Can You Visit Bonanza Creek Ranch?

credit: tripadvisor

Whether it’s the stories of cowboys rustling cattle and fighting off horse thieves or living on a ranch, the Wild West has always piqued many people’s interest. There are innumerable sites across the United States where tourists may pay a visit to a working ranch to gain the Western experience. But can you visit the Bonanza Creek Ranch?

Bonanza Creek Ranch is a privately owned ranch located in Santa Fe and is closed to tourists except by appointment. Over 150 movies and series have been filmed on this impressive Ranch which sports 5 western-themed sets. Tours are not scheduled during the filming season.

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Can You Visit The Bonanza Creek Ranch?

This impressive Ranch spanning many acres is found in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It houses five movie sets containing 24 buildings. In the 1950s, the Ranch became the site for numerous movies and series. And today, it boasts a grand total of 150 movies and series filmed in this little out-of-the-way town.

Tourists and the public can visit the Bonanza Creek Ranch; however, the Ranch is closed to tourists except by appointment. Only visitors who have appointments with guided tours are permitted entry onto the Ranch.

The Ranch is sometimes used as the venue for photo shoots and corporate events, and schools take children around on guided tours.

The public is urged to check with tour operators for availability and to make bookings ahead of time. Currently, the Ranch’s website is under construction, so it is best to call the Ranch first before taking a trip down that way.

As a movie lover of the western genre, the Bonanza Creek Ranch is a must. Nearby Bonanza City, once a ghost town in ruins, satisfies the interest of every history buff. The Ranch is full of interesting facts about the world of film production that spans eight decades.

What Are The Entry Requirements To Bonanza Creek Ranch?

Tours to the Bonanza Creek Ranch are arranged by appointment only, and only guided tours are permitted. Tourists can contact the Ranch for details about the guided tours and open times.

All visitors must be aware of an entrance fee that is charged. The tour lasts approximately three hours and costs $25 per person.

The best time to visit the Ranch will be between Saturdays to Tuesdays. The busiest days are from Wednesday to Friday. Therefore, visitors are requested to plan their trips carefully to avoid disappointment. It is also best to visit in the mornings from around 9 am, that is best to avoid the crowds and before the sun is unbearable.

Some tour agencies also arrange tours of the movie sets where visitors have the opportunity to experience life on a movie set. Several familiar movies and series have been filmed on the sets of Bonanza Creek Ranch, and visitors can walk the streets of their favorite stars.

These guided tours of the movie sets are priced at around $200 per person. However, tourists must be aware that tour groups’ prices may differ.

The Ranch is also the site for people who wish to celebrate their wedding, birthday, or engagement in a Western town. Visitors need to inquire from Ranch personnel on availability and the costs involved.

How Can You Reach The Bonanza Creek Ranch?

Bonanza Creek Ranch is nestled in the town of Santa Fe, New Mexico, with spectacular views of the mountains surrounding it. Since the Ranch became the set of numerous movies and series, the tourism industry has flourished.

For tourists traveling by car to the Ranch from Santa Fe, the journey is around 28 to 30 minutes. Unfortunately, no buses are available from Santa Fe to the Ranch. Visitors can hire a car or ride a taxi or cab. Around 90% of tourists who visit the Ranch prefer to travel by motor vehicle.

For bike enthusiasts who don’t mind taking the scenic route, the bike trail to the Ranch from Santa Fe is around an hour to two hours.

When Did The Bonanza Creek Ranch Become A Movie Set?

The Hughes family privately owns the Ranch. Although the Ranch is used to film several movies and series, the Hughes family retains property ownership. In the 1940s, the Ranch became the site for the western movie, The Man from Laramie. The current owner of the Ranch is Glenn Hughes.

In the 1980s, the Hughes family, in partnership with other movie production companies, constructed a permanent film set on the Ranch. Previously the Ranch was used to film primarily outdoor scenes. However, the construction of the permanent set allowed filmmakers the opportunity to film indoor scenes.

What Movies Is Bonanza Creek Ranch Famous For?

The partnership between Hollywood and the Bonanza Creek Ranch spans eighty years. The first movie, The Man from Laramie with Jimmy Stewart, was filmed in 1940. After that, the Ranch became a favored spot for many spaghetti movies.

In total, 150 movies utilized the sets on Bonanza Creek Ranch. Some of the most recognized movies are listed below.

  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1968)
  • Young Rider (1969)
  • Silverado (1985)
  • Young Guns (1988)
  • Wild Hogs (2007)
  • Cowboys and Aliens (2010)
  • A Million Ways to die in the West (2014)

What Attractions Are Close To The Bonanza Creek Ranch?

The duration for tourists to visit the Bonanza Creek Ranch is around three hours. Due to the proximity to other exciting attractions, tourists may plan a day out sightseeing in Santa Fe.

Visitors may stop at the Casa Grande Trading Post and Petting zoo on the way to the Ranch. This is an ideal spot for a light lunch or refreshments. And the little ones will enjoy the interaction with the animals.

Tourists may also find the historical town of El Rancho De Las Golondrinas interesting. The town is a living museum where visitors can experience small-town 18th-century life in New Mexico.

There are also several museums along the route for the history buffs. A firm favorite for many art lovers is the Georgia O’ Keefe art museum, which is home to Georgia O’ Keefe’s most extensive art collection.

Art lovers also glimpse her life and the area that inspired many of her landscape paintings. However, over weekends and holidays, the museum gets crowded. Therefore, visitors are requested to plan their trip and book their tickets over the app.

For weary travelers, several hotels close to the Ranch or in Santa Fe offer accommodation.

What Is The History Surrounding The Bonanza Creek Ranch?

John Mahoney, around the early 1800s, founded the original Bonanza city. The City was a booming town with mining minerals like iron ore. With a population of 2000, It had several amenities like a general store, hotel, post office, and a church with a resident priest.

However, as the iron ore and other minerals became depleted, the town size reduced. The smelter moved to nearby Albuquerque, dropping town numbers to 200 residents.

By the mid-1900s, the City was abandoned and became a ghost town. Until the movie industry revived the Bonanza Creek Ranch, which saw tourists clambering to take a peek into a movie set and experience life in the West.