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

Bedrooms 2
Property type house


About the property

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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More Details

Billie Donaldson
Member since: 2011
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
April 21, 2017

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 Arizona

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.


Sonoita House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • non smoking only
  • pets not allowed ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome
Location Type:
  • Mountain View
  • Rural
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Heating
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 5 people
  • 1 Bathroom
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Master - 1 queen
    Bedroom 2 - 2 twin/ single
  • Charming, spacious 1/2 bath which connects to a private laundry room.
  • Books
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Ping Pong Table
  • Television ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Outdoor Grill
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • eco tourism
  • horseback riding
  • horseshoes
  • paddle boating
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • 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.


Wonderful! 4.9/5 -
(7 traveler reviews)

The Canelo House - 1 of 2 Private Houses at Open Cross Ranch
average rating of 4.857143 based on 7 reviews

Quiet Beauty!

  • 5 of 5

Loved our stay and Billie and Mac's historic homestead! After attending a wonderful wine dinner at Flying Leap we enjoyed the peace and quiet and open sky of their beautifully constructed guesthouse, the Canelo house. What a great place and every detail was designed with your needs in mind. Thank you so much for sharing your special place!

  • Submitted: Apr 9, 2017
  • Stayed: Apr 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Excellent location to get away from a hectic life

  • 4 of 5

The Canelo House is very comfortable and thoughtfully and tastefully decorated with Southwestern flair. Everything you need is there including a washer and dryer. It is very well maintained and clean. It is a great location to slow down. (Be sure to bring your supply of groceries with you because there really isn't a "quick trip" to the store in this area.)

  • Submitted: Apr 7, 2017
  • Stayed: Mar 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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A beautiful and peaceful retreat

  • 5 of 5

We had a lovely stay. The Canelo house was beautifully furnished, with views as far as the eye can see. The owners were kind and very accommodating, allowing us to explore the property for a sunset picnic. They gave us privacy while also being available if we had any questions, wanted to have them build an evening fire around the firepit, or just wanted to have great conversation (we did!). It is a very special piece of property and they are wonderful stewards of it. We had an amazing time and are already planning our next stay.

  • Submitted: Apr 6, 2017
  • Stayed: Apr 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Mesa, AZ

Canelo House the perfect stay in wine country!

  • 5 of 5

We stayed at the Canelo house for one night and enjoyed it so much we are planning our next visit. Billie & Mac and so friendly and gracious. Their home is a perfect retreat from the city. We had a wonderful, relaxing visit and got to experience AZ wine country. Thank you so much for having us!

  • Submitted: Feb 26, 2017
  • Stayed: Feb 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Scottsdale AZ

Easter Weekend

  • 5 of 5

Over the Easter weekend, we were invited to spend the holidays with our son's family and enjoy the Easter egg experience with our 2 year old granddaughter. It turns out our daughter-in-law's parents live real close to the Open Cross Ranch, and we needed to find a place to stay for the weekend. We were pleasantly surprised when we pulled up to this beautiful ranch. It's located at the very bottom of the Canelo Hills, which is National Forest Lands, and the views are breathtaking! There are 2 houses that are available to rent, and we stayed in the Canelo House, which accommodates 6 people comfortably. The home is fully furnished, and we were greeted to Easter Candy, fresh eggs from their farm, home-baked cinnamon rolls, and fresh water. The owners, Mac and Billie Donaldson, are friendly people who will do everything possible to make your stay an enjoyable and relaxing one! When we come to visit this area in the future, we are planning on bringing our other 2 grandchildren. They love the ranch-type atmosphere and would enjoy playing in the fields and watching the horses and chickens. This ranch is convienently located close to Sonoita and within an easy driving distance to Tucson and Patagonia Lake State Park if you like to hike, fish, or just enjoy the views. In fact, after I posted some of my pictures on Facebook of the ranch, the sunset, and mountains nearby, one of my friends who will be coming to Tucson early next year for a niece's wedding from Hawaii, asked for additional information on these facilities. In addition, if someone has a big group up to 14 people, they could actually rent both homes and have a wonderful experience. My husband and I don't hesitate a moment in recommending this ranch if you are wanting a relaxing and enjoyable stay in Arizona.

Phil & Judy Dubiel

Scottsdale, AZ

  • Submitted: May 20, 2012
  • Stayed: Apr 2012
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Tucson, Arizona, USA

Excellent Get-Away on a Working Cattle Ranch

  • 5 of 5

My husband and I stayed at the Canelo House on the Open Cross Ranch this past weekend and we absolutely loved it. The owners have done an excellent job renovating an historic ranch that has been around since the 1800s. They have the right feel for mixing vintage with modern to create a perfect environment for relaxation. We particularly enjoyed hearing stories about their family experiences working and ranching on the land. Open Cross Ranch made us feel right at home with a basket of fresh fruit and chocolate, as well as a small basket of high quality loofahs and lotions. The bed was cozy and warm in spite of the nip in the air, and the views were absolutely spectacular.

  • Submitted: Feb 13, 2012
  • Stayed: Feb 2012
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Car: necessary

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.


Rates & Availability

Sonoita House Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
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Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Tax Rate 6.6%

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.

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