Lone Mountain Ranch: The Experience

Located in Big Sky, Montana, United States

Lone Mountain is one of the few North American dude ranches that is open during the warm- and cold-weather months, introducing guests to the magic of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem whether it’s blanketed in snow or wildflowers. Summer is the season to venture out into the wild backcountry by foot, bike, canoe, or horseback; or cast a line into one of the region’s shimmering trout streams—including the Blue Ribbon-designated Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone Rivers. Come winter, the property is transformed into a wonderland for cross-country skiers and snowshoers, its far-reaching network of groomed trails branching out from the heart of the property into a still, snow-covered wilderness. For downhill devotees, the slopes of Big Sky Resort are just up the road.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 8-day stay.

Things to Do

The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.

Horseback Riding

Saddle up and discover Lone Mountain’s alpine landscapes on horseback. The ranch’s experienced wranglers lead small groups on half- and full-day rides into nearby nature reserves, including Yellowstone National Park, the Lee Metcalf Wilderness area, Gallatin National Forest, and the ranch’s own property. Guests are individually matched with horses based on physicality and experience, and all skill levels are welcome to participate. (Included in the Discovery and Yellowstone Adventure packages)

Nature Walks and Hikes

Join a naturalist on a walk or hike amid the pristine landscapes of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, discovering rocky peaks, burbling creeks, and wide-open meadows—and the wildlife that calls them home. Lone Mountain guides navigate the Yellowstone backcountry, leading guests into remote areas overlooked by the average visitor. Full- and half-day excursions are tailored to a guest’s desired activity level. (Included in the Discovery and Yellowstone Adventure packages.

Fly-fishing

Cast a line into some of Montana’s top Blue Ribbon trout streams on guided fly-fishing expeditions to the world-famous Madison, Yellowstone, and Gallatin Rivers, or to the area’s high-alpine lakes. Lone Mountain employs first-class guides in their Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing program, and each excursion is tailored to guest skill level. (Included in the Yellowstone Adventure and Fly Fishing packages)

Mountain Biking

Head out with a guide on a morning or afternoon ride into the rugged backcountry, spotting intriguing flora, fauna, and geological features along the way.

Water Sports

Discover the waterways of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by canoe or kayak. Naturalists guide you across pristine alpine waters, including Cliff and Hebgen Lakes, and point out natural characteristics of the surrounding environment.

Yellowstone National Park Tour

Spend a full day touring Yellowstone with a naturalist, using binoculars and spotting scopes to seek out the park’s “big five”—elk, grizzlies, black bears, bison, and wolves. Enjoy a picnic on the shores of Lake Yellowstone, and visit park highlights, including Old Faithful and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. (Included in the Discovery and Yellowstone Adventure packages)

Nordic Skiing

Experience one of the country’s best cross-country skiing destinations, where more than 50 miles of meticulously groomed trails can be accessed directly from your cabin door. Join a guide on an excursion, or set out into the surrounding snow-blanketed terrain on your own. Equipment and trail maps are provided by the lodge. (Included in the Winter Discovery, and Nordic Skiing packages)

Snowshoeing

Strap on a pair of snowshoes for a winter walk through Lone Mountain’s snow-blanketed landscapes. The lodge offers over 18 miles of specially designated snowshoeing trails, accessible from the heart of the ranch. Equipment, guides, and nighttime full-moon tours are available. (Included in the Winter Discovery, and Nordic Skiing packages)

Sleigh Rides

On most winter evenings, guests can step aboard Lone Mountain’s horse-drawn sleigh for an enchanting ride through quiet forests to the remote North Fork Cabin. There, a festive dinner awaits, lit by lantern and candlelight and accompanied by live Western music. (Included in the Winter Discovery, Ski and Snowboard, and Nordic Skiing packages)

Yoga

Join an early morning Vinyasa yoga session and loosen up before a day of adventuring. Classes are held three times per week. (Included in the Discovery, Winter Discovery, Ski and Snowboard, and Nordic Skiing packages)

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.

Whitewater Rafting

Paddle along the scenic Gallatin River, taking on Class I through IV rapids, depending on the season and water flow. Half- or full-day white-water excursions and leisurely floats are available.

Rock and Ice Climbing

Scale a nearby river canyon, tackling walls of rock or ice, depending on the season. Professional guides and necessary gear, including climbing footwear, harnesses, and helmets, are included in the cost of the excursion.

Golfing

Play a round of golf at the nearby Big Sky Golf Course, a scenic course winding along the wildlife-rich banks of the Gallatin River. The 18-hole, par-72 course was designed by Arnold Palmer and features spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

Oil Painting Classes

Gather on the lodge veranda for an oil paining class taught by a local artist. Your instructor will cover the fundamentals of painting and drawing, helping you capture the majesty of the Montana scenery on canvas. All art supplies, including smocks, are provided.

Zip-Lining

Soar through the forest treetops on a zip-line course at the nearby Big Sky Resort. Your adventure begins with a short hike to the course base camp, followed by thrilling runs along three zip lines.

Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding

Tear down Rocky Mountain slopes at the nearby Big Sky Resort, one of the largest downhill ski and snowboarding parks in the country. Covering 5,800 skiable acres, the resort features 300 runs on four mountains, the tallest of which rises more than 11,000 feet. With an average annual snowfall totaling over 400 inches, guests typically enjoy fresh powder throughout the ski season. Lone Mountain provides ski concierge service, which allows for gear rental and lift ticket purchase at the ranch and includes transportation to and from Big Sky Resort.

Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing

Venture off the lodge’s groomed trails for a cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventure in Montana’s wild backcountry. Join a guide in the remote reaches of Yellowstone National Park or the Gallatin Forest, navigating rolling hills and snowy glades and spotting the likes of moose, elk, and bison.

Dogsledding

Glide through southern Montana’s wintry wilderness on a sled pulled by a team of huskies. Settle in and enjoy the ride, or, with the help of your guide, try your hand at driving the sled.

Winter Fly- and Ice-Fishing

Set out on a winter fly- or ice-fishing expedition and take advantage of the favorable low-season conditions, including a limited number of other fishermen and ample numbers of healthy trout. Pair your winter fishing expedition with a half day of cross-country skiing, if you wish.

Winter Yellowstone National Park Tour

Explore Yellowstone during the stillness of winter, traveling by snow coach across vast landscapes blanketed in sparkling snow. During this full-day tour, seek out geysers and thermal features and wildlife in the park valleys, and disembark and explore remote corners of the park on cross-country ski or snowshoe.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

See the Rockies from above during an unforgettable sunrise hot air balloon ride. Liftoff is in the Big Sky town center at dawn. Upon touchdown, toast your aerial adventure with a glass of champagne.

Massage Services

After a day of exploring the Montana wilderness, return to the lodge for a soothing massage. A team of experienced massage therapists offers a range of treatments, from passive stretching to deep-tissue massage.

Food and Drink

Lone Mountain's executive chef adds a dash of whimsy to traditional Western cuisine to create innovative yet hearty dishes. All meals are assembled using the finest, local ingredients, and then made to shine with an artful preparation style. Enjoy your meals in the great dining room, at an outdoor barbecue, or in a remote cabin after a magical woodland sleigh ride. Following dinner, guests and locals alike gather in the festive saloon for a nightcap, serenaded by live country music.

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