Lone Mountain Ranch, situated on 148 acres in beautiful Big Sky, Montana, was first homesteaded in 1915 and has long been recognized as one of the premier guest ranch resorts in the country.
The property consists of 30 rooms located within 24 unique cabins as well as a the Horn & Cantle Restaurant and Saloon, Ranch Hall, Outpost, Corral, and mulitple venues for events and meetings.
Listed on the National Registry of the Historic Places, a member National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, of the Dude Rancher’s Association, an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge, and once voted the #1 Nordic ski area in North America, we offer authentic accommodations, genuine Montana cuisine, exceptional service, and a stunning array of outdoor activities. Combine these attributes with proximity to Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort for world-class alpine skiing, as well as Bozeman Airport, and we believe our guest experience is unlike any other in the American West.
Lone Mountain Ranch delivers unique and authentic experiences that are life-inspiring.
Good time to go
Families - Mid-June, late August - all day Outdoor Youth Adventures program. Adults - Late August to October - best time for fly fishing & kids are back in school. Skiers - Mid-December, late March. Families typically visit over the holidays, as we have several special events, and over President's Day and March.
Children at the Ranch
Great for children aged 4 and over
Our Outdoor Youth Adventures Program operates from mid-June until the end of August. Here, young people have fun while learning to appreciate nature and develop more self confidence through supervised activities and recreation.
Our program lasts from 9am to 5pm daily, and is for children ages 4 through 18 years old. Activities are geared to suit the abilities and interests of each age level. A day in the Youth Program may include canoeing, camping, riding, hiking, climbing wall, pizza parties, confidence course, animal tracking, leather craft and many other fun activities.
Minimum age children can ride
6 and over
Arts & Crafts
coloring, sketching, animal tracking, leather working and nature crafts.
hiking, biking, picnics, outdoor play area, cookouts, campouts, floating, supervised swimming, High and low ropes course, canoeing, confidence course, archery, climbing wall, bug collelcting, horse play day, teen mountain biking and fly casting
scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, horseshoes, soccer, volleyball, Field games
Environmental & Social Practices
We are a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.
The Ranch was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. In 1915, Clarence Lytle homesteaded the current property as a working ranch. Under the Forest Homestead Act of 1906, a claim was 160 acres. The requirements were U.S. citizenship (single women were allowed) and the claim had to be placed in the claimants own name. The filing fee was $10, and claimants had to live on the land for five years, make improvements, and raise a crop. Because of the high elevation here, the crop was almost always wild hay.
Fred Butler, a Chicago paper mill tycoon, bought the Ranch in 1926 for $50 an acre. Butler, his wife and daughter and son-in-law, Florence and Don Kilburn, built the first buildings, which have been so well maintained that they are still in use today.
In 1946, the Ranch was sold and operated as a boy’s camp. It was the first place in Montana to install underground electricity in 1948. Through successive years, the Ranch was a logging operation and cattle ranch. When guest ranching became popular in the area and Yellowstone a popular destination, the Ranch became a well respected guest ranch, drawing visitors from all over the world. Sometime in the early 1950’s the Ranch was purchased by Don Corcoran of Minnesota and he used the Ranch to run a logging operation. Due to the large number of families living on the Ranch at the time, the B-K and Hilltop cabins (as we know them today) were converted into schoolhouses for the children. In 1955, the logging operation abruptly ended and Jack and Elaine Hume purchased the Ranch and successfully ran it as a dude ranch/ hunting and fishing camp. They were the first ones to refer to the Ranch as Lone Mountain Ranch. In 1962, Sam and Florence Smeding purchased the Lone Mountain Ranch and continued its long tradition in western hospitality. Much like today, the Smedings would greet their guests in Bozeman and bring them back to the Ranch for a week of horseback riding and other adventures. In the early 1970’s, the late newscaster, Chet Huntley, along with Chrysler, Conoco and several other large corporations purchased the Ranch. The “Ranch at Big Sky,” as it was referred to, was used as their headquarters for the development of Big Sky resort and as a place to entertain possible investors. In 1977, the Ranch at Big Sky was put up for sale and anyone wishing to be considered was required to submit a proposal for consideration. Bob and Vivian Schaap had plans to run the Ranch as a cross country ski and guest ranch operation. With year round plans, they were selected and soon acquired Lone Mountain Ranch. For over 30 years, the Schaaps established a successful summer and winter guest ranch, welcoming guests from all over the world and providing them with quality adventures in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and exceptional customer service. As many of the owners of the Ranch have done for close to 100 years, we provide the finest in guest ranch vacations with unforgettable experiences and unparalleled service.