In 1915 W.W. Moore and Frank Asher leased 92,000 acres of land from the government on a parcel that reached 8 miles north to what is now Bartlett Dam in the Tonto National Forest.  That ranch became the Box Bar Ranch, a working cattle ranch, with lush grazing land fronting the Verde River.

In 1969 a group of investors from the Minneapolis area were advised that 1000 acres of the Box Bar Ranch were up for sale.  In 1970 the Page Land and Cattle Company as sellers agreed to sell the land to what would become the Rio Verde Development Company, and the Box Bar Ranch buildings were moved upstream.  Some of the original buildings, including 90 year old mesquite rail fences, still exist on the Rio Verde Property.

The Rio Verde Saddle Club:


In 1976 the Ranch began to be used for horseback riding groups.  In 1979 the Rio Verde Saddle Club was formed.  The club facilities are leased from Rio Verde Services, and include a fourteen-stall barn, pens, exercise paddocks, tack and feed storage and a riding arena.  The horses are tended to by experienced wranglers who maintain the property.  Members must be residential property owners in Rio or Tonto Verde.

There are many miles of trails in the Tonto National Forest and nearby parks.  The Verde River is one of only 3 rivers in Arizona with continual water flow, and can be crossed by horse to the east side of the river for additional wild west trail riding.

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Cookouts at the Ranch:

The Ranch site offers picnic tables under a canopy of mesquite trees on the bank overlooking the Verde River.  The Ranch can be rented for special occasions such as weddings and catered meals through the Rio Verde Utilities office.

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3 thoughts on “Down on the Box Bar Ranch

  1. Lora Scott

    hard to see this developed. The Box Bar Ranch was my Great Uncles Glen Moore, and the X2 Ranch was my Grandfather’s Lin W. Moore. I really wish my Grandmother could have kept the property. Sad Sad

    • Hard to believe that at one time, that valley was full of lush grasses, and prime grazing land. There is still grazing on the Preserve land west of the river, trust me, I have seen cattle in my yard! They can find any small break in the fence!

      There is a lot of development heading out that way, but water is a big concern for those seeking the wild west experience. The Rio Verde development draws its water from the Box Bar Ranch wells, while other homes up Dynamite road east have water hauled in, and dirt roads to your home.

  2. Tony Gardella Jr

    My Dad Tony O. Gardella Sr. Was raised on the Box Bar by Gerbacio “Harvey” Noriega. I have many foND memories of that place. My Father will be 90 years old December 11th, 2015

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