Oasis might be a bit strong of a word, but the Bumble Bee Ranch is a pretty nice spot in the desert. The ranch is 180 acres, and located approximately 50 miles north of Phoenix, 100 miles south of Flagstaff. It’s five miles off the freeway, four of which are dirt, so it seems a bit remote, although you can see I-17 up on the bluff.
Ken Kendrick (I think I’m supposed to know who he is) has owned the ranch and the town of Bumble Bee since 1998. As the website says, “(his) intent in acquiring the ranch was to make it available to the public. The ranch entertains tourists, corporate outings, family gatherings, weddings, saddle clubs, horse clinics, boy & girl scouts, and anyone else looking for a great western adventure. In addition, the ranch provides a venue for many children’s charities.” The Ranch is surrounded by 74, 000 acres of BLM land.
We camped there for two nights, rolling in from the Black Canyon trail one day, riding out and getting shuttled back the next day, and then getting shuttled out the second morning. There’s running water facilities, so pretty plush camping. We were self-contained on the food and drink, but there is a bar, stage, dance floor and commercial kitchen. There were some horse folks there at the same time who were taking advantage of these other amenities. There’s also a guest house if you’re not so into the camping thing, which seemed like it could be pretty reasonable if you got enough people, and would make a great base for riding from.