Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch
Paradise Ranch

Are you looking for a wonderful horseback ranch vacation experience in a remote setting surrounded by nature and wildlife? In the late 1890s, Norman Meldrum drove a herd of cattle from Colorado up to Wyoming, where he had acquired some land. The cattle were wintered near the present Soldier's Home and summered in the upper meadow range of the Big Horns - this was to become known as Paradise Ranch. No region in Wyoming has a more diverse landscape, from lush grasslands to alpine meadows, crystal-clear lakes to glacial carved valleys, rolling hills to sheer mountain walls.

The ranch has 18 rustic log cabins each with a verandah where guests can relax, read, soak up the excitement of a ranch day, or enjoy the splendor of the evening while the shadows of the sunset dance up Fan Rock. The horses are mostly quarter horses with some paint and appaloosas, all western tacked and trained. The horseback riding program is very flexible, and features a number of choices; two hour rides as well as both half-day and full-day rides.

In addition to the extensive horseback riding program, there is a fully supervised children's program from infant onwards. Enjoy the outdoor heated swimming pool, hot tub, guided and unguided fly fishing and lots of evening fun with singing around the campfire, square dancing and cookouts. Expertly guided hikes are also available into the surrounding wilderness areas.

The welcome here is genuine and the nature pristine.

Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.

Review received from JS of Farnborough on 28/06/2016

Ride Summary
I had never ridden Western style before, and although I adapted easily to it - I did find the saddle fairly uncomfortable
What was your overall impression of the holiday
Overall impression
Unicorn Trails sales staff

Riding tour leader

Additional Comments
Horses and Tack

Additional Comments
My horse O'Quin was an amazing mare, a real gentle lady who seemed to realise I'd not ridden for over 20 years yet still gave me a nice lively ride when required!
Meals

Accommodation

Miscellaneous

Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
It far exceeded any descriptions by Unicorn Trails - It truly was Paradise!
Was there anything you should have known and were not told? YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Unicorn Trails failed to tell us there would be a large number of children, which initially disappointed us, but they were so very well behaved and many activities were planned for them that did not interfere with our enjoyment.
What could we do to improve this ride?
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
5
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
I had never ridden Western style before, and although I adapted easily to it - I did find the saddle fairly uncomfortable and my joints ached quite a bit, but this was probably down to my advanced years!
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
NO
Please give more details to explain your response:
I felt we weren't very well informed on things like electronic passports, visas. Arrangements for pick up from Sheridan were left 6 days before arrival and I had already emailed to arrange myself.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
YES
Any other comments:
Unicorn comments: Glad you enjoyed the ranch! All ranches have a large number of families with children staying in school holiday times, we will make this clearer in our literature, thank you for the feedback.

The riding program is very flexible, and features a number of choices; two hour rides as well as both half-day and full-day rides.

RIDING ABILITY
Good safe horses and slow riding for beginners on scenic rides in the surrounding wilderness, plenty of lope rides, team penning and barrel racing tryouts for experienced riders.

HORSES
The horses on this riding holiday are mainly Quarter Horse with some paints, appaloosa and draft crosses. They range in size from 14hh to 16hh. There are about 160 horses available for riding with the rest being young horses in training. They vary from calm and reliable schoolmasters to very responsive and well bred quarter horses. They are all ridden in a long reined western style and tacked up with western saddles and bridles. The riding program is very flexible, and features a number of choices; two hour rides as well as both half-day and full-day rides. Private lessons are also available upon request. There is even an overnight pack-trio available for teens.

ACCOMMODATION
Accommodation is in 18 solid log cabins set on a hillside between tall Ponderosa pines, all with spacious living areas and own verandah with a view. It is very common to wake up to find moose and their babies grazing in the pond below the cabins or elk or deer wandering around the ranch. The comfortable log built cabins all have quality furniture and linen, kitchenette, their own bathrooms, living area and verandah. There is no cell reception on the ranch, but there is WiFi in the saloon and office.

FOOD
The food is lovingly prepared often from recipes handed down for generations. Sometimes the food is gourmet and sometimes western, but always delicious. There is an informal atmosphere and guests are always welcome to drop into the kitchen for a snack, a drink or just a chat. Vegetarians can be catered for as can other special diets with advance request. There is a bar which is open from 5pm every evening which has an excellent selection of wines, beers and cocktails at very reasonable prices.

OTHER ACTIVITIES
Apart from the extensive riding program there is a fly fishing programme on the ranch. All equipment and lessons are available for beginners. Guided hikes into the wilderness and an archery programme are other options. There is a heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub as well as a complete evening entertainment program with music playing an important part. Whether it's singing around the campfire, Country & Western and Bluegrass bands, line and swing dancing. There is a full bar which is open every evening. Off-site entertainment which can be arranged for a fee includes professional fly-fishing, a golf course near Buffalo and clay pigeon shooting. There is so much on offer here that non-riders will not be bored!

CHILDREN
There are fully supervised, award winning children's programmes for children from infant onwards leaving parents free to enjoy their activities. The programmes include riding for kids 6 and upward (with or without a parent) and pony rides for the youngest children, along with a balance of other activities such as arts and crafts, hiking, swimming games, fishing at the ponds, volleyball, kids dinners and a kids rodeo. One night the kids all go on a sleep-out in the woods nearby while their parents enjoy a gourmet meal served at the table. The children very quickly feel at home and often make life long friends under these circumstances.

SHOP There is a gift shop available on site which stocks western hats, shirts souvenirs and crafts.

Please note that all our ranch prices are fully inclusive of all taxes, charges and gratuities. Extras that are commonly charged on site at ranches which we include in our prices are: state taxes (2-8%), local town taxes (1-5%), accommodation tax ($1-5/night) and gratuities (12-15% is commonly expected as the staff are paid largely via tips). Our prices include all of the these and are guaranteed not to be affected by currency fluctuations once booked.

As a fully ATOL bonded and registered agency we would be delighted to book your flights for you. Should you wish to book your own flights please see our flights page for some options.

We have an extensive range of Western Riding holidays across the world. Please click on the link below to go to our listings page: Western Riding Holidays

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

RIDING ABILITY
Good safe horses and slow riding for beginners on scenic rides in the surrounding wilderness, plenty of lope rides, team penning and barrel racing tryouts for experienced riders.

HORSES
The horses are mainly Quarter Horse with some paints, appaloosa and draft crosses. They range in size from 14hh to 16hh. There are about 160 horses available for riding with the rest being young horses in training. They vary from calm and reliable schoolmasters to very responsive and well bred quarter horses. They are all ridden in a long reined western style and tacked up with western saddles and bridles. Riders are separated in groups according to their abilities and ride at appropriate speeds with loping for experienced riders. The pace depends on the terrain with some steep climbs and some large open grassy meadows on the higher plateaus suitable for long canters.

The riding program is very flexible, and features a number of choices; two hour rides as well as both half-day and full-day rides.

As a fully ATOL bonded and registered agency we would be delighted to book your flights for you. Should you wish to book your own flights please see our flights page for some options.

We have an extensive range of Western Riding holidays across the world. Please click on the link below to go to our listings page: Western Riding Holidays

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The horses are mainly Quarter Horse with some paints, appaloosa and draft crosses. They range in size from 14hh to 16hh. There are about 160 horses available for riding with the rest being young horses in training. They vary from calm and reliable schoolmasters to very responsive and well bred quarter horses. They are all ridden in a long reined western style and tacked up with western saddles and bridles. Riders are separated in groups according to ability and ride at appropriate speeds with loping for experienced riders. The pace depends on the terrain with some steep climb and some large open grassy meadows on the higher plateaus suitable for long canters.



There are no more than 7 riders per wrangler on rides. Tips on western riding will be given along the rides and if wanted riding lessons can be booked on site for $20/hour three times weekly. The lessons are semi private with a maximum of three people per instructor. Riders are welcome to request a wrangler, or will be paired with one that best fits one's riding needs. Riders are assigned their own horse for the week. The horses are saddled and bridled, but riders are welcome to unsaddle and brush their own horse after the ride. There are riding helmets and boots on loan in the barn if needed.



Three times weekly, there is cattle work in the form of a team penning session. The principles of working cattle is explained and everyone splits into teams and tries to separate a few cattle from the herd and take them across the arena and into a pen. This is usually fast and fun! For the more adventurous a barrel racing clinic is on offer once a week as well.



For teens there is an overnight pack trip on request.


Rider requirements

No previous riding experience is necessary to ride on the ranch. A complete orientation is given and after the first trial ride, riders are separated by ability, with faster and longer rides for the more experienced.
There is a weight limit of 250lb for the riding activities. Children under 6 years will be limited to lead rides on ponies. The rides gradually increase in difficulty and time so no training is needed before coming out.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 250 lb/114 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodation is in 18 solid log cabins set on a hillside between tall Ponderosa pines, all with spacious living areas and own veranda with a view. It is very common to wake up to find moose and their babies grazing in the pond below the cabins or elk or deer wandering around the ranch. The comfortable log built cabins all have quality furniture and linen, kitchenette, their own bathrooms, living area and veranda.

There is a mix of one, two, three and 4 bedroom cabins. Each cabin also has a pull out sofa bed. An under occupancy supplement is charged for each person less than the minimum occupying a cabin. This minimum is: One bedroom - 2 people / Two bedroom - 4 people / Three bedroom - 6 people / Four bedroom - 7 people.



The food is lovingly prepared often from recipes handed down for generations. Sometimes the food is gourmet and sometimes western, but always delicious. There is an informal atmosphere and guests are always welcome to drop into the kitchen for a snack, a drink or just a chat. Vegetarians can be catered for as can other special diets with advance request.



Breakfast is available from 7.30 - 8.30am and is a hearty, full western breakfast with hot pancakes, sausages, eggs, french toast as well as a buffet of cereal, yoghurt, juices, coffee, bagels, toast, jam, tea, hot chocolate.

Lunch: This is usually a buffet with cold meats, home baked muffins and breads, three types of salad, pasta or a stir fry, burgers and desert.

Dinner varies depending on the occasion: cookouts, steak nights, gourmet dinners are all part of the variety. Three course meals, home cooked with plenty of choice is the standard. There is a bar which is open from 5pm every evening which has an excellent selection of wines, beers and cocktails at very reasonable prices.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures

You will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need.

You should be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen on or after 1 March 2011, you are normally not eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa.

Passport and Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/united-states

Climate Summary

Although they do say, "if you don't like the weather in Wyoming just wait an hour", the ranches operating months of May through to 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 good policy...The ranch is situated in a deep valley, so it takes a while to heat up in the morning once the sun hits.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.

BE AWARE: There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the US. The USA Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA.

Medical treatment is expensive and there are no special arrangements for British visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

You should take suitable steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks. There are occasional outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.

Health authorities have classified the USA as having a risk of Zika virus transmission in Florida and a few parts of Texas

You can contact the emergency services by calling 911.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in the USA and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

There are no specific health requirements, but do bring plenty of sun block!

Electricity

In the USA the supply voltage is 120V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 120V).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

Electricity is available in all the cabins to recharge camera and film equipment. A limited amount of film may be available in the gift shop, but it is best to bring any stocks required with you to the ranch. Wireless internet connectivity is available throughout the ranch. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.

Packing List

Jeans or jodhpurs
Jacket
Long sleeved shirts
Casual dinner wear
Short sleeved shirts
Rain gear (no ponchos)
Sweater
Sneakers or soft shoes
Riding boots
Sunscreen
Chaps (optional)
Chapstick
Gloves
Riding helmets and boots are available from the ranch

Programmes

This is an 8 day/7 night programme available on set dates. Adult only weeks are available.

Departure Dates

2024 Discount Week: 2 Jun
2024 Prime Weeks: 9, 16, 23, 30 Jun; 21, 28 Jul,
2024 Premium Weeks: 7, 14 Jul
2024 Late Season Week: 4 Aug
2024 Adult Only Weeks: 11, 18, 25 Aug; 1, 8 Sept

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.

Child prices and under-occupancy prices are available from a Travel Advisor.
Occupancy supplements are charged if there are less than the allocated number of people in a cabin e.g. one person in a 2 person, or 2 people in a 4 person cabin. This is not charged if we can find you a person of the same sex to share.

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 Prime Time Season8d/7n6double pp3,095
2024 Premium Weeks Season8d/7n6double pp3,289
2024 Late Season 8d/7n6double pp2,885
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6double pp2,515
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6cabin under-occupancy supplement - per person under minimum669
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 Prime Time Season8d/7n6double pp3,669
2024 Premium Weeks Season8d/7n6double pp3,899
2024 Late Season 8d/7n6double pp3,419
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6double pp2,979
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6cabin under-occupancy supplement - per person under minimum795
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 Prime Time Season8d/7n6double pp4,125
2024 Premium Weeks Season8d/7n6double pp4,379
2024 Late Season 8d/7n6double pp3,845
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6double pp3,349
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6cabin under-occupancy supplement - per person under minimum895
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 Prime Time Season8d/7n6double pp42,045
2024 Premium Weeks Season8d/7n6double pp44,679
2024 Late Season 8d/7n6double pp39,209
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6double pp34,139
2024 Adult Week 8d/7n6cabin under-occupancy supplement - per person under minimum9,095
Recommended Reading

E. Annie Proulx’s three books of Wyoming short stories (“Close Range”, “Bad Dirt”, “Fine just the way it is”)

Mary O’Hara’s “Flicka” triology.

The Virginian” by Owen Wister (a classic one) and

Zane Grey’s Western novels.

C.J. Box (i.e. “Open Season”) and

Craig Johnson (i.e. “The Cold Dish”).

Cowboy poet Baxter Black 

“Where Rivers change Direction”, a memoir by Mark Spragg about life on an early dude ranch.

Where the Rivers Run North” by Sam Morton, a historical novel.

“The Meadow” by James Galwin.

Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans by by T. Fehrenbach 

Discovering Natural Horsemanship: A Beginner's Odyssey by Tom Moates.

.Monty Roberts books, particularly ‘The Horse Whisperer’

Notes From A Big Country by Bill Bryson and

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck.

For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com 

Also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com


Other Activities

Apart from the extensive riding program there is a fly fishing program on the ranch. All equipment and lessons are available for beginners. Guided hikes into the wilderness and an archery program are other options. There is a heated outdoor swimming pool and hot tub as well as a complete evening entertainment program with music playing an important part. Whether it's singing around the campfire, Country & Western and Bluegrass bands, or line and swing dancing in the saloon., the fun is endless here. There is a full bar which is open every evening.
Off-site entertainment which can be arranged for a fee includes professional fly fishing, a golf course near Buffalo and clay pigeon shooting. There is so much on offer that non-rider's will not be bored

Wildlife

Like to see some wildlife? The ranch and its surrounding area have quite a selection. Keep your eyes open for elk, moose, deer, badger, mountain lion, coyote, beaver, fox, antelope, wild turkey, eagles and more, whether you’re on foot or on horseback.
Some of the more popular hikes include the Fan Rock sunrise hike, wildflower identification hikes, and beaver pond and picnic hikes to scenic viewpoints in the surrounding area. The naturalist guides are knowledgeable, attentive and love what they do.

Other Information

Children:
There are fully supervised children's programmes for children from infant onwards leaving parents free to enjoy their activities. The programmes include riding (parents can ride with their children if they like) and a balance of other activities such as craft programs, hiking, swimming games, fishing at the ponds, volleyball, movie social and a kids rodeo. One night the kids all go on a sleep out in the woods nearby while their parents enjoy a gourmet meal served at the table. The children very quickly feel at home and often make life long friends under these circumstances.

There is a gift shop available on site which stocks western hats, shirts souvenirs and crafts

Other Country Information

The USA has 4 main times zones - Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST) and Pacific Standard Time (PST). Vermont is on EST, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah are all on MST, California is on PST. Weights and measures are imperial although weight is always expressed in pounds, not stone. The US gallon is 3.8 litres in contrast to an imperial gallon which is 4.2 litres. Mobile telephone: 4G and 5G is widely available throughout the US in cities, towns, villages and along main highways with AT&T having the best overall coverage and T-mobile offering better speeds in cities. There is NO cell reception at the ranch, but there is WiFi in our saloon and office. There are still a few rural areas which have the older CDMA telephone networks. To be able to call from these areas we recommend buying a cheap Verizon phone from eg Walmart (from $13) and topping up with credit. Almost all hotels and airports offer free wifi connection.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Sheridan, Gilette, Casper or Billings airports
Transfer:
2024: Roundtrip airport pick up: $150 from Sheridan, $200 from Glilette, $250 from Casper and $100 from Buffalo. Transfers are payable on site and are per person. Transfer varies from 1-2 hours (subject to change)
Flight Guide:
London - Sheridan from £1100pp. See below for flight info
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