Montana ranches sprawl over thousands of scenic acres with the most magnificent natural backdrops. Travelers vacationing at one of these premier dude ranches will be surrounded by Blue Ribbon trout streams, national parks, forests, and legendary ski resorts. Montana’s top dude ranches offer everything from luxury accommodations to hearty, ranch-style cuisine. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Mountain Sky Guest Ranch
© Mountain Sky Guest Ranch
Mountain Sky Guest Ranch is an all-inclusive resort and dude ranch that is located in the city of Emigrant, in southwest Montana. Travelers from all around the world have been making their way to this little corner of Paradise Valley for idyllic vacations since 1929. Much has evolved since the ranch’s early days; the amenities have grown more opulent, the property lines have expanded, and the programming has become more diverse. The ranch offers a plethora of outdoor activities for guests to enjoy, including white-water rafting, fly-fishing, golfing, horseback riding, hiking, clay shooting, kids programs, and Yellowstone National Park tours. After a long day of outdoor adventure, guests can relax and rejuvenate at the Mountain Sky Wellness Lodge.
480 NF-132, Emigrant, MT, Phone: 406-333-4911
2.Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch
© Black Diamond Ranch/stock.adobe.com
Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch is a sprawling dude ranch and all-inclusive resort that is located in south Montana. The ranch offers its guests a relaxing, stress-free vacation that is jam-packed with a variety of memory-making adventures. Guests will have the opportunity to experience fun activities that range from scenic-river rafting to Blue Ribbon fly fishing to horseback riding to jeep adventures, all of which will be enjoyed with warm western hospitality. Visitors will have access to over one million acres of pristine wilderness situated just north of Yellowstone National Park. The ranch’s guests will find the accommodations quite charming and cozy, complete with warm showers, comfortable beds, and rustic décor.
4188 Main Boulder Road, McLeod, MT, Phone: 406-932-5791
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3.JJJ Wilderness Ranch
© JJJ Wilderness Ranch
JJJ Wilderness Ranch is located just inside of the Rocky Mountains, nestled within a scenic corridor between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park. This sprawling dude ranch overlooks the shimmering Gibson Lake and beautiful Sun River Canyon in Augusta, Montana. Just outside of the ranch’s back door lies the famous million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness, unspoiled and unforgettable. The ranch features responsive horses for the beginner all the way up to the experienced rider, private cabin accommodations, hearty meals, and unlimited outdoor activities. Guest’s will appreciate the ranch’s fantastic Kid’s Program and plethora of available adventures, such as fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking, and pack-trips.
91 Mortimer Road, Augusta, MT, Phone: 406-562-3653
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4.Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch
© Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch
Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch is a family-owned and operated dude ranch that is situated just south of the Flathead National Forest and east of Cottonwood Park in Seeley Lake, Montana. Summer ranch vacations at Rich’s include cozy cabin lodging, hearty buffet-style meals, complimentary use of ranch amenities, and a variety of fun activities during the week. Guests can enjoy everything from adventurous horseback riding on quality saddle horses to pack trips through the Bob Marshall Wilderness to Blue Ribbon fly fishing to fair-chase hunts for deer and elk. Rich’s also provides opportunities for camping, winter snowmobiling, and hiking. Nestled within the picturesque Rocky Mountains, the ranch overlooks the marvelous Woodworth Meadow near Blackfoot River Valley.
939 Cottonwood Lakes Road, Seeley Lake, MT, Phone: 406-677-2317
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5.Covered Wagon Ranch
© Covered Wagon Ranch
Established in 1925, Covered Wagon Ranch is one of Montana’s oldest continuously operating dude ranches within the beautiful canyon at the confluence of the Taylors Fork and Gallatin rivers. This sprawling ranch is located only three miles away from the scenic northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. Guests will appreciate the ranch’s charming and historic log cabin accommodations, complete with private baths, rustic wood furniture, and wood-burning stoves. Visitors will enjoy sensational meals and pampered service from the ranch’s extraordinary hosting staff. There are numerous adventurous activities offered for guests to partake in, such as inner tubing, roping, hiking, world-class fly fishing, and horseback riding.
34035 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway, MT, Phone: 406-995-4237
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6.Nine Quarter Circle Ranch
© Nine Quarter Circle Ranch
Nine Quarter Circle Ranch is a marvelous dude ranch that is nestled near Taylor Creek in southwest Montana. It’s a ranch that has looked and operated the same for more than a century, amid beautiful landscapes that have taken an unfathomable amount of time to fully form. The ranch’s rhythm is highlighted by many generations of horses trained and born here; families returning time and time again; wildlife repeating its ancient patterns; and adventurers drawn to Yellowstone National Park. This authentic Montana Dude Ranch experience features horseback riding, world-class fishing, hayrides, square dancing, white-water rafting, zipline tours, and Yellowstone tours. The rustic accommodations offer plenty of modern amenities, including Wi-Fi within the main lodge, onsite laundry, and a swimming pool.
5000 Taylor Fork Road, Gallatin Gateway, MT, Phone: 406-995-4276
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7.Bar W Guest Ranch
© Bar W Guest Ranch
Bar W Guest Ranch is a beautiful, year-round dude ranch that is located in northwest Montana, situated between the Flathead National Forest and Kootenai National Forest. The ranch is nestled on more than three thousand acres of incredibly beautiful wilderness, just below two pine-covered ridges at the bottom of Spencer Mountain. The ranch is also in close proximity to the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort, Glacier National Park, and the charming town of Whitefish. The ranch offers a plethora of fun and exciting outdoor adventures for its guests to enjoy, including world-class horseback riding, Glacier River white-water rafting, mountain biking, hiking, clay disc shooting, zip-lining, archery, and fishing.
2875 Highway 93 West, Whitefish, MT, Phone: 406-863-9099
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8.Rocking Z Guest Ranch
Rocking Z Guest Ranch is an authentic dude ranch that is nestled between the Helena National Forest and Flathead National Forest in Wolf Creek, Montana. Travelers looking to inspire and restore themselves through horseback riding and horsemanship should look no further than Rocking Z. The ranch offers horse-related activities and experiences that meet the needs of beginner, intermediate, and experienced horseback riders. They’ll have the chance to ride long trails, work cattle from the rear of the heard, and play at liberty within the round pen. Aside from horse-inspired adventures, guests can also enjoy archery, clay shooting, pond and fly-fishing, and hiking. The accommodations are comfortable, offer rustic design elements, and provide modern amenities.
2020 Chevallier Drive, Wolf Creek, MT, Phone: 406-465-5534
© Elkhorn Ranch
Only a mile away from the scenic northwest corner of Yellowstone National Park lies Elkhorn Ranch, a beautiful and sprawling dude ranch that is located in the southwestern part of Montana. Elkhorn is one of the area’s last remaining authentic dude ranches where the primary focus each day is outdoor activities. This countryside getaway is perfect for the whole family, all ages, as well as friends, old and new. The ranch is known for its private, comfortable and western-themed cabin accommodations, hearty and delicious meals, and exhilarating adventures. There’s a large variety of fun and exciting things to do, including hiking, whitewater rafting, Blue Ribbon fly-fishing, horseback riding, children’s programs, sleigh rides, and trips to Yellowstone.
33133 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway, MT, Phone: 406-995-4291
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10.320 Guest Ranch
© 320 Guest Ranch
320 Guest Ranch is a classic vacation lodge and dude ranch that is nestled along Buffalo Horn Creek and the Gallatin River in Gallatin Gateway, Montana. Travelers who have been yearning to horseback ride beneath Montana’s clear blue skies, or fly-fish its bubbling trout rivers, or ski the famous Big Sky Resort, will want to give serious consideration to staying at this charming ranch. From the Deluxe Log Cabins to the Mountain Chalets to the Three Bedroom Luxury Log Homes, guests will enjoy cozy accommodations that feature big windows, comfortable beds, log interior walls, and Western motif. The ranch offers many other fun and adventurous activities for guests to enjoy, such as hiking, rafting, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing.
205 Buffalo Horn Creek Road, Gallatin Gateway, MT, Phone: 406-995-4283
11.The Blacktail Ranch
© The Blacktail Ranch
Travelers looking for both an exciting and relaxing dude ranch experience should look no further than The Blacktail Ranch in Wolf Creek, Montana. This magnificently-scenic ranch is located in the mighty Rocky Mountains, along the state’s portion of the Continental Divide. The ranch is surrounded by beautiful meadows, towering pine forests, and soaring mountain peaks; there’s also a sparkling river that runs through the property. For over forty years this dude ranch has put an emphasis on high-quality experiences and exceptional service. There’s lots to see and do around the ranch, including fishing, rafting, bird watching, yoga; the Blacktail Cave Exploration & Museum, and a 3-day Divide Ride.
4440 South Fork Trail, Wolf Creek, MT, Phone: 406-235-4330
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12.Parade Rest Guest Ranch
© Parade Rest Guest Ranch
Parade Rest Guest Ranch is a true, authentic Montana dude ranch that offers memorable experiences in a scenic location that is only 15 minutes from Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance. The ranch’s all-inclusive vacation packages provide all of the guest’s meals, log cabin lodging, world-class fly fishing, unlimited trails to ride via horseback, and unforgettable outdoor cookouts. There are numerous wilderness activities for visitors to enjoy, such as bird watching, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and Yellowstone tours. The 15 private ranch cabins feature modern baths, comfortable beds, porches, and a few with wood-burning stoves. Travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of their daily lives will find the Parade Rest Guest Ranch quite rejuvenating.
1279 Grayling Road, West Yellowstone, MT, Phone: 406-646-7217
13.Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle & Guest Ranch
© Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle & Guest Ranch
Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle & Guest Ranch is a sweeping dude ranch that is located in central Montana, a couple of miles east of Canyon Ferry Lake. The Flynn’s historic family roots trace all the way back to the early 1860s when their ancestors followed the mighty gold rush to Diamond City. The 15,000-acre ranch they have now features bubbling creeks, beautiful meadows, and rolling mountain peaks. The Flynn family has carved out a little slice of paradise within the mountains and fields of Montana. From horseback riding to wildlife watching to scenic tours, guests will have a plethora of wonderful outdoor adventures awaiting them.
1 Clear Creek Road, Townsend, MT, Phone: 406-266-3322
14.Cheff Guest Ranch
© Cheff Guest Ranch
Cheff Guest Ranch offers marvelous scenery of the sweeping Mission Mountains and provides travelers with unique opportunities for experiencing the Great American West. Guests staying here will have the chance to simply relax and laze the days away while taking in the stunning beauty of the Rocky Mountains, or pack the days full of fun and exciting ranch activities. The ranch is equipped with hundreds of picturesque acres and miles of private trails that are perfect for mountain biking, hiking, walking, and guided horseback riding. There’s also a private lake and fresh mountain streams just steps from the guest cabins. Guests will appreciate the close proximity to the nearby Glacier National Park and National Bison Range.
3088 Eagle Pass Trail, Charlo, MT, Phone: 406-644-2557
15.Black Diamond Guest Ranch
© Black Diamond Guest Ranch
Black Diamond Guest Ranch is a picturesque dude ranch that is nestled within the De Borgia/Haugan region of northwest Montana. It features authentic rustic log cabins capable of accommodating up to five individuals, complete with refrigerators, coffee makers, cute handmade quilts, log bunkbeds, and full-bathrooms with hot showers. The two-bedroom and two-bathroom bunkhouse is equipped with a full- kitchen (minus the food) and comfortably sleeps 12 people, but can accommodate up to 17 using a futon and living room sofas. Guests will have a variety of outdoor recreational activities to enjoy amid a breathtaking backdrop, such as horseback riding, fishing, scenic river-rafting, horse-drawn sleigh and wagon hay rides, and guided snowmobile tours.
1281 De Borgia Haugen Frontage Road, De Borgia, MT, Phone: 406-678-4000
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16.Z5 Guest Ranch
Z5 Guest Ranch is a traditional cattle ranch that is located within the Jocko Valley, about 25 minutes from the city of Missoula, Montana. The ranch features very private, wide-open spaces, a bubbling creek that runs through the property; a fire-pit, pond, and attractive accommodations. With the ranch staff’s creativity, innovation, knowledge, and execution, guests are sure to enjoy the Montana vacation of their dreams. Z5 offers a plethora of exciting outdoor adventures for its guests to enjoy, including shooting, horseback riding, fly-fishing, whitewater river-rafting, helicopter tours, and Chuckwagon dinners. Travelers seeking a relaxing getaway in the Montana countryside will find everything they need at the Z5 Guest Ranch.
1300 Coombs Lane, Arlee, MT, Phone: 406-540-1852
17.Bear Creek Guest Ranch
© Bear Creek Guest Ranch
Bear Creek Guest Ranch is a well-known and highly-touted dude ranch that is located in East Glacier Park, Montana. This sweeping guest ranch has been situated in its current location since the year of 1933. The ranch features a main lodge, rustic cabins, corrals, a roping and riding arena, and a fine selection of horses. The ranch is surrounded by Glacier National Park to the north, the million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness to the south, and sprawling Blackfeet Indian Reservation to the east. Guests will enjoy breathtaking views of the mountains and foothills, as well as the beautiful nearby prairie. There are numerous outdoor activities available to keep guests entertained, including hiking, horseback riding, float trips, and wildlife tours.
15750 U.S. Route 2, East Glacier Park, MT, Phone: 406-226-4489
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18.K Bar L Ranch & Medicine Springs
© K Bar L Ranch & Medicine Springs
K Bar L Ranch & Medicine Springs is an extraordinary guest ranch property that is nestled where the South and North Forks of the winding Sun River meet, in northwest Montana. The ranch is situated adjacent to the world-renowned, one-million-acres of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Whether it’s a wedding, corporate retreat, family reunion, or friend’s trip, K Bar L offers a magnificent setting, coupled with exceptional service. From fishing to hunting to hiking to horseback riding to pack trips, the ranch provides a large variety of exciting outdoor adventures for its guests to enjoy. Guests can also partake in a little swimming, volleyball, spelunking, wagon rides, and the making of s’mores.
108C, Sun Canyon Road, Augusta, MT, Phone: 406-562-3551
19.The Ranch at Rock Creek
© The Ranch at Rock Creek
The Ranch at Rock Creek offers travelers unique, year-round vacations on a traditional 19th century homestead in Philipsburg, Montana. This dude ranch perfectly balances lavish all-inclusive amenities with exciting Western adventures. Guests can start their days with ranch-inspired cuisine before heading out to do a little fly-fishing on bubbling Blue Ribbon trout streams. Awe-inspiring views can be enjoyed from The Top of the World via horseback before drifting off to sleep under the shimmering Montana sky within a charming bespoke glamping tent. Guests will also have the opportunity to partake in incredible outdoor adventures that include downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, archery; a ropes course, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, hiking, and photography workshops.
79 Carriage House Lane, Philipsburg, MT, Phone: 877-786-1545
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20.Deep Canyon Guest Ranch
© Deep Canyon Guest Ranch
Deep Canyon Guest Ranch has been in operation for more than 50 years within the picturesque Teton Canyon, just south of Montana’s Glacier National Park. The ranch is also situated at the edge of the world-famous, one-million-acre Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. This historic and private dude ranch is a hidden treasure that provides endless opportunities for exploring the spectacular Rocky Mountains. Guests will enjoy the finest Western hospitality, sensational home-style meals, and plenty of breathtaking scenery. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will feel right at home at Deep Canyon Guest Ranch, where they can partake in exciting adventures that include tubing down the Teton River, bird watching, hiking, fly-fishing, and horseback riding.
2055 Teton Canyon Road, Choteau, MT, Phone: 406-466-2044
21.Montana Ranches at Belt Creek
© Montana Ranches at Belt Creek
Montana Ranches at Belt Creek is a luxury guest ranch that is located 25 minutes from Great Falls, Montana, and 30 minutes from the Showdown Ski Area. Travelers will have the opportunity to enjoy some of the very best that the West has to offer, from sweeping mountain ranges and plains to honest cowboy grit and genuine history to wildlife and nature so close it will make their hearts race. The Ranches at Belt Creek combine the very best qualities found at a dude ranch, ski resort, fly-fishing retreat, and hunting lodge – in one place. Guests will have unrivaled access to outdoor activities that include snowmobiling, ATV riding, dog sledding, downhill skiing and snowboarding, and photography safaris.
277 Armington Road, Belt, MT, Phone: 406-750-6135
22.Sixty Three Ranch
© Sixty Three Ranch
The history of Sixty Three Ranch dates all the way back to the year of 1863 (where it got the name) and was the first Montana dude ranch to be declared a National Historic Site. This Livingston, Montana dude ranch is situated at an altitude of 5600 feet, just below Elephant Head Mountain, and approximately 55 miles north of Yellowstone National Park. The ranch is joined by the two-million acre Gallatin National Forest; meets Absaroka Mountain’s craggy peaks; and straddles Mission Creek Canyon. Guests will enjoy home-cooked hardy meals, private cabins, and breathtaking scenery. Guests will also have a wide array of fun activities to choose from, including fishing, photography, hiking, spelunking, mountain climbing, and horseback riding.
184 Bruffey Lane, Livingston, MT, Phone: 406-222-0570
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23.Dream Haven Guest Ranch
© Dream Haven Guest Ranch
Dream Haven Guest Ranch is a premier horse ranch that is located in the northwest part of Montana, in West Marion. This ranch provides the idyllic family-friendly setting for enjoying an authentic Montana wilderness experience. Guests will have the opportunity to feel what it was like for mountain men and early explorers as they take in breathtaking views of the Salish Mountains. The ranch is available all year-round, giving visitors the chance to enjoy a myriad of outdoor recreational activities, such as horseback riding, skeet shooting, roping, boating, skiing, hiking, and fishing. Throughout their stay guests will enjoy home-cooked meals, attentive service, and magnificent scenery.
11055 Highway 2, West Marion, Montana, Phone: 406-858-2020
24.Lazy E-L Ranch
© Lazy E-L Ranch
The Mackay family has long been hosting guests and friends at the Lazy E-L Ranch in Roscoe, Montana, starting way back in 1901. The ranch features over 12,000 marvelous acres of land adjacent to the Beartooth Mountains, approximately 30 miles from Yellowstone National Park. The Lazy E-L Ranch offers over a century of rich history; a traditional working cattle ranch; a variety of terrains for horseback riding; hiking, rafting, fishing, and unrivaled access to the surrounding wilderness. The ranch is also home to a plethora of wildlife species that include wolves, coyotes, Sandhill Cranes, Blue Heron, Bald Eagles, mountain lions, bears, moose, elk and deer. Guests will feel an unrivaled connection with nature at the Lazy E-L Ranch.
Lazy el Ranch Road, Roscoe, MT, Phone: 406-328-6858
25.Skyline Guest Ranch and Guide Service
Skyline Guest Ranch and Guide Service is a magnificent dude ranch that is situated in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, in Cooke City, Montana. The ranch provides guests with convenient access to the wonders and sights of Yellowstone National Park, the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, and the Beartooth Scenic Byway. Skyline Guest Ranch is equipped with six spacious and beautiful guest rooms, complete with private bathrooms and rustic décor. Delicious, home-cooked breakfasts are included with the room prices. There are endless opportunities for ranch guests to enjoy Montana’s great outdoors, including hunting, snowmobiling, pack trips, fishing, and horseback riding. Guests can also enjoy camping out overnight, roasting s’mores over the campfire under the shimmering night sky.
31 Kersey Lake Road, Cooke City, MT, Phone: 406-838-2380
25 Best Montana Dude Ranch Vacations
- Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Photo: Mountain Sky Guest Ranch
- Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch, Photo: Black Diamond Ranch/stock.adobe.com
- JJJ Wilderness Ranch, Photo: JJJ Wilderness Ranch
- Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch, Photo: Rich’s Montana Guest Ranch
- Covered Wagon Ranch, Photo: Covered Wagon Ranch
- Nine Quarter Circle Ranch, Photo: Nine Quarter Circle Ranch
- Bar W Guest Ranch, Photo: Bar W Guest Ranch
- Rocking Z Guest Ranch, Photo: gevans/stock.adobe.com
- Elkhorn Ranch, Photo: Elkhorn Ranch
- 320 Guest Ranch, Photo: 320 Guest Ranch
- The Blacktail Ranch, Photo: The Blacktail Ranch
- Parade Rest Guest Ranch, Photo: Parade Rest Guest Ranch
- Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle & Guest Ranch, Photo: Hidden Hollow Hideaway Cattle & Guest Ranch
- Cheff Guest Ranch, Photo: Cheff Guest Ranch
- Black Diamond Guest Ranch, Photo: Black Diamond Guest Ranch
- Z5 Guest Ranch, Photo: dmvphotos/stock.adobe.com
- Bear Creek Guest Ranch, Photo: Bear Creek Guest Ranch
- K Bar L Ranch & Medicine Springs, Photo: K Bar L Ranch & Medicine Springs
- The Ranch at Rock Creek, Photo: The Ranch at Rock Creek
- Deep Canyon Guest Ranch, Photo: Deep Canyon Guest Ranch
- Montana Ranches at Belt Creek, Photo: Montana Ranches at Belt Creek
- Sixty Three Ranch, Photo: Sixty Three Ranch
- Dream Haven Guest Ranch, Photo: Dream Haven Guest Ranch
- Lazy E-L Ranch, Photo: Lazy E-L Ranch
- Skyline Guest Ranch and Guide Service, Photo: bonniemarie/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Evgeny Dubinchuk/stock.adobe.com
More Ideas in MT: Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
Located near Crow Agency, Montana, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument commemorates the 1876 battle site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, fought between the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho indigenous tribes and the United States Cavalry 7th Regiment. The Battle of the Little Bighorn, fought on June 25-26, 1876, has come to serve as a representation of the conflict between the hunter/gatherer cultures of indigenous North American tribes and the Western industrial and agricultural society of the United States, as part of a larger conflict of indigenous displacement rather than an isolated local battle.
The previous decade, Lakota Sioux leaders had agreed to the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty, which had resulted in the formation of a large reservation for the tribe in present-day South Dakota. The terms of the treaty, which stifled the tribe’s nomadic culture, had resulted in conflict with other local tribes and pioneer settlers and been rejected by prominent tribal leaders, including Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull. Tensions further escalated following Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s 1874 survey of the Black Hills area of the Great Sioux Reservation and the Sioux tribe’s subsequent rejection of a purchase offer of the area’s resources by the United States government.
In the winter of 1875, the United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs ordered an ultimatum, mandating that all Sioux tribe members report to a reservation by the following year. Following a lack of response to the deadline by tribal members, a strategy to force tribal reservation return was devised by General Philip Sheridan, the commander of Missouri’s Military Division. In the spring of 1876, three cavalry forces totaling approximately 2,500 members were commissioned to respond to an assumed force of 1,500 indigenous warriors near the Crow Indian Reservation and Little Bighorn River in the Territory of Montana. The ensuing battle between tribal and cavalry forces, which lasted for two days, resulted in a resounding victory for the Sioux and Cheyenne people, although their victory proved short-lived as it fueled rationale for further attacks against hostile indigenous forces in the following years.
Following the battle, the Little Bighorn site was preserved as a National Cemetery by the United States Secretary of War, which was later incorporated to include graves and burials of fallen soldiers from other conflicts. The Reno-Benteen Battlefield area was added to the site following the later 1887 Battle of Crow Agency, and in 1946, the site was reincorporated as Custer Battlefield National Monument, overseen by the National Park Service. Though the monument was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, archaeological activity was permitted on the site throughout the 1980s. In 1991, the site was redesignated as Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
Permanent Attractions and Exhibits
Today, the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument site encompasses 765 acres of land within Big Horn County, Montana, near the Crow Indian Reservation and the city of Billings. The Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument Visitor Center, located within the Custer Battlefield area at the park’s western end, serves as an entrance point for visitors to the monument, offering a 25-minute orientation film, bookstore, and several museum exhibits detailing the military and social history of the area. The monument is divided into three primary areas, commemorating the Custer Battlefield, Reno-Benteen Battlefield, and 1876 Indian Encampment. A 4.5-mile visitor road connects the two battlefields, showcasing approximately two dozen important battle sites via a narrated cell phone audio tour.
The Custer National Cemetery, located near the Visitor Center, contains the gravesites of more than 5,000 soldiers, including the fallen 7th Regiment Cavalrymen who died in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. A self-guided cell phone tour of the cemetery’s monuments and memorials is available. Visitors may also explore the monument’s ¼-mile Deep Ravine Trail, which traces battle grounds in the basin below Last Stand Hill. Two 1881 monuments, the 7th Cavalry Monument and the Indian Monument, stand nearby.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to self-guided cell phone tours, guided Apsaalooke tours for park visitors are offered seasonally by Crow Tribal Tourism. An Expedition Little Bighorn program is offered as an immersive educational tour experience for students in grades 4-8, focusing on balanced studies of indigenous and United States military perspectives. Teacher’s guide materials are also available for in-classroom preparation and study, adaptable for various curriculum requirements and grade level abilities. A Junior Ranger program also allows young visitors to receive participation badges and certificates in exchange for completion of educational park activities.
Interstate 90 Frontage Rd, Crow Agency, MT 59022, Phone: 406-638-2621
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More Ideas in MT: Whitefish Mountain Resort
Located on northwestern Montana’s Big Mountain approximately 21 miles from the city of Kalispell, Whitefish Mountain Resort is a ski resort featuring beginner, intermediate, and expert slopes at a maximum vertical drop of 2,353 feet, along with a variety of retail, dining, and lodging options.
In 1947, the slopes of Big Mountain were opened to the public by Winter Sports, Inc., a public community shareholder company. Located within the Flathead National Forest, west of Glacier National Park and approximately 35 south of the United States-Canada border, the mountain reaches a summit elevation of 6,817 feet, with a base elevation of 4,464 feet.
The mountain has been used as the site of several United States Alpine Championship skiing events, including the 1949 event, which was won by future Olympic champion Andrea Mead, and the 2001 event, noted as the failed comeback of former Olympic champion Bill Johnson, who sustained career-ending injuries during his race. It is also notable as the site where 1994 Olympic champion Tommy Moe learned his sport, as his father worked as part of the mountain’s ski patrol. The mountain’s resort area was renamed Whitefish Mountain Resort in June 2007, following shareholder reorganization among WSI investors.
During the winter months, the resort area receives an average annual snowfall of 300 inches, providing conditions for skiing and snowboarding along the faces of Big Mountain. Big Mountain is separated into three distinct face areas, featuring five terrain parks for athletes of beginner, intermediate, and expert skill levels. Terrain parks are accessible from 12 resort chairlifts, including three high-speed detachable quads, three surface lifts, and six fixed-grip lifts. Beginner terrain areas, including children’s training areas, are offered at Magic Park, accessible from the resort’s Base Lodge. Smaller learning terrain is offered at Depot Park, which is accessible from Chair 3’s central hub, along with the intermediate terrain Central Avenue Park and the expert Armory Park area. A skiing and snowboarding cross course is also offered at Goat Haunt, offering banked turns, small jumps, and roller features. All terrain park openings are weather dependent, with daily conditions listed on the resort’s website and Facebook page.
During the summer months, the resort is also open for a variety of summer outdoor sports and activities, including mountain biking at Whitefish Bike Park, offering 30 miles of bike trail accessible via chairlift. Zipline tours are offered along the state’s largest zipline route, and an Aerial Adventure Park features cable bridges, rope ladders, and trapeze swings. A ?-mile alpine slide offers rides for visitors of all ages, and the Spider Monkey Mountain play area provides safe play experiences for young visitors. A variety of nature hiking trails are open for exploration, ranging from the family-friendly 0.6-mile Arnica Ridge Trail to the signature 3.8-mile Danny On Trail. Trail access is provided by scenic chairlift rides, which also provide access to the Summit Nature Center, staffed by Flathead National Forest rangers. Interactive museum exhibits are featured at the Center, and seasonal Discovery Walks offer education on Montana’s ecosystems and biodiversity.
A variety of hotel, condominium, and mountain home accommodations are offered throughout the resort’s Base Lodge and West and Upper Village areas. Dining options highlight American fare, including the Summit House Restaurant and Bar, the state’s only mountaintop restaurant. Other restaurant options include the award-winning Café Kandahar, offering gourmet game meat burgers and dishes prepared with organic seasonal ingredients, and the Hellroaring Saloon and Eatery, the resort’s original ski lodge bar. A breakfast buffet is also offered at the Hibernation House, including continental breakfast for hotel visitors. Shopping options include the Snow Ghost Outfitters apparel shop, Village Rentals equipment rental store, and the Village Market, offering food, sundries, and products crafted by Montana artisans.
Ongoing Programs and Events
Annual public special events include the Hellroaring Ski Heritage Days festival in January, featuring inductions to the Flathead Valley Ski Education Foundation Hall of Fame, as well as retro skiing days and a ski-a-thon event. In May, a Whitefish Pond Skim offers a $1,050 cash purse for opportunities to ski or snowboard in costume over a custom-built pond. Thursday night bike rides are offered throughout the summer, and during the winter months, night skiing events feature live music and entertainment. The resort’s Base Lodge and Summit facilities may also be rented for private special events, including weddings and business conferences. Group rates on summer and winter athletic courses and activities are available for private rental groups. A variety of lodging and tour packages are also offered in conjunction with nearby Glacier National Park.
1015 Glades Dr, Whitefish, MT 59937, Phone: 877-754-3474
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More Ideas in MT: C.M. Russell Museum
Located in Great Falls, Montana, the C.M. Russell Museum is an art museum complex preserving the historic home, log cabin studio, and works of artist Charles Marion Russell, along with other notable works depicting the history and landscape of the American West. Born on March 19, 1864, St. Louis, Missouri native Charles Marion Russell, also known as “Kid” Russell and the “Cowboy Artist,” was a major visual, literary, and oral narrative artist of the Old American West.
Throughout his career, he produced more than 4,000 oil and watercolor paintings depicting the cowboys, indigenous tribes, and other cultural icons of the American West, as well as the landscapes of Alberta, Canada. He also created large collections of bronze sculptures and short stories depicting prominent figures and typical events of the Old American West. Through the marketing efforts of his wife, Nancy, Russell became an international art icon during his lifetime. In addition to his iconic action and battle scenes of cowboy and native figures, Russell was known for his complex and challenging depictions of female sexuality, using depictions of indigenous women as sexually active and empowered to circumvent standards of female prudency in 19th and 20th century Western culture. Posthumous auction sales of his works have totaled up to $5.6 million for the 2005 sale of his painting Piegans, and his piece Lewis and Clark Meeting the Flathead Indians currently hangs in the Montana state capitol building.
During his career, Russell became friends with Emma Josephine Trigg, a public school art teacher and librarian who was married to book publisher W.T. Ridgley, who printed several of Russell’s collections of short stories. Trigg’s father, Albert, was the owner of local bar Brunswick Saloon, where Russell also frequented and held art studio facilities within the bar’s back rooms. In the early 1900s, Russell built a two-story clapboard home and log cabin studio near the Trigg property, and he and his wife Nancy remained close friends with Emma and Albert for the remainder of their lives. After Russell’s death in 1926, many of his pieces were sold at auction, but collections maintained by the Trigg family were donated to the city of Great Falls upon Emma’s death, with the stipulation that they be housed within a museum collection. Following a $75,000 fundraising drive, the Trigg-Russell Gallery opened to the public in September of 1953. In conjunction with major gallery expansions, the museum was renamed the C.M. Russell Museum in 1972.
Permanent Exhibits and Collections
Today, the museum houses a collection of more than 2,000 art works and memorabilia connected to Russell, including artwork materials and other artifacts connected to his career and production. More than 37,000 annual visitors attend the museum’s 76,000 square feet of gallery space, which also showcases collections of works by other historic and contemporary artists depicting the Old American West. As one of the foremost museums of Western art in the United States, the museum is owned and operated by the Trigg-C.M. Russell Foundation, a private nonprofit organization governed by a five-officer board of directors.
The Josephine Trigg Collection serves as the basis for the museum’s collections, including more than 150 rare oil and watercolor paintings, illustrated letters, postcards, and clay models created by Russell. Five galleries throughout the museum display Russell’s work, including the Charles M. Russell: The Legacy of America’s Cowboy Artist exhibit, which rotates works into a chronological display of the artist’s paintings, bronzes, models, and illustrations. Additionally, the Bison: American Icon Gallery examines the culture of Northern Plains indigenous people and the animals they hunted, and the Browning Firearms Collection showcases rifles and pistols produced by the Browning Firearms Company, highlighting the history of the weaponry depicted in Russell’s works.
In addition to the museum’s gallery space, the Trigg-C.M. Russell Foundation also owns and operates the historic Russell log cabin studio and two-story wood frame home, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Following a dispute with the National Park Service, the home and studio were torn down to accommodate the museum’s construction and relocated to a nearby site on the museum’s grounds in 1973. Though notable changes were made to the home and cabin upon their relocation, they retain much of their historic appearance and are furnished with period-appropriate items, including original items owned by the Russells. Tours of the facilities are available May through September.
Ongoing Programs and Education
In addition to guided and self-guided tour opportunities for student groups and organizations, the C.M. Russell Museum hosts a variety of art classes throughout the year for students of all ages. Internship and scholarship opportunities are available for artists, including the Anne Morand Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards $5,000 annually to a promising area high school art student. The museum’s Frederic G. and Ginger K. Renner Research Center contains more than 3,000 volumes on the art and history of the Old American West and is available by appointment for students and researchers. Major public special events include the museum’s internationally-acclaimed annual “The Russell” art auction, which serves as its main fundraising drive.
400 13th St N, Great Falls, MT 59401, Phone: 406-727-8787
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