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Lazy H Ranch Is Pauma’s Own Shangri-La

By Jamie Reno | Photography by Sergio Hernandez

The idea of Pauma Valley as paradise is certainly not new. Let’s go back to 1937, the year of director Frank Capra’s reflective classic film Lost Horizon.

In the ethereal and enchanting movie, soldier, writer, and diplomat Robert Conway, played by actor Ronald Coleman, survives a plane crash deep in the Himalayas. After leaving the crash site, he and his fellow survivors discover a secret, idyllic valley hidden from the outside world known as “Shangri-La.”

It’s a magical, mystical, lush valley where everyone is kind and at peace, and no one ever ages. It sounds a lot like Pauma Valley.

And in fact, in 1951, just 14 years after the film was released, acclaimed San Diego newspaper journalist Neil Morgan described his trip to Pauma Valley’s Lazy H Ranch as a “shortcut to Shangri-La.”

Morgan’s description was spot-on. Ever since, many Pauma locals have referred to the valley as Shangri-La. The Pauma Valley Country Club uses the term in its marketing materials. It’s also a perfect way to describe the Lazy H.

Tucked away behind a forest of trees, the Lazy H Ranch is a Pauma secret that is thankfully being rediscovered. It was built nearly a century ago as a working ranch, but in the early 1950s was converted to a destination resort, known then as the Lazy H Sky Ranch. Quickly thereafter word got out.

The resort, which had became a popular haunt for celebrities, had gone into considerable disrepair by the turn of the century. But it was purchased a decade ago by Jack and Sherri Hall and his daughters, Heather and Laurie, and they’re doing a terrific job of restoring the Lazy H to its former glory days.

“Our family’s been here the past 10 years renovating rooms and the restaurant, fixing the roof, doing the landscaping, bringing it all back to the way it was,” explains co-owner Laurie White, who adds that “the casinos have helped us a great deal. Their hotels fill up all the time, and when that happens, they send us lots of people.

Lazy H Ranch Is Pauma’s Own Shangri-La

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