After landing at a small but e;cient airport in
Missoula, Mont., a driver from the Ranch was ready
and waiting to transport me and several other guests
the 100 or so scenic miles back to the ranch. I took
pictures out the window the whole ride because the
landscape was so stunningly unique—steep hills rising
out of green flatlands just o; the roads and highways.
After arriving and touring the grounds, I was
excited to see my room. It turned out that I would be
“glamping” in one of the permanent canvas tents—
exactly what I’d hoped for. Not to worry, they all have
fully built-out bathrooms and cozy gas fireplaces for
heat. Since the tents are lined up along the ranch’s
pristine private stretch of Rock Creek, each one
is named after a species of trout; mine was Brook.
Each tent has a private screen porch facing the creek
where you can relax while reading or listening to the
If you don’t like the idea of a tent, you can stay in
rooms at the Granite Lodge or Historic Barn, or rent
out cabins of various sizes.
Since the tents are a ways from the lodge, each guest
is provided with a mountain bike for getting around.
( You can always call the front desk if you’d prefer to
have someone pick you up in an SUV.) Dress code is
jeans/casual at all times, which makes hopping around
between meals and activities a breeze.
Upon arrival at the lodge for dinner, we were served
the chef’s tasting menu, made up of five delicious
gourmet courses. Each one was unique and something
I’d never tried before, all plated beautifully.
Daylight comes through the tent canvas at around
5: 30 a.m. in the summer, and I actually panicked for
a second that I’d overslept. Since my body was on
Eastern time, I was wide awake and ready to go, but
waited until around 8 a.m. to go up to the Granite
Lodge for a hot breakfast. I was so blown away by the
lemon ricotta blueberry pancakes that I proceeded to
get them the next two mornings as well.
At last it was time to head to the stables for my first
ride. The head wrangler, Joe, had picked out a special
horse for me to ride, one that he was trying out to be the
personal mount for the ranch’s owner. There are over 70
head of horses on the ranch, around 40 of them safe for
beginners to trail ride. Many of them are Quarter Horses,
although there are also drafts and a variety of other
types—certainly something for any rider’s ability.
We set o; in a small group led by Joe and two other
wranglers. Since Rock Creek is down in a grassy valley,
there’s nowhere to go but up, up, up! The hills that rise
steeply out of the valley give the horses a real workout
and quickly ascend to the most beautiful views you can
imagine. Even though it was late May, there were snow-
The Granite Lodge is where guests convene for hot breakfasts and lunches, as well as housing seven guest suites.
Don’t worry, the archery targets are made of foam.
This one was a direct hit!
Cozy canvas “glamping” tents feature rustic touches
while gas fireplaces keep you nice and warm.