When we first started our RV trip, we prioritized gay campgrounds, but they became fewer and farther between as we got further out West. So when we found Copper Cactus Ranch Men’s Retreat outside of Phoenix, we jumped at the opportunity to go.
We called on the Wednesday before Memorial Day Weekend (MDW) and asked if they had availability. The owner Bobby said that they didn’t have any spots left, and he would clear an area for us next to the gate if we wanted to come. From our first interaction with Cactus Canyon Ranch we knew it was somewhere welcoming that takes hospitality seriously, so we took him up on his offer.
Getting to the Ranch, as the regulars call it, was a bit precarious – two miles down a narrow and uneven dirt road as the last stretch.
You will exit at and drive through Queen Valley, a long-ago mining town that now has a golf course and one gas station/convenience store/restaurant. This is your last chance to stop for supplies.
Follow the signs for the Queen Valley RV Park and keep an eye out for the discreet signs (rocks, really) with the CCR logo.
The last two miles was a windy, rough road. We have a 32′ Class C, and we did bottom out at one point while some art fell off the wall from the bouncing around. The drive was manageable by driving very slowly. Slower. Even slower.
After checking in, Mark gave us a tour of the property, told us about the weekend’s festivities, and showed us to our spot.
The spots themselves are more reminiscent of boondocking than camping at a campground. The RV spots are more or less an open lot without water or sewage. A few have power, but most do not. We have small tanks, so we’re usually concerned about this, but with the outdoor showers and eating at the guesthouse, we only used 1/3 of our fresh water and barely filled our grey tank. Solar power kept us running most of the time, and occasionally we supplemented with our propane (LP) generator during appropriate hours.
Plan to park your vehicle and not move it until you depart. That is both what the management requests, as well as our advice for having a great time at CCR.
We were only at the Ranch for a weekend, so internet and connectivity weren’t a priority for this visit. We would not have been able to work there during the week. There is shared wifi at the guesthouse, not for streaming, Our T-Mobile phones stopped working in the nearby town of Queen Valley, and our Verizon and AT&T services both had a single bar, but nothing would load.
T-Mobile LTE: no
AT&T LTE or 5G: no
Starlink: no, but soon based on their press releases
The Ranch felt very intimate and communal. The weekend we stayed, all of the meals were served buffet style at a set time. Guys showed up, sat at large tables or the bar, and made friends. Everyone was amiable, and we made friends everywhere, from dinner to the outdoor showers.
The Pool: clean above-ground pool with a wooden deck.
Gym: there is an outdoor weight room for pretending to work out
Play area: yep
Drink: you can BYOB or visit the Clubhouse for other options
Food: the Clubhouse has a kitchen and a modest menu to order from almost any time of day. Depending on the weekend, there may be a big buffet at meal times. The home-made food was all delicious.
There was always an option provided for vegetarians and often a gluten-free main. If you are vegan or have any major restrictions you should probably bring most of your own meals and snacks. That said, the owners and staff were so accommodating, I am sure they would have offered to prepare food that met any requests if asked.
The Big Adventure:
One Saturday morning at the community buffet breakfast, we noticed a sign-up sheet for buggy rides.
Outlaw Dave’s buggy ride is not an official CCR activity. You pay Outlaw Dave directly. We paid $125/each ($250 total) for about four hours of fun. There was also an option for a shorter one-hour late afternoon ride for $35. While Dave does charge for the ride as he builds his new business, it felt more like heading out with a wild friend.
We’ll write more about it in a separate post, and Outlaw Dave was one of the most fun and neighborly hosts for an intense adventure that we have ever met. Oh, and if he starts blasting ABBA music and asks you if you want to take the stairs, say “yes!” and hold on tight.
Payment: Copper Cactus Ranch accepts all credit cards, cash. Depending on the weekend and how busy it is, you may be asked to pay for each service as you go or may be able to pay at the end of the weekend. Tip the staff generously at the Clubhouse bar, and choose a very special reward by ringing the bells.
Shopping: A shelf of essentials is right next to the check-in. Sundries such as ibuprofen, sunscreen, bug bite itch cream, toothpaste are available – a small selection with one of almost all of the “essentials.” There is also a section with queer art, books, unique clothes, and fun novelty gifts.
Delivery: no restaurants that we found or other services including Shipt/Target, Instacart, Seamless/Grubhub, Uber Eats, or Doordash deliver to Copper Cactus Ranch.
Mail: we only stayed for the weekend so we had no need for receiving post. There is likely a way to receive packages if needed, but it is probably a few extra steps and if you can wait until your next stop that is probably preferable. Call and ask for more details.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Ranch. Management was laser focused on spectacular customer service. While we couldn’t stay here during the work week due to the lack of LTE/5G, it was a great weekend getaway. The people are friendly and attractive,
If you’re looking for a gay campground in Arizona, we highly recommend Copper Cactus Canyon.
Campground Review: Copper Cactus Ranch Men’s Retreat