October 20, 2020

Horseback riding in fresh air outdoors and social distancing are a match made in heaven, but day-to-day guest ranch life requires adjustments to decrease risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our plan focuses on ranch guests and crew. It describes the measures Elkhorn Ranch takes to minimize risk and adhere to federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), State of Arizona and/or Pima County guidelines or rules.  It is adaptive by design and we welcome feedback.

What can we do to increase your confidence and comfort before and during your Elkhorn visit? We welcome your ideas!


Our COVID-19 Risk Management Plan is published here and available upon request. Guests’ advance review of this plan is indicated by initialing the Application for Reservation form. Ranch crew members’ advance review is indicated by a question on the ranch job application. We are increasing pre-arrival communication, including steps such as:  signing the Participant Release of Liability, Waiver of Claims, Assumption of Risk and Indemnity Agreement in advance, checking in about travel and special needs, and requesting that you monitor your health prior to your ranch visit. If COVID-19 or other infectious disease symptoms are present, we respectfully ask that you choose not to travel to Elkhorn Ranch. Expect a phone call 2 – 3 weeks ahead of your visit to check in about your visit!

For the 2020-21 guest season, Elkhorn Ranch has a flexible cancellation policy with two options: Carry over 100% of your deposit to a future reservation; or refund the deposit, less $100 per person.


Until further notice, airport transportation services are limited to those who truly need our services, with age and ability as primary considerations. Separate parties are not mixed on airport runs unless both parties agree in advance. This limits the number of airport transport runs we can take and our ability to minimize wait times. The ranch driver and passengers must wear face masks. Vehicles are cleaned between airport runs.

For the 2020-21 guest season, we request that you rent a car if you are able and comfortable doing so.


Frequent hand washing and sanitizing is encouraged, with friendly visual reminders and strategically located hand sanitizer. Current guidance on mask wearing is practiced, again with friendly visual reminders.  Situations where masks are appropriate include: any time you’re indoors in a public space such as the office, computer room or dining room (except when eating), riding in ranch vehicle, and mounting or dismounting your horse. The same guidance applies to ranch guests and crew ~ masks are provided to our crew. Professionally made two layer masks (made of natural fiber materials by www.nakmasks.com), designed to hang around your neck when not in use, are sold at the ranch office in various sizes. You are welcome to wear your own masks as well ~ please note that a bandana will not suffice as a mask.


Hand sanitization supplies are available at all entrances to the dining room. A hand washing station is set up on the patio. Ranch crew, wearing gloves and a mask, serve meals individually to suit your tastes and appetite. Guests wear masks while being served. Seating is more spread out in the dining room and outdoors. Details are dependent on weather and the number of guests. An awning can cover part of the patio and a “party tent” covers the picnic tables. Outdoor patio style heaters take the chill away in the evening, and rumor has it 75th anniversary fleece lap blankets are available for purchase at the ranch store. Subtle changes in the way we manage dining room service avoid crowding in line during meal service. In addition, a take-out option is more routinely available. Portable “TV tables” are available in all cabins for more comfortable dining in ~ rest assured there are still no TVs!


Following research and consultation with experts, new cleaning products and practices are in place that meet national disinfectant standards. “Hot spots” where people touch often (like door knobs or light switches) will be disinfected multiple times per day in common areas. Elkhorn crew wear masks and gloves while working in your cabin. Normal housekeeping practices involving daily service in the morning and evening bed turn down continue; plus guests may opt out of services via to reduce crew travel into your cabin. Each cabin has a housekeeping kit should you wish to take care of things yourself. We welcome your ideas and insight!

Note that Elkhorn buildings do not have air conditioning nor recycled air – you can open windows to let in fresh air!


With regard to COVID-19 symptoms, we monitor CDC guidelines to determine symptoms that merit concern. Non-invasive forehead thermometers are available in every guest cabin in the housekeeping kit. Crew members check and log temperatures daily. Testing capabilities have improved in Tucson, and are used both randomly and based on need. Should someone become ill, the individual is isolated in their cabin and care is arranged in coordination with the individual (and other members of their party). Care arrangements address both the needs of the patient and others residing at the ranch.

Strategies include: providing take-out meals, minimizing housekeeping, and excluding the person from riding and other group oriented ranch activities. These practices are extended to other members of the party as appropriate. A house that has full kitchen facilities (that usually houses crew) has been kept empty this season to help with the logistics of providing isolation. In the event that an individual with a confirmed COVID-19 case occurs at Elkhorn Ranch, we notify guests, crew and other individuals who may have had contact.


As we work together to navigate the COVID-19 situation.

Thank you!

The Miller Family 

Our request for your feedback is very sincere! Please contact our family here