Where did the name Paradise come from?
In the early days around 1905, while the ranch was a deeded homestead and summer cow camp, a few Meldrum Family guests made the trek by wagon up the Bighorns to visit. The most common response from these early visitors as they came across the mesa and looked down into the beautiful mountain valley where the ranch sits was, "This is just Paradise!". The name stuck and we still use it today.
How Long has Paradise been a dude ranch?
Paradise became a dude ranch around 1907 and was owned and managed by Norma Meldrum during the early years with the help of her boy Jack who brought a lot of the "FUN" to the ranch's early years. As such we are probably the second oldest dude ranch in the western states. In 2007, we had our 100-year celebration attended by many of our return guests and folks that have been a part of the ranch history. What a party!!
Do I have to be a horseback rider to stay at Paradise?
No. Many of our guests pursue other activities at Paradise including fishing, hiking, relaxing and even golf at a wonderful 18 hole golf course in nearby Buffalo, Wyoming. At Paradise, we are all about flexibility and we try to provide you and your group with enough varied activities that all involved will be completely engaged in their particular interests.
Do I need a car at the ranch?
Not necessarily, for the most part, everything you need for a great week-long vacation is here at the ranch. If you have forgotten an item that you would like in your cabin, snacks, camera batteries, beverages, etc. we offer our "private butler" service and can have these sorts of items picked up in town and delivered directly to your cabin. If you do wish to golf or visit historic Buffalo, Wyoming, or that great western town Sheridan, Wyoming, you are more than welcome to bring a vehicle.
When is the best time to visit Paradise Ranch?
This is a difficult question for us to answer as each month of the summer season has its special attractions. June is generally our greenest month and is a great time to see wildlife. This is the month when wildflowers abound. July is another wonderful month to be at the ranch as most of our most gaudy wildflowers remain out through the second week of this month. The weather warms up, our mountain streams start to drop and the fishing really kicks in. August is our warmest month and features long lazy summer days. Great riding, fishing, and hiking continue throughout this month. During September we go to our adults-only weeks. This month has a real added bonus as the weather stays nice, the aspens start turning gold and the elk starts bugling. Did we make that an easy choice for you?
How do I stay in touch while at the ranch?
We like to tell our guests that when at Paradise, "you are really on vacation now!". What we mean by this is that we will keep you in touch while you are with us but if you would like to let your work or others know that you can't be reached we will help you with that as well. At the ranch, we do have broadband internet at our office and our dining room and a voice over internet phone for guest use as well. You can also turn on WIFI calling on your cell phone and still be able to make and receive calls over wifi only. There is a computer with internet at the dining room for guest use. The ranch does not have cell service and by the end of the week, you will really appreciate that!
I see the weekly schedule runs Sunday-Sunday. Can I visit for less time than a whole week?
Unfortunately, no. We are a 7-night minimum stay guest ranch with check-in and check-out on Sundays. We do not offer daily horseback riding or other ranch activities to outside guests who do not stay with us for the whole week.
How about mosquitos and other bugs at the ranch?
Fortunately, we have very few mosquitos at our location.
Should I buy a hat and boots before I get to the ranch?
You sure can but you don't need to. Our General Store at Paradise has a great selection of both cowboy and baseball hats, plus visors. In addition to that, the General Store has western wear, all sorts of logo products, jewelry, and other items to keep you warm, cozy and happy. For those that don't have boots for riding, we do have a selection of loaner boots that we keep at the barn for guest use.
What if I haven't ridden for awhile...I might get sore?
Not to worry. The ranch has a hot tub and a massage therapist that is here two to three days a week. She has her own studio at the ranch, takes appointments and will fit the massage right into your schedule.
There are so many things going on during the week. What if I miss something?
We realize especially for first-timers at the ranch that you might not want to miss a thing as far as activities and options. For this reason at mealtime, we make announcements to bring your group up to speed on all the things going on till the next meal. There is also a binder in your cabin with the weekly schedule among other ranch highlights so you can always refer to during the week.
Speaking of meals, will we get enough to eat?
True story. We serve 3 hearty meals a day, family-style, buffet and some plated. Right after meals, there is fruit, cookies, water and lemonade available in the dining room.
Can the kitchen accommodate special dietary requirements?
Absolutely. We will send you a questionnaire card before you come to the ranch on which you can alert us to any special dietary needs that you might have. We can accommodate vegetarian, vegan and most all food allergies.
What will the weather be like?
Although they do say, "if you don't like the weather in Wyoming just wait an hour", our operating months of June through September tend to feature good weather. June can be a little cooler, and August a little warmer but generally daytime temperatures range between 70 - 85 degrees Fahrenheit and evenings between 45 - 60 degrees. Layering clothing is always a good policy.
If we don't have kids will we fit in?
Of course. Although on any given week during June, July and August we will have lots of kids of different ages, we also have a fair number of couples and singles. As we say at Paradise, this is, "where good friends and memories are made", and each week it is likely that you will find folks that could well become your new lifelong friends.
Do I need to be experienced for the activities?
Not a bit. Every activity that we do here at the ranch has a training program for those that are learning. The fishing program gets several first-time fly casters each week and has the equipment and know-how to get you started. The horseback program, which gets lots of beginners, offers special arena riding lessons for those that request it but also teach on the trail during our regular rides.
How do I register for activities?
We do all of our riding sign-ups at breakfast for morning rides and at lunch for afternoon rides. Monday morning of each guest week is the time to stop by our fly shop, meet the guides, hear about their program, and sign-up for any fishing excursions that you might like to take during the week. Hikes are announced at each mealtime and it's just "show up and go"!
How about fishing equipment?
Our on-site fly shop has all the high-quality gear you will need for fishing on or around the ranch. Some avid fly fishers prefer to bring their own equipment as they are more comfortable with it.
How often do we ride?
Rides are offered every day of your ranch week except Sundays which are arrival and departure days and Thursday afternoon which is horses' afternoon off. On Wednesdays and Fridays not only do we offer AM & PM half-day rides, but also picnic lunch all-day rides for those that are looking to cover a little more ground.
How long are your rides?
Half-day rides are from 1 to 3 hours long and all-day rides can last anywhere from 4 to 8 hours long - your choice.
What is team penning?
Team penning is a timed arena event where teams of three riders get the chance to move three cattle from one end of the arena to a pen at the other end of the arena. If you've never tried this it is not only FUN but addicting and can get quite competitive!
What if I have never ridden before?
Every summer at Paradise we get several new riders. Monday morning of each ranch week we have an orientation to get you started, but once on horseback, our wranglers are excellent riding instructors. In addition, for those that would like a little more intensive instruction, we offer arena riding lessons which are more of a one on one experience. You'll be comfortable on horseback before you know it!
Do I get my own horse?
Each week at the ranch, based on the riding information you send us, our barn boss assigns each guest a horse. This is your horse for the week and generally, it is a really good fit with both horse and rider becoming a strong team.
Can I ride without a guide?
Paradise Ranch sits on a deeded homestead of 160 acres. The area that we ride is over a million acres of the Bighorn National Forest. Because our riding area is so vast with such a large number of trails and for the safety of you and your horse, wranglers do accompany our rides. We find that our guests truly enjoy the time that they spend with our wrangler guides.
What is required for riding?
For your safety and others on your ride, we ask that all of our riders wear cowboy boots with a good heel and a slick sole. If you do not have boots we do have loaners available in our boot box at the barn. We also require our riders to use strings on their hats so that they can't fly off and spook your own or other's horses during a ride. Each of our saddles has a waterproof slicker attached and horn bags are available for items such as sunscreen, chapstick, cameras, water bottles, etc.
How many riders go out per ride?
Most of our rides have 4 - 6 riders. Rides never exceed 8 riders per wrangler.
Are helmets required on your rides?
We do require and provide helmets for our riders from 6 - 12 years old. Otherwise, you are welcome to bring a helmet and ride in it if it makes you would like.
How does your kids' program work?
Our kids' program at Paradise Ranch has been rated one of the best in the business by Gene Kilgore's Ranch Vacations and is all about flexibility. Your kids can be in the planned program as much or as little as you and they like. While your kids are with the program they are supervised by our kids' counselors, playing with other kids, and reconnecting to the outdoors and the natural world. Arts and crafts, capture the flag, outdoor games and kids fishing are all offered throughout the week. Our program takes all ages of kids from infants through teens.
Can kids ride with other kids?
Yes, kids can choose to ride with other kids of similar riding ability or with their parents, your choice. Typically families ride together for the first couple rides then the kids decide they'd like to be with their friends and ditch the parents.
How 'bout other kids at the ranch?
In a typical week at Paradise, there will be kids of all ages at the ranch. Some families bring their children's best friends so that they can enjoy the ranch too!
At what age can kids ride the big horses?
Our riding program takes kids age 6 and up. The younger ones have a blast in the kids' program which offers pony rides for the little guys.
What if our child has never ridden before?
Many of the kids that come to Paradise have never ridden before. We have several wranglers that are great kids riding teachers but most kids just take to it naturally.