X Diamond Ranch We travel to the White Mountains of Arizona only to fall in love. Visit an old Arizona Homestead!

The Proper Function

An Arizona Homestead

When most people hear the name Molly Butler, they typically associate the name with Arizona’s oldest continually operating lodge, Molly Butler’s Lodge located in Greer, Arizona. What most don’t know, is the remarkable history behind Molly Butler the person and her connection with the X Diamond Ranch. It was in 1833 when Molly and her family traveled by wagon from Utah to setup residence in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona.


Little Colorado River.
In 1897, she married a man named Lorenzo Crosby while running a small store, tending crops and working with Lorenzo to manage the cattle. They had two children, Hannah and George, who would become the inspiration for the main characters In The Great Apache Forest by James Willard Schultz. In a terrible twist of fate,  Lorenzo was later shot and killed at a train station in 1904.  Many suspect the Smith Gang as Lorenzo had served on the Sheriff’s posse who on several accounts attempted to bring them to justice.

Molly later married John Butler, an architect, rancher and hunting guide. In the early 1900s, they moved into the South Fork Canyon and established the X Diamond Ranch along with laying the ground work for The Butler’s Lodge.  (Photo: Mary standing  in front of The Butler Lodge)

mbutler1-1The Butler’s Lodge, which became the center of community life in Greer and welcomed all hunters, fisherman and summer visitors.   Many of the recipes that Molly used over the years are still in use today.  In fact, President Herbert Hoover gifted Molly with the White House Cook Book from which she derived her now famous Prime Rib Recipe. If you speak with Wink at the X Diamond Ranch, she does have some of the original recipes for sale in a book format.

Sadly, John Butler passed away at the age of 57. For several more decades, Molly continued to treat everyone to the simple beauty of mountain living. Then, in 1964 Molly passed away at the age of 87. While legend states that Molly continues to room the rooms of the Long House late at night, she was laid to rest in the Eager Cemetery (Block 070, Lot 01, Grave 05).

“Aunt Molly…gone. We loved her. Greer will never be the same.”

– Telegram


A Little Colorado River Runs Through It

X Diamond Ranch is one of the most pristine places in Arizona for fly fishing. Because it is catch and release, the natural production of mature trout have produced fish up to 30 inches. They also does a wonderful job at maintaining the area so there are plenty of places to cast without getting hung-up on brush. Recommendations include:

  1. Rod: 3 to 5 weight, 7-1/2′ with floating line
  2. Leaders: 5X, 6′
  3. Hip or Lightweight Waders.
  4. Flies: Hopper/Dropper. Nymphs: Flashback Pheasant Tail, Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Woolly Buggers
  5. Season: Spring and Fall is the best. Summer waters warm, low with more crowds.
  6. Best to call ahead and reserve. Maximum five rods with full and half day pricing.
  7. Catch & Release.
  8. If you’re looking for a guide or want to learn fly fishing, reach out to Cinda @ Fly Fish Arizona!

X Diamond Ranch has spectacular full sized cabins which are private and are walking distance to the Little Colorado River should you wish to stay in the South Fork Canyon.

The Fisherman’s Suite is amongst my favorite. This large log cabin is located upon a ridge overlooking the Little Colorado River. It provides the most privacy and is walking distance to the Little Bear Archeological site. If cabins are unavailable, then the nearest accommodations are in Greer or Springerville. Nearby fishing also includes the Black River, Sunrise Lake, Big Lake, Lee Valley Reservoir and Silver Creek located in Show Low.

“ A trout is a moment of beauty known only to those who seek it.”

– Arnold Gringrich


Giddy Up

There is nothing quite like riding a horse in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. The Petroglyph Trail is a ride into native american history as you ascend the old wagon wheel trail used by the original settlers. You will see rock walls decorated with petroglyphs that date between 600-800 AD. During the rut season, we rounded the top of the trail to find a six-point Elk standing majestically before us – it was simply amazing!  Every ride is a genuine and educational experience as you overlook the majestic valley and witness the bubbling of the Little Colorado River. X Diamond Ranch offers rides for every level and allows you to customize your own experience.



Little Bear Dig

Near the Fisherman’s Suite lies the Little Bear Archeological dig. The ruins are adjacent to the Little Colorado River and contains several masonry style rooms. Occupied between 500-800 AD it is really humbling to see the masonry work as stones are stack upon one another and remain in perfect harmony. The site contains all types of pottery as well as a remains which is currently marked as a burial site. If available, the Archeologist is very friendly and enjoys sharing his knowledge about the site and will even provide you with some excavation instruction. It’s important to respect the significance of this site and not to remove any pottery or artifacts found. If you are staying on the ranch, I recommend doing a night hike over to the site as it really provides a more impactful experience!

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset..”

– Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior

Function Details

X Diamond Ranch is located off of Highway 260. Heading east on Highway 260 look for the South Fork sign about five miles past the Greer turnoff. As you drive into the canyon, watch the rock wall to the north as there are several petroglyphs.



This Proper Function
(Approximate Data)
Party Cloudy
2,315ftElevation 13.7hrsDistance From You
State, RegionArizona,Northeast
Coordinates34.083983°, -109.422353°
DirectionsView on Google Maps


Dan is an explorer for The Outbound and founder of The Proper Function, an outdoor editorial. He is passionate about exploration and can’t stay put for more than a week.