I have always wanted to go to Montana…land of “big skies,” meadows, mountains, moose, cowboys, and lupins. I am here to tell you that MT lived up to all expectations when I visited last month!
My requirements were few: no sleeping bags, meals at group tables or motels. After MUCH research, the MT options I found were camping, motels, all-together-all-the-time-with-your-fellow-guests ranches or ritzy ranches. Guess which one I chose? Mimi’s Travel File decided on the Ranch at Rock Creek. Heaven!
My goal: to experience the West, albeit a fantasy version. Advice from Ranch staff: riding, roping and fishing are their most Western activities. Giddy up!
Riding and Wrangling
Glamping (that’s Glamor+Camping)
The Ranch’s maximum occupancy is 125 guests, spread out over 10 square miles. You can choose between four different styles of accommodations: nine suites in the Granite Lodge, 10 charming canvas cabins (see below), seven luxury homes and three Historic Barn accommodations.
Nice Touch: Every night when we returned to our cabin, we found a small gift on our pillows left by housekeeping…one night it was a bandanna; the next a salted caramel; the next night we found a jar of gourmet salt.
What if You Aren’t Into Riding and Fishing? There’s always…
hiking, biking, shooting (sporting clays, skeet, and more), ATV-ing and in the summertime, pool-lounging and rodeo watching. Year-round, you could take a photography class or yoga, get a spa treatment or two, go bowling, peruse the Ranch’s bookshelves, and hit the little gift shop, a.k.a. the Mercantile (though not wildly tempting because they neglect to sell the charming decorative items sprinkled around the Ranch’s public rooms and bedrooms).
The Ranch’s naturalist drove us off-property, in search of moose, while educating us about the flora and fauna.
What Price Glory?
All of this wonderfulness doesn’t come cheaply, of course…but we felt it was worth it because our stay at the Ranch at Rock Creek was a unique experience. The Ranch is beautiful. The staff is genuinely friendly and knowledgeable about the land and various sports each teaches/guides. The food is pretty, copious and good, though not memorable. Drinks are part of the package, including decent champagnes—unless you want something really expensive, like Dom Perignon. And best: management cares about and protects its guests’ privacy.
Of Note: One staffer told us that the Kardashians had wanted to come stay at the Ranch with their camera crew. Management turned them down because they thought Kardashian & Co. would be too disruptive for the other guests. Love it!
When to go? Summertime is busiest and winter is least busy, and the seasons are priced accordingly. Our early fall visit was spectacular and the Ranch was at 33% occupancy.
Literary Traveling Companions
“Lonesome Dove,” by Larry McMurty and “The Best of the West, An Anthology of Classic Writing from the American West,” edited by Tony Hillerman
Git Along, Little Dogies!