The Ranch at Rock Creek, a remote and luxurious Montana getaway, encourages guests to saddle up and pursue the Western dream
The glow of the crackling fire on a cool Montana night casts dancing shadows on the rough-hewn beams overhead as you relax into the bear hug of a deep leather armchair and contemplate the frosty copper Moscow-Mule-filled mug in your hand. Tomorrow you will ride a horse across a mountain meadow, and maybe even catch a fish in a clear blue stream. No, you’re not dreaming. You’ve just checked in to The Ranch at Rock Creek. And your big city worries are simply not welcome here.
It’s no accident that The Ranch at Rock Creek, with its wildly beautiful Northwestern Montana location and quintessentially rustic-Americana architecture and décor, feels like a vision of Western perfection. This remote and luxurious destination is the culmination of its owner’s childhood fantasy—to one day have his very own ranch. So, after building a career in hedge funds and investment banking, Jim Manley headed West, to take on the serious challenge of finding just the right place to build his dream ranch.
And here it is in all its glory: The Ranch at Rock Creek is a loving ode to the Old West. It may offer every high-end amenity (even garnering the prestigious imprimatur of Relais & Chateaux), but this rustic, all-inclusive guest ranch has a familiar nostalgia with a sweet touch of sentimentality that makes even grown-up guests feel like happy kids again.
Horseback Riding Blaze a trail or ride in the arena on one of the ranch’s herd of 70-plus horses. Beginners are welcome, and all levels of instruction are offered. If you’re one of those folks who like a little “wild” with your West, lessons in barrel racing and pole bending are available for experienced riders. Weekly Tuesday morning rodeos take place on the ranch during the summer season, featuring real local cowboys and cowgirls showing their stuff. Wagon, carriage and sleigh rides are available too.
Shooting The on-site Rod & Gun Club will outfit you for the firing range, where skilled ranch staff oversee a target shooting program that aims to please beginners as well as experienced shotgunners. The sporting clays program teaches both fundamental skills and safety. Paintball is a more playful option, and the ranch supplies protective clothing and gear before sending you off onto the ranch’s extensive wooded slopes and sagebrush flats.
Fishing Rock Creek is home to seven species of fish, including rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout, and claims one of Montana’s highest fish counts. The ranch will set you up with rods, reels, waders and flies, and then their licensed and trained fishing guides will show you where the fish are biting. Five spring-fed trout ponds are also stocked by the ranch, so your chances of catching (and releasing, which is compulsory) are good. The salmonfly hatch lasts from May into July, and a special Spring Fly Fishing Package is available.
Above & Beyond From snowmobiles and ATVs to hot air balloons and helicopters, The Ranch at Rock Creek offers an exciting array of vehicles to lift your spirits and let you explore. Sightseeing excursions are tailored to your interests, and expert guides organize custom heli-adventures to wilderness waterways, national parks and beyond, for once-in-a-lifetime thrills. Overnight backcountry camping excursions and multi-day heli-fishing expeditions are also possible. Additional charges apply.
IF YOU GO The Ranch at Rock Creek is located in a remote area near Philipsburg, Montana. Missoula International Airport (MSO) is about a 90-minute drive, and airport transfers are available for an additional fee. Once guests arrive, they can park their cars and their wallets. Each guest is given a bicycle to ride around the dirt roads of the ranch, and most activities within the complex can also easily be reached on foot.
PRICE POINT A selection of beautifully designed lodge rooms, private log homes, luxury canvas cabins and a restored barn are available. Fully inclusive rates start at $850/night and cover three daily meals (including picnic lunches), most activities, entertainment (including bowling in the Silver Dollar Saloon) and snacks, beverages, beer, wine and cocktails.