirit Ranch and Tombstone offer a real life setting of the Wild West similar to how May described it in his stories. This makes the two places an appealing destination for European tourists.
“We really appreciate the one-on-one attention they give the guests,” Hurlbeck said through an interpreter. “Its not like Disneyland where it’s a foreign park and you don’t know anybody. We enjoy the flare and the spirit of this place.”
Apache Spirit Ranch
17 rooms with Wild West themes such as a jail room, a bordello, and a courthouse.
$185 to $335 per night depending on the type of room
10-night special that ranges from $1,665 to $3,555.
Extras: Activities like campfires, Indian story telling, and horse painting
Toll free: 877-404-7262