The SpaceYou will be staying on a five-acre horse ranch. The “Bunkhouse" studio occupies one side of a log and cedar barn, and horse stalls are on the other side. The barn is located toward the back of the property, away from the main house, with a pine-shaded pasture behind it. The private outdoor space behind the Bunkhouse looks toward the back of the property, through pine trees toward a dry wash with mountain ridges in the distance.
We can accommodate guests bringing their own horses to ride the many beautiful wilderness trails in our immediate vicinity. For more information on bringing horses to the ranch, see “Guest Access." Guest AccessYou will be able to come and go as you please without disturbing anyone, as the Bunkhouse is a separate, private living space. There is ample parking next to the barn and Bunkhouse.
Mountain Bikes: We have mountain bikes you may borrow at no charge to explore local Forest Service roads. We will also lend you bike helmets (or bring your own), which we will require you to wear while you are using our bikes.
Laundry: We will wash and dry your laundry for a small extra charge.
Dogs: We allow guests to bring dogs with the following restrictions:
Summer/Warm Weather: Dogs are NOT allowed in the Bunkhouse itself. We have a 400 square-foot fenced pen with a dog cabana near the barn and visible from the Bunkhouse windows. While on our ranch, your dog must be content to stay in this area when not otherwise with you and under leash control. Be aware that we have rattlesnakes in the mountains. They are part of our natural environment. Curious, free-running dogs are at risk of unfortunate encounters with snakes and other wild critters. Also, please note that horses can be dangerously defensive if they are approached by unfamiliar dogs. Always be mindful of your dog's safety if you decide to bring him/her to the ranch. Please bring your dog's bedding, food and water bowls, as we do not furnish these items. You will also be responsible for keeping the dog pen clean during your stay.
Winter/Cold Weather: We may allow dogs to stay with guests in the Bunkhouse on a case-by-case basis. An extra deposit may be required. Please inquire about bringing your dog to the Bunkhouse at the time of booking.
Guests bringing horses: We have two 24' by 20' pipe corrals with feed and water tubs to accommodate guest horses. You will have free access to our 60' by 120' arena, 50' round pen and outdoor wash rack. There is ample room to park and turn your rig, and to disconnect your trailer, if you desire. We ask that you keep your horses' pens clean. For the sake of your horses' digestive health, we also ask that you bring their usual feed. Finally, for insurance reasons, we must insist that you wear an ASTM certified safety helmet at all times while mounted on our property. We can lend you one if you forget to bring yours.
Please note that, although there is a network of trails traversing the immediate neighborhood, these are private trails under control of the local homeowner's association. Because of insurance concerns, they may not be ridden by paying guests. Interaction with GuestsWe offer a chance for peace, quiet and privacy. We will be happy to assist guests in any way we can by suggesting things to do, helping with directions and arrangements, etc. We are retired and live in the main house on the premises, so we are normally around. The NeighborhoodAlthough we are officially part of the tiny town of Mountain Center, our ranch is actually located in the Garner Valley area. Garner Valley is traversed by the state-designated scenic “Palms to Pines Highway." The valley is about ten miles long, with Lake Hemet and the historic Garner Ranch (which still runs cattle) at the northwest end, and the famous Pacific Crest Trail crossing the highway at the southeast end. It averages about 4600 feet in elevation and has four distinct seasons. The rugged beauty of the valley made it a favorite location for the filming of many old-time Western movies and television programs, most notably the opening credit scene of the popular TV series, “Bonanza." The floor of the valley is meadow and pasture land dotted with sage and giant pines, while the enclosing mountain slopes range from oak and manzanita chaparral with interesting boulder formations, to shaded canyons. The higher mountains surrounding the area are largely alpine forest. Those who explore our many trails can find evidence of the interesting history of the valley, including sites of early Native American summer camp grounds, as well as archeological remains of the valley's gold rush of the late 1800's. Getting AroundWe live in a rural area, so having a car is a must. However, since we are located just off the
Palms to Pines highway, which connects with several other scenic highways, driving in our area is a pleasure in itself. Most recreational opportunities within Garner Valley can be reached in less than 10 minutes of driving. The high desert community of Anza can be reached in less than 15 minutes, and the alpine town of Idyllwild is 20 minutes away. A trip to the desert cities of Palm Desert or Palm Springs takes about a half hour to an hour, respectively. The city of Temecula, known for its wineries and hot air ballooning, is 45 minutes away. And the bonus is that all these drives are quite scenic!
Important Note: We recommend you buy your groceries “off the hill" on your way to the ranch. You will get the best selection and prices. There is a small basic market in Anza, a convenience store at Lake Hemet (5 minutes) and decent food shopping in Idyllwild. Our kitchenette has an under-counter fridge, and we provide coffee, tea, your choice of hot or cold breakfast fixings, basic seasonings and condiments, and a few treats. You may also want to bring some ice. We can loan you a cooler if you don't have one. Ice can be purchased at Lake Hemet.
A handful of diners and cafes are within 5 to 10 minutes of the ranch, while a wide variety of restaurants can be found in Idyllwild. Just ask us if you'd like a suggestion. Other Things to NoteThings to do during your stay:
Hiking, Horseback Riding: If you like activities that involve trails, we don't think you can come to a better place! Whether you enjoy gentle walking, serious hiking, world-class technical climbing, or are a trail-riding equestrian, you can find plenty of great places to explore here. For starters, the famous Pacific Crest Trail, featured in the recent film, “Wild," can be accessed less than four miles from our ranch. Local terrain varies and includes high desert, chaparral growing among interesting boulders, pine and sage-studded meadows, alpine high country, and enormous rock formations that challenge serious climbers. Most hiking trails are suitable for equestrians, depending on horse/rider experience. For those wanting to try trail riding, guided rental horseback rides are available from local outfitters. We can provide information and recommendations regarding hiking/riding trails in various environments and of varying levels of difficulty.
Mountain Biking and Off-Pavement Motor Sports: While local wilderness trails are open only to hikers and equestrians, our many dirt Forest Service roads are also open to mountain bikes and street-legal motorized vehicles (no “green sticker" vehicles). In addition, the town of Anza has dirt bike riding school and riding park for those wishing to try this sport or improve their skills.
Road Cycling: Many road cyclists enjoy our scenic highways, but we must note that most local roads have narrow or non-existent shoulders and should be ridden with caution.
Water Sports: If you like water sports, Lake Hemet is about five minutes' drive up the valley. It offers boating (rentals include outboard motorboats, kayaks and pontoons), fishing, swimming and picnic areas.
Target Shooting/Plinking is allowed on the Fobes Ranch Forest Service Area in cooler months when fire danger is low.
Animal Lovers may enjoy a visit to Living Free Animal Sanctuary about 10 minutes up the road in Mountain Center. On weekends, visitors can tour the facility, play with cats in the catteries, or walk a friendly dog from the kennels. Admission is free, but a donation is always greatly appreciated.
Visit Idyllwild: The nearby alpine town of Idyllwild has been called “One of the 100 Best Small Towns for Art," and is home to the internationally famous Idyllwild Arts Academy. Idyllwild Arts presents student and faculty concerts, recitals and other performances throughout the school year. In summer, Idyllwild Arts holds its Summer Program with week-long classes available to the public. The presence of Idyllwild Arts has attracted a larger creative community to the town, with the result that cultural activities occur throughout the year, among which are the annual Jazz Festival and the Film Festival. The town also holds charming holiday celebrations throughout the year. Idyllwild has galleries and interesting shops, as well as restaurants ranging from casual to gourmet. It has a movie theater that shows a new first run movie each week. If you want to try your own hand at being an artist, visit “Earth and Fire" in the Idyllwild “Fort" and try your hand at painting a piece of blank pottery that they will fire for you.
Check Out Anza: The high desert agricultural community of Anza is nestled between the Cahuilla and Ramona Indian Reservations. It has a small Indian casino, a few casual restaurants, an excellent hardware store and basic services. It also has a dirt bike riding school, a dirt bike park, and horse rentals.
Farther Afield: If you are not familiar with the “Inland Empire" area of Southern California, you may wish to make some of these excursions, assuming you have the time:
Venture Down to the Desert: If you wish to take the scenic Palms to Pines Highway to Palm Desert, a thirty to forty minute trip will bring you to El Paseo, known as the Rodeo Drive of the desert, with high-end shopping and restaurants. A bit further drive will take you to Palm Springs with its myriad attractions. Golfers may wish to drive to the desert to enjoy one of the many beautiful courses open to the public.
Go Wine Tasting or Hot-Air Ballooning: A forty-five minute scenic drive to the west will bring you to Temecula. Some of the most popular activities there include following one of the wine tasting “trails" through Temecula's wine country, taking a hot air balloon ride, or shopping and eating in Temecula's “Old Town."
Other destinations farther afield include trips to Joshua Tree National Monument, Mount Palomar Observatory, and the Historic Town of Julian, to name a few. We keep a “Welcome Book" in the Bunkhouse with further details regarding the above-mentioned activities, as well as additional suggestions of things to see and do in the area, and we are always adding to it.
Out-of-Area or Foreign Visitors: If you are visiting from outside the Southern California area, wish to stay a while, and want to have a home base from which to explore the wide variety of scenery and points of interest in the broader region, we would love to help you plan a special itinerary. Please contact us for more information.