Nestled between two towns and surrounded by the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest sits the historic Kohl’s Ranch.
Originally founded around 1917 as a community center, the lodge was equipped with everything from a post office, a schoolhouse and a dance hall.
Today the 10-acre lodge, with 23 rustic cabins, serves as the perfect backdrop for a weekend getaway or a night out for locals at the Zane Grey Steakhouse and Saloon.
In 1995, ILX Resorts Inc., which owns and operates multiple vacation ownership resorts in the U.S., including Sedona and Prescott, bought Kohl’s Ranch, at 202 S. Kohl’s Ranch Lodge Road.
The lodge’s rich history is in new hands with general manager, Lauree Moffett.
Moffett has been with Phoenix-based ILX Resorts for more than 10 years and brings with her a wide range of experience.
Moffett worked her way up in the company, starting as a receptionist and holding multiple positions along the way to manager.
Moffett said the lodge has something to offer for everyone, including locals.
“Through the years it has evolved into Kohl’s Ranch Lodge, in which ILX still continues the tradition of warm hospitality and beautiful accommodations in a picturesque setting,” Moffett said.
The resort offers weekly activities ranging from cooking classes on Tuesday with award-winning chef Kevin DeWitt, campfire sing-along with cowboy historian Jinx on Wednesday, and a nature hike Thursday.
Sign-up sheets are available at the lodge and space is limited, so Moffett urges visitors to sign up early. It is a good idea to call ahead and make sure the event is still going on, as events rotate.
The Zane Grey Steakhouse is the backdrop for many special occasions, including Christmas and Thanksgiving buffets, wedding receptions and business luncheons.
On Saturday nights, there is live entertainment in the saloon.
If you want to escape to nature, rent a fishing pole from the front desk for $10 and wander down to Tonto Creek, which runs alongside the nine-acre ranch. Or rent a mountain bike at $5 an hour to $15 for a full day and bike around the valley or up to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery.
The horse stables on site offer one to half-day rides and overnight trips.
Horseback rides run $30 per hour plus tax and tip. Contact the stable at (928) 478-0030.
After all this activity, the lodge offers 63 rooms to wind down in and relax. You can even jump in your own personal Jacuzzis, offered in select cabins, like the Horton House.
The Horton House was built in 2002, on the site of the cowboy bar, which had to be torn down because of structural issues.
The resort salvaged the bar’s top, autographed by years of visitors carving their names, and lumber siding and used it in the new two-bedroom cabin, which can accommodate eight to 12 guests.
Rates for the Horton House start at $800 a night. Rooms in the hotel start at $90 and some are pet-friendly. The lodge also offers a kennel for dogs and a corral for horses.
Other amenities included a heated outdoor pool, nine-hole putting green, volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard and tennis courts, bocce ball, outdoor exercise course and kitchens and fireplaces in creekside cabins.
Contact the lodge at (928) 478-4211 or online at www.ilxresorts.com.