Rankin Ranch is in the Tehachapi Mountains in Kern County. From Southern California, head north on Interstate 5 over the Grapevine. Take California 99 north to Bear Mountain Boulevard (California 223). Go through the small town of Arvin 11 miles to California 58. Go east toward Mojave to the Caliente turnoff. From the Caliente post office, drive about 30 minutes to the ranch.
WHERE TO STAY
Quarter Circle U Rankin Ranch, Box 36, Caliente, CA 93518; (661) 867-2511, www.rankinranch.com. The ranch is open March 30 to Sept. 30, along with two special weekends for scrapbooking hobbyists in October. Regular season rates are $190 a day for each adult (double occupancy); children under 2 are free; children under 4 are $40 per night; children 4 and 5 are $105; children 6 to 11 are $130. Rates dip for the off-season (April 15 to May 25; May 28 to June 8; Sept. 3 to 30). On weekends, off-season rates are $165 a day for each adult (double occupancy); Sundays to Thursdays, rates are $140 for each adult (double occupancy). Off-season rates also are less for children. Rates include three meals a day, horseback riding, ranch activities and a supervised children’s program during summer season. (The ranch website has a full price list.)
WHAT TO BRING
Temperatures can vary in the mountains, so pack clothing that can be layered. Bring a flashlight, swimsuit, sunscreen, boots or shoes with heels for riding, a fishing pole and, if you wish, a bottle of wine (the ranch doesn’t have a liquor license).