Top50 Ranches

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Lowdown

  • Established

    1915. Guest ranch since 1927
  • Owner

    Auric Road
  • Manager

    Ryan Kunz
  • Tel

    406-995-4644
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    Summer: $550 - $725
    Winter: $375
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    Summer: $450 - $575
    Winter: $200
  • Minimum Stay

    Summer: 5 days
    Winter: 1 day
  • Maximum Guests

    80
  • Works with travel agents?

    Yes
  • Great For

    Romance, Action & adventure, Pampering, Solitude, Diverse scenery
  • Memberships

    Dude Rancher's Association, National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, and Cross Country Ski Areas Association

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.

Activities

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

Games

scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, horseshoes, soccer, volleyball, Field games

Environmental & Social Practices

Environment

We are a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

Ranch History

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.

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Gourmet, Ranch-style, Health oriented
  • Meals served

    family style, buffet style, scheduled meals
  • Alcohol

    available for purchase
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, patio, dining room (casual attire), bar & grille, lounge, private dinners
  • You'll definitely love

    ranch-raised beef, ranch-raised pork, ranch-raised chicken, farm fresh eggs, ranch garden, organic produce, locally grown produce, fresh daily bread, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, other

Whether our guests have spent their day skiing, hiking trails, fishing trout streams, or even dog-sledding, they arrive to our restaurant, Horn & Cantle with quite an appetite. For many of our guests, a love of adventure extends to their choice of cuisine. Our goal is to provide a dining experience that weaves together crafted food and drink, warm and engaging service, and an intimate social atmosphere that’s perfectly suited for a couple’s getaway or lively family gathering. Our menu is designed to awaken the tastebuds and satisfy hunger by delivering an authentic Montana culinary experience with a unique perspective. We have brought together a variety of cultures and fresh flavors inspired by local purveyors, seasonal ingredients, and classic preparations to serve you the absolute best of the old west.

Guest Favourites

  • MAPLE BRINED HELUKA PORK CHOP: prosciutto, white cheddar grits, heirloom carrots, smoked apple & cider mustard sauce
  • BRAISED BISON SHORT RIB: potato fondue, root vegetables, gremolata, natural jus
  • “TOMAHAWK” BONE-IN RIBEYE: brocollini, potato “doughnuts,” smoked garlic, sauce béarnaise

Your Chef, Eric Gruber

Our cuisine is inspired by the bounty of the Northwestern Rockies and takes advantage of locally produced offerings, prepared to satisfy the kind of appetite that develops after exploring the outdoors.

Lowdown

  • Address

    PO Box 160069
    Big Sky
    Montana
    59716
    USA
  • Remote Location

    Yes
  • Elevation

    6600 ft
  • Private Land

    250-1000 acres
  • Public Land

    more than 50k

Nearest Town - Bozeman, Montana

Bozeman, Montana has a population of 35,000 (approx), and is situated 48 miles / 1 hour from the Ranch.

Facilities in Bozeman, Montana include: grocery store, pharmacy, church, school, post office, medical clinic, hospital, bank, atm, gas station, museum.

For shopping Bozeman, Montana offers: small hometown necessity shops, boutique shops, malls, western wear.

Rental car

Required

Nearest Airports

Bozeman Airport, Bozeman, Montana

Distance

48 miles / 1 hour

Airlines

Delta, United, Skywest, Allegiant, Horizon, Northwest, Alaska, United Express, Frontier

Ranch shuttle

Complimentary transfers with inclusive packages

Rental car

4x4 recommended


Gallatin Field, Bozeman

Distance

48 miles / 1 hour

Airlines

Delta, United, Skywest, Allegiant, Horizon, Northwest, Alaska, United Express

Ranch shuttle

Complimentary transfers with inclusive packages

Rental car

4x4 recommended


Private Air Travel

Nearest location(s)

Gallatin Field Airport in Bozeman, Montana

Travel by

Helicopter, Airplane

Distance

48 miles

Ranch shuttle

Complimentary transfers with inclusive packages

Rental car

4x4 recommended

Lowdown

  • Type of Riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

    Beginner
  • Rides are grouped by

    Age, Ability, Pace of Ride, Rides tailored to guest requests, Families ride together
  • Max riders per ride

    8
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guest Horses

    90
  • Horse Types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft, Draft Cross, Paints, Other, Geldings, Mares
  • Hours in the saddle

    Morning - 2 hours
    Afternoon - 2 hours

The Setting

Private Land (250-1000 acres)

Enjoy riding on our 160 private acres (the original homesteaded property from 1915) to awe-inspiring peaks of the Madison Range and various other views of spectacular mountain ranges in the distance. Our Trails are groomed and maintained by our maintenance and trails program. The back corner of the Ranch borders the Gallatin National Forest and for those who would like longer rides, we can ride there towards Beehive Basin.

Public Land (more than 50k acres)

On longer rides, we are able to ride in the Gallatin National Forest.


Our Riding

Scheduled rides

Morning Rides run at 9am, 9:15, 9:30. Afternoon Rides run at 1:30, 1:45, 2:00. We will add an additional morning and afternoon ride should there be any special requests such as a more intermediate ride or lessons on the trail. Our lunch rides run from approximately 10am-3pm with a stop for lunch; All day rides run approximately 8:30-5pm with a stop for lunch.

Guided rides

Our guided rides are mainly for guests of Lone Mountain; however, in the summer we will offer day rides to the public.

Good to know

Each guest fills out a questionnaire before arrival; then on the first day we will visit with guests who feel like they have more experience and would like a faster-paced ride. We then set up a specific ride for this where we can assess each person's abilities – once you are assessed at a successful trot, you will be able to lope over specific trails. We are very safety conscious.

Weight limit for riding

225-250 lbs

Hours in the saddle

Each of our ride options last approximately 2 hours and we have several throughout the morning and afternoon to choose from. We also offer 1/2 day and full day rides into the Gallatin National Forest.


Why our riding stands out

  • Very safety oriented yet fun
  • Our horses are very well cared for, and very well suited for riders of all abilities.
  • Experienced wranglers guiding small groups allows for informative and intimate rides - take in the scenery or enjoy rich conversation

Sample Riding Itinerary

Although geared more toward a beginner program, experienced riders enjoy good trots and lopes through the beautiful hills. Our program affords plenty of relaxing time horseback soaking in the scenery, enjoying good conversation and the ability to experience nature in yet another way. Guests are in awe by our beauty, peacefulness and our calm, casual rides with plenty of photo opportunities. Our wranglers are versed in the history of the ranch, the local region, and the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. 

Please contact us for a thorough schedule. Please don't forget to ask us about our winter evening sleigh ride dinners - home made soup, molasses rolls, homemade dessert, coffee and the best yet...prime rib.


 

Riding Lessons

When you arrive at Lone Mountain, please come down to the barn and get any questions answered that you may have. As per request, we offer lessons on the trail or in the arena. The majority of individuals who are interested in lessons in the arena tend to be children who would like to try their first ride in a controlled environment. We are happy to teach the basics of riding and horsemanship as well as the correct seat. We will also play games on horseback with children to keep them entertained while working on particular skills and getting them comfortable with their horse. If an individual is interested in increasing his/her skill level we're happy to take the lesson one step further - for instance to teach steady hands, proper seat, leg pressure or how to sit the trot as well as the rhythm of the lope. We prefer to do most lessons on the trail to maintain interest by both the rider and horse; however, are happy to stay in the arena if a guest is more comfortable there.

Details

lessons come with package, basic riding lessons

Given by

wrangler

Location

on the trail, in the arena

Arena Work

Each Friday or Saturday, the entire ranch(no other rides occur during this time) enjoys a children's rodeo where kids can perform and "strut their stuff" from all they've accomplished for the week. Children can run the barrels and around the poles, they can try their hand at goat tying and also show their bravery on the "barrel ride"(very safe simulation of a bull ride!). Kids really get into the barrel ride and will raise one arm in the air like a real bull rider. The staff pulls the ropes attached to the barrel and it makes them buck all over the place! Parents are of course invited to get involved with all aspects of the rodeo if they'd like to participate with their child or just sit back in awe with how proficient their child has become.

Type

outdoor arena

Activities

barrels, pole bending, rodeo

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    Summer: $550 - $725
    Winter: $375
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    Summer: $450 - $575
    Winter: $200
  • Minimum Stay

    Summer: 5 days
    Winter: 1 day
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Summer: Sat, Sun
    Winter: Any day is fine
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Any day is fine

Lone Mountain Ranch can cater for up to 80 guests. Accommodation includes Cabins and Lodges. See below for details and indicative rates.

Cabin | Small Cabin

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $550 - $725
Winter: $375 - $550

Minimum Stay

5 nights

Description

Small cabins are cozy one room log cabins with luxury finishings and amenities, make it your home away from home. All small cabins have a private bath, wood stove, electric heat and a porch for relaxing and enjoying the beautiful Montana landscape. Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

safe, fridge, hair dryer, seating area, plush bathrobes, wood fireplace

Cabin | Large Cabin

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $550 - $725
Winter: $375 - $550

Minimum Stay

5 nights

Description

Large cabins are cozy log cabins with a living room, bath and (2) bedrooms, all with log furnishings and luxury finishings and amenities. Large cabins have either a wood stove or fireplace, private bath and electric heat. All cabins have a porch or deck for relaxing and enjoying the incredible mountain views. Rates are per person based on double occupancy.

Rooms

2

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

safe, fridge, hair dryer, seating area, wood fireplace

Cabin | Douglas Fir House

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $550 - $725
Winter: $375 - $550

Minimum Stay

5 nights

Description

The Douglas Fir House is a log cabin that sits up on the ridge overlooking the Ranch and the surrounding mountains. There is a large living room with wood stove, a full kitchen, 3 private bedrooms, each with a queen bed, one room with (2) single beds, a loft with a queen size futon, 2 private baths with shower/ tub combination, a sauna, washer/ dryer and wrap around porch with beautiful views of the mountains. Rates based on quad occupancy.

Rooms

3

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

fridge, microwave, crib, hair dryer, seating area, washer / dryer

Lodge | Ridgetop Lodge Room

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $550 - $725
Winter: $375 - $550

Minimum Stay

5 nights

Description

The luxurious Ridgetop Lodge sits on the ridge overlooking the Ranch and the surrounding mountains of southwest Montana. There are six rooms in the lodge, (5) with a king size bed and a single bed and (1) with a queen size bed and a single bed. Each bedroom has a private bath with shower, sitting area, featherbed,and log pine furnishings. The Lodge has a Great room on the main floor with a wet bar area, floor to ceiling windows with incredible views of Lone Peak, plenty of couches for relaxing and access to a wrap around por

Rooms

6

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

mini-bar, fridge, crib, hair dryer, seating area, plush bathrobes, wood fireplace, washer / dryer

Entertainment

tv, dvd, cable / satellite tv, hot tub


Booking Policy

Deposit Policy: To guarantee a reservation, Lone Mountain Ranch will require a 25% deposit of the total stay (including taxes) at the time of booking. Six months prior to arrival, a second deposit of 25% will be due and automatically deducted from the credit card on file. If payment was received by check or by wire transfer, an email notification will be presented. Any reservation(s) booked within 6 months will require the 50% deposit at the time of booking. The final 50% balance will be due for all reservation(s) at 60 days prior to arrival and at this time are non- refundable. Cancellation Policy: If cancellation occurs outside of 6 months prior to your date of arrival, the initial 25% deposit will be refunded less $500. Any cancellations or changes within 6 months to 60 days will forfeit 25% of the total deposit. Within those dates a credit letter may be offered for a future stay. Cancellations 60 days or less are non-refundable.

Included in your stay

meals, activities, ranch shuttle, lodging, Riding, Summer-evening programs, canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, Outdoor Youth Adventures (ages 4-12), 1 Yellowstone Park Tour (with 7-night packages), Fly-Fishing 101 class, yoga. Winter-use of 85km of XC ski trails, 30km of snowshoe trails, sleigh ride dinner, and yoga.

Extras

Tax

3% local and 1.75% state tax

Gratuity

15% of accommodations package

Massage

On-site massage studio

Guided Fly Fishing

Guided Fly Fishing can be booked through our concierge team.

Other

Guided fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, dog-sledding, downhill ski tickets, snowmobiling, snowcoach trips, oil painting classes, rock climbing, winter guided Yellowstone Park ski tours, downhill skiing, golf, zipline at Big Sky Resort.

Lowdown

  • You can borrow

    Cowboy boots, Riding helmets, Rain coats
  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi, telephone.
  • Cell Networks

    AT&T, verizon. Sprint, T-Mobil.
  • Business Services

    Conference center, computer and fax hookups, printers, common computer.

Onsite

Shopping

Outdoor Shop open daily with the latest western wear, Montana made gifts, candy, soaps, jewelry, Nordic gear and clothing, outdoor wear, jackets, t-shirts, sweatshirts, kids games and gifts and more!

Outdoor Activities

climbing, mountain biking, Yoga, Golf - 18 hole course, campouts, wagon rides, bird watching, horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, guided Yellowstone Park trips

Water based Activities

river floating, whitewater rafting-adventure

Spa

relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, rock treatments

Winter Activities

cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, down hill skiing, snowshoeing


Fishing & Wildlife

With the largest concentration of blue ribbon trout streams, our guests are able to access the most consistent and rewarding trout water in the region.

Fishing on offer

fly, river, lake, stream, equipment available, guided non-inclusive, instruction available, BYO equipment

Wildlife

Moose, Elk, Deer, Coyote. Sandhill Cranes, Owls, Marmots, Ermine, Squirrels, Snowshoe Hares,Foxes,Chipmunks


Additional Services

Corporate Retreats

For groups of 50-75.

End of March, early April, May, early June, and Mid to late September, early October and early December for groups of 20-50 people. Meetings can be held in Ridgetop Lodge and our B-K guest lounge.

Weddings

We can cater for groups of 50-75.

Customized to type and season


Local Attractions

Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman

Nationally renowned for paleontological research and other exhibits.

Distance

48 miles / 1 hour

Rental car

Required


Lewis and Clark Caverns

Underground caverns with guided tours

Distance

60 miles miles / 1 hour 15 mins

Top50 says

Highs

  • This ranch really has synergy, the staff enjoy working together, and that transfers over to their relationship and care for each guest – they care about every aspect of your stay
  • Yellowstone National Park is their back yard!
  • The cabins have a hint of luxury and comfort
  • An ideal ranch for families, there’s an excellent youth program: kids’ rodeos, overnight backpacking trips, ropes course, canoeing, pizza parties and a ropes course

Lows

  • Most horseback riding is at a walk, however there are opportunities for trots or lopes, just ask Lisa who’ll work to accommodate your requests
  • The cabins sit apart from where you park your car, but they offer a shuttle service when you arrive so you can comfortably get moved in

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

A Memorable Place, A Memorable Visit

A pretty over the top place. From Steffi and Jessica, the ones who answered all of our questions, Andrea, Chris and Jason in the ski shop, to Ginger, Erica, and Andrew in the Horn & Cantle, and the host of other employees who made our visit so enjoyable, you have our gratitude. From the minute you get there, everyone is determined to make your visit enjoyable. The winter Snow Coach tour of Yellowstone is a must. We learned Nordic skiing, went snowshoeing, ate like royalty and enjoyed our fires in Blue Spruce Cabin. The setting is so serene and the food was amazing. Can’t wait to bring the rest of our family here.

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Lone Mountain Ranch on TripAdvisor