THE ARBALETTE STORY
The 400 acre Arbalette was originally part of the Gutierrez land grant which became Rancho Johnson in 1845. The original stage road from Johnson Ranch outside Wheatland to the gold fields in Timbucktoo and Smartsville came right through the ranch and is still there today as are old water work ditches that carried water to hydrology mining operations on the gold fields. During the Gold Rush and for the next 80 years the old mining water ditches across the ranch made it perfect for growing hay. During WWII the ranch became part of the greater Beale AFB and after the war was sold off as excess land. The castle itself was built over a period of 50 years. It is quite remarkable and starting in 2013 the present owners have embarked what will be a many year restoration project.
The grounds of the Castle include many buildings, 8 towers and over 3 acres of gardens inside the walls. Arbalette is boarded on two sides by the 11,000 acre Spenceville Wildlife Refuge offering unparalleled riding, lakes, trails and vista. The region was home to the Maidu Indians and many old grinding holes can still be found along the creeks.
Arbalette is open to the public for overnight horse camping by reservation in the Fall of 2026 and for Horse Retirement now. The owners are former show people and breeders and their goal with Arbalette is to create a perfect retirement home for horses as well as an inviting place to stay and ride your current equine partners .
Future plans include a Horse Park, competitive trail course, Bed and Board in some of the castles darling guest houses and rooms and a larger overnight camp for bigger horse groups.