Tucked away along a dirt road right outside of Big Sky, Montana sits the most dreamy escape known as Lone Mountain Ranch. Surrounded by 150 acres of land, this dude ranch embodies the ultimate luxury destination with a rustic feel. If you’re looking for the perfect mountain getaway this is absolutely the place to be.
A few months ago, Shane and I started watching the show Yellowstone. If you haven’t watched, it is SO good!!! Shane has always wanted to visit Montana, but it was never really on my radar until then. The more we watched, the more we talked about planning a trip for next summer. You’d think he would know by now that once I get an idea in my head, I like to make moves quickly. With his birthday coming up in August and our anniversary in September, I decided to plan a trip as a surprise!
I researched dude ranches in Montana and Wyoming for about a week and absolutely fell in love with Lone Mountain Ranch. Their presence stood out online, but once I found out about the “Taste Weekend” for Labor Day weekend, I knew that was the place for us. Labor Day weekend is one of my favorite times of year to travel and as you know, I am a total foodie. We got engaged LDW in 2016 and then I had my bachelorette party the same weekend in 2017! Though the ranch was at the top of our budget for a trip like this, I can honestly say the whole experience was worth every penny.
What to Expect from LMR
Lone Mountain Ranch is an packaged experience that includes all food, accommodation, and activities. Plus for this weekend only, all of the Taste events scheduled by the ranch. Accommodations feature 1, 2, or 3+ bedroom cabins that are each individually unique. Horn and Cantle is the award winning restaurant located on the ranch, and open to the public. Their generously portioned dishes feature local game and fresh produce from the region. And trust me, everything is delicous!!
The ranch offers a shuttle pick up from Bozeman airport which is a scenic 45 minute drive away. People come from all over to soak in the joys the ranch has to offer. This was an incredibly relaxing trip for a couple like us. I would also recommend a dude ranch like this for a girls/guys trip or a family vacation with older children.
What is Taste?
Have you ever imagined the perfect weekend filled with local food, lots of drinks, and fabulous people?! That is Taste Weekend. The ranch partners with local wineries, breweries, distilleries and farms to host events for their guests all focused on food & drink. Events included a farm to table dinner at Rocky Creek Farms, a food a beverage stroll through the grounds of the ranch, a BBQ feast, and a gorgeous horseback ride with wine tasting. This event takes place once a year & dates have already been released for 2020!
Food & Drink
Aside from the amazing Taste events, we ate and drank our way through the menus of Horn & Cantle and The Saloon. Some of my favorite items we shared were the porterhouse steak on our first night, the mac and cheese (of course) and I still dream about the hot pretzel with beer cheese. The Saloon featured small plates and delicious cocktails to be enjoyed at the bar or on the veranda. We sat and sipped a few too many each night there and by the fire pit.
Dude Ranch Activities
This is the kind of trip where you can be as active as you choose to be. If you want to sit on the veranda and sip cocktails all day, you absolutely can. We chose to do a little bit of both. Activities included in our stay were hiking, horseback riding, archery, mountain biking, canoeing, and day trips to Yellowstone National Park. We also chose to add on a full day fly fishing trip with a local guide. Depending on the time of year, kayaking and white water rafting are also very popular in the area.
I had never been fly fishing and it was actually one of my favorite days. We had a private guide, Tim, that taught me everything I needed to know to feel comfortable. He also helped me the many times I got my line stuck in a tree… or a bush… or a rock… haha thanks Tim! Overall, it was a beautiful experience to see a different part of the countryside and be on the river all day. Note that if you have never been, this is a very active day… you will walk a ton on uneven terrain and your arms will be very tired.
I have always thought that horses are one of the most fascinating creatures on earth. Being able to ride horseback through the mountains to take in the views is an absolute must at any dude ranch. We rode once a day for about 2 hours each on a different trail. It was beautiful, but I wish we had been able to explore a little more open ground instead of just trail rides.
Yellowstone National Park
We would have loved to do a half day trip to Yellowstone National Park, but only full day excursions were included in our stay. Instead, we decided to spend that time enjoying the ranch and activities there. I think next time we will plan a longer trip to spend some time in the parks and hike a few trails because the hiking sounded amazing.
When making a reservation, you are able to browse from the cabins that are available and choose one that suits your needs. We stayed in Blue Spruce and it was absolute perfection. Being able to stay right on the creek and open our windows at night was so peaceful and relaxing. The coffee delivery service each morning was a nice touch. I’m still trying to figure out how I can get that on every vacation from now on. I also adored the record player and fireplace in our cabin.
What to Pack
This time of year in Montana, temperatures are in the upper 70s during the day and in the 40s at night. Layers are your best bet for any morning activity since it will warm up as the day goes on. I planned on two outfits a day for the transitioning temperatures. The ranch itself is casual and sensible shoes are recommended. I wore my boots most of the trip because the walkways were rocky.
What I Packed
Overall I can honestly say this is one of my favorite trips we have ever taken. Everything from the second we arrived to the dreaded departure was beyond my expectations. It is a beautiful place, but what really drew me in was the people. Everyone we met seemed genuinely happy and the service we received was like being with old friends. I know that this is just the beginning for summers out West for us. But for now, I’m thankful for the time we spent at Lone Mountain Ranch.