Whether you live in Montana or have just thought about enjoying Montana vacations by traveling from your home state, there are some really cool things you can do in Montana that you may not know about.

Many people associated Montana with cowboys and buffalo, and no matter if you envision one or the other or both, you will find something about Montana to capture your imagination. The state has a great traditional of ranch life and outdoor life woven into its fabric and with that in mind, let’s take a look at some different activities that you can do to make the most of your Montana vacation.

If you are traveling anywhere near the majestic, Yellowstone Park, of course we have to recommened staying at the Beartooth Basin Bunkhouse.  Nestled in the shadow of the Beartooth Mountains just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park, the Bunkhouse is your perfect home base for Western adventure. Uniquely located in the middle of a working farm and mere steps from blue ribbon fishing, we offer a limited number of quaint, comfortable guestrooms. Ours is a “kick your boots up and relax” kind of lodge. No pretense. No crowds. Just easy access to the best the West has to offer.

One of the first experiences you may want to consider is the Resort at Paws Up, near Missoula Montana in the western part of the state. There are all kinds of cool and fun things to do while staying at this resort, which is a world unto itself. Sitting on 37,000 acres along the Blackfoot River, the lodging is spread across the full breadth of the land. This resort can lodge a few hundred people in everything from glamping camps to luxury homes and still feel like you are out in the wilderness by yourself.

Every outdoor Montana activity you can think of starts at the heart of Paws Up, the Wilderness Outpost. Here you can find everything from classic outdoor activities such as fly-fishing, horseback riding, target shooting, and trail hiking, to more modern outdoor sports like mountain biking or repelling.  The ATV trails are a favorite for exploring as much of the countryside as possible. You can also take part in a cattle drive, which is part recreation (for the vacationers who have never taken part in such an activity) and part work related for the ranch hands who need to get cattle moved from one place on the ranch to another. Even if you are not an experienced rider, you can still take part on a well-trained horse as you gallop after stray calves just like in the movies!

If Paws Up is not on your agenda for this particular trip, you can also enjoy The Ranch at Rock Creek. Near Philipsburg, this ranch is a 19th century home that has been turned into a glamping retreat that includes 5-star lodges as well. The ranch is equipped with luxury cabins as well as a full spa and the Blue Canteen, as well as the Rod and Gun Club. It is also home to some of the best trout fishing that you will find anywhere in Montana. The Ranch has pro guides who can lead float trips, or you can just head out to the Rock Creek and fly fish on your own to your heart’s content. Even if you are not a tried and true fly-fisherman, you can take a few short casting lessons and hit the creek to try your luck in one of the most breathtaking settings that Montana has to offer.

One of the most popular activities at The Ranch is dinner-time. Basically a gourmet barbeque, each night is different and you might find Dutch ovens over an open fire, sunset cocktails, and any number of things in between. If you are lucky enough to catch the BBQ at the Buckle Barn after the rodeo, you are in for an experience that you will not soon forget.

Speaking of the rodeo, you may get to see top employees take part in barrel riding or bucking bronco riding as well as other classic rodeo activities. Most of these employees are pros and many have competed at the professional level. What looks dangerous to you and me is just business as usual at the Ranch at Rock Creek. You can’t help but get caught up in an infectious love of the old west by taking part in a rodeo in Montana.

bisonNo Montana experience would be complete with out a Bison Quest. If you do not live in Montana, you have no doubt heard about the legendary buffalo herds that still roam certain parts of the state. The Ranch is no exception and here you can meet a husband and wife team with over sixty combined years of wildlife biology experience working for the Nature Conservancy and Audubon Society. Dr. Craig and Pam Knowles share their love and knowledge of these magnificent animals, as many years ago they rescued an abused heard and then purchased hundreds of acres of land for them to live on.

The Knowles never take more than one group out at a time to view the buffalo heard, so you are assured of a very intimate experience. They will drive you out to the cook tent for a light snack and then take you to find the herd. Once you have seen these 1,000+ animals close up, you will realize that you have come face to face with perhaps one of the greatest symbols of the American West. There is nothing quite like seeing buffalo for the first time and it is an experience that you are not likely to forget, no matter if you are a native Montanan or someone in the state for a one time visit. This is an activity not to miss out on.

Overall, there is a lot to do in Montana. These are just a few ways to enjoy your Montana vacation. You may also want to strike out on your own and drive across the state from one adventure to another. No matter what you choose, you are sure to have a vacation experience like no other.

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