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Montana Mountain Ranch

Overview

Montana is a magical place in the summer. The rivers are cool, the air is crisp, and the sun feels good on your face. At 5000ft in elevation, our new ranch hosts the best of Montana’s weather. The 520 acres sit at the base of the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest allowing guests to explore the m…

Highlights

  • Explore the glorious Montana landscapes on horseback
  • Discover the beautiful mountainous forests
  • Ride along and through the Judith River
  • Enjoy cocktails before dinner in the traditional lodge
  • Fish for trout in cascading streams

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 12 riders per group (30 in camp)
  • Average of 4 - 6 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 127 kg / 280lbs / 20 stone

Description

Montana is a magical place in the summer. The rivers are cool, the air is crisp, and the sun feels good on your face. At 5000ft in elevation, our new ranch hosts the best of Montana’s weather. The 520 acres sit at the base of the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest allowing guests to explore the mountains by horseback, fish for trout in cascading streams, hike to see the bountiful wildlife, or follow a mule train for overnight stays in a mountain cabin. There is enough time to do it all.

Horseback riding is what the ranch is known for. There are horses suitable to every level of experience. You'll traverse the wide-open prairies, ride along (and through) the Judith River and explore the mountains of the National Forest. For more experienced riders, trotting and loping can be incorporated into rides where the terrain allows. For those who would like to get more comfortable in the saddle, lessons are available for an additional charge.

The ranch was originally inhabited by the Blackfeet Native Americans who used it as a hunting ground. By the late 1800s, the United States of America claimed primary ownership of the area and men began staking out their claim on the land. The ranch assumed the name “S Lazy 4 Bar” in 1890, which was one of the earliest brands in Montana. The land later became the Middle Fork Cattle Company and was used to buy, sell and raise cattle and horses. The business eventually developed into a hunting and recreation business and in 1904 the owners procured a hotel license, as they planned to serve meals and become a guest facility. It has been a guest ranch ever since.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The tack used here is all quality American western. Saddles are comfortable for long riding hours and bridles are simple leather headstalls with snaffle or western shank bits.

Horses

Horses used here are predominantly American Quarter horses, but there are a small number of Draft horses available for heavier riders and a couple of mules. The horses are well-schooled and respond well to western riding aids such as neck-reining.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Ranch Stay is a based ride

Ages

5 years for slow rides and 8 years for fast rides

Weight

127 kg / 280lbs / 20 stone

Food & Accommodation

Food

The lodge dining room is where you'll enjoy three meals a day which are all included.

Start your day with a cooked-to-order breakfast featuring the classics and a daily special. Lunch will fuel you up for an afternoon of adventure.

Before dinner, gather in the Lodge for cocktails and then dine on roast lamb with rosemary spuds, or trout grilled the day they are caught—with a roaring fire in the wood-burning fireplace on chilly evenings.

If you have any special requests, diets or allergies, let us know in advance and the chefs promise to take great care of you.

A selection of wine and beer is available for your purchase.

Accommodation

The main lodge house contains the dining room and large living area where guests can get together. There are also three guest rooms in the main lodge - two are fitted with king beds whilst the third has a king and twin.

Most guests are accommodated in the historic cabins which offer spectacular views of the ranch and surrounding landscape. The cabins have different layouts depending on the size, with some of the larger ones containing kitchenettes and fireplaces. The smallest cabin has one queen bed and one bathroom, whereas others have up to four bedrooms and can sleep eight people, although most only contain one bathroom so families/groups share.

There is also a large barn for evening entertainment and group activities such as line dancing, an outdoor heated pool and indoor hot tub, and a games room.

Itineraries

Ranch Stay Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

There are plenty of activities available, including archery, fishing, hiking, shooting and swimming,

For the more adventurous, take a UTV tour to the National Forest and hike to the nearby caves. Or visit nearby Sapphire Village for a taste of the local culture. The nearby mine is the only place where the precious Yogo Sapphires can be found - Prospector Jake Hoover discovered them in the late 1800s. You can also take a UTV tour to the Hoover Cabin where Jake Hoover and his friend Charlie Russell, the renowned cowboy artist, lived for a couple of years after Russell first arrived in the state.

Please note that some activities are an additional charge and some have additional age limits (for example, archery is minimum 5 years old whereas .22 shooting is minimum 8 years and shotgun shooting is minimum 16 years).

Travel

The nearest airport is Great Falls International (1 hr 45 mins away). We recommend hiring a car and driving to the ranch - we can provide driving directions.

Alternatively, both Bozeman Yellowstone International and Billings Logan International are 3 hours away.

Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive and settle into your room before dinner.

Days 2 to 7

Riding: 4 - 6 hours

Rides are offered in the mornings and afternoons - you can choose between longer and shorter options. Rides are also split according to ability, with slow scenic rides for all abilities, and faster rides for more advanced riders which can include trotting and loping where the terrain allows. The mountainous forest does mean that a lot of riding is at a walk, but the glorious scenery more than makes up for that and faster riding is possible across the open, prairie-like terrain. There are also regular opportunities to cross and ride alongside the Judith river.

On some days it may be possible to join a full day with a packed lunch, and there may also be speciality rides such as a breakfast ride or a hot chocolate ride on cooler days.

You can choose to ride as much or as a little as you like.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

Depart after breakfast

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

All abilities can be accommodated. Most of the riding is at a walk due to the terrain, but there are opportunities to trot and lope across the more open areas.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 12
Accommodation for up to 30.
Departure windows

At any time during: May 26, 2021 - Sept. 30, 2021  (Flexible arrivals/departures. Minimum 3 night stay.)

At any time during: May 25, 2022 - Sept. 30, 2022  (Flexible arrivals/departures. Minimum 3 night stay.)

Pricing

2021/2022
Single, staying less than 7 nights
£345 $475 €405 per night
Single rate is only offered in lodge rooms and the Homesteader cabin
2021/2022
Single, staying 7 nights or longer
£320 $440 €375 per night
Single rate is only offered in lodge rooms and the Homesteader cabin
2021/2022
Single, weekly rate (7 nights)
£2265 $3100 €2640
Single rate is only offered in lodge rooms and the Homesteader cabin
2021/2022
Lodge room, sharing, less than 7 nights
£275 $375 €320 per night
2021/2022
Lodge room, sharing, 7 nights or longer
£250 $340 €290 per night
2021/2022
Lodge room, sharing, weekly rate (7 nights)
£1745 $2390 €2035
2021/2022
Cabin, sharing, less than 7 nights
£330 $455 €385 per night
2021/2022
Cabin, sharing, 7 nights or longer
£305 $415 €355 per night
2021/2022
Cabin, sharing, weekly rate (7 nights)
£2145 $2935 €2500
2021/2022
Third person sharing a room, less than 7 nights
£260 $355 €305 per night
Children 4 years and younger stay free
2021/2022
Third person sharing a room, 7 nights or longer
£235 $320 €275 per night
Children 4 years and younger stay free
2021/2022
Third person sharing a room, weekly rate (7 nights)
£1650 $2255 €1920
Children 4 years and younger stay free
Included Accommodation, meals, riding, archery, sport shooting, use of pool/hot-tub, WiFi, state taxes (2%) and service charge (15%)
Not included Flights, transfers, drinks, insurance
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.