North Ranch in Congress, ArizonaNorth Ranch in Congress, Arizona
We visited this park on November 21, 2018, and stayed for 90 day(s).
To say that we enjoyed our stay at North Ranch would be an understatement. Picture waking up nearly every morning to a breathtaking desert sunrise, hiking and ATV trails on BLM land within a short walk, ending your afternoon with happy hour with new friends and neighbors, followed by a desert sunset even more spectacular than the morning sunrise. This was our winter, leaving out the detail of many daytime hours at our computer screens, as we are NOT retired, but self-employed nomadic RVers.
RV Park and Residential Lots
We stayed twice at North Ranch the previous winter in the transient RV park area, but last winter we were able to ‘lot sit’ in the residential area. This gave us more room, full 50 AMP hookups, and even a shed to store some excess stuff and lighten the load in our bus. In exchange, we paid another homeowner monthly and agreed to stay put for three months on this lot. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat!
What’s To Do Near North Ranch?
North Ranch sits just outside of Congress, Arizona, a tiny, blink-and-you-miss-it type town. Congress has a post office, a small grocery store, dollar store, a bookstore, a church or two, and a small gourmet restaurant that doesn’t look like much from the road – but oh, is it good. If you go, make sure to dine at least once at Nichol’s West. I like their Nichol’s burger and Jerry is a fan of the Cuban melt.
Follow Arizona Hwy 71 north beyond Congress, head up the mountain and at the top you’ll find the tiny mountain town of Yarnell. Beyond this is the beautiful Happy Valley, with grassland and trees and ranches, a respite from the desert. A little further still (about an hour from Congress) and you’ll wind up in Prescott, home of great shopping, beautiful homes, and more scenic views.
Wickenburg, AZ the Roping Capital of the World
Heading the opposite direction from North Ranch, you’ll arrive in Wickenburg, one of the friendliest cities we’ve ever visited. Grocery stores include Safeway and Basha’s. There are plenty of restaurants, museums, and stores catering to the cowboys and tourists visiting the Roping Capital of the World.
Beyond Wickenburg there’s the Hassayampa Preserve, a wetland natural area in the middle of the desert. This is the place to go to learn about the native flora and fauna of the area, and to get your dose of green in the middle of winter. Come prepared to hike the trails, and be sure to bring your binoculars and camera.
One Hour From the Big City
Wickenburg is about an hour northwest of Phoenix, a bit further from Mesa, so if the big city draws you in, it’s not too far of a drive. To get there, you’ll pass through Surprise and Sun City, popular snowbird destinations with abundant shopping opportunities.
Recreational opportunities at North Ranch include pickleball, hiking, and ATV clubs that go on regular desert trail rides. There’s an activity center, plenty of social activities, but no swimming pool. We mostly walked the park, meeting up with friends along the way, or hiked the trails behind the park on BLM land. Every so often we took our Honda Accord out exploring on dirt roads that would be much better suited to a Jeep or an ATV, always turning around before we wanted to due to deteriorating road conditions. Next time we’ll be back with a Jeep!
To learn more about North Ranch visit their page on the Escapee’s Website