Diamond Resorts Kohl’s Ranch Lodge is located in Arizona. I have been to Arizona before and have enjoyed it, but this is the first time I am staying at a Diamond Resort.
I have seen the prior CEO several times on Undercover Boss and loved what he did for his staff. I also liked to see some of the very hardworking and dedicated people Diamond Resorts has on their team.
So, this means I am excited to see and experience the Diamond Resort experience for myself.
Video by Travel And Moore
Day One Travel & Arrival at Diamond Resorts Kohl’s Ranch Lodge
Getting to Arizona for me is starting with a flight. The resort itself is at 202 South Kohl’s Ranch Lodge Road Payson, Arizona, 85541. This means the nearest international airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. There are smaller regional airports for those who fly privately.
I would like to fly private, but financially I am not there yet to fly private on a regular basis. I was happy to see that this airport posts its security wait times on its website, that will certainly help me plan the time I leave the resort on the way out. I hate getting to the airport way too early and missing time I could spend in the area I am in.
From the airport to the resort it takes you about 1.5 hours to drive by car, so a rental car is the best solution. It is an easy drive From Phoenix Metro Area take Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) to Payson. Once in Payson, turn east onto Highway 260 and travel approximately 17 miles. Kohl’s Ranch Lodge will be on the right-hand side of Highway 260.
When I arrived at the resort, I was happy to find an appealing resort that looked well cared for. I like that Tzort not only has me going to these resorts and writing for you, but they also will not offer just any resort. They focus on the best resorts available. Sometimes I am the first person from Tzort, but most of the time I am not. This was my first Diamond, so I was happy to be able to check things out myself and share them with you.
After a few hours in airports, flying, and then an hour and a half drive, I was ready to see my room and put down my bags.
This trip was just me so I had a one-bedroom booked. The one bedroom is 660 sq ft. Which is a nice size, and they are designed well. You have a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom on one side. Then on the other side, you have the living room with a fireplace and access to the large outside deck.
The resort also offers 2-bedroom cabins and 2-bedroom deluxe cabins. The main difference is the square footage and the addition of a nice dining table in the deluxe cabin. If you are going to cook much, or if you have game players in your group, the deluxe would make sense.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- Business Center
- On-Site Restaurants
The accommodations feel rustic in a great way. If you want to sleep in beds that were made of local hand-hewn wood, this is the place. Everywhere you go, you see wood logs for walls, accents, and structural and decorative features. The inside restaurant and even the outdoor features share that popular cowboy rustic feel but with modern convenience built in.
The cabins are built into the local geography. So there are steps involved, and some walks to get where you want to go. The cabins offer AC, which even in this area you want some of the years. These are well-maintained window units for the most part.
For the person that wants everything modern and perfect, this is not the resort to pick. But for those who want clean well-maintained natural surroundings, this is the pick. The resort itself sits at the base of Mogollon Rim which, for visitors, offers a one-of-a-kind view that is amazing. The area also boasts some of the best trout fishing in the State if not the country with 10 lakes.
Day Two Take A Hike
Now those of you who have read my blogs before know I am not a big hiker. I am working on that and getting back in shape after too long on lockdown during COVID. Some people gained 20lbs, I gained another person. Not literally, but figuratively (all kinds of puns intended there).
When committing to get back into shape at any age, go slow, but at 50+ go real slow. Also, when hiking, hydrate and make sure someone knows your plan or route.
The Forrest Service has a ranger district site nearby, and it is a good idea to communicate with them if you have unsupervised hiking plans. When you can choose to hike with a local guide, you will learn more, see more, and stay safe while likely having even more fun.
For my trip today, I am going solo on a 1-mile trip that does not have a steep grade, or really many challenges other than being a hike. This is called the Railroad Tunnel Trail #390. The total time is supposed to be 1-hour round trip and while not steep it is at an elevation of over 7,000 feet so since this is only my second day in the area, and I come from sea level, I expect some extra stops and huffing and puffing. Your body just does not process oxygen the same 7,000 feet up and this is over that.
Well, more than an hour later, the true time I will not likely share with anyone. I pulled my fat self up the trail and back to my starting point. Note to self: do not start hiking again at altitude. Still, it was great exercise and an interesting hike. I love local historical places and it was interesting to see a man’s dream even if it remained unrealized.
After my hike, I went for an early dinner or late lunch at Diamond Point Shadows. I had a Caesar salad and a filet. The food was outstanding and a good value for those options.
Next, it was back to the pool on-site for a dip and to rest my weary bones.
Day Three Seeing the Area
Today I am headed out into the local nature scene. Starting with a trip to this area’s natural bridge. Tonto National Bridge is an amazing area.
From the site of the state:
Thank you for packing out what you pack in. Please carry drinking water while hiking these trails. All trails are steep and strenuous. No pets or glass containers on any trails!
Pine Creek Trail is about ½ mile long (400 feet developed – undeveloped in the creek bottom), and leads to the Pine Creek natural area. Hiking shoes are recommended. Follow the arrows. Allow one hour.
Waterfall Trail is about 300 feet long and ends at the waterfall cave. Uneven steps. Allow 15–20 minutes.
Gowan Trail is about 2,200 feet long, down and back, leading to an observation deck in the creek bottom. The trail is steep and rough. No trash cans. Hiking shoes are recommended. Allow one hour.
Anna Mae Trail is about 500 feet long and leads to Pine Creek Trail and the Natural Bridge. Allow one hour.
What may be the world’s largest travertine bridge can be seen from many angles within the park. From the paved paths on top, visitors will encounter four great viewpoints to help understand the scale of the bridge, while having the opportunity to take in an expansive view of Arizona’s famed rim country. See the quick facts below that help describe how immense this natural bridge actually is!
The height of the bridge is 183 feet
The width of the tunnel is 150 feet
The length of the tunnel is 393 feet
The thickness of travertine above the tunnel is 60 feet
It should be noted that most natural bridges found throughout the world are made of sandstone or limestone. The size and history of the creation of Tonto Natural Bridge make this particular bridge unique and special. Those that view the grandeur are often awestruck by the visually stimulating experience!
Most guests while staying will take advantage of the Kohl’s Stables and go for a ride. They are open from May until November 5th or so every year. Now I exceed the weight limit myself since they do not keep Clydesdales on site (a little humor). Their weight limit is 245 lbs. and I do not blame the horses for not wanting to carry more on their back than that.
When I was a normal weight, I still was big for most horses. At 6’4” even when fit the horse kind of looks at you like, “awe come on man, really?”
But for most folks below that weight limit, I think horseback riding will be something you will absolutely love. I know for several years I really did.
Your ride includes a basic lesson and then you go off with a guide for your ride, often with a group of others on the trip.
I headed for some air conditioning myself for the afternoon. Few places have stronger air conditioning than a casino. They keep the temperature comfortable but low to keep everyone wide awake and playing.
This is an Indian, but a nicely maintained one. They also have several on-site restaurants at the casino, so I plan to eat, drink and gamble some.
The Cedar Ridge Restaurant on site is where I landed for lunch and it was a great choice. The prices were good, and the food was perfect for me.
Want your own ideal trip to Arizona, consider this resort and make sure you book with Tzort.