A place in the mountains to just be
The Circle A Ranch is part of what once was the traditional Navajo and Apache summer camps and grazing lands. During Spanish rule the year-round Rito de los Pinos (Pine Creek) made the area valuable for colonial rancheros. The present borders were established in 1910 by John Young, a Mormon colonist and US Forest Service ranger.
In the 1920's, when artistic-minded easterners were attracted to northern New Mexico's enchanting landscapes, the present two-story adobe lodge was built and a dude ranch established. The nearest post office and telephone exchange were 65 miles away. The route here from the city was a dirt road through the pueblos of the Santa Ana, Zia, and Jemez. It was a hard trip, but folks came.
In 1954, two young school teachers, Alice Bartlett Woolf and Elaine Bartlett Charvoz, purchased the ranch and converted it to a girl's summer camp. They established a magical world for the girls, many of whom have returned to relive fond memories. Besides creating art, music, drama and multi-cultural celebrations, the girls roamed the forest and meadows, swam in the lake, and explored the "little grand canyon".
Alice's and Elaine's father, Ross Bartlett, bred and trained American Saddlebred horses, so each girl was fitted with saddle and horse. The camp closed in 1978 when Alice and Elaine retired. The ranch has remained with the family since, operated as a lodge, meeting place and guest ranch. Our family has grown and moved around the west, but we still return regularly to reconnect with this special land.
The ranch covers more than 300 acres, surrounded on all sides by National Forest land, inviting you to wander and explore. There are lakes to swim in, trails to hike, and hidden treasures to explore.
Ross Bartlett often said, "We are only stewards here. Others have been here before, and others will come". On that basis the family opens the ranch to intrepid travellers, wishing them the peace and magic of this remarkable place. Come for a visit or stay and help us carry the Circle A energy into the future.
-The Woolf-Barlett Family
The wonders of nature at your feet
The Circle A Guest Ranch is a meeting place located within New Mexico's Santa Fe National Forest, adjacent to the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. We are five miles from Cuba, an hour and a half from Albuquerque, and two hours from Santa Fe.
Our corner of the Land of Enchantment is a fascinating part of the southwest. High desert and badlands flank the ranch to the west and south. Mountains and hot springs are to the east and north.
We are one of the few remaining 1920's working guest ranches in New Mexico Our lodge is the ideal base for day trips to some of New Mexico's most unique and historic sites. We are less than two hours by car from Chaco Canyon, Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, where Georgia O'Keefe painted, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument, Valles Caldera, Jemez Hot Springs, Jemez Pueblo, and several other lesser-known places of interest.
Circle A Ranch is home to one of the largest pinon pines in the world, recognized by the American Forests' National Register of Big Trees, This registry documents the largest of 826 species of trees in the US. The pinon is an important source of food throughout the Colorado Plateau. Circle A Ranch is also home to several Ponderosa pines almost 4 feet in diameter.
Directions and Details
The Circle A Ranch is 5 miles north of Cuba at the end of Los Pinos Road. The major highway through Cuba is US 550. Los Pinos Road intersects with US 550 at the north edge of town.
Coming from the South (Albuquerque) you go through town and turn right onto Los Pinos Road just after the 45 MPH sign and mile marker 65. Coming from the north (Farmington/Four Corners or Santa Fe/Taos via NM 96) you turn left onto Los Pinos Road just after the village limits sign. Follow the Ranch signs to stay on Los Pinos Road. After you cross the fifth cattle guard you are on the Circle A Ranch. Look for the sign directing you to turn right onto the Ranch driveway.
Cuba is a village of 800 people. It has a small grocery store, three restaurants, convenience stores, a hardware store, a dollar store, and two fast food stores. You can get the basics here, but may also want to bring food from Albuquerque, Santa Fe, or Farmington.
Just in front of the ranch are our local badlands, variously called "little grand canyon" "baby badlands" and "the prehistoric". Behind the ranch are the San Pedro Mountains and the San Pedro Parks Wilderness. You are welcomed and invited to explore the miles of trails. However, our ranch dogs are pretty teritorial and so we ask you leave your dogs at home. Cell phone coverage is good, wifi bandwidth is limited.