Lone Mountain Ranch: About Lone Mountain Ranch

Located in Big Sky, Montana, United States

Just beyond the northwest border of Yellowstone, the peaks of the Montana Rockies descend into patches of rolling ranchland, threaded by a sinuous network of shimmering rivers. In one such valley sits Lone Mountain Ranch, a cluster of hand-built cabins, many of which date back to the property’s earliest days as a cattle and horse ranch. Now a wilderness retreat, Lone Mountain is a celebration of the region’s Old West heritage—its historic structures restored to their former glory and opening to one of the most rugged and pristine wildernesses on the continent.

Here, the mountains are big and the sky is even bigger, stretching above the wilderness known as the “Serengeti of North America,” where burly bison and elusive wolves roam. Venture out from your cabin into dense forests of pine and sweeping meadows of prairie grass. Explore by horseback, foot, canoe, and—in the winter—cross-country ski or snowshoe. Then join a lodge naturalist to explore the hidden corners of Yellowstone National Park, located a mere 18 miles downstream.

Why We Love This Lodge

Established in 1915 as a working cattle ranch, Lone Mountain has spent the better part of its history as a family retreat for those drawn to the tranquil wilds of Yellowstone. The lodge fosters feelings of home—the kind of place you return to year after year to meet up with the friends you made in seasons past. The atmosphere is social, whether you’re saddling up for a group trail ride or mingling with guests and locals over drinks in the lodge's saloon. And the staff—many of whom have worked at the ranch for years—add to the family feel, making an effort to get to know each guest and help them feel welcome. This hospitality reflects the laid-back, friendly spirit of Montana, and it stays with you long after you leave.

If Lone Mountain is a low-key home away from home, your backyard is one of the grandest and most awe-inspiring wonders in all of North America. From the lodge, you can freely venture across Yellowstone’s borders on horseback or cross-country ski to discover remote corners of the park that most visitors will never experience. And after days of exploring and wildlife-watching, a warm fire and a cozy cabin await.

Highlights

  • Seek out Yellowstone’s big five—elk, grizzlies, black bears, bison, and wolves—on a guided full-day excursion in the park.
  • Venture out on horseback, canoe, or cross-country ski to explore the Yellowstone backcountry alongside seasoned naturalists.
  • Go fly-fishing for trout in some of Montana’s Blue Ribbon rivers—the Gallatin, Yellowstone, and Madison—or, in winter, try your hand at ice-fishing in high alpine lakes.
  • Step aboard a horse-drawn sleigh for a magical ride through a snow-blanketed wonderland, followed by a candlelit dinner at a remote woodland cabin.
  • After sundown, roast marshmallows around a roaring campfire, or head to the saloon for a nightcap accompanied by live Western music.

National Geographic Exclusive

Guests who reserve a summer stay through National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World are invited to join a lodge naturalist for a private walk to the Gallatin River, where you’ll learn about the key factors involved in preserving and protecting the watershed and its ecosystems before sitting down with your guide to enjoy a delicious picnic on the riverbank. During the rest of the year, guests will join a lodge historian to hear stories from early days at the ranch, followed by a private chef’s dinner featuring local ingredients and creative Western cuisine.

Lodge Features

  • 24 log cabins and homes nestled amid pristine meadows and pine forests
  • Cozy restaurant that features upscale Western fare
  • Saloon with live music several nights per week
  • Riding arena for private horseback riding instruction
  • Large picnic pavilion for outdoor events, including live music and naturalist talks
  • Outdoor barbecue and fire pits
  • Discovery Center that hosts Outdoor Youth Adventures program activities
  • Outdoor shop selling active apparel
  • Free Wi-Fi in cabins and common areas

Spotlight on Sustainability

The crystalline Gallatin River cuts through stunning scenery, luring fishermen, kayakers, and rafters—visitors and locals alike—to enjoy the river’s resources. Lone Mountain Ranch has partnered with the Gallatin River Task Force to help preserve water resources in the Upper Gallatin Watershed, working to ensure the health of the river and its tributaries, and preserve them for future generations.

Since 2009, Lone Mountain Ranch has served as a stream-monitoring station for the watershed. The lodge collects data on key indicators of environmental health, such as the water flow, quality, and temperature of the North Fork—a tributary of the Gallatin. This data helps shape decisions about responsible stewardship and sustainable development, inspiring community members to protect and ensure clean and abundant water, healthy streams, fisheries, and wildlife habitats for all who treasure the iconic waterway and its surrounding watershed.

Awards and Recognitions

USA Today Top 10 Nordic Ski Resort, 2016

Top50 Ranches Best Guest Ranch for Multi-Generational Families, 2016

Cross Country Skier Magazine #1 Nordic Ski Resort, 2002

Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Lodge of the Year, 2002

Photos from Our Lodge and Travelers

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