Printed on ordinary (if slightly off-white) legal-sized (8-1/2″x14″) paper, this 1968 poster-brochure advertised a 15-day “Bonanza” tour to California and Las Vegas on one side and an 8-day “Paradise” tour to Colorado on the other. These tours were dramatically stripped down from the Burlington Escorted Tours offered in the 1930s through early 1950s.
Only a few meals, mainly lunches, were included in the $300 (more than $1,500 today) double-occupancy price of the California-Vegas tour, which also covered only coach class on the California Zephyr. To avoid supporting rival Southern Pacific and Union Pacific trains, the tour went by bus from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Reno, where it caught the eastbound CZ.
The Colorado tour price of $145 ($750 today) was also for coach seats, but at least it included all meals except when aboard the Denver Zephyr. However, unlike the California tour, which visited major cities such as San Francisco, L.A., and Vegas, the Colorado trip took place entirely at a dude ranch/motel called Paradise Ranch. The highlight of the tour was two day-long and one overnight horseback riding trips.
Paradise in 1968 apparently consisted of a motel with a swimming pool and horseback riding.
Open from 1937 (some reports say 1944) to 1975, Paradise Ranch claimed to be the “most magnificent and largest dude ranch in the United States.” The Ute Pass Historical Society says it was just east of Woodland Park, or about 18 miles west of Colorado Springs. The ranch held public rodeos on Sundays which Burlington tourists would have missed (they arrived Monday and left Saturday).
Paradise Ranch memorabilia is readily available. The route from Colorado Springs to the ranch was once followed by the Colorado Midland Railway, but now is U.S. highway 24, though several railway tunnels still exist.