Elkhorn Ranch Arizona

Work in Arizona this winter!


Elkhorn Ranch, located in the rugged Baboquivari Mountains southwest of Tucson, Arizona, is a guest ranch offering horseback riding and comfortable living for about 32 guests. The Miller Family has owned and operated Elkhorn continuously since 1946 and enjoys the friendship of many returning guests and crew.


Working at Elkhorn is about making our guests feel like part of our family and helping them enjoy the country horseback. With a small crew, every job is vital and pulling your weight is a must. The crew gathers in October to open the ranch -- a time for getting to know fellow crew, our family, and the ways of the ranch. Guests arrive in mid-November and the season continues through April with the possibility of a week or so of post-season work to help close the ranch in early May. Appreciation of the outdoors and rural living makes the winter here a treat -- if you need city life, we are most likely not the place for you.Out for a ride at the Elkhorn Ranch

Our Jobs

9/5/2014: All our positions are filled for our upcoming winter/spring season. Please consider us for next year!

Around 18 seasonal crew work plus the Miller Family work in the office, dining room, housekeeping, kitchen, grounds-keeping, maintenance, driving and barn/guiding areas.   Here’s more information.  

Office manager (1) – guest and crew hospitality and reception, phone and email communication, housekeeping oversight, purchasing, day-to-day accounting.

Dining room servers (2)  – serve guests three meals per day, buffet and guest table set up, dishes, dining room and kitchen work area cleaning. SEEKING FRIENDLY & CARING APPLICANTS WHO ARE WILLING TO HUSTLE

Kitchen assistant (1) – kitchen and crew dining room cleaning, assist chefs, manage supply storeroom, crew dining room prep, pots and pan washing, involves lifting or moving heavy boxes up to 50-75 pounds for short distances in store rooms.  SEEKING APPLICANT WHO IS A STRONG WILLING WORKER AND GOOD TEAM PLAYER - NOT A JOB FOR ANYONE WITH BACK PROBLEMS.

Chef/Baker (2) – prepare three meals per day for guests and crew, maintain kitchen operations to meet health codes, team leaders for kitchen.

Groundskeeping, maintenance, driving (2)

Housekeeping (2) – daily housekeeping for 20 guest cabins and office / computer room, weekly change-over deep cleaning, guest and ranch laundry (including all cabin linens), and nightly bed turn-downs. SEEKING ORGANIZED AND DETAIL ORIENTED APPLICANTS WHO ARE WILLING TO HUSTLE AND WORK AS AN INDEPENDENT TEAM

Guides (5) – guide trail rides, packing for guest rides and ranch work, ranch and livestock projects, horseshoeing, train young and purchased horses for guest use.  Applicants must have solid work and/or life experience with horses and basic horseshoeing skills, and ideally some guiding and packing experience.  Due to our rough country, horse development program and horseshoeing needs, this is not an entry level position.  If you really like the looks of Elkhorn, but are not qualified for an Elkhorn guide job, you might consider applying for a different position and using the winter to learn more about guest ranching. SEEKING SEVERAL SERIOUS APPLICANTS - A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR SOMEONE WHO REALLY WANTS TO DEVELOP HORSE RELATED SKILLS AND WORK WITH GOOD HORSES IN INTERESTING RUGGED COUNTRY.

Our Ideal Candidate

Already knows that you don't wear your cowboy hat and spurs at the dinner table, or is wise enough to look to the head of the table for a good example.  You don't need to know everything when you get here - but be ready to learn fast, and make it stick.  You do need to genuinely enjoy people, both guests and fellow crew.  We hope you'll like the beautiful Sonoran desert country where the ranch is located -- we're not in or near the city!  For wrangling jobs, you need real livestock and guiding experience, including ability and willingness to shoe horses -- we don't have any entry-level guiding jobs. Ranch life is physically demanding, with long days and at least some heavy lifting for all jobs -- be strong and ready to work!

Room and Board

Everyone who works at Elkhorn lives on the ranch. Everyone has their own room, and most likely shares a bathroom with one other person. Rooms are furnished and linens are provided.

The Elkhorn kitchen works hard to provide for both guest and crew dietary needs and preferences, but if you have strict dietary needs, you might find it difficult given that you do not have individual access to kitchen facilities and town is over an hour away.

Employee Perks

Compensation consists of a monthly salary, guaranteed portion of the gratuity pool distributed monthly, and full room and board. Remaining gratuity pool is distributed at end of season. Six day work week with one regularly scheduled day off. Reimbursement for portion of medical insurance costs after one full season, and we assist crew with finding a medical insurance to compliment your seasonal work life. elkhorn crew

Getting Here and Getting Around

Most crew prefer having their own vehicle, though many people have lived and worked here without one (we are happy to pick up staples on the weekly town run within reason). Otherwise, fly or bus to Tucson and we’re happy to pick you up in Tucson. The Arizona Shuttle runs regularly to Tucson from the Phoenix Airport.

For Fun

You're welcome to ride and enjoy the pool during your free time, though crew riding is limited when guest numbers are high.  The hiking is wonderful on the ranch and regionally.  City fun, shopping and the like are about 1 1/2 hours from the ranch.  The ranch crew room has satellite TV plus a video/DVD player and many games, puzzles, and books -- you can also sample the ranch guest library.  Crew are invited to all ranch social functions.  There is a "crew only" wireless area around the crew dining room, that is available to you if you join the crew cost-share pool, and a computer (no printer) provided by the ranch for your use.  If you need to be on-line a lot, you'll want to arrange your own internet access so as to not overuse shared bandwidth.

How to Apply

Elkhorn does not have an application form, rather we ask you to send the following items to us by mail or email (no fax available).  Handwritten is ok — we want the information and to learn about you.

  • Cover letter — suggested topics to include in your cover letter
    • Availability dates
    • Positions that interest you
    • Why does Elkhorn interest you?
    • What skills and life experience would you bring to the Elkhorn crew?
    • How does a job at Elkhorn fit into what you’ve been doing and hope to do in future years?
    • Any questions about Elkhorn?
  • Resume (that includes detailed list of work experience and timing of jobs);
  • 3-5 professional references with up-to-date contact information; and
  • Recent photograph appreciated, but not required.

We will accept applications during July and early August, and beyond until all positions are filled.  We will begin to seriously review applications around August 1st.  Please feel free to contact us, preferably by email, to check on the status of your application.

Mailing Address:
Elkhorn Ranch
27000 W Elkhorn Ranch Road
Tucson, AZ  85736

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Season: Spring, Fall, and Winter

Housing: Private Room

Staff Size: 18 - 20

Age Requirement: 18

Location: Arizona