The Resort at Paws Up
What We Love
- The kid-centric Adventure Club program, where young ones can learn to kayak, shoot bows and arrows, and mine for sapphires
- Complimentary use of an electric car to navigate your way around the sprawling property when you book one of the resort’s Wilderness Estates
- Most of the resort’s 28 luxury homes feature natural stone-and-timber fireplaces
- Easy access to Lewis & Clark’s famous Lookout Rock
What To Know
- Dogs are allowed in specified homes, though there is a nightly pet fee.
- Round-trip airport shuttle service to and from Missoula International Airport is included in the resort’s luxury home rates.
- For the best weather, go between late May and September.
Rolling pastures, wandering elks, the majestic Blackfoot River—welcome to Lewis & Clark territory, the setting for what might just be America’s swankiest dude ranch. Here, tents come equipped with camping butlers and 300-count linens, while lodges have flat-screen LCDs, wine coolers, and six-person hot tubs. For a taste of the great outdoors, choose from a range of hosted activities like rappelling, quad biking, white-water rafting, or horseback riding through idyllic meadows studded with daisies. When your energy is spent, head to spa camp, a pine-scented cluster of relaxation tents, and indulge in an hour-long Après Adventure massage before ending your evening with a riverside barbecue, s’mores, and a ghost story or two as you marvel at the stars above Big Sky Country.
Whether you’re staying in one of the resort’s 28 vacation homes (1 to 3-bedroom lodges) or 30 luxury tents, you won’t exactly be camping out. The former category consists of five lodging options — the newest, the Wilderness Estates, are ideal for larger families with their three large suites and a second-floor loft. Cliffside Camp, which overlooks the confluence of Blackfoot River and Elk Creek, is home to a pair of “honeymoon tents” that feature eye-popping copper bathtubs.
Seasonal and local ingredients—freshly picked huckleberries, Rocky Mountain trout, foraged mushrooms—are often featured on the menu at Trough, which is open for breakfast and lunch. Come evening, the ranch’s fine-dining option, Pomp, dishes up eclectic American plates with a distinctly Western flair.
Up until 2004, Paws Up was the site of a working ranch that sold Black Angus cattle and stud horses. The resort is located in the northeastern Montana town of Greenough, wedged in the center of the verdant Blackfoot Valley, just a 45-minute ride from Missoula International Airport.
How to Get There
One of the best vacations ever.... the staff at Paws Up are first class. The young men and women (most are college age) are some of the friendliest and most respectful employees you'll encounter on a vacation. They were attentive at all stages ... and friendly to our grandkids who made the trip with us. Definitely a winner!
Our family did the glamping. An incredibly cool experience. The tent surpassed my expectations. Each campsite has a pavillion where you go for meals (breakfast and dinner), snacks, drinks, s'mores, or just hanging out and playing games or reading a book. You can personally interact with the chef (if you want), which we enjoyed, and the food was delicious and also surpassed my expectations. A very unique and beyond comfortable way to enjoy the outdoors.
Activities were all fun and well managed and to a person, all guides and staff were lovely. Clearly everyone is well trained on customer service. The activities are not cheap. Go in knowing you will spend several extra thousand dollars (at least) if you are going with a family of 4+. The only activity I wouldn't recommend was go-karting. A lot of money for the time given and what it was.
A few kinks I think could be worked out. Transportation back and forth to the camps was sometimes seriously delayed at mid-day. This is not the end of the world, but frustrating. Most of the time, transport arrived right on time. Lunch at The Trough, which is served buffet style, had some capacity issues. Multiple days we were there, the majority of food choices were out and then not replaced very quickly. Food quality was great though.
Overall, I would do this trip again in a heartbeat.
Although advertised as a 5 star property, this is a 4 star property. That is not a bad thing...unless you are paying extra for the missing star. Glamping cabins were very nice and comfortable. Plenty of hot water. Heated floors. Charging outlets. Lights. All the conveniences you would expect. A very bugs and a marmot here and there but nothing to complain about. Linens, toiletries, and towels could have been better. In the overall, the entire campsite experience was great with freshly made breakfast in the morning and snacks and [house] cocktails in the evening and s'mores to finish out the day! As opposed to the cabins, I recommend trying the glamping. Some people split their trip half and half and that seems like a sensible way to go. But, to be clear, this is not camping; the "tent" is good size, well- provisioned, and looks more like a hotel room than a tent in the wilderness. Good wi-fi along with strong cell signals throughout the property.
Activities are a lot of fun, but they are expensive. On top of thousands of dollars for your tent, expect to pay thousands of dollars for a full plate of activities over the course of several days. Cattle drives, horse rides, shooting, rafting, etc, etc- lots of fun things to do that will appeal to travelers of all ages.
Food and drink is adequate. The bar is rather small and usually seems understaffed. Plated dishes (as opposed to buffet food) is well prepared. Options are limited. Restaurant and bar service is only available at the main location. Depending on where you are staying is the resort, that could be a 20 minute shuttle ride or more.
Transportation around the resort is free. If you have a cabin, you get a free car. If you are glamping you are reliant on shuttle buses. They are issued on demand and when demand is high, you have to wait and wait and wait. It was convenient in one sense and very inconvenient on the other when you are trying to get some place but you are completely at the mercy of someone else (think asking mom for a ride to the mall before you had a drivers' license!)....and not like Uber where you pretty much know when your ride will show up.
I thought the resort could use a freshening up. Some paint here and there. New furnishings. A deep clean. Some new recreational equipment. It is a ranch, however, and nothing was so dilapidated as be a problem.
Staff could not have been friendlier. Maybe it's the location or maybe it is just people doing what they enjoy. But, to a one, every staff member was helpful and social and overall a very pleasurable group.Some training is required for the new recruits, but management should be commended on running a tight ship where guest satisfaction and experience is clearly a priority.
All in all, a terrific time in the country. You may not get all that you expect considering the cost, but whether you are single, couple, family, friends (and I saw all of these on my recent stay) everyone will enjoy the experience and the lasting memories and friendships made.