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About Cocoraque Ranch

Our ranch pavilion is a secluded and completely private natural desert setting where guests enjoy 16,000 acres of the southwest desert in it’s purest form. Cocoraque Pavilion is easily accessed through public roads and is the ideal location for any event, whether a company picnic, wedding, reunion, birthday party, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, anniversary or holiday gathering.

Cocoraque Ranch and Pavilion has everything you’ll need for an unforgettable event, which includes but is not limited to:

The open space and fresh air of our pavilion is a welcome alternative to a stuffy hotel ballroom. Customize your stay with special events such as trail rides, hay rides, cattle drives, western and/or picnic games. Make your event special and reserve your event today.

The Ranch

The Cocoraque Ranch House is a two-bedroom, 1200 square foot, burnt adobe home, built in the 1890s. It offers a mesquite fired barbecue grill, a covered serving area located on the porch area and horse corrals.

The word “saguaro” suggests Arizona, and vice versa, the name Arizona brings to mind desert cacti.

The Cocoraque Ranch sits within a majestic saguaro forest. The beauty of the desert, the historic architecture and the rustic setting will transpire you to “the cowboy life of a century ago.”

Our History

cocofenceThe area known as Cocoraque… was homesteaded in the 1890s by Oscar Robles, Sr.’s grandfather. Cocoraque is one of the oldest working cattle ranches in Southern Arizona and is located approximately 7 miles west of the Sonoran Desert Museum.

bullhornsAround 300 B.C., a culture of people, thought to be ancestors of the Pima and Papago tribes, known to us as the Hohokam, migrated from the south to this area and began farming and living in semi-permanent dwellings. The evidence of their presence still lingers today in the sands of the desert and the rock outcrops that dot this area in art forms of petroglyphs that are chipped into the granite boulders.

The ranch, now located in the Avra Valley is the last remnants of a huge Mexican grant that extended from below the present Mexican border to a line somewhere north of the present ranch border.

petroglyphThe original owner, Sr. Benito Robles, consolidated the holdings by mutual agreement with other Spanish (Mexican) landowners in the region when the territory was still part of Mexico. Sr. Robles was one of the principal governing authorities in the region. After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo between the USA and Mexico in 1848, the Arizona Territory was created. This caused difficulties in title and ownership of land, so for a period of 4 years, the ranch was the site of an Apache encampment until the U.S. Cavalry arrived.

Jesus Arvizu, a Tucson native and third generation cattle rancher whose ancestry line originates from Nacosari and San Pedro de la Quierva, Sonora, Mexico, is owner and operates the ranch.

History of the Land

Cocoraque Butte at Cocoraque Ranch and Pavilion

Tohono O’odham means “desert people.” The Tohono O’odham have lived in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona and northern Mexico for centuries. The Tohono O’odham tell how I’itoi, the Elder Brother, led their ancestors upward into an arid and beautiful land. Over many centuries, the O’odham learned from the land and used it to create their enduring cultural traditions. The ceremonies and stories that help define the Tohono O’odham as a unique people are intimately tied to the desert landscape of their homeland.

Stories of I’itoi are connected with the Huhugam, the ancient people that archaeologists call the Hohokam. Huhugam means something that has disappeared or has been used up; so the Huhugam are the people who have disappeared. In some accounts, one of the Siwani, Hohokam priest-chiefs who lived in the large platform mound sites found in the Salt-Gila Basin, killed I’itoi. Eventually, O’odham groups from the east came to fight the Siwani and in an epic series of battles drove them from their platform mounds. Out of these events, the modern Tohono O’odham and Akiel O’odham (River People) came into being. At the same time that O’odham traditions describe the defeat of the Huhugam chiefs, the O’odham believe that the Huhugam are an ancestral people. Hohokam archaeological sites are therefore respected and revered.

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