Tucson is for the Cowboys 

Tucson is a modern city—the second largest in Arizona—but our connection and roots to the Wild West run deep. Romantic Sonoran sunsets and sprawling deserts are the perfect backdrop for a Western adventure and Tucson is bustling with authentic western experiences.  


Rope, Ride, and Rally 

The essence of western life in Arizona is encapsulated in what locals refer to as the 5 C’s— copper, cattle, cotton, citrus, and climate. These elements, particularly cattle, played a pivotal role in cultivating the Western culture we know today. Arizona's status as Cattle Country predates its statehood, with more cattle than people until 1950. In Tucson, this rich Western heritage continues to thrive. 

Unleash your inner cowboy and live out your Yellowstone drama at an all-inclusive Dude Ranch. Tanque Verde Ranch, nestled on 60,000 acres of breathtaking Sonoran Desert, offers a unique blend of ranch life and luxurious living. Originally opened in 1868 as a ranch for short-horn cattle, Tanque Verde is the oldest business in the county. Today, this historic ranch that borders Coronado National Forest and Saguaro National Park East is home to an outstanding riding program and adventure activities. Their weekly schedule is packed with activities like horseback riding, axe throwing, fishing, and silversmithing. Don’t miss their famous blueberry pancake breakfast ride – a leisurely morning trot up to their Old Homestead for a freshly-made breakfast – or their bi-weekly Cowboy Cookout for a true ranch BBQ experience. 
For an authentic Arizona ranch adventure, head to White Stallion Ranch, which shares the longest border with any National Park in the country. Located in the open deserts near Saguaro National Park West, White Stallion began as a cattle ranch in the 1900s before being turned into a guest ranch. The historic property has been used as a backdrop for Western films and television through the years, including features like Arizona (1939), Wild, Wild West Once More (1980), and Geronimo (1993). When the True Family acquired the ranch in the 1960s it included 200 acres. Since then, the ranch has expanded to approximately 3,000 acres, adding thrilling outdoor activities like rock climbing, shooting, cattle sorting, team penning, and e-biking to their exceptional horseback riding program. Guests can also enjoy specialty rides like their Beer and Cheetos Ride for guests 21 and over, adding a fun twist to the traditional ranch experience.  

Viva los Vaqueros 

Cowboy up for the Fiesta de los Vaqueros during Tucson Rodeo, celebrating 100 years in 2025. This tradition, which began during prohibition as a three-day event and competition, has evolved into a nine-day extravaganza. It includes bull riding, bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, roping, and barrel racing.  

Start the celebrations with the annual Tucson Rodeo Parade, a 2.5-mile-long spectacle that features horse-drawn coaches, outfitted riders, folk dancers, and marching bands. This parade, the longest non-motorized parade in the U.S., is a respectful nod to the past and a celebration of the Western culture that has shaped Tucson. During the festivities, be sure to visit the Tucson Wagon and History Museum, which houses hundreds of antique horse-drawn vehicles, an 1880 railroad display, and a recreation of Tucson in the 1900s.   

Lastly, visit the Tucson Museum of Art to view its historic and contemporary Western art collection from the past 200 years through today. This assortment of paintings, sculptures, photography, and other media represents artists who live in or are inspired by the American West.  


Western Frontiers 

A visit to Old Tucson, a former Hollywood movie set for iconic films like El Dorado, Three Amigos, and Tombstone, is a journey through time to a sleepy old Western Cowboy town. Here, you'll encounter (faux) gunslingers, explore silver mines, and step into dusty saloons. But don’t be fooled, you’re just 25 minutes from present-day downtown Tucson, nestled between Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park West. Immerse yourself in historical and ghost tours, witness Western reenactments, and enjoy live shows that bring the Wild West to life.  

For a truly authentic cowboy experience, head to Trail Dust Town, a charming mock town with a cowboy theme on Tucson's east side. Ride the miniature train or carousel, try your luck at panning for gold, or be thrilled by a western stunt show. Afterward, savor a meal at Tucson’s original Cowboy Steakhouse, Pinnacle Peak, the birthplace of the Cowboy Steak. The steakhouse's commitment to its casual atmosphere is no joke and those who dare to wear a tie risk having it snipped from their chest.  

Want Western on a bigger scale? Approximately 90 minutes southeast of Tucson, you’ll find Tombstone, nicknamed The Town Too Tough to Die. Take a day trip to this historic western frontier, which is still standing today, much as it did in the 1800s. Catch a reenactment of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral between Doc Holliday & the Earps against the outlaws from the Clanton-McLaury gang or whet your whistle at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.  

Head just a little more south of Tombstone, and you’ll reach Bisbee, a historic Arizona mining town that produced large amounts of copper for almost a century. Check out the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum at the center of town before going underground and back in time by taking a Copper Queen Mine Tour. Afterward, spend your evening in the vibrant Bisbee Arts and Cultural District exploring galleries, sipping on local brews, and listening to live music.  
Once you’re back in Tucson, be sure to head to the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum in the Historic Pima County Courthouse for more mining history. The museum even features a replica of a mining cave and artwork featuring early life in the mines. Afterward, don’t forget to head upstairs for more nuggets of Wild West history, including letters from Wyatt Earp. 

Western Wear 

What better way to experience the West than to pick out a hat, boots, and western wear? Whether you’ve got a well-loved cowboy hat that’s been through some rough times and are looking for something new, or you’re a first-timer looking for something special, Tucson has premier outfitters to help you dress the part.  
Arizona Hatters offers a robust selection of hats, belts, vests, shirts, and western-style clothing, in addition to expert restorers and cleaners. They’re the oldest hat shop in Arizona and have been in continuous operation since 1935. Their inventory includes an array of traditional and contemporary hat designs, and their expert hat master can help you design something custom-made. 

Packed with an abundant selection of stylish leather boots along with hats, belts, and buckles, the small mom-and-pop shop Boot Bunkhouse has been selling boots for decades and knows every brand, size, style, and even foot. Their knowledgeable owner has been nicknamed “the boot whisperer” and can get you properly measured and sized. 

At Boot Barn, you’ll find an enormous selection of boots, belts, shirts, and jeans to begin your westward journey. Their team of experts offer hat shaping and cleaning and can provide personalized boot fittings so you can find the western wear that suits your style.  
Head down to South Tucson, and you’ll find what’s likely one of the last handmade boot factories in the United States. Stewart Boot Manufacturing Company has a team of master craftsmen catering to Western wear enthusiasts who are willing to wait for a good thing. The shop creates more than 500 custom, made-to-last boots a year.  

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