From spectacular mountain lakes to friendly towns surrounded by beautiful nature offering a wealth of activities, Montana is a dream destination for those who love the outdoors. Visit Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, get to know the state capital, Helena, check out the Montana Brewers Trail, go skiing in Big Sky, explore the World Museum of Mining in Butte, see the Hungry Horse Dam and much more. Here are the best Montana destinations.
1. Glacier N.P.
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Glacier National Park is one of the most popular Montana destinations. A vast national park that rests on the United States-Canada border, encompassing over 1 million acres, two mountain ranges, over 130 lakes, and thousands of plant and animals species.
This natural wonderland is at the center of what is referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem." Is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with a range of recreational activities to enjoy, including hiking, biking, mountain climbing, and wildlife watching. The park’s habitats include rugged mountains, tranquil lakes, alpine forests, and meadows through which 700 miles of trails wind, just waiting to be explored.
The park is home to the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, an engineering marvel that spans 50 miles through the park's wild interior, winding around mountainsides and boasting some of the most spectacular sights and views in Montana. It is one of the top Montana attractions.
Other unique destinations to explore in the park include the Goat Haunt, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier, where visitors can discover Native American history and historic homesteading sites and soak up spectacular natural landscapes. Glacier National Park is one of the most famous Montana tourist attractions. Best time to visit Glacier National Park is in the summer.
2. Flathead Lake
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Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake in the Western United States with 185 miles of shoreline and over 200 square miles of water. Two rivers, namely the Flathead and Swan Rivers, supply the lake with fresh water, creating a fishing and outdoor recreational paradise.
The southern half of Flathead Lake is situated within the boundary of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Flathead Reservation, and visitors need to purchase a tribal recreation permit to enter and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
The lake features several state recreation areas complete with boat launches, camping, swimming and picnic facilities, and restrooms, along with Wayfarers, Finely Point, and Elmo and first-class fishing sites. The west shore of the lake is home to Wildhorse Island, a 2,165-acre state park that can serve as a pleasant day picnic venue and is only accessible by boat. The Bigfork Whitewater Festival is held every year around Memorial Day. If you are looking for pretty places to visit in Montana, Flathead Lake is a great stop.
3. Missoula, Montana
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Most people have never heard of Missoula until they pass through this charming university town on the way to Yellowstone. But, once they come, they tend to stay awhile.
Thousands of students at the University of Montana contribute to a lively atmosphere, along with a yearly marathon, the Big Sky documentary film festival, great restaurants, and so much more. Outdoor types will be happy to learn that there are three rivers passing through the area, and there are kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and rafts to play with.
Fishing around Missoula is among the best in the country. Endless trails take hikers to explore the valley’s natural beauty, and they can see traces of the ancient lake and signs of first inhabitants from the Salish American Indian tribe.
You can participate in gold and gem mining, visit ghost towns, or check out local breweries, distilleries, and wineries. You might have to postpone your trip to Yellowstone for a few days to see it all. This small town has a really big heart and is one of the best towns in Montana.
4. Bozeman, Montana
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According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Bozeman is one of the best places in the country to raise kids. What makes a city so famous for its high quality of life?
It might be the sunny winters, 300 sunny days a year, the excellent Montana State University, great skiing and fishing, miles of hiking trails, several well-known festivals such as Music on the Main, and the biggest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world at the Museum of the Rockies.
Bozeman has great shopping and some fabulous restaurants. Beer lovers should not miss the Montana Brewers Trail to check the local craft brews. And Yellowstone is just a short trip away.
You will just have to come and check it all out. Whatever you like, it is very likely that you will find it in Bozeman.
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5. Big Sky
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It is easy to fall in love with Big Sky, one of the best places to visit in Montana. As you drive through the magnificent Gallatin Canyon and through parts of Yellowstone, you will drive through towering verdant ancient trees – be sure to slow down for passing bears, moose, or elk and stop for a photo of one of the many thundering waterfalls.
The beauty of the quaint little town with rustic log cabins, cozy B&Bs and luxurious Big Sky Resort, where everything is taken care of for your perfect vacation, will leave you in awe. Some people come for a vacation and decide to stay permanently. There is so much to do, and while you feel far away from civilization with the mountains towering over the town, you are only an hour from the Bozeman airport.
This is the perfect community for avid skiers, with the Biggest Skiing in America with 5,800 acres of ski terrains, the 4,350 ft vertical (the longest in the country), 85k of fabulous trails for cross-country skiing, and over 50k of trails for snowshoeing. In the summer, there is as much if not more to do for those who like the great outdoors: miles of hiking, biking and horseback trails, great fishing and hunting, mountain climbing and, of course, opportunities to visit Yellowstone National Park.
And wherever you go, there is the big sky and a sense that the world is a wonderful place.
6. Lake McDonald
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At 10 miles long and over 470 feet deep, Lake McDonald is the largest lake in Glacier National Park and one of the best places to see in Montana. If you are looking for pretty places and things to see in Montana, this unique lake is a great start. Surrounded by majestic mountains and the Great Continental Divide, this long fjord-like lake fills an ancient basin that Ice Age glaciers gouged out over time.
Today, it provides a fantastic environment for hiking, walking, wildlife viewing, picnicking, and sightseeing. Keep an eye out for black bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and elk. The lake is home to several species of native trout, game fish, and other catchable species such as whitefish, salmon, and suckers, and the world-renowned Going-to-the-Sun Road runs parallel to the lake along the southern shore.
7. Great Falls
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When you visit Great Falls, you will be amazed by the spectacular vistas wherever you look. Located on the mighty Missouri River, the city is surrounded by five waterfalls, snow-topped mountains, and towering buttes, and is one of the best Montana destinations.
If you turn around, you will see vast plains all the way to the horizon. It is a magnificent landscape that ranges from huge wheat farms to picturesque valleys and steep river gorges. And in the city, the third largest in Montana, its 58,000 residents enjoy a rich cultural life that revolves around the Mansfield Center for Performing Arts, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art and the C.M. Russell Museum.
Great Falls has a special place in the history of the region, and the best way to learn about it is by visiting the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. Located on the bluff above the Missouri River, the center offers the view of the same terrain the explorers Lewis and Clark saw in 1805 when they tried to navigate the area’s river and falls.
Great Falls is also a home of the University of Great Falls, First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park, The Electric City Water Park, and 40 miles of River’s Edge Trail. The residents of Great Falls evidently love their outdoors.
8. Garden of One Thousand Buddhas
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The Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is an International Peace Center that offers a sanctuary for people to cultivate inner peace and preserve the ancient culture of Tibet.
Nestled in the beautiful Jocko Valley just north of the small town of Arlee, the garden is situated on the property of Ewam Sang-ngag Ling and was established with the aim of working towards global peace and serenity through the ancient culture of Buddhism and awakening the human qualities of joy, wisdom, and compassion.
Founded by Tulku Sang-ngag Rinpoche, the garden is open from dawn until dusk to visitors of all religions and features an array of Buddhist symbols, statues, structures, and images that promote spiritual change and awakening. The central figure in the garden is the 24-foot tall figure of Yum Chenmo, the Great Mother of Transcendent Wisdom. One thousand stupas, which are one of the world’s oldest architectural forms, encircle the garden to honor the remains of great kings and warriors.
34574 White Coyote Road, Arlee, MT 59821, 406-726-0555
9. Montana Vacations: West Yellowstone
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It happened naturally. It all started in 1872 after Congress officially established Yellowstone National Park and people started flooding into this natural wonder.
The area that served as a gateway to the park slowly turned into a more permanent settlement that was officially incorporated into a city in 1966. A small community of about 1200 permanent residents, the city welcomes and accommodates more than four million people who visit the national park every year. If you are wondering what to see in Montana, West Yellowstone is a great place to start exploring.
While the tourism is good for the economy, the residents probably enjoy a nice breathing period during the cold winter months when the flow of tourists ebbs a bit.
The city is a true gateway to all outdoor adventures. Fishing, especially fly fishing, is excellent year-round, and there is an ice fishing tournament on Hebgen Lake every year. There are miles and miles of snowmobile trails and about 35 kilometers of trails for cross-country skiing.
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center has live wolves, grizzly bears and raptors in their natural habitat. West Yellowstone has Montana's first IMAX Theatre, and the shopping ranges from outdoor gear to fine local crafts. And whatever your taste requires when dinner time comes, you will find it in this charming and welcoming small town in Montana.
10. Butte, Montana
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Until the 1870’s, Butte consisted of just a few mining camps. Then they discovered silver and copper, and people and companies from all over the world started flooding in.
The town prospered and grew to 100,000 people. As the mining industry experienced its ups and downs, so did the town. With the decline of the use in copper, the town became a shadow of itself, and residents spent decades repairing the environmental damage all the mining created and recreating its identity.
They did remarkably well, renovating abandoned old buildings into places such as Metals Sports Bar and Grill and turning cleaned mining pits into lakes with great fishing. Many houses are being renovated and repainted, and new businesses are cropping up daily. The town’s multicultural nature remained, and you can enjoy diverse events such as Chinese New Year. Don’t miss the World Museum of Mining.
Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the great hiking and biking trails in the surrounding mountains and excellent fishing in several rivers and lakes.
11. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
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Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument stands as a memorial for the Battle of Little Bighorn, one of the most famous battles in American history that took place at the site.
The monument memorializes the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry under the leadership of General Custer and the Sioux and Cheyenne tribes in one of the Indian's last armed efforts to preserve their traditional way of life.
Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is also home to the Custer National Cemetery, where thousands of soldiers who fell in the battle rest in eternity, as well as the site of military action led by Frederick Benteen and Marcus Reno. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument is open year-round.
12. Whitefish Mountain Resort
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Nestled in the Flathead National Forest at Big Mountain in northwestern Montana, Whitefish Mountain Resort is a popular ski resort that offers several ski slopes for skiers of all experience levels.
Located eight miles from the town of Whitefish, the resort presents a range of accommodation from on-mountain condominiums to hotel rooms, affordable learn-to-ski/ride packages and ski lessons, and on-mountain Ambassador programs with daily tours that explore the terrain of Big Mountain.
When you are done on the ski slopes, catch a free snow bus into the town of Whitefish to enjoy an array of entertainment and activities from guided treks into Glacier National Park and dog sled tours to backcountry cat skiing, spa treatments, dining, and shopping.
13. Montana Vacations: Billings
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If you hike to the top of the rugged rocks around Billings, you will be able to see seven mountain ranges: Big Horn, Pryor, Bull, Crazy, Snowy, Beartooth, and Absaroka.
The largest city in Montana, Billings is a curious mixture of history and adventure; it is the site of the Little Big Horn Battlefield and caves with 4500-old pictographs, the last stand of the Apsáalooke people, and a historic 1903 Moss Mansion. Billings is also a modern city, and it is home to the Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale, Billings Roller Derby Dames and Mustang Baseball, the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, and the Flatiron Art Gallery.
Billings is the true American West, and it is welcoming, exciting, rustic, and unforgettable.
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Located north of Yellowstone National Park on the banks of the Yellowstone River, Livingston is known as the home of the famous Calamity Jane and the site of the world’s best trout fishing.
There is a lot to do in this small rustic town, including horseback riding, hiking the surrounding mountains, biking and hunting. While the town is a paradise for rugged outdoorsmen, it has plenty for those who prefer the warm and cozy indoors; numerous art and local craft galleries selling works of some of the best western artists make shopping in Livingston a true adventure and a pleasant surprise.
The city really blossoms during the summer with a range of very popular festivals that bring thousands of tourists, including the Summerfest music festival, the 4th of July Rodeo, and the Gallery Associated Art Walk.
15. Montana Vacations: Cooke City
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Population 100, Cooke City is located just a few miles from the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Wherever you go in Cooke City, you are bound to find a piece of history.
Established in 1882 as a gold mining town, the city was located in a Crow Reservation. Today, it is sleepy little place where everything is slow, including the traffic – dogs, buffalos, bears, moose, and pedestrians have the right of way. Cooke City is a great gateway for all kinds of adventures in the surrounding wilderness and in Yellowstone National Park.
There is something for everyone, from kayaking, hiking, and biking in the summer to snowshoeing, skiing, ice climbing and ice fishing in the winter. There are several delightful galleries in town that show and sell Western art.
It is a great place to meet young folks from all over the world who come during the tourist summer season to work in local hotels and other tourist-oriented businesses and have a few adventures while they are there.
16. Miles City, Montana
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You have to love a city that has a webcam pointing at the eagle’s nest so that everyone will know when the baby eagles are ready to fly. But, Miles City wasn’t always this charming and orderly.
The city’s first inhabitants were soldiers, bullwhackers, buffalo hunters, muleskinners, Indians, and cowboys, and it consisted mostly of saloons, dance halls, boarding houses, and general stores.
Some of them have been meticulously restored and preserved, especially those on historic Main Street. A few provide home for The Range Riders Museum, a great source of all information on the history of eastern Montana.
There is always something going on in Miles City, from the famous rodeo Miles City Bucking Horse Sale and bluegrass festival to the November Wine and Food Festival. Don’t miss WaterWorks Art Museum with works of art by some of the country’s most renowned artists.
Bigfork is storybook-pretty, located high up in the mountains of Montana and overlooking the beautiful blue bay where the Swan River meets Flathead Lake. It is a small town known for its love of arts.
With only 1400 permanent residents, Bigfork has 16 excelleng art galleries. It also has 50 shops, 25 restaurants, and the famous Bigfork Summer Playhouse festival. With 180 miles of shoreline, Flathead Lake offers opportunities for engaging in all sorts of water sports, from fishing and boating to ice fishing and skating in the winter.
Bigfork also has a 27-hole golf course, and for those looking for more adventures there are nearby Glacier National Park, the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the Swan Wilderness.
Watch for wildlife, as there is a lot to see: grizzlies, whitetail deer, black bears, mountain goats, bison, elk, wolves, moose, eagles, and so many other birds live in the area.
18. St. Ignatius
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St. Ignatius is a little town nestled at the foot of the magnificent Mission Mountains in the heart of the Flathead Indian Reservation. It is famous for two very different features: the spectacular St. Ignatius Mission and world-class ice and rock climbing. St. Ignatius was constructed of bricks made by local clay, and Jesuit missionaries and American Indians built it in 1891.
The Mission is famous for 58 murals hand-painted by Brother Joseph Carignano, who worked at the Mission as a cook and handyman. The colorful murals cover all the walls and the ceiling and are in a surprisingly good condition. After strolling along the picturesque main street of St. Ignatius, you can visit the Amish community north of the city or the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge.
Several lakes around St. Ignatius are full of fish, and the Flathead River offers great rafting. Don’t forget that you are a guest of the Flathead Indian Reservation and that you need a permit for fishing or hunting.
19. Glasgow, Montana
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While Louis and Clark first explored the area around Glasgow in 1804, the city was not established until the late 1800s when the railroad came. The best place to learn about the town history is at the Valley County Pioneer Museum. It has an amazing collection of fossils and Indian artifacts, as well as the collections on the railroad, wildlife, and aviation. Glasgow’s population and stature grew after the Fort Peck Dam was constructed in 1933.
The four-mile wide dam straddles the Missouri River, and its construction resulted in the creation of Fort Peck Lake, the biggest lake in Montana. Full of fish, the lake hosts Montana’s annual Governor's Cup Walleye Fishing Tournament.
Don’t miss the Fort Peck Dam Interpretive Center and Museum with two larges aquariums showcasing species of fish living in the Missouri River and Fort Peck Lake. The museum also has a life size model of the Tyrannosaurus Rex that was discovered nearby.
Nature lovers should visit the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge, a 1,100,000-acre wild animals refugee, with free-roaming Bugling elk, mule deer, red foxes, coyotes, and thousands of birds.
20. Fort Benton, Montana
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Fort Benton is so steeped in history that the entire town was declared a National Historic Landmark. Called for good reason the birthplace of Montana, Fort Benton was established on the courage and hard labor of thousands of people who came to explore and seek a better future.
The settlement started as a robe trading post, then as the gateway to gold hunters, then to whiskey traders, and then to railroad builders. Today, the history can be seen all around this charming little town, especially in the Heritage Complex on the bank of the Missouri where the old fort shares space with a range of other museums.
Walk along the historic steamboat levee and look at the outdoor art displayed for all to enjoy. Visit the city’s historic district and see how seamlessly the past merges with the lively, prosperous present with art galleries, theatres, shops, and great restaurants.
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Sidney is a small peaceful community on the banks of the Yellowstone River in the heart of the fertile 75-mile-long valley. All the way to the horizon you can see grains, corn, sugar beets, hay and beans.
The pastoral landscape is broken by oil rigs – Sidney is part of the Williston Oil Basin. The untouched nature around the valley is rich in scenic scarlet scoria hills, bluffs, and badlands.
The river offers great fishing and all kinds of water sports. Hunting and agate hunting are also popular, and so is hiking along the historic Lewis and Clark Trail. Check the Sidney's MonDak Heritage Center Museum and Art Gallery with many significant historic artifacts such as the St. Cyr gun collection and early photos.
In the summer, you can enjoy the Sunrise Festival of the Arts, the Lone Tree Gun Show, the Richland County Fair and Rodeo, and the Wine and Food Festival.
22. Big Timber, Montana
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Located at the foot of the Crazy Mountains with an endless expanse of surrounding prairies, Big Timber is a great little town to visit on your way to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. It is worth stopping by for the excellent blue ribbon fishing, great hiking, hunting golfing, or just floating in the river.
If you are there in July, you can enjoy the Montana-wide famous historical Big Timber rodeo. To get the feel of the city’s past and present, don’t miss the Crazy Mountain Museum where you can see the Cobblestone City, a finely detailed miniature model of Big Timber as it looked in 1907.
You can also see photos and artifacts from the 1930 Cremer Rodeo and a Norwegian Stabbur, a stone house that shows town’s Norwegian heritage, as well as a one-room schoolhouse with desks, photos of the Presidents, and “real" blackboards and chalk.
23. The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
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The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is an important route across America that commemorates the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition that took place between 1804 and 1806.
Forming part of the National Trails System, the trail extends for more than 3,700 miles, (6,000 km) beginning in Wood River, Illinois and ending at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon. The trail passes through sections of Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South and North Dakota, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and although the trail is not deemed as a hiking trail, it presents excellent opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, and horseback riding.
A visitor center for the trail is located at the National Park Service Midwest Regional Headquarters in Nebraska and features informative displays about the explorers and their historic trip.
24. Hungry Horse Dam, Montana
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Hungry Horse Dam, an arch dam on the South Fork Flathead River, is one of the largest concrete dams in the United States. Completed in 1953, the immense Hungry Horse Dam is located in the Flathead National Forest in Flathead County and is surrounded by majestic mountains, creating an ideal environment for hiking, walking, and fishing.
The dam is named after two strong freight horses that worked in the South Fork area that wandered away from their sleigh, were found starving, and had to be nursed back to health. The Hungry Horse Dam has a modern visitor center that is open daily and presents visitors with free informative talks upon request.
25. National Elk Refuge, Jackson
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Nestled in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the National Elk Refuge protects and showcases a critically important winter habitat for Elk and a variety of other wildlife. The refuge is a popular vacation destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, who can start their tour of the refuge by stopping by the Jackson Hole Visitor’s Center to watch an introductory video and get all the up-to-date information about the refuge. There is a multi-use pathway (May through October) for hiking, biking and wildlife watching and seasonal fishing and hunting is allowed. In winter you can enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides which will take you up close to herds of elk and bison for wonderful photographic opportunities.
National Elk Refuge, 675 E. Broadway Avenue, Jackson, WY 83001, 307-733-9212
What are the 25 Best Montana Vacations?
The 25 Best Montana Vacations according to local experts are:
More Ideas in MT: Triple Creek Ranch
The Triple Creek Ranch is an award-winning luxury Montana ranch resort hidden deep in the Bitterroot Valley. A member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux, Triple Creek Ranch offers a unique epicurean, all inclusive, vacation experience centered in the heart of the Montana Rockies. Triple Creek Ranch features a selection of private luxury log cabins and ranch homes for their guests to choose from that come fully equipped with the five-star amenities expected in such a luxurious setting. All rentals also have access to the spacious, luxury lodge that offers guests a Western environment with luxury amenities. With this picturesque mountain setting, guests have the opportunity to enjoy the nature and beauty the great outdoors have to offer.
Triple Creek Ranch Cabins & Ranch Homes
Triple Creek Ranch features a wide selection of cabins, suites, and ranch home for guests to choose from. Each of these accommodations features its own unique view of the surrounding mountains and exclusive extras that make them unique.
Triple Creek Ranch features six, one-bedroom cabins perfect for a romantic retreat. These cabins come equipped with all the amenities needed for a guest’s stay while each features specific extras unique to that cabin. The luxury cabins boast private outdoor hot tubs, and massive log post king sized beds. The Cedar offers its guests an open floor plan and a wood burning fireplace perfect for couples. The Cottage is secluded retreat hidden in the forest that has a writer’s loft and hand-crafted spiral staircase. Castle Rock offers guests an oversized clover leaf hot tub and spacious sunroom. The Sugar, renovated in 2016 now provides a tiled shower and bathtub and private hot tub. The Suites are a quick walk from the main Lodge and all the relaxing activities it has to offer.
The two-bedroom luxury cabins offered by Triple Creek Ranch provide guest with a spacious living area, two matching king bedrooms, sprawling outdoor decks, and private hot tubs. Each bedroom features an in-room master bath that features a palatial steam shower. The cabins are considered perfect for two couple, or families with children.
Ponderosa is Triple Creek Ranch’s three-bedroom luxury suite. This spacious cabin offers 3600 feet of space with vaulted ceilings and a floor to ceiling rock fireplace. The open living and kitchen space offers guests a spacious area to mingle and spend time with one another. This three-bedroom, three-bathroom, the cabin is great for accommodating large numbers of guest or being used as a meeting space.
Triple Creek Ranch’s luxurious ranch homes are ideal for guests who need to accommodate guests but require their privacy. These homes receive all guest services, and guests are required to have a vehicle to get back and forth to the Lodge and other attractions.
The Riverside is a two-bedroom home that features a gorgeous river view, two-bedrooms, cozy reading loft, and a spacious deck that hosts a private hot tub and fireplace. The Osprey boasts a large wood-burning fireplace made of river rock and a private hot tub overlooking the creek below. Stage Shop offers a panoramic view of the mountains while featuring a separate, loft-style bedroom with a king bed, bathroom and private access.
The cabins and homes at Triple Creek Ranch come with the amenities a guest both wants and expects. They also go above and beyond to offer all the extras that make visiting this unique resort worthwhile. While in-house, guests receive clean accommodations with air conditioning, satellite television, wireless internet, refrigerator, in-room safe, Keurig, direct dial telephones with free long distance, oil diffuser, bathrobe and slippers, and complimentary trail mix and fresh fruit. They also offer in-room dining options, daily housekeeping services, nightly turndown service, and luggage wranglers.
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Dining at Triple Creek Ranch
For more than ten years, Chef Jacob Leatherman has been crafting the menu for guests at the Triple Creek Ranch. Chef Leatherman and his team have worked tirelessly to ensure each meal crafted at Triple Creek is something guests will remember when looking back on their experience. All meals, including packed lunches and snack, are included in the cost guests pay for their stay at the Ranch. Meals are served in the vaulted-ceiling dining room or can be delivered to cabins at no additional cost. Triple Creek Ranch’s own orchards and gardens make many of the meals served possible by providing fresh fruits and vegetables that have been homegrown on site. Dress code is considered ranch casual. Whether it be jeans and boots to shorts and flip flops whatever makes guests most comfortable is accepted.
Throughout the year Chef, Jake and his team offer guests the chance to learn the trick of their trade by providing their own cooking school. To learn dates and times, visit Triple Creek Ranch’s website for more information.
Triple Creek Ranch also features their award-winning wine cellar. This glass surrounded room greets guests as they visit the rooftop lounge. With an extensive wine list of 700 choices, the wine cellar offers guests something for any taste palette. During the year, events are hosted to allow enthusiasts the chance to indulge in the offerings of the wine cellar.
Each evening before dinner guests have the option to make their way to the rooftop lounge. Here guests have the privilege of enjoying beautiful views while enjoying cocktail hour and relaxing from the day’s events. In the winter, guests enjoy the opportunity to relax and unwind by the beautiful fireplace while enjoying a drink.
Triple Creek Ranch offers more than a romantic getaway. As an all-inclusive resort, there are a host of activities to make any visit more enjoyable. With events such as horseback riding, hiking, snowshoeing, fly casting clinics, archery, sapphire panning, lawn games, taking a nature safari, or tennis guests can find something to keep themselves active and adventurous. For those who prefer to relax a bit, the comfort of the pool is waiting, while many cabins and homes offer private hot tubs and reading nooks for just this purpose.
While Triple Creek Ranch boasts privacy and an intimate setting, it is still possible to mingle with others and enjoy the beauty of the ranch at the same time. The Lodge is a western decorated main area where guests can get to know one another and enjoy the extras the ranch has to offer. Dining and other events take place in this central location that is accessible from many of the cabins. Additional guests may find themselves needing to drive or request a shuttle to reach the main lodge.
Triple Creek Ranch provides the opportunity to relax in the comfort of their own, private, cabin or home. By providing in-room massages, guests can experience one-of-a-kind treatments while unwinding from their exciting day. Their massage therapists offer a wide range of treatments that are tailored to help guests reach the level of relaxation they’ve been hoping for. For guests, convenience fees can be added to their bill.
Weddings and Events
Triple Creek Ranch ensures their guests have a unique setting for their weddings or other special events they find themselves dreaming of having in this beautiful location. These events can take place throughout the year while other guests are in-house. Throughout the season, however, there are times when the entire ranch can be booked for these purposes. To learn more about these types of dates and about scheduling special events or meetings, visit Triple Creek Ranch’s website for more information.
5551 West Fork Road, Darby, Montana 59829, Phone: 800-654-2943
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More Ideas in MT: McGinnis Meadows Cattle and Guest Ranch
Located in Libby, MT, McGinnis Meadows Cattle and Guest Ranch is a working cattle ranch offering weeklong clinics teaching Buck Brannaman-style horsemanship. The McGinnis Meadows property was originally the homestead of the Davis family, who settled the area in the 1890s. Located within a meadow area at a 3,300-foot elevation along a creek surrounded by timbered mountains, McGinnis Meadow was first used as a cattle ranching site in the 1920s.
In 1998, the former Davis property was purchased by Shayne Jackson, a former student and assistant of Dan M. “Buck” Brannaman, a leading American horse handler and practitioner of the vaquero tradition, which emphasizes harmonious and safe partnerships between horses and riders. Preserving extant buildings, including the original Davis House site, Shayne and his wife Jo-Anne converted the Davis property into a visitor ranch with lodge-style accommodations.
Workshops and Accommodations
Today, McGinnis Meadows Ranch is a member of the Dude Rancher’s Association, offering weeklong clinics on horseback riding, cattle working, and open country exploration. As a leading instructional ranch in the United States, McGinnis Meadows has been featured in publications such as America’s Horse, Western Horseman Magazine, and Cowboys and Indians Magazine. A number of film and television actors have trained at the facility in preparation of Western-themed roles, including actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, whose experiences were recounted in the Bravo documentary “Long Way Round.” The ranch was also the subject of Cindy Meehl’s documentary BUCK, which won an Audience Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
An average of 15 workshop participants visit the ranch every week, offering average rider-to-instructor ratios of three to one and allowing instructors to tailor learning programs to riders’ individual skills and needs. Riders of all skill levels are welcome at workshops and may bring their own horses or be matched with resident ranch horses that meet their skill level. Custom slick fork saddles crafted by Kent Frecker are provided, along with mecate reins and Jeremiah Watt snaffle bits.
An emphasis is placed on groundwork throughout the weeklong workshop, encouraging participants to strive for a soft and balanced riding style before mastering other riding concepts. Safe trail riding techniques are emphasized, along with techniques for navigating steep and timber-heavy terrains. Cattle ranching instruction is also offered, showcasing healthy cattle sorting, driving, and handling techniques. Free personal exploration of wilderness areas is encouraged, including ridgetop hiking, mountain biking, and fishing on the meadow’s grounds.
Accommodations for up to four people are provided in handcrafted Amish log cabins with queen-sized beds decorated in a Western motif. Pendleton wool blankets, denim down comforters, and complimentary robes and slippers are provided with each cabin rental. All lodge rooms feature amenities including private baths, propane fireplaces, mini refrigerators, and coffee pots and offer access to communal hot tubs, pool and ping-pong tables, and lounge gathering areas with overstuffed couches. A main lodge building offers a family-style dining room and a reading room stocked with more than 500 Western-themed novels. Continental breakfasts and evening group meals are provided throughout the week.
Standard ranch clinics are offered during McGinnis Meadows’ peak season, beginning in June and culminating with a Fall Round-up in late September and early October. Special clinics with Buck Brannaman are held on select weeks during the summer. Off-peak fall season workshops emphasize riding for stray cattle, and a Winter Horsemanship Program from October through April offers special discount rates for instruction inside the ranch’s indoor heated arena. Intensive horsemanship and cattle programs are also offered during the ranch’s Spring Program in April.
All workshop participants must speak fluent English, as all horsemanship instruction is presented in English. For the safety of ranch horses, a rider weight limit of 200 pounds is enforced, although exceptions may be made by contacting the ranch ahead of workshop time. A deposit is required at the time of workshop reservation, and travel insurance is recommended. Horse owners bringing horses to the ranch must show proof of coggins and vaccinations. Participants are encouraged to bring appropriate riding boots, hiking boots, camping gear, and sundries to the workshop.
Ongoing Programs and Education
An Intern Program is offered at McGinnis Meadows throughout the year for interested students, offering hands-on experiences with Brannaman-style horsemanship, cattle working, animal care, and ranch duties. As the only internship program in the United States teaching Brannaman-style horsemanship, participants rotate daily through rides on each of the ranch’s 90 resident horses and learn fundamental techniques in a real-world environment. In addition to self-guided exploration of the meadow’s grounds throughout weeklong workshops, a variety of local and hunting trip excursions are offered in partnership with local tour organizations, including Kootenai River trouting excursions and elk hunting opportunities.
6220 McGinnis Meadows Rd, Libby, MT 59923, Phone: 406-293-5000