Disclosure: I’m a California girl, in love with Montana!
I know why they call it Big Sky, Montana. At night, the stars shine brighter than a brand new penny and during the day, your eyes will be hard pressed to find a focal point, as everything around you seems miles away. Big Sky country is where the deer and the antelope and the elk roam and the skies are cloudy and might even open up and rain down upon you. But that’s okay, because you can scurry into the dining room at Lone Mountain Ranch and grab yourself a steaming cup of coffee or hot chocolate, along with a fresh baked cookie and all is right with the world. Wait ten minutes and the weather will change from wet to wild with color, with rainbows arching over tall, grassy meadows and hillsides bursting with flowers. It is summer time in Montana’s rocky mountains.
Family camp for kids and adults at Lone Mountain Ranch
While our kids grew up making life long memories vacationing at Sunriver Resort in central Oregon, I wish I had known about Lone Mountain Ranch when they were younger. Watching the children swarm the camp counselors, eager to learn a new activity or climb on the open wagon, the jungle gym of a Big Sky dude ranch, I’m reminded of how quickly time passes.
Our teenagers, one in college, the other a senior in high school, would certainly enjoy a family vacation at Lone Mountain Ranch. There’s nothing like watching your kid ride a horse or shot an arrow into a target for the first time. Maybe I should have them fill out job applications for seasonal work at the guest ranch? I’ve heard more than one story of staffers finding love at Lone Mountain Ranch.
Lone Mountain Ranch outdoor activities
I tried my hand at fly-fishing on the Gallatin River with a professional Orvis endorsed guide, but the fish were not biting. Mine was an abbreviated visit for review purposes, so I didn’t have a chance to try all of the activities the ranch had to offer. As I mentioned, the kids program looked wonderful and all of the parents I talked with had nothing but praise for the program and staff.
Horseback rides at Lone Mountain Ranch
One of the highlights of my trip was horseback riding through Montana wild flowers and crossing crystal clear creeks on horseback. The horses were good, the wrangler was friendly and knowledgeable and the landscape – a show stopper.
All inclusive Lone Mountain Ranch
I think I speak for all mothers when I say that all-inclusive resorts mean that mom gets a vacation, too. Typically, on our family vacations, I still end up shopping for groceries, as well as planning and preparing the daily meals. At Lone Mountain Ranch, three meals per day are included in the cost of the vacation.
Breakfast is served buffet style, but menu items such as eggs cooked to order are available. Typically, guests are out and about during the day, hiking, kayaking, fishing or rafting, so picnic lunches are packed and ready in the morning. Dinners are enjoyed in the dining room with menu items and chef’s specials. I loved the filet mignon of local Montana beef and the next night I ordered the farm-raised bison steak – an excellent choice.
Big Sky, Montana log cabins
Ranch stays are typically 4-7 nights with lodging offered in 24 cozy log cabins situated around the property, or in the Ridgetop Lodge for family reunions, corporate retreats or wedding parties.
The guest ranch is open during the summer and winter. My cabin, Bald Eagle, is one of the original one room cabins with a queen bed, fireplace, desk, bathroom, coffee maker and electric heater. I kept the bathroom window open at night to hear the creek behind me.
Yellowstone National Park Tour
While I have had the opportunity to go horseback riding in Yellowstone National Park, my stay at Lone Mountain Ranch afforded me the chance to see the park through a local’s eye. Our guide brought his spotting scope along with us in our small van to shows us newly hatched chicks in an osprey nest, as well as elk in the velvet hidden among the trees.
This family-friendly dude ranch is only 18 miles from the Yellowstone National Park entrance. This is an all day trip that is available to guests in the summer, with snow coach trips offered in the winter.
With its Nordic ski trails and sleigh ride dinners, I truly hope to experience Lone Mountain Ranch in the winter!
Need to know:
Guests will either drive to Big Sky, Montana or fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN.) Transportation is available to the ranch. Check the website for details.
Check-in time: flexible
Check-out time: 10:00 a.m.
Lone Mountain Ranch is located at 6,500 feet in Big Sky, Montana. Carry your water bottle with you to all activities and keep hydrated. Drinking more water than you usually do will help you adjust to the high mountain elevation and give you more energy.
For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and Lone Mountain Ranch on Facebook.
If You Go:
Lone Mountain Ranch (406) 995-4644 or (800) 514-4644
750 Lone Mountain Ranch Road
Big Sky, Montana 59716
Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Lone Mountain Ranch.