Wyoming ranch is all for the family
By David Blackhurst
I didn’t know quite what to expect while traveling to Paradise Ranch with my daughter, Sabrina, and my wife, Heather. But I was in awe of the beauty. As we turned off the main highway and started on the dirt road to the ranch, I knew I was in for a great week. The distant mountains were majestic and the pine forests went on forever.
Tucked just to the west of Buffalo, Wyo. in the heart of the Big Horn Mountains, this ranch is incredible. The history is rich, dating back to the 1890s when cattle men would summer their cattle in the lush meadows. Today the ranch is owned by Clay and Leah Miller and their partners, Kevin and Rebecca McMahon. Clay and Leah have created an environment just right for families.
Going on a week-long vacation with kids can sometimes be … well, you know. But this place is different. This is a ranch where just as much time is spent planning for the kids as the adults. Paradise Ranch creates an atmosphere that gets children into nature. Visiting kids during our stay ranged from toddler to teenager, and they were given the time of their life. My 4-year-old daughter loved the activities planned for her (the pony rides were an especially big hit).
Plus, each day of the week is assigned a theme. Monday is “Horse Day,” Tuesday is “Fishing Day,” Wednesday is “Native American Day,” Thursday is “Tie-Dying Day,” Friday is “Nature Day” and Saturday is “Rodeo Day.” Each day includes activities that center around the theme, and lucky for the kids (and the parents) the activities are “no parents allowed.”
This is the bread and butter of the ranch. For those who know how to ride, you’ll be in heaven.
And for those who don’t, you’ll become an old pro. The riding program is top-notch. Every wrangler at the ranch was professional and knew just what my wife and I needed. Every day you choose to ride, you are given many options tailored to your riding experience and mood for the day.
The horses were custom-fit by the wranglers to match the guest and his or her riding ability.
One of the great experiences at the ranch includes watching 100 horses at the end of the day stampede across the meadows to their evening pastures.
At this ranch, no experience is needed. They really make your experience with the horses one to remember.
The ranch describes its cabins as “rustic elegance.” I found them to be more than that. The ranch has one-, two- and three-bedroom cabins complete with everything you need, including a wood fireplace. The larger families staying there seemed to be very comfortable, and the staff was at our every need. All the cabins feature an outdoor deck where you can relax and read. This was my favorite feature of the cabins.
Watching the sun go down from the deck and seeing the horses in the meadows was a scene I won’t soon forget.
How else can I describe it?
Every meal is prepared to give your eyes and mouth a meal to remember. And don’t forget the desserts.
With an award-winning baker on hand, you won’t be disappointed. UV
Paradise Ranch offers half- and full-day fly fishing trips, including a stream full of trout right on the ranch property. My adventure took me to one of their premier Blue Ribbon waters on The Middle Fork of the Powder River. This all-day trip takes you into a deep canyon with a crystal clear creek full of rainbow and brown trout. The guides were incredible, offering great advice and good company.
The ranch also provides a fishing program and lessons to help those who have never fly fished and want to learn.