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The Canelo House - 1 of 2 Private Houses at Open Cross Ranch

Elgin, AZ, USA
  • House
  • Bedrooms2
  • Sleeps4
  • Bathrooms1
  • Half Baths0
  • Minimum StayNone

Guest House, 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bathroom, (Sleeps 6)

THE CANELO HOUSE: Comfortable open floor plan, 2 Bedroom house sleeps up to 4. First bedroom has a queen size bed; second bedroom has twin beds. One bathroom with shower. Fully appointed kitchen with modern appliances. Private laundry room with front loading machines. Furnished with linens to pots and pans and everything you need to be at home. Horses are welcome if you choose to bring your horse(s) on vacation. Schedule permitting, the owners may give a private ride; a great way to see other areas of the Ranch. Call for horse details. (For information about the larger guest house, see VRBO listing: The Homestead House.)


The historic Open Cross Ranch is an authentic, working cattle ranch in the Canelo Hills near Sonoita. Enjoy stunning views and excellent accommodations. The Ranch was first homesteaded in 1918. Most recently the original house and two private guest houses have been updated and renovated by owners - husband and wife, Mac & Billie Donaldson. They reside in the main house, and the Homestead and Canelo Houses are available for travelers. With unrivaled panoramic views and spacious areas, the western setting also provides a rich backdrop for events, including weddings and receptions.


Each house is tastefully appointed with details that make a house a home, such as linens, cookware, dinnerware and more. Each quality item has been personally chosen by Billie Donaldson. Other luxuries include a modern laundry room in each house, and beautifully appointed kitchens. Your comfort and privacy are important at the Ranch. Once you arrive, it becomes your private home to come and go as you please; a 100% self-serve stay. Billie’s complimentary welcome basket will be waiting for you. She might include fresh eggs from her hen house, seasonal goodies, or other local offerings.


I you choose to bring your horse(s), call for details. Private rides are sometimes available with the owner, schedule permitting; a great way to see the working side of the Ranch.


The Open Cross motto is, “unplug and unwind”. Be prepared to leave city life behind. This countryside property provides private nature walks, hikes, horseback riding, and mountain biking right outside your door. The dark nighttime skies are a stargazer’s paradise, and the landscape is pure inspiration for artists and photographers. Riding stables are just a stone’s throw, and a mere 4 1/2 miles off of Hwy 83, you’ll find yourself in the heart of some of Arizona’s best wine country. The immediate area offers wine tastings and tours at a dozen vineyards and wineries, many of which are recipients of some of the most prestigious wine awards and accolades. “Foodies” might also appreciate local organic produce, Farmers’ Markets, and plentiful homemade goods. A quick jaunt to nearby Sonoita and other towns, reveals a wonderful selection of restaurants, shopping, historic attractions, museums and other recreation. Throughout the year escape to events such as the Sonoita Rodeo, horse races, food events, county fairs and other community activities. Fishing and water sport enthusiasts enjoy nearby lakes - Parker Canyon and Patagonia.


This Madera oak woodland receives the majority of rainfall from July through September, bringing rolling green pastures and abundant wildlife activity. Every changing season is celebrated here. The higher elevation of 5,100 ft. makes for cooler, greener summers than many of the surrounding cities and towns, while fall and winter are comparatively mild, with a short-lived snowfall now and then. Each season brings unique sights of native fauna and colorful landscapes specific to these wooded grasslands.


Open Cross Ranch is a USDA Forest permit in the Canelo Hills of Santa Cruz County. This year-round cow and calf operation has crossbred cows with Angus and Hereford bulls. Calves are born from April–July and are weaned in the fall. Because of the difficult terrain of these limestone hills, working cattle by traditional horseback is necessary. Owner Mac Donaldson oversees the day to day operations that keep this part of the Ranch's history alive and kick'n. It is a beautiful family affair.

Note: Google Maps and GPS systems may not show accurate street names.

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Billie Donaldson

Member Since 2011
Response rate:
Response time:
within a few hours
Calendar last updated:
Apr 17, 2018
About Billie Donaldson

The Donaldsons have been ranching in Southern Arizona for four generations and have a strong tie to the land. Mac & Billie are hands-on, making your stay the best possible in every way.

Why Billie Donaldson chose Elgin

Open Cross Ranch abides to personal ethics of conservation and sustainability. The original homestead property is a prime example of Western heritage and hospitality.

What makes this House unique

The charming Canelo House has everything you need to make yourself comfortable. It serves as the perfect home base for the many activities in the surrounding areas. The Ranch is private but still convenient to nearby Sonoita, and is central to almost a dozen vineyards, wineries, riding stables and more. The property is vast and provides beautiful wilderness exploration.


    • Internet
    • Air Conditioning
    • Heater
    • Kids Welcome
    • Washer & Dryer
    • Parking
    • TV
    • No Smoking


      • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
      • Master
        1 queen
      • Bedroom 2
        2 twin/ single
      • Charming, spacious 1/2 bath which connects to a private laundry room.


      • 1 Bathroom
      • Bathroom 1
        toilet, shower

        Location Type

          • Mountain View
          • Rural


              • Adventure
              • Away From It All
              • Family
              • Historic
              • Romantic
              • Sports & Activities
              • Tourist Attractions


                  • Guests provide their own meals


                      • Air Conditioning
                      • Clothes Dryer
                        New, modern - front loading/energy efficient
                      • Heating
                      • Iron & Board
                      • Linens Provided
                      • Living Room
                        Open layout
                      • Parking
                      • Towels Provided
                      • Washing Machine
                        New, modern - front loading/energy efficient
                      • Wireless Internet
                        Coverage is spotty on property. WiFi is fully accessible at nearby Sonoita.


                          • Coffee Maker
                          • Dishes & Utensils
                          • Kitchen
                            Fully equipped with dishes, etc.
                          • Microwave
                          • Oven
                          • Pantry Items
                            Staples such as salt, sugar, coffee and tea are on hand. Owner Billie likes to sometimes surprise guests with other treats. Every stay includes a Welcome Basket of goodies from the Ranch.
                          • Refrigerator
                          • Stove
                          • Toaster


                              • Dining
                              • Dining Area
                              • comfy seating for 5 people


                                  • Books
                                  • DVD Player
                                  • Games
                                  • Ping Pong Table
                                  • Television
                                    For watching DVDs only.
                                  • Video Library
                                    Some movies are available.


                                      • Deck / Patio
                                        Porch with table. Outdoor ramada.
                                      • Outdoor Grill


                                          • Long-term Renters Welcome


                                              • museums
                                              • restaurants
                                              • winery tours

                                                Leisure Activities

                                                  • paddle boating
                                                  • antiquing
                                                  • boating
                                                  • eco tourism
                                                  • horseback riding
                                                  • horseshoes
                                                  • bird watching
                                                  • scenic drives
                                                  • shopping
                                                  • sight seeing
                                                  • walking
                                                  • wildlife viewing

                                                    Local Services & Businesses

                                                      • ATM/bank
                                                      • groceries
                                                      • massage therapist
                                                      • medical services

                                                        Sports & Adventure Activities

                                                          • hunting
                                                          • cycling
                                                          • fishing
                                                          • fly fishing
                                                          • freshwater fishing
                                                          • golf
                                                          • hiking
                                                          • equestrian events
                                                          • mountain biking
                                                          • pier fishing
                                                          • rock climbing
                                                          • spelunking
                                                          • swimming
                                                          • water skiing
                                                          • wind-surfing


                                                              • Ceiling fans, Air conditioning, Down comforters, I-pod alarm clock, Hairdryer, Hangers & luggage rack, Toaster, Coffee pot, Hand mixer, Britta pitcher, First aid kit, Laundry & cleaning supplies, Ironing board & iron, Telephone (local calls and personal calling cards), Movies, Ranch Chuck Wagon, Horse Shoe Pit, Croquet, Welcome basket with complimentary toiletries, coffee, tea, and more, Horse corrals for boarding your horse upon availability.

                                                                14 Reviews


                                                                Latest reviews


                                                                William K.


                                                                Perfect Vacation!!!

                                                                Dawn S.Edmonton, Canada

                                                                Our family of four loved our stay at Mac and Billie's ranch house. The location of the ranch is in a beautiful area in southern Arizona. Being from the city we haven't experienced peace and quiet like we did at the ranch for such a long time. The ranch house exceeded our expectations. It was exceptionally clean, and nicely decorated. You can tell Mac and Billie put in a lot of thought when it came to decorating the house. The kitchen had everything you needed to cook meals. Everything from cups and plates to the cutlery to the frying pans appeared brand new. All the beds were very comfortable. The shower had lots of hot water and excellent water pressure. The living room couch and chairs were comfortable. There was a good selection of DVD's if you wanted to watch a movie at night. It was convenient having a washer and dryer.

                                                                We arrived at the ranch at night and didn't have any problems finding it from the drive from Tucson. Billie and Mac provide good directions and there are fews sign once you hit the country roads directing you to the ranch. Though I would suggest locating the ranch on Google maps (Satellite view) before driving out there just to make it easier. Also pick up your groceries in Tucson.

                                                                The location of the ranch was perfect for day trips and exploring southern Arizona. We made day trips to Nogales, AZ; Patagonia; Tombstone; Bisbee; Tubac; Kartchner Caverns; and Green Valley (Titan Missile Museum).

                                                                Finally we would like to thank Mac and Billie. We found them to be very kind and thoughtful. Even when we arrived at night Mac was there to meet us to make sure we arrived all right. He then took the time to show us around the house. Mac set up the fire pit with wood every night we wanted to use it. They even provided us with marshmallows one night. Billie also bought a brand new board game for our family to use. Even though they also live on the ranch they respect your privacy but also make sure you're enjoying your stay. We enjoyed talking to both of them and their knowledge of the area.

                                                                Overall we would definitely stay here again and recommend it to family and friends.


                                                                Laura H.

                                                                The Canelo house is cozy and inviting. The views from the porch are breathtaking!

                                                                Beautiful, quiet, private

                                                                Harold David T.

                                                                This is a wonderful house on a working cattle ranch, with pleasant, thoughtful owners.

                                                                The house is situated so that it is private and quiet, with beautiful views of the Canelo Hills and Huachuca Mountains.

                                                                Private, relaxing, scenic

                                                                Kitty M.

                                                                This was our second stay at the Canelo House. We really appreciate the Southwestern style of this comfortable home. The long distance high desert views are amazing. We enjoyed watching the hummingbirds.

                                                                We have relatives in the area and entertained with a barbeque one evening. Planning on going back later this year.

                                                                Quiet, Relaxing Stay!

                                                                Danielle W.Tucson, Arizona

                                                                Loved the Canelo House! They had everything we needed, and the location is nice and peaceful! Great property and great owners! I would highly recommend!


                                                                Elgin, AZ, USA

                                                                Enjoy on-property trails for hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and other adventures. The extraordinary scenery and abundant wildlife is favored by photographers and artists, and the starry nighttime skies are spectacular.


                                                                Additional information about rental rates

                                                                Tax Rate

                                                                Rates are subject to change. If you need to board your horse(s) contact us for details at 520-455-4603 (Recommended check-in by 3pm. Check-out 3pm.) Please contact the owner for weekly/monthly rates.

                                                                14 Reviews
                                                                Wonderful 4.9/5
                                                                Enter dates for accurate pricing
                                                                For booking assistance, call 888-640-7927

                                                                Property # 383505vb