8 Best Dude Ranches in Montana
There’s no better place to live out your cowboy fantasies than in Montana, the heart of the American West. Here, boutique lodges take the dude ranch concept to the next level, offering luxury glamping tents and log cabin accommodations, plus five-star amenities like chef-driven restaurants, hyperpersonalized service, top-notch spa programs, and more outdoor adventures than you can tackle in a week.
The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough
The great outdoors has never looked so luxe as at The Resort at Paws Up, a 37,000-acre resort and working cattle ranch in western Montana’s Blackfoot Valley (just 30 minutes east of the airport in Missoula). Expect to unwind the second you check into your luxury safari-style glamping tent or private cabin/home. As you wake among the unspoiled wilderness, sip fresh-brewed coffee on the banks of the Blackfoot River, head out on a horseback ride, or cast a line in world-class fly fishing waters, the sense of tranquility will be overwhelming.
The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg
Outdoor adventures abound at this 6,000-acre working ranch-resort in Granite County, aka Gold Country. In winter, try snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, sleigh rides, and fat-tire biking; during warmer months, horseback riding, hiking, yoga, cattle drives, and fishing promise memorable experiences. There’s also plenty of indoor entertainment: Relax at the spa, catch a film at the movie theater, eat your way through Chef Drage’s seasonal menus, or challenge your travel companion to a round of bowling at the on-site alley.
Triple Creek Ranch, Darby
This Relais & Chateaux-designated ranch is one of the best places for romance seekers thanks first and foremost to its adults-only atmosphere (guests must be 16 years or older). From there, cozy private guest cabins (complete with wood burning fireplaces and hot tubs), upscale spa treatments (in the privacy of your room or in the just-debuted dedicated massage cabin), and remote mountain setting only add to the ambiance.
Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky
Sure, there are the usual dude-ranch staples (horseback riding, fishing, hiking), but Lone Mountain Ranch has something even more unique on offer: access to downhill slopes at Big Sky Resort, right next door. Guests who stay during winter can spend the day on beginner, intermediate, and advanced slopes at this 5,800-acre, three-mountain ski resort, then retreat back to the ranch for a farm-to-table, saloon-style dinner. If you can’t get enough of ski activities, there are also 80 miles of world-class Nordic trails on-property.
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Emigrant
Mountain Sky has been hosting guests since 1929, making it one of the country’s OG dude ranches. While 20th-century visitors would arrive via the Northern Pacific Railroad, today, it’s just a quick one-hour drive from the airport in Bozeman. The Paradise Valley location is prime for day trips to iconic Yellowstone National Park, just 30 miles away, as well as whitewater rafting excursions on the Yellowstone River. If you’d rather stay on-property, there are miles of hiking trails, mountain streams to try your hand at fishing, and a sun-soaked pool with postcard views of Emigrant Peak.
320 Guest Ranch, Big Sky
Whether you’re traveling for a summertime family vacation or to celebrate an anniversary in the heart of winter, this 87-cabin property, on the banks of the Gallatin River, has something for everyone (not to mention some of the most reasonable rates for a Montana dude ranch). But it’s perhaps foodies who will appreciate it the most: The game-centric menu at 320 Steakhouse serves everything from cast-iron seared bison to gnocchi wild game carbonara and Montana highland lamb, paired with an extensive wine list, of course.
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Collective Retreats Yellowstone, Moonlight Basin
Bougie travelers needn’t worry about going without at this luxury glamping retreat. Each tent is outfitted with 1,500-thread-count linens, cozy down duvets, Pendleton blankets, a chandelier, wood-burning stove, and private deck with Adirondack chairs. But the location is Collective Yellowstone’s biggest amenity: It’s adjacent to the namesake national park and also sits between the Madison and Gallatin Rivers, two world-famous trout rivers. (Both beginner and expert anglers will want to try a full- or half-day river float.) Not to mention guests have access to the Moonlight Basin Club, a members-only community with a pool, hot tub, fitness center, trail network, and Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.
Rainbow Ranch Lodge, Big Sky
Getting off the grid and disconnecting in nature is the point of this luxury lodge, where spotty cell reception is the norm. (Don’t panic: There’s still Wi-Fi.) Within adjacent Gallatin National Forest are hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails; the Gallatin River, meanwhile, offers world-class fly fishing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking. Spend one day checking Yellowstone National Park off the bucket list, but return to the lodge in time for the five-course specialty tasting dinner, paired with unique vintages from the Côtes du Rhône.
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