Aravaipa Farms
A Bed & Breakfast Country Inn

89395 E. Aravaipa Road, Winkelman, Arizona 85292
Innkeeper(s): Carol Steele, Owner
  • Introduction

    Enchanting, Mysterious, Inspirational - a lost paradise found!  These are a few of the words guests use to describe their experience at Aravaipa Farms Bed & Breakfast Country Inn. Enjoy incredible bird watching, hiking or simply relaxing in this beautiful Arizona Sonoran desert wilderness preserve.

    Aravaipa Canyon located 2 1/2 hours SouthEast of Phoenix, Arizona and 1 hour North of Tucson, Arizona is known worldwide for a dense biodiversity and spring fed pristine creek that weaves through the canyon.  Located next to the Aravaipa Wilderness Preserve, it is home to 100 butterfly species, 400 bird species, 93 mammals, and 47 amphibians and reptiles - the greatest diversity of vertebrates in North America and the second highest land-mammal diversity in the world.

    "Across the Creek at Aravaipa Farms" also reflects the unique history of Aravaipa - sacred home to Geronimo and the Apaches, hardy pioneer homesteaders, Basque Angora sheepherders and traditional old west cattleman.

    Carol Steele, owner and proprietor of Aravaipa Farms Bed & Breakfast Country Inn, a 1992 inductee into the Phoenix-Scottsdale Culinary Hall of Fame, weaves her magic in creating an Inn experience that tantalizes all your senses from...

    • Carol's Bourbon Chicken aromas permeating the dining area while you sip wine and talk to your hostess before dinner.
    • Taste the talents of Carol's  National Award winning lunches and dinners gleaned from extensive international travel and upscale restaurant experience.
    • Aravaipa Farms invites you to experience the natural sounds of nature permeating the air, the trickling water from many eclectic fountains to the songbirds to greet your start to the day.
    • Your eyes will dance in a veritable museum of folk art, Persian Kilim rugs, paintings, hand-painted tiles from Carol's personal studio and much more.
    • You'll sense the mystery and ultimate privacy that is both unique and rare only hours from two large cities.

    Visitors have this to say about their experience at Aravaipa Farms Bed & Breakfast Country Inn......

    "Indescribable peace, joy and beauty.  A perfect hostess, who is a multi-talented artist with food, wood, and all the texture of life.  I've always dreamed of going to the Provence region of France.  Now I don't have to go, Aravaipa Farms is a piece of paradise for the world-weary or those who just love the beauty of life.  Thank you Carol."  May Jo West/Phoenix, AZ, November 25, 1996

    "I know it's hard to believe that I am at a loss for words - and I'm a writer.  But sometimes less is just plain more.  Words would simply guild the lily.  Sort of trying to paint the Grand Canyon, it can never be done adequately"   Betty Marvin, Arizona Highways Publication.

    "An old proverb says - Eat an Asian Pear and you will live forever . . . while here you can actually believe it is a possibility"  said one guest after eating a delicious pear crisp dessert.

    Nurture your own soul and join us Across the Creek at Aravaipa Farms, Bed & Breakfast Country Inn.

    Carol Steele and her unique Bed & Breakfast Country Inn have been featured in many publications including the New York Times

    The main dwelling is a charming burnt adobe ranch house where you will check in. Carol lives in this home in which the colors and textures of the Southwest abound in the rustic eclecticism of Carol's unique decorating style. You will see folk art, antiques, fossils, paintings and  a library of over 300 cookbooks.

    • Behind the main house is an organic garden and greenhouse supplying Carol with the fresh herbs, vegetables, berries and grapes she uses to prepare hearty and delicious meals.
    • Behind the garden is the hen house made from driftwood rocks and chicken wire which takes on the air of a casual cathedral, but also provides a bounty of fresh eggs for the kitchen.

    All Casitas are furnished with queen size beds, walk-in saltillo tiled showers, wood-burning fireplaces, air conditioning and full coffee/tea service.  Each Casita has a private entrance, covered patio, and a unique water fountain to enhance the ambiance of the surrounding Sonoran Desert.

    The Inn and surrounding orchard property is open only to guests, ensuring the ultimate in privacy and repose.

    Private Casita Amenities include:

    • Queen size bed
    • Down Comforter
    • Oversized shower
    • Covered Patio
    • Kitchen Bar with coffee pot, toaster and small refrigerator
    • Fireplace, both inside and out.
    • European style continentatl breakfast in your room each morning consisting of:  Granola, Fresh Fruits, Cheese tray, Yogurt, English Muffins with Real butter, Jam from the Orchard, fresh roasted coffee and selection of teas and Carol's Sunset Magazine award winning moist and flavorful Morning Banana Nut Cake.

    Lunch is a wonderful picnic lunch to be enjoyed either on your own patio, one of the palapas on the creek or on a Canyon hike.  Delicious sandwiches, fruit, trail mix, nibbles from the garden and homemade cookies.

    Dinner is served at 7PM following a 6:30 complimentary wine on the patio.  It is truly a memorable event which captivates both local and world traveled guests.  Carol, a 1992 inductee into the Phoenix/Scottsdale Culinary Hall of Fame, takes American comfort food cuisine to a new level.  Sample entrees include: Grilled Salmon, Roast chicken glazed with a sauce of bourbon, soy, ginger and garlic, Garden fresh salads, vegetables invariably fresh and perfectly prepared, bread hot from the oven, desserts often highlight from the orchard such as pear crisp with rasberry sauce.

    Guests are welcome to bring wines or other beverages of their own selection.

    A fitting close for your day, as you walk to your casita, is to view the magnificence of the stars unhindered by city lights. On moonless nights, the Milky Way and all the constellations can be seen in all their splendor, depth and dimensions.  Sleep well in the desert quiet only broken by gentle breezes ruffling through the trees and trickling water fountains.

    For added enjoyment and relaxation, all casitas at the Inn are phone and television free. Guest shoud note that most cell phones are unable to send or receive a signal inside the canyon.

    A telephone is located in the dining room for guests to make calls since cell phones do not function in the canyon.

  • History

    A history rich and diverse as the abundant wildlife has tied generations to this desert creek for thousands of years. Apache Indians who once lived here considered this a sacred place, a place alive and capable of imparting wisdom. The Apaches gave place-names to every detail of the landscape, and attached to each one stories teaching the value of right thinking and good behavior. They believed that once you knew the stories, the places would work on you whenever you opened yourself to them, and your mind would become smooth, steady and resilient. Aravaipa Canyon is such a place.

    The year round waters of Aravaipa Creek flow between sheer cliffs in a spectacular wilderness area nourishing lush and plentiful cottonwoods, willows and sycamore trees.

    Unfortunately, our dams, diversions and wells have wiped out more than 90% of natural desert habitat in the Southwest, only a fraction of that pristine environment remains, making Aravaipa all that more precious.

    Aravaipa Canyon, with its outstanding scenery, desert fish, wildlife, rich history and opportunities for primitive recreation, was preserved in 1984 by an Act of Congress (and later expanded in 1990) to remain free from the influence of man and to be protected in this condition for all future generations.

    During the 1800's, as the pioneer homesteaders moved into Southeastern Arizona, the encroachment upon Apache territory was met with great resistance. Famous Apache warriors, Cochise and Geronimo fought many a bloody battle for their homeland. Tragic history was made on the lower Aravaipa when Apache women and children were slaughtered by a gang of Tohono O'odham Indians, Mexicans and Anglo vigilantes. This aroused public indignation and eventually forced President Grant to assign General Crook to the Arizona territory for the purpose of ending the Indian Wars and capturing Geronimo.

    With the end of the Indian Wars and Geronimo's eventual capture, Arizona territory was now free from Indian reprisal and homesteaders began to arrive in greater numbers to farm and raise cattle and sheep along the Aravaipa. By the turn of the century, 15,000 head of Angora goats were herded from Kingman, Arizona to Aravaipa Canyon, a distance of 500 miles tended by Basque sheepherders. Eventually, goats were replaced by cattle and cattle was king for the next 50 years.

    Today, Aravaipa Canyon is home to approximately 40 families, some that have called Aravaipa home for generations along with newcomers with a passion for preserving the history and beauty of this wonderful canyon.

    "There is a season for everything..." said Carol Steele, when a reporter asked why she lived and worked in such a remote and rural setting. Carol had spent a lifetime as the culinary and retail trendsetter in Scottsdale, Arizona working with the likes of Jacques Pepin and Diane Kennedy. ".... and this is the season to commune with nature while utilizing my skills and talent to share with my guests this wonderful part of the Southwest".

  • Area Activities & Attractions

    Enjoy Carol Steele's 300 acres of pristine Sonoran desert canyon land that surrounds the Inn.

    Activities include:
    Hiking, Bird Watching, Swimming and More

    Seasonal Farm Activities

    Organic Peaches are in season at Aravaipa Farms!  $1.50 lb.  So Yummy!

    Apricot Preserves are also available - case of 6 for $50.00 (includes shipping)

    call Carol @ 520 357-6901


    Roll up your pants legs and hike and wade through the clear and cool Aravaipa creek that runs through Carol's property.

    For more serious hikers, the Arizona Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Nature Conservancy manage the Aravaipa Wilderness Preserve located three miles up the creek from the Inn. The BLM allow 30 people a day to hike the 12 miles of canyon from one end of the preserve to the other. Be prepared to spend most of the day slogging up the middle of the creek, or crossing repeatedly from one bank to the other. Other canyons intersecting with the Aravaipa contain rare and beautiful ferns and other plants in varying microclimates throughout the canyon tributaries. Because only 30 people are allowed into the Aravaipa Wilderness Preserve a day, the BLM requires reservations be made three months in advance. Please call the BLM in Safford, Arizona (928) 348-4400 and make reservations for a permit prior to your stay. or or

    Bird Watching

    For amateur and serious "birders", Aravaipa is a birdwatchers paradise attracting over 400 species of birds, earning the designation by the American Bird Conservancy as the best birding in the country. The great blue heron has several colonies living along the Aravaipa year round and can be seen almost daily. Rare raptors such as Mississippi kites and a variety of hawks including the Zone-tailed, Gray and Black hawks are seen at various times throughout the year. Numerous colorful migrating birds stop at the Aravaipa on their way to their ultimate destinations including  bright red Cardinals. Hummingbirds dart in and out all day long feeding on the nectar of the saguaros and flowering desert plants. The Inn provides plenty of reasons for birds to visit with Carol's whimsical bird houses made from the creek's natural materials are everywhere and hummingbird feeders beckoning these little creatures to visit.

    Wildlife Watching

    • You can simply sit outside your patio and watch abundant wildlife and many endangered species. The main house contains the book "A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert" a publication from the Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum, describing all the biodiversity and astonishing creatures you will find in Aravaipa and nearby San Pedro river. There are a hundred butterfly species, 93 mammals, and 47 amphibians and reptiles. the greatest diversity of vertebrates in the U.S. and the second highest land-mammal diversity in the world. Common creatures you may see include:
    • During the summer, dusk brings out the Sonoran Desert Toads from underground burrows to feed on  insects and beetles. They are harmless comical characters and come in all sizes hopping across the patios. Because their habitat is protected in the Aravaipa, they can live 20 years and achieve quite some size.
    • You may encounter a rock that moves in the Aravaipa Creek, it most likely is a Sonoran Mud Turtle and during the desert rainy season (July-Sept), the Desert Tortoises can be seen lumbering across the landscape in early mornings.
    • Lizards, Lizards and more lizards of every variety, color and shape can be found in Aravaipa. Most are harmless and seen everywhere on the property.
    • The coyote is without a doubt the most famous desert animal, the very symbol of the west and roams the Aravaipa countryside. He's intelligent and hardy, you may see a coyote on your drive to the Inn.
    • If there is prickly pear cactus, and Aravaipa has lots of it, you will find herds of javalina and their young.
    • Desert Cottontails, jackrabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks will be seen on every walk or hike you make as they go about their own business feeding on seeds and caring for their young.

    Fresh farm Eggs any time of year  $3.00 per dozen.

    Aravaipa Farms is a working orchard farm where we make jams and jellies in our kitchen at different times of the year. Vist during the harvest and jam seasons and watch the activities or partake in a jam making class.

    Jan - March:  Meyer lemons come into season and the canning kitchen is busy making Meyer lemon marmalade and the Inn is serving delicious Meyer lemon pies.

    May:  Apricots are being picked from the orchard and kicks off the official jam making season.

    June - August:  Visit during peach season and you will see the busiest time at the jam kitchen as thousands of pounds or organic peaches are harvested, stirred in copper pots and made into jam.  Peach pies, peach cobblers and peach ice cream frequent the Inn's dessert menus.

    Sept - October:  Crisp, sweet Asian pears are in season and harvested to make jams and chutneys.  You will find crisp pear slices used in the Inn's fresh salads.


    Enjoy a relaxing swim in the gorgeous scenic pool.

    Other areas of interest

    Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum - 2021 N. Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona 85743, 520-883-1380.  A quick trip West of Tucson is the Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum which has introduced more people to the flora, fauna and habitats of this unique region than any other medium of environmental education.

    Biosphere 2: An experiment in self sufficiency, the biosphere was the world's largest test tube designed as a prototype space colony. It's mission has now come down to earth and focuses on the planet's ecosystems, tackling problems like global warming and how to feed an exploding population.

    Biosphere 2 is located 30 miles south of Aravaipa on Highway 77 at mile marker 96.5. The center is open to the public everyday. Guided tours of the Biosphere 2 cover ¾ mile and depart hourly. Prices are $12.95. Call 1-800-828-2462 or visit

  • Directions

    Here is how you arrive at Aravaipa Farms...

    From Phoenix - take highway 60 East toward Superior.  At Superior take Highway #177 to Winkleman.  Turn right onto Highway #77 in Winkleman.  Proceed 10 miles South to mile marker #124.  From there (sign for Central Arizona College) turn left onto East Aravaipa Road.

    From Tucson - take Highway #77 North toward Winkleman.  Proceed 10 miles North of Mammouth to mile marker #124.  Turn right onto East Aravaipa Road (sign for Central Arizona College)

    The next 4.5 miles is paved road and the remaining 3.5 miles is on dirt road.

    You will come to "Aravaipa Farms" posted on a tall rusty sign at the top of our driveway next to the mailboxes.  From there you can see the orchard, the creek, and much of the farm.  Proceed down the steep driveway and cross the creek.

    Take note of the sign at the green gate, and proceed to Carol's house.  If Carol is not in her house, please continue on to the dining room in the old red barn where someone will help you.

    Welcome, your adventure to Aravaipa has begun!