Summer Camp for the Family – NY Times

Summer Camp for the Family according to the New York Times

Summer camp used to be for children. But in recent years (maybe because of their children’s Instagram posts of water skiing and spiking volleyballs) parents decided they wanted in on the fun. Now, resorts — some luxe, others more basic — are offering more than s’mores for family stays… 

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Summer Day of Fly Fishing, Yellowstone, and Horseback Riding, Lone Mountain Ranch 2017

2017 : A Summer Day at Lone Mountain Ranch

Summer is fast-approaching Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana! We are excited for another warm and wonderful season of horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, and trips to Yellowstone National Park and the Gallatin River.

As we plan for June – October, we’ve been reflecting on what our first summer was like on the ranch: waking with the sunrise to beat the rush to breakfast and getting to know new staff and guests who were destined to become lifelong friends. Being able to make a living while surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains has always been our idea of heaven, and we are thankful every day for the opportunity.

We thought some of you might be interested in a sneak peek of what this summer holds for Lone Mountain Ranch. Here’s what you can expect during your visit!

When you arrive, don’t be shy about asking for a quick tour around the ranch. Even guests who have been coming for years like to get re-acquainted with the grounds, especially since we have new activities, events, recreational venues, and even new horses almost every year. As a proud member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World program, we pride ourselves not only our beautiful surroundings and authentic accommodations, but also on her first-class service. We are known for having the best fly fishing in Montana, the best horseback riding in Big Sky, and the best place to stay when visiting Yellowstone National Park.

In addition to getting the latest updates on our summer recreation, you’ll definitely want the low-down on our brand-new restaurant and saloon, Horn & Cantle. There’s a reason Horn & Cantle is known for its “on-the-range classics, just off the beaten path.” Executive Chef, Eric Gruber, serves elevated “frontier fare,” bringing local flavors and produce together in inventive yet approachable dishes. Your mouth will water for menu items like Coffee-rubbed Rocky Mountain Elk Chops with Huckleberry Ancho Chile Sauce, Crisp-skinned Montana Trout with warm heirloom potato, fennel and baby root vegetable salad and the delectable Pickle-Brined Fried Redbird Chicken with cheddar biscuits, buttermilk mashed potatoes and red-eye gravy. Horn & Cantle’s extensive cocktail, beer and wine menu reflects the local flavor, with whiskey flights featuring Montana-crafted whiskey and cocktails like the Lone Mule, featuring Montana Moonshine white whiskey, smoked apple puree, sage syrup, and ginger beer. Make your reservation with us at the front desk, on OpenTable, or by emailing

Once you’ve made your dinner plans, you’ll probably be ready to work up an appetite. One of the many recreational opportunities available to you each day of your stay is a trip to Yellowstone National Park, located only 18 miles from our ranch. In fact, the ranch is in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems in the world. Our guides will take you on a tour customized for your interests plus hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, and fly fishing excursions into the Yellowstone backcountry and Gallatin River. In the summer, we also offer canoe trips on Hebgen Lake, wildflower hikes, and trips to the Petrified Forest. You can also ask us to arrange mountain biking and regular cycling tours through the park.

Summer of 2017 is particularly exciting for the YNP area because of the approaching Solar Eclipse on Aug 21. During the total solar eclipse, the Moon’s “umbral shadow” will move across the United States, from (Oregon to South Carolina) in about 90 minutes. Many astronomy lovers and adventure travelers have already booked their trips to the predicted path of the moon’s “umbral shadow,” where the “totality” of the eclipse (the Moon completely blocking the Sun) will be viewable for two and a half minutes. Lone Mountain Ranch is planning a very special Solar Eclipse package and event for our guests that weekend. If you’re interested in rare, cosmic events and the thrill and beauty of the outdoors, stay tuned for a more detailed announcement coming soon.

After checking out Yellowstone National Park, you may want to meet our stable of happy horses and wranglers. We have horseback riding and trail tours available for all levels, including kids. Talk to our wranglers about our daily and weekly rides, such as the Twilight Ride and Ride & Fish at an alpine lake.

Alpine lakes are “high-mountain lakes” that were carved into the mountains by glaciers. Known for their sparkling and breathtaking beauty, alpine lakes offer a multitude of recreational opportunities. Take a few moments to look out in silence upon the shores of the icy blue freshwater, beneath the clear skies. Breathe in the fresh mountain air. Experience nature with all of your senses. (If you’re interested in customizing your own riding and trail experience, we are happy to design something to fit you and your family’s needs).

Speaking of family – you’ll be thrilled to hear that Lone Mountain Ranch has the best kids’ program in Big Sky! Designed specifically for the curious and adventurous, ages 6-12, our Kids Program offers a variety of activities each and every day, including fly fishing, arts and crafts, rock-climbing, scavenger hunts, teepee painting, hiking and even a sleepover in camping tent. Your children will make unforgettable memories through discovery, fun activities, and a breathtaking environment. Despite the many opportunities that Lone Mountain provides for fun, many of our guests cite the Kids Program as being the cherry on the top of their Big Sky sundae. It gives even the youngest members of the family the chance to make special memories to last a lifetime.
While your young ones become more acquainted with the great outdoors, you can enjoy an adventure designed for adults. Our guides and wranglers are experts in navigating even the most challenging of paths in Montana and Yellowstone National Park. Overnight camping and accommodations can be arranged, too. We will also be hosting our first-ever adults-only adventure weekend this September, with a focus on challenging recreational activities and an over-21 Oktoberfest-style party at the Horn & Cantle. Make arrangements for your kids to stay with their grandparents so you can take a week to relax and explore all that Big Sky has to offer.

As you can imagine, you will be ready to hit the hay pretty hard after a day of adventure at Lone Mountain Ranch. Luckily, you’ve chosen the absolute best place in Big Sky to hang your hat. Each of our unique and authentic private cabins (ranging from one to six bedrooms) are tucked into the pines along North Fork creek. Each cabin features Lodgepole pine furniture, featherbeds, patchwork quilts, a private bath, and a record player with some local favorites (and yes, we have complimentary WiFi, too!) The cabins have a wood-burning stove and electric heat, too, but you won’t need it in the summertime. Relax on the luxury linens and drift off to a deep, mountain-air inspired sleep. Tomorrow will be another big day at the ranch, starting with a home-cooked breakfast at the Horn & Cantle!

We hope we’ve gotten you excited about what’s to come this year. Our summer schedule is packed with lots of activities, such as our annual 4th of July celebration, and our first-ever Cowgirl Up! Week for moms and daughters (and sisters, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, and friends), so be sure to make your reservation soon.

If you’ve got specific questions regarding Yellowstone or where to go fly fishing in Big Sky, we’ve got the perfect packages designed for you. Stop by next week for a deeper look inside some of our favorite summer spots in Montana!

Summer Ranch Video

Summer Discovery

If you’re looking for an all-around guest dude ranch vacation that embodies Montana and the spirit of the Old West, the Summer Discovery Package is the ideal choice. Guests enjoy farm-to-table cuisine, evenings around a glowing campfire, scenic horseback trail riding, and live western music to name a few of the experiences that leave guests returning year after year for our Discovery Package. Recently voted “Best Family Ranch” by Top 50 Ranches, experience the adventure of a lifetime your whole family will enjoy!

Discovery Package Details

  • All meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Horseback riding, canoeing, biking
  • Ranch family-style BBQ
  • Breakfast in the North Fork Cabin
  • Historic Creekside cabin lodging
  • Tour of Yellowstone National Park
  • Outdoor Youth Adventures Program
  • Yoga, hiking, mountain biking
  • Western music in the Saloon
  • Bozeman airport transfers


For reservations and availability call 406-995-4644 or email

Book Now


Horseback riding

Horses have long been essential to the way of life in Yellowstone Country. For over a century, Lone Mountain Ranch’s team of horses has brought ranchers and visitors into parts of the backcountry that are otherwise unseen and untouched. From galloping on the ranch to venturing into Lee Metcalf Wilderness and Gallatin National Forest, our experienced wranglers and horses are dedicated to empowering riders of all ages and abilities to discover real Montana.

To provide specialized attention to every guest, adventures are limited to a few riders per wrangler. Wranglers will spend the first full day assessing abilities and matching riders with their best horses. Previous riding experience is not required – our highly trained wranglers can teach beginners the skills they need to enjoy their time on horseback or advance the skills of more experienced riders. To ensure the safety of horses and guests in the mountain terrain, we enforce a rider weight limit of 230 pounds.

Fly fishing

Situated between the world famous Madison and Gallatin Rivers, Lone Mountain Ranch is the idyllic place to fish blue ribbon rainbow, brown and brook trout. Our Orvis-endorsed fly fishing guides will provide anglers of all levels with the skills and gear they need to begin or advance their sport.

For some, there is no more relaxing experience than casting a fly rod, for others there is no greater thrill. Every fly-fishing excursion is custom tailored to your interests, skill level and desire to explore.

Yellowstone National Park

Lone Mountain Ranch has a century-long tradition of curating Yellowstone Park experiences – from the history and geology to the backcountry and wildlife. Our naturalist guides are also accredited Yellowstone guides, with lifetimes of expertise and the most comprehensive, turnkey access to the park.

Let us take you for a hike, picnic, photography expedition or to see iconic landscapes and geysers such as Old Faithful. These are our roots, so when you visit Yellowstone with us, you get much more than a tour.

Mountain Biking

The trails behind the property offer both long, spirited rides and heart-pumping adrenaline rushes. Let us set you up with a map, bike and safety gear, plus a picnic lunch and a guide if you’re interested. Montana offers one of a kind mountain biking, and it would be just as easy to spend an hour or a few days navigating the adventure.

Whitewater Rafting

At different points and times of year, the Gallatin River offers class I-IV rapids. Rafting trips are available to guests age 6 and older, guided in partnership with our friends at Geyser Whitewater Expeditions. The river offers many challenging sections or spectacular places to gently float through the scenery. Half day and full day trips are available.

Painting + Photography

Let the scenery inspire your creative side. Celebrated local artist Jackie Rainford offers sharp understanding of drawing and painting fundamentals through oil painting, block painting, nature drawing and other mediums.

During a 2-3 hour class (which includes art supplies and smocks), you will gain the confidence to let your imagination run as wild as the terrain. Photography enthusiasts can be paired with Lone Mountain Ranch naturalist guides to set up the best shots and techniques for landscape and wildlife imagery day or night.

Outdoor Youth Adventures Program

The Ranch is as much a playground for children as it is for adults. This program builds confidence through outdoor recreation, develops an appreciation for nature, and, most of all, gives young people (aged 4-12) the space to roam, have fun, and connect with each other. Kind and energetic staff will lead kids through a variety of experiences geared to entertain and challenge all age groups.

Massage + Yoga

It’s not just a spa treatment, participating in yoga or massage can help you acclimate to the Ranch’s high altitude more quickly, and may even help prevent injury. Unwind your body and mind after a vigorous day, or start the morning with a routine to kickstart the adventure. Certified yoga instructors will take you through Vinyasa style yoga to warm and condition the body while softening and relaxing the mind.

Massage therapists offer a range of soothing styles, from Swedish, Russian and Thai massage to acupressure, shiatsu and sports massage. Add a head massage, Feet Treat or hot stone therapy for extra pampering. Our massage and yoga studios are located in the Ranch’s original B-K lodge. We recommend signing up for these activities at the beginning of your trip to get the most from your time with us.

Yellowstone Vacation Packages

Yellowstone National Park is a trip of a lifetime. Lone Mountain Ranch is only 18 miles from the park boundary and the ranch resides in the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Our Yellowstone vacation package includes tours of the park, incredible meals, relaxing lodging and custom add-on activities to give you the perfect Yellowstone vacation. Don’t just visit Yellowstone, experience activities in and around the park!


Returning to a cozy cabin each evening makes your Yellowstone trip feel more authentic and unique. Whether you are looking for a single cabin for a peaceful couple get away or you are looking to book multiple cabins for a bigger group adventure, you’ll find our cabins are the perfect place to stay on your vacation.

View Cabins


Fine dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner included. Enjoy culinary perfection (locally sourced) that is sure to exceed your expectations. You’re on vacation, go explore and let us spend the day cooking and preparing great meals to welcome you back to the ranch and replenish your energy.

View Dining


Not all visitors are the same. Whether you’re visiting in the summer or the winter, there are so many activities you can choose from. In addition to Tours of Yellowstone Park, you can horse back ride, fly fish, mountain bike, downhill ski, nordic ski, snowshoe, white water raft, hike, go for a dog sled ride and of course take advantage of yoga and massages. There’s so much to do, it’s just hard to choose!

View Adventures


Lone Mountain Ranch was homesteaded in 1915 and has become the treasure of Big Sky, Montana. Whether you learn of the ranch by its dining, cabins, sliegh rides or any of the other activities you can do on or near the ranch, you’ll find that it is the perfect place to stay when visiting Yellowstone National Park.

  • Located in the town of Big Sky
  • Only an hour from Bozeman
  • We’ll pick you up from the airport
  • Only 18 miles North of Yellowstone NP
  • Incredible meals included
  • Activities all family members will enjoy

View Package Details

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In the News

What others are saying about Lone Mountain Ranch….

Top 10 Things to Do in Montana – National Geographic

Great Big Sky on Long Skinny Skis – Cowboys & Indians

Best Big Sky Cross-Country Skiing – Cowboys & Indians

A Day in the Life at Lone Mountain Ranch –  Log Cabin Living

Lone Mountain Ranch: The Best In Luxury Dude Ranching Near Yellowstone

LMR voted #2 in the the 20 Best Luxury Kid-Friendly Hotels in the U.S. and Caribbean 

Lone Mountain Ranch Joins National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World

Lone Mountain Ranch One of National Geographics Unique Lodges of the World

Skiing in Big Sky Country with Everett Potter

Paradise Found: Lone Mountain Ranch Easy Getaway

Lone Mountain Ranch: One of Montana’s Best Kept Secrets

Go Here Now: Top 7 Reasons Visit to Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana

Montana Road Trip: On the Loose in Big Sky

Exploring Southwest Montana Backcountry 

10 (Surprising!) Family Friendly Travel Destinations

The Last Best Plates: Bull Ridin in Big Sky – LMR & the PBR

Five Ski Towns That are Worth Visiting in Summer

Passported travel review:  Lone Mountain Ranch

Centennial cover feature on LMR in Montana Historian 2015

Lone Mountain Guest Ranch: Indagare Review

Powdered Horizons Match Montanas Big Sky, November 2014, 8 Reasons to Visit Yellowstone Right Now, September 2014

American Cowboy, Historic Dude Ranches, October/ November 2014

Curbed, Ten Ski Country Vacation Spots with Epic Outdoor Amenities, July 2014

Outside Online, Dude Ranches Enter a New Era, April 2014, Top 10 Sleigh Rides in North America, February 2014

NY Times on Big Sky, February 2014

Career Opportunities


Working and living at Lone Mountain Ranch is a rewarding experience and one that many folks have enjoyed over the decades. We are committed to providing unforgettable and unique experiences with exceptional customer service to our guests and we focus those experiences on high quality adventures.

To deliver this, it takes an exceptional staff and we make our crew a priority by providing a safe, professional and adventure-filled work environment and experience. We hire dynamic and personable team players and look for both full-time and seasonal staff for positions in our kitchen, dining room, housekeeping, kid’s, naturalist, ski and horse programs and the office and maintenance departments.

Our crew is one of our most valuable assets. Lone Mountain Ranch guests enjoy the chance to meet and get to know crew and crew are involved with the guest experience from guiding trips to joining them over meals. Excellent crew consistently provides our guests with a unique and exceptional vacation experience.

The Ranch crew consistently receives praise from our guests for their work ethic, helpfulness, great attitude, common sense and their desire to generously share their love and enthusiasm for the Ranch and its surroundings with guests.

Working at the Ranch also provides the opportunity to discover the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by crew participating in limitless recreational experiences. National Forests and Parks, Blue Ribbon trout streams and wild and scenic whitewater rivers are all easily accessible from the Ranch.

During the winter, we have a world-class Nordic Ski Center and the Biggest Skiing in America at Moonlight Basin and Big Sky Resorts. We are recognized as one of North America’s finest Nordic skiing resorts with 100 km of trails groomed for both skating and classic. With our very dependable snow, the area is great for Nordic, alpine, telemark and back country skiing alike.

Our summer season runs from about June 1 to September 30. Hiring for summer begins in late-February. Our winter season runs from about December 5 to March 31 with hiring beginning in mid-September. Although there may be some flexibility with the dates of employment, your chances of being hired increase if you apply early and if you can work through the entire season. Dorm style or semi-private housing can be offered for most seasonal employees.

Lone Mountain Ranch is an equal opportunity employer and is proud to provide its employees with a non-smoking work environment. We welcome all nationalities for employment and because of the restrictions concerning the hiring of foreign applicants, you must have your working papers in order before submitting your application for review.  Note to international applicants: Lone Mountain Ranch does not sponsor H2b visa’s and only occasionally hires J1 visa students based on our needs. Lone Mountain Ranch hires through specific J1 sponsored agencies that screen and hire on our behalf.

If you are interested and feel you could contribute significant value to the Ranch, please take a few minutes to fill out an employment application. For further information or any employment questions please contact us at Thank you for your interest in working at the Ranch!


If you have trouble downloading this application, right click on “download application,” choose “save link as” and save the pdf to your computer to open.

Montana Ranch Weddings


It’s true… it is the biggest day of your life and the place you get married should reflect the significance of the occasion. Lone Mountain Ranch is that place. A wedding at the ranch, large or small, in summer or winter, will set a glorious stage for the rest of your life together.

A destination for 100 years, Lone Mountain Ranch has a variety of indoor and outdoor venues, accommodations for up to 150 guests, complete food & beverage service capabilities, plus a full range of ranch activities that will leave every guest with a lifetime of memories.


Our team is highly skilled in creating events that will bring your vision to life. We are uniquely prepared to deliver a full range of dining options, from an exquisite 5-course plated service, to festive outdoor family BBQs. We know how to set the table for a fabulous event that everyone will remember.


With over 24 unique accommodations ranging from a six bedroom home to quaint creekside cabins, our diverse collection of options makes Lone Mountain Ranch the ideal venue for your destination wedding.


Guests of Lone Mountain Ranch can choose from of an amazing array of activities on and off the ranch. From horseback riding, to guided tours of Yellowstone Park, sleigh rides, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, guided fly fishing, massage, yoga, and more. You will truly experience everything Montana has to offer!

Why Choose Lone Mountain Ranch?

Lone Mountain Ranch is a destination where guests disconnect from the world, while connecting with others through unforgettable adventures in a spectacular natural setting. Moments are crafted through discovery, exceptional people, fun activities, and a breathtaking environment.

  • Stunning views of Lone Peak and surrounding mountians
  • Just under an hour from the Bozeman International Airport
  • Authentic cabin lodging
  • Indoor and Outdoor venues for every season
  • Farm-to-table cusisine

To plan your event, or arrange a tour of the ranch, please call 406.995.4644  or email


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What To Pack

Deciding what to pack for your dude ranch vacation can sometimes be overwhelming.  Since the atmosphere at Lone Mountain Ranch is casual, there is no need to pack anything too fancy.  Jeans and comfortable shirts are the essentials during your week at the Ranch.

Summer temperatures can vary greatly throughout the day so we recommend dressing in layers to stay comfortable.  As with any outdoor adventure vacation, sunscreen is a must and with over 300 days of sunshine here in Big Sky Country, chances are you will be out in the sun for many of your activities.  Staying hydrated is important, as it keeps your body’s systems working properly and can prevent unnecessary fatigue.  If you forget your water bottle, we have BPA-Free Nalgene® bottles in our Shop.

In the Ranch B-K (guest lounge area), we have complimentary laundry facilities, so you can rest assured that overpacking is only optional.  Also, the Ranch has a convenient Outdoor Shop with t-shirts, socks, cowboy hats, ball caps, sunglasses, sunscreen, rain jackets and more.

So, to help you with your packing list for your vacation to Lone Mountain Ranch, we have compiled a list of suggested items:

Horseback Riding
-Lightweight, breathable shirts
-Riding boots with a 1″ heel and smooth sole (we also have boots available to borrow)
-Light windproof jacket and fleece jacket
-Long socks for riding, wool or wool blend is ideal
-Rain jacket
-Riding helmet (we also have helmets to borrow)
-Cowboy/ cowgirl hat

Fly Fishing
-Lightweight shirt (no cotton preferably)
-Polarized sunglasses
-Synthetic base layer (Patagonia® or Smartwool) for under waders
-Rain jacket
-Warm jacket or fleece jacket
-Gloves and hat (for cooler days)

-Lightweight breathable shirt and shorts or pants
-Hiking Boots
-Water Bottle

-If interested in the overnight backpacking trip, backpack, sleeping pad & sleeping bag
(we also have these items to borrow)

Accessories and Other Items
-Day pack
-Swim suit
-Comfortable clothing (yoga or relaxing)
-Socks (wool or wool blend; no cotton)
-Gloves and warm hat (chilly mornings and evenings)
-Insect repellent
-Lip balm with sunblock
-Flashlight or headlamp (and extra batteries)
-Camera and memory card

Additional Tips
-If you are unable to fit everything, try sending us some of your items in advance via UPS or FedEx. Before using another carrier, contact our office to find out whether they deliver to the Ranch.  Ship your packages to: 750 Lone Mountain Ranch Road, Big Sky, MT 59716 about 10 days before your arrival to allow plenty of time for the items to get here.
-Be sure to leave some room in your bags for any souvenirs or creative items your children make in the Kids Program
-Wear your cowboy boots or hiking boots the day you travel, as it leaves more room for other items if you are wearing the larger, heavier items

Outdoor Youth Adventure Program Packing List

The Ranch is as much a playground for children as it is for adults. The below packing list and helpful hints will ensure your child is fully prepared for any adventure at Lone Mountain Ranch!

The Right Backpack

  • Is it durable – Select one made of sturdy fabric or nylon. Make sure all of the zippers work properly.
  • Has a compartment large enough – to hold the extra set of clothes, swim gear, and shoes, socks, etc.
  • Has an outside zippered compartment – perfect for storing tissues, lip balm sunblock and hand sanitizer.
  • Has an outside mesh water bottle pocket.

Complete extra set of clothing – shorts, t-shirt, socks and underwear. Put them in an extra-large reseal able plastic bag.

Extra pair of shoes – camp is wet, messy and muddy. Include water shoes / sandals; be sure to also include a plastic grocery bag for the wet or muddy shoes.

Hooded sweatshirt – early mornings and cloudy days can be chilly; make sure your child is prepared.

Baseball cap or sun hat – we spend many hours’ outdoors.

Bathing suit

Towel – small one for the creek, we provide big ones for the Falls and Lake.

Goggles – consider buying multiple sets of goggles at your local dollar store. Goggles will get lost, borrowed and broken.

Flip flops, Chacos, Tevas, etc.

Plastic bag – include a plastic bag for wet swimsuits and towels.

Sunglasses – just like goggles, sunglasses get lost, borrowed and broken. Have a few extra pairs.

Sunscreen – Put it to your child in the morning. The counselors will help your child reapply.

Lip balm with SPF

Hand sanitizer


Insect repellent – consider sending insect repellent wipes, as it is easier for them to apply.

Prescription medications – Let councilors know about use.

Water– Freeze two water bottles each night. Put one in the outside pocket of your child’s backpack and the other inside the backpack. As the ice melts, your child will have a cold and refreshing drink.

Rain Jacket

Label everything – use permanent markers to label backpacks, plastic bags and containers. Use iron-on labels for towels and clothes.