The "Q" is a private ranch nestled in a Ponderosa pine and oak valley surrounded by the Tonto National Forest. It is located in Gila County, just below the Mogollon Rim at an elevation of 5500-6200 feet.
From 900 to 1400 AD, the area was the site of a thriving Native American Western Pueblo culture. That civilization built what is now known as the Q Ranch Pueblo, a 260-room, apartment-like dwelling of fine sandstone masonry—the third largest of its kind. Some of the rooms were 2- and 3-stories high. In 1894, Col. Jesse Ellison started a cattle ranch on the site and his wife’s brand, which she brought from Texas — the single letter Q — gave the ranch its name. Hand-cut log buildings from that period still exist. This area is also known for the infamous Pleasant Valley War, the longest and bloodiest range war and family feud in U.S. history.
Access only via unpaved roads has resulted in a rich habitat with abundant wildlife, pristine vegetation and dark skies at night that afford naked-eye viewing of the Milky Way and a host of celestial orbs. We hope to see you here.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the ruins at Q Ranch were mostly a fun place to play for the children of ranch owner Jack Rogers. It was not until Jack retired from active cattle ranching in 1988 that serious excavation and study of the Q Ranch Pueblo began, under the direction of the Arizona Archaeological Society and Dr. John Hohmann. Work continues to this day. Each year the ranch hosts numerous events that welcome the participation of students, as well as amateur and professional archaeologists, including residential workshops in pottery restoration and in scientific illustration, restoration and more.
The ranch and its surroundings are an unspoiled laboratory and classroom for students of natural history. More than 165 birds species and 70 butterfly species have been recorded since 2009, when written records were first kept. There are over a dozen species of large mammals, and wildflowers galore. Changes in elevation, permanent springs and perennial streams create varied habitats and great diversity of flora and fauna. The ranch is a favorite destination for birders, photographers, and butterfly, odonate and wildflower enthusiasts. As remote as it is, Q Ranch boasts dark night skies that afford naked-eye viewing of the Milky Way. Come use our telescope to see more!
Q Ranch Lodge
The fully solar-powered lodge is a two-story ranch house with six upstairs bedrooms, one downstairs bedroom and four shared baths. Each bedroom sleeps two. Double, twin, queen and king beds are available. The rooms are furnished with antiques, adding to their warmth and charm. Gourmet meals are included with lodging (the nearest place to eat is 25 miles away). The dining room faces the meadow seen in the banner at the top of the page. In the afternoon, herds of elk traverse this field to drink at the stock tank at the western edge. The ranch offers camping as well. The campground has an outhouse and a rustic shower.