Top 5 Montana resorts that combine luxury vacations and wilderness adventure
America's fourth largest state is at the peak of its popularity among travelers. Montana's two national parks and 55 state parks, coupled with a cowboy hospitality scene and excellent resorts, have made the state a well-known destination for year-round adventures. During the pandemic, these expanses attracted many tourists, and the number of travelers has continued to grow ever since. Montana's mountains, rolling terrain, glaciers, wildflower meadows and lakes, surrounded by luxury resorts and cozy ranch hotels, allow for experiences you haven't tried before and idyllic vistas. Turn to this list of Montana's top-rated resorts for help planning the perfect trip to Big Sky Country.
1- The Ranch at Rock Creek, Phillipsburg
The 19th-century Rock Creek Estate in the middle of an unspoiled valley has been called the first five-star ranch in the world. Of all the resorts in Montana, this five-star hotel is the only one to be included on the Forbes Travel Guide list. The resort provides guests with an outdoor respite in the legendary West, and the all-inclusive approach to vacationing allows them to leave worrying about their wallets and serenely explore the five mountain peaks around them.
The foundation of hospitality at Montana's top resorts is all-inclusive, which consists of much more than meals and a few activities. Accommodations at this ranch include access to all-day dining, unlimited soft drinks, premium spirits and a variety of snacks, two activities per day on the grounds daily and the state-of-the-art equipment required, access to the pool, hot tub and fitness center. More all-inclusive packages include evening entertainment in the lounge with billiards, shuffleboard, karaoke, a private movie theater, bowling, table games and tennis, a poker table and a campfire dinner, as well as additional and special events during seasonal holidays. Guests are free to use bicycles to get around the ranch grounds and take walks to observe wildlife. All accommodations include a 23% tax on the reservation amount, which is used to pay for fees and the following services: Montana lodging tax, tips, phone and Wi-Fi, daily replenishment of in-room snacks and beverages, and Missoula airport shuttle service.
The resort has prepared 29 rooms of varying grades to accommodate guests, providing a cozy base for adventures in the mountains and meadows in the area. Rooms are furnished in restored original 19th-century barns, private cottages (cozy romantic or two-story log homes), a luxurious glamping site on the banks of Rock Creek, or the large granite Lodge Hotel. Amenities in all rooms include carefully selected decor with historic details, twice-daily housekeeping, beverages and snacks, and signature bedding and bath amenities. You'll be able to find the perfect accommodations no matter how many vacationers you have - whether you're coming for a weekend getaway for a secluded getaway for two, or traveling with a group of friends or large family.
The resort offers farm-to-table meals featuring local ingredients and seasonal Montana specialties. There are several on-site restaurants, including those with outdoor seating, and ranch-style dining will provide unique experiences such as horseback riding through the meadows and post-tasting farm-to-table cuisine with draft or regional wines.
The grounds of Montana's most beautiful resorts are the perfect setting for adventure-filled outdoor recreation. In any season, The Ranch at Rock Creek has 6,600 acres for activities for all tastes and ages. In the winter, you can snowmobile, sled, ice skate, ski and snowboard, and go ice fishing. In the warmer months, there are ropes courses, UTV tours, golf, biking, hiking, wildlife watching and more. There is a kids' club, and there are interesting and unusual activities for the whole family, such as sapphire mining or relaxing in hammocks on the creek bank.
2. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby
Bitterroot Valley Ranch lets you experience the legendary hospitality of one of the best resorts in the world, nestled in the middle of Montana's Rocky Mountains. It offers an epicurean vacation with refined rustic elegance, five-star service and the romance of a mountain retreat.
This resort offers a selection of individual log cottages and superb ranch homes with rooms of varying class for accommodations. For example, these might be cabins with king-size beds, sitting areas in front of a wood-burning fireplace and hot tubs, or a two-story studio with a wood-burning cast-iron stove and a spiral staircase leading to a cozy loft sitting area. If you want extra relaxation, stay at Castle Rock Cottage, notable for its large indoor spa. These and other hideaways accommodate varying numbers of guests and are close to the main cottage, and have direct access to the resort's pool. Some homes also include a golf cart for guests to more easily navigate the grounds.
Triple Creek Ranch is one of the well-known Montana resorts that offers an all-inclusive rate system. The rate includes all meals in the restaurant, rooftop lounge and outdoor dining area, in-room meal delivery and snacks, breakfast or take-home lunch for outings, liquor, access to all resort amenities, participation in all evening programs and special weekend and holiday events, and participation in ranch activities included in the rate, along with necessary equipment and instruction. For an additional fee, resort guests can enjoy spa access, off-site ranch activities from outside companies, premium drinks, laundry service and airport transfers.
All of Montana's top resorts do a good job of impressing guests with a taste of regional cuisine. At Triple Creek Ranch, Chef Jacob Leatherman's team has been responsible for the gastronomic delights since 2005. Guests are offered a new menu of unique and creative dishes daily, making the cuisine one of the highlights of the visit for many guests. They are complemented by a collection of complimentary house wines and premium wines from the local bodega, which has earned several profile awards. Enjoy food and drink in the beautiful dining room with vaulted ceiling or order everything to your room. Before dinner, spend time with a drink in the rooftop lounge, filled with seating areas near the fireplace and on the outdoor deck with gorgeous views.
Vacations at popular Montana resorts allow you to enjoy mountain romance and fill your leisure time with thrills. No two vacations are the same at Triple Creek Ranch, as the adventure program is quite varied. Guests can go horseback riding or mountain biking, hiking in the mountains, or snowshoeing. There are workshops for fly fishing and archery, you can join cattle drive work trips and try your hand at water adventures - whitewater rafting on the Whitewater River, alpine packrafting, which includes hiking to an alpine lake, or lazily drifting down the river with picnic stops. There are also plenty of more relaxed activities - artisanal soap and candle making workshops, sapphire mining, golf, hat making, etc.
3. Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky
The all-inclusive system is also offered by another of Montana's top resorts, the historic Lone Mountain Ranch, recognized as one of the best in the country. It was erected in the town of Big Sky in 1915 and has been providing travelers with an authentic experience of Yellowstone Park and the nature of the American West ever since. Its pluses also include its close proximity to the park, Big Sky Resort, and Bozeman Airport.
Professionally designed packages are available to accommodate guests here, as well as the option to create your own. These can be seasonal or themed offerings with appropriate entertainment. Meals and activities are included in most packages. Guests can start with standard fares, such as Yellowstone Exploration or Winter Discovery, and then add on adventures to suit their tastes if desired.
The resort has 25 log cabins with varying numbers of bedrooms, from 1 to 6. Families with children or companies can opt for adjoining log cabins with multiple bedrooms. The cottages are equipped with large beds, wood stoves, spacious baths, sitting areas and porches overlooking the creek. The lodges have fireplaces, outdoor terraces, fully equipped kitchens, pool table and other amenities. All lodges are historic structures but were meticulously restored in 2016 and provide comfort, privacy and first-class amenities.
A separate point of pride for area resorts is their culinary program, reflecting true Montana heritage. After hiking the trails or dog sledding, guests can sit by the fireplace at Horn & Cantle to enjoy dishes made from local ingredients, or take a sleigh ride through the snow on a trip under the stars for dinner at a historic cabin in the North Fork, where they'll be greeted with ribs cooked on a railroad oven and a portion of honey moonshine. In the summertime, you can enjoy excellent western-style barbecue at Sunday Ranch Hall and groove to country rhythms. And you can't miss the weekly rodeo on Tuesdays with gourmet street food and a colorful show including bull riding, barrel racing, etc.
Montana's best resorts, such as Lone Mountain Ranch, do their best to maximize the leisure activities of their guests. Since they are surrounded by spectacular wildlife, the bulk of the adventures are related to it. In the winter, this can include skiing (the meticulously groomed forest trails amidst the mountainous terrain have been named the #1 Nordic ski destination in North America by Cross Country Skier magazine), snowshoeing, dog sledding, winter fly fishing, and excursions into Yellowstone National Park. In the summer, guests can fill their time with horseback riding, picnic outings to geysers and photo expeditions in the national park, guided hikes on walking trails, fishing, canoeing, archery, outdoor yoga, and more. There are also programs for companies and families, including children, such as an outdoor playground or ropes course.
4. Sage Lodge, Prey
Another one of the best resorts located near Yellowstone National Park, Montana, USA, can be your perfect headquarters for outdoor adventures. Vacations here will suit both lovers of wide-open spaces and seekers of quiet solitude.
With more than 1,200 acres of land within a short drive of a gorgeous national park, you won't be bored for a moment whether you prefer outdoor activities or comfortable indoor recreation. The Lodge offers beautiful views of majestic Emigrant Peak and houses 38 luxurious rooms - 34 lodges in the main lodge and 4 private ranch homes. Lodges feature patios or balconies, gas fireplaces, walk-in showers or deep soaking tubs and sitting areas. Ranch houses are ideal for group or family trips to resorts in Montana. They include four separate bedrooms and bathrooms and can accommodate up to 16 guests. Ranch houses also feature fully equipped kitchens, living rooms, dining areas, gas fireplaces and patios with an outdoor fireplace and pond views.
Part of a great vacation at popular resorts in Montana certainly has to do with great food. Sage Lodge will also not leave you without an excellent dining experience. There are several restaurants here that offer bold, rustic food of the highest quality in a casual atmosphere. You'll be able to sample dishes with ingredients sourced from local ranches and nearby farms, as well as many Northwest craft beers and spirits. In addition, you can have food delivered to your room or pack a picnic lunch for your offsite adventures.
As you travel around Montana and stay at some of the state's best resorts, you may feel that the surrounding scenery just demands that you explore it. It makes sense to start by exploring Yellowstone National Park, which includes sunrise tours, geologic and geyser tours, hiking and wildlife watching, and fly fishing. In the winter, the park offers skiing and snowshoeing. Then choose your own adventure from a huge list: biking tours, ziplining, whitewater rafting, llamas, outdoor yoga, kayaking, horseback riding, and more. Adventures at the resort are not limited to outdoor activities. You can alternate them with more relaxing activities. For example, take dance lessons, relax in the hot springs, play golf, do plein air painting, take a master class with the bartenders, and take the perfect pictures to remember your vacation with a nature photo shoot. You can also enjoy the surrounding scenery in the comfort of your own home, such as taking a tour of the park by bus or flying in hot air balloons and helicopters.
Ending a busy day is best done at a spa to relax and rejuvenate. The local retreat will offer a variety of wellness treatments, from relaxing in a hot tub and steam bath with sauna to hot stone massages and facials and body treatments, as well as some signature rituals with energy practices and guided meditation. Montana's beautiful resorts are popular for events, for example, Sage Lodge has over 6,200 square feet of space for various meetings, weddings, etc.
5. The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough
If you don't know what a top-rated Montana resort vacation should be like, visit this gorgeous escape in the western part of the state, spanning 37,000 acres on an authentic cattle ranch. Completely at one with nature, an impeccable blend of luxury and rustic elegance, and day-by-day adventure, a trip here will leave you with unforgettable memories.
The selection of lodging options at The Resort at Paws Up puts it a notch above many of Montana's popular resorts. Guests have access to 28 diverse homes amidst tall trees with breathtaking views of pastoral meadows and mountain panoramas. They have multiple bedrooms and are designed to accommodate a varying number of vacationers, including large groups. The houses are equipped with all modern amenities, such as living rooms with stone fireplace and private terraces with hot tubs. Rates include three meals a day, beverages of choice, access to unguided activities, tips, airport transfers, and a car to get around the area. In addition to luxury homes and ranches, guests can choose other types of accommodations if they want an even greater connection to nature. From mid-May to mid-October, the resort offers the best glamping in North America, featuring six camps with comfortable safari-style tents. Here you can admire the night sky and listen to the sounds of nature, while still enjoying luxurious accommodations. The tents have private bathrooms, king-size beds, dining pavilions, and butler service for all your whims.
The resort has several on-site restaurants to shut down all your culinary requests, from a breakfast of French toast and fresh trout caught in Rocky Mountain rivers to sumptuous barbecue and vintage wine selections. Sundays and Wednesdays feature communal barbecues with live music, and on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday you'll be treated to a special culinary adventure: an Old West-inspired wagon ride to dinner on the banks of the Blackfoot River.
Vacationing at Montana's famous resorts involves an abundance of active activities, so a great advantage for guests is the opportunity to fully relax after eventful days and energize themselves for new accomplishments. The best way to do this is on a luxurious spa retreat, and The Resort at Paws Up has provided for this need as well. Paws Up is a full-fledged spa town, the best among Montana's full-service resorts. At the edge of a sprawling meadow under the shade of tall pine trees sits a row of white tents housing full baths and showers, massage and treatment rooms. There's no need for a spa backdrop here - nature has already done that: the shimmering creek just beyond the tents complements the sound of the pine trees and the magnificent view of meadows with grazing horses.
Few good Montana resorts can rival this refuge in the number of vacation adventures. Go on guided fly fishing trips, ride ATVs, mountain bikes, kayak, go whitewater rafting, swimming and horseback riding. Try your hand at biathlon, go tubing, or explore dozens of miles of hiking trails. These are just some of the adventures you can experience at this resort.