Family Travel

Rankin Ranch in Caliente, California

Coordinates: 35.28965° N, -118.62876° E
Baton Rouge to Rankin Ranch: 1,854 miles
Driving Time: 28 hours, 30 minutes
Flying Time: 3 hours, 48 minutes
Why Rankin Ranch? If you’re considering a trip to California, the thought of crowded freeways, crowded amusement parks–crowded everything–can be rather daunting, yet, there are pockets of paradise in the Golden State, like Rankin Ranch. The ranch has been in operation since the Civil War, and they continue to raise White Face Hereford cattle just as their ancestors did 150 years ago. Guests enjoy the fact that the Ranch is a peaceful respite, but that it is also very family-friendly. Their motto is “Western hospitality is part of your package.”

Lodging is provided in comfortable, cozy mountain cabins situated in Walker’s Basin, deep in the heart of California’s Tehachapi Mountains. Each of their regular rooms sleep five and have queen, twin and day beds, plus a sitting area. They also have two deluxe rooms which accommodate six people, with two queen beds and a day bed that pulls out into two twin beds. The larger rooms have a small kitchenette area with a microwave.


You’ll certainly work up a hearty appetite while you’re at the Ranch, so be prepared for some really great “grub.” Their delicious, home-cooked meals are included in the nightly rate.

Breakfast is served between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., and you have a choice of waffles, pancakes, eggs and hash browns, and mouth-watering bacon and sausage. If you’re a light eater, there’s cereal and fruit available.

Dinner and lunch are served buffet style, with different selections at each meal. Lunch items include main dishes such as spaghetti, hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, or BBQ meatballs. Side selections vary daily offering fruit, salads, cheese, rolls, oatmeal raisin cookies, and vanilla ice cream. Dinner options include baked chicken, tri tip, BBQ beef, beef brisket or baked turkey, with sides such as baked beans, potatoes, stuffing, a veggie platter, or buttermilk biscuits.

Horseback riding is a must at the Ranch for both adults and children, ages six and older. Don’t worry if you’ve never saddled up before–their horse wrangler is there to help you, and he will select the perfect horse for you then guide you through their beautiful trails. You’ll explore the lush meadows and marvel at Walker’s Basin Creek and the mountain ridges surrounding the valley.

After a long day on the trail, take a plunge in the Ranch’s invigorating in-ground swimming pool. The pool is the perfect place to take a dip, and it’s heated from May to September, so you and your kiddos can do some laps whenever you please. Lovely shade trees surround the pool, making it the ideal place to sip an icy drink or read your favorite book.

Lake Julia, a small man-made pond, is the perfect spot to cast your line and go fishing for rainbow trout for the day. Guests are welcome to catch and release, or you can clean your catch and they’ll cook it up for dinner for you to enjoy. Walker Basin Creek flows through the pond year round and the kids love wading in the creek to catch frogs and play in the mud.

If you visit during spring break or the summer months, the Ranch has a great supervised children’s program. Camp counselors are on duty from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and then join the children again in the evening with planned activities for ages 4-11. Kids can enjoy arts and crafts, nature hikes, scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, talent shows, and swim meets. Weekly boat races are a ranch favorite, and children can enjoy building creative toy boats to be raced at the creek or spillway.

Your kiddos will also love going to Sarah’s Farm. They can help bottle feed the baby animals, throw hay to the lambs and goats, and hold the chickens. The pigs are always a hit as they “recycle” the left over fruits and vegetables from the kitchen. Following the excitement at the farm, children can then meet up with their parents for the family-style evening activities they can do together. 

Indoor and outdoor fun and games are available at the Ranch. Their recreation room offers fun activities including a pool table, a foosball table, card and board games. Head outside and you’ll find plenty of room for archery, volleyball, soccer and football. All equipment for the activities  is available for use at the Ranch office.

Evening activities are lots of fun and they include the meadow BBQ, bingo, and even square dancing. Get out there and bust a move with your family! Or, take a peaceful stroll down their quiet country road and enjoy the fresh mountain air and star-filled skies. 

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