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An Insider’s Guide to Montana Ranch Resorts

Live out your own “Yellowstone” experience at one of these six Western-chic locales. 

The Ranch at Rock Creek

If you have Dutton fever like the rest of the country — including the record-breaking 12.1 million viewers who tuned into the fifth season premiere of “Yellowstone” in late 2022 — it’s high time you booked a trip to Montana. While Chief Joseph Ranch (aka, Yellowstone Dutton Ranch in the show), is not accepting reservations this year, head to one of these ranch retreats around the state where you can don your best cowboy boots (may we recommend: Lucchese) and experience the magic of the rugged West. 

About 100 miles north of Darby, where much of the show is filmed, discover The Resort at Paws Up, encompassing 37,000 acres near the Blackfoot River. With luxury home rentals, glamping tents and activities galore (think fly fishing and cattle drives), it’s an ideal summer getaway for families. Its new sister property, The Green O, is an adults-only resort with 12 glass “hauses” nestled among the trees. Guests here have exclusive access to Social Haus restaurant, where chefs prepare made-to-order dishes with ingredients like wild ramps, kohlrabi and rhubarb. Don’t sleep on the morning doorstep delivery of hot coffee and fresh-baked pastries.

Near Yellowstone National Park and Big Sky, Lone Mountain Ranch was established more than a century ago and offers a glimpse into real ranch life. Adventurous types can book a six-night pack trip to explore the back country, or, for more low-key fun, take a guided Yellowstone tour to Old Faithful. Back on the ranch, stay at the historic three-bedroom B-K Cabin, which once served as a schoolhouse and as a dining hall. Each of the 22 cabins on property is equipped with a vinyl record player, adding a nostalgic soundtrack to sunset watching from the porch.

Flathead Lake Lodge, a 2,000-acre dude ranch that’s been family owned and operated since 1945, has activities like horseback trail rides and wrangler rodeos that evoke a “Yellowstone” vibe, but simply enjoying your natural surrounds (including a new cut flower garden) is part of what makes this place so special. Taste the best of Montana cuisine, from bison tenderloin to huckleberry pancakes, in the main lodge dining hall, or experience a mountain steak fry in the woods with a campfire and cowboy songs. 

If you long to sleep beneath the stars, check into The Ranch at Rock Creek, which started as a homestead and working cattle ranch in the 19th century. It will launch a new overnight homesteader wagon camping experience this summer; you can also stay in unusual accommodations like a converted historic barn. Summer is prime time to saddle up for the weekly ranch rodeo with local cowboys (some of which have made guest appearances on “Yellowstone”). All that wrangling will have you working up an appetite — be sure to try the delicious pastries, cookies and desserts offered daily in the main lodge.

The area in which Sage Lodge is nestled is known as Paradise Valley — and for good reason. There’s nothing like waking early to catch sunrise over the majestic Absaroka Mountains from the lobby. Sip the Kentucky Breakfast cocktail made with bacon-infused bourbon before heading out to explore on foot or try your hand at fly fishing. The 5-acre stocked trout pond on property is a great spot to learn, and rod rentals are complimentary.