As I looked through the single glass pane and timber framed window out to the desert beyond I realised that the harsh landscape is perfect. Absolute perfection. The hills rolled away from me. A cactus here and there, scattering of rocks across the landscape. The sun was setting on this Californian scene and I knew then that it was a moment that I will never forget. I picked a book from the coffee table to my side and the first quote summed up the feeling of being at Rimrock Ranch.
“My father, Dennis Hopper, believed that being on the road in search of something was very American. You had to keep moving forward no matter what. Ride into town, gunfight at high noon, then off into the sunset.” – Marin Hopper
The evening before we’d arrived after a quick 40 minutes drive from Palm Springs, some 1,000 ft in altitude below. The air was cooler and a welcome change to the stifling heat. Right on the Edge of Joshua Tree National Park and a stones throw from Pioneertown, Rimrock Ranch is nestled into seemingly desolate landscape. As we unpacked our car one of the owners of the Ranch, Eric popped his head up from behind a classic motorcycle he was working on. His partner Gwen was out when we arrived so Eric gave us the grand tour. They recently purchased the land and properties on it, many of which needed a complete revamp- and they were just the people for the job. The ranch is now a design masterclass. It encapsulates the romanticised image of the American West- fitting for this former weekend retreat for western actors like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. Ever developing, Gwen and Eric have a vision for Rimrock that they’re putting into place. We can’t wait to go back and see what may have changed or what interesting decor has been added in. It’s clear that they’ve put their heart and soul in to the place.
We were lucky enough to have stayed in ‘The Lodge’, a timber cabin with 4 double beds, a kitchen, sitting area and even a porch out back complete with a swinging chair. Staying at any of the accommodations in Rimrock gives you full use of the grounds, observation deck, plunge pool, hiking trails and deep pit BBQ. The lodge’s interior, designed by Eric is a cool blend of mid-western desert design and mid-century chic. Each detail demands it’s own attention. A Cowhide rug adds a cosy element to the polished concrete floor, rocking chairs are draped in Mexican blankets, a bullet hole peppered target hangs proudly on the wall as though part of a gallery and our favourite detail- Eric’s handmade gnarly wooden bed and door frames. The bathrooms are also worth a mention with their brass details, throwback tubs and movie star mirror lighting. Rimrock Ranch and its 11 acres is a great place to come with your partner if you’re looking for a home away from home vibe. There’s no restaurants, room service and unnecessary extras to the experience- it is a true desert escape. In total the ranch can sleep 22 people so it’s just as much a place to come with your partner or all of your friends and family. Eric showed us the variety of accommodations that they have on site, from a retro fitted Airstream trailer to 1940s cabins with the original pine panelling. The Hatch House is the centre piece of the ranch. So called due to its wall of original hatchwork prints, the one bedroom, one bath, one kitchen house is super stylish. Rebuilt after a wildfire, it’s now looking sleek with elements of steel that stand out from the landscape and give it a powerful contrast.
Rimrock Ranch is not just a fine place to stay, Gwen and Eric will also play host to your wedding. In the high desert, Rimrock Ranch surely has to be one of the finest and possibly the coolest place to say your vows. And the photos….oh the photos would be spectacular. The ranch is a canvas for you to put your own stamp on, with an incredible backdrop. You’ll probably want to spend your wedding, honeymoon and the rest of your life in this landscape if given half a chance. The ranch has a magical draw. I am already thinking of the next time we can return.
Joshua Tree National Park is a short drive away, and likely the main reason you’d visit Rimrock Ranch. Then again, if you’re planning on staying here and it’s not because of Joshua Tree, then make sure you put in on your list! The National Park is one of a kind. A bucket list landscape. The desert flora is unlike anything you’ll have probably ever seen. Coming from London we don’t tend to see many cactus about unless they are in pots! The thousands and thousands of the majestic twisted Joshua Trees are the main attraction but don’t overlook some of the other unusual flora. The cholla cactus had to be one of our favourites; a spiny glass like cactus in tones of yellow and brown. For those that love the outdoors, or even if you only wish to drive through, make some time to explore. You can download a map of the park and the key sites to visit ahead of time. If you’re short on time, make sure that you drive to Keys View where a lookout across the entire Coachella Valley will take your breathe away. A simply stunning vista that must be seen to be believed.
Although Rimrock Ranch may seem like it’s a million miles away from anywhere, there are gems to discover amongst the hills. At the iconic Pioneertown 15 minutes down the road, you can find Pappy and Harriet’s. A real Western bar that almost always sells out tickets for the live performances! Where all the people come from we’re not too sure. If you’re lucky you might even catch a world famous name playing, Robert Plant, Maren Morris and Vampire Weekend to name a few . Your chances could even be significantly improved if you visit near the Coachella festival time. Starting out in life as a film set, Pioneertown is just as you would expect a western town to be, with dusty wooden buildings, saloons and dirt tracks. Make sure to spend a little time here, taking photos and checking out the shops. If you’re feeling hungry then also head on over to La Copine a fine small town diner stop in Flamingo Heights, that serves great food. We couldn’t get enough of the chocolate panna cotta with strawberries and hazelnuts.
If you’re looking to get away from city life then Rimrock Ranch is definitely going to be for you. It isn’t a 5-star hotel, or a luxury resort but what it can offer you is much much better. Watching the sun set whilst rocking on our porch was an unbeatable experience. Viewing the stars from the observation deck is more special than we could describe. And It’s quiet. Peaceful. If you listen hard enough you can hear the coyotes howling. What more could you want from life? Rimrock Ranch is one in a million and we cannot wait to return.
50857 Burns Canyon Road.
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