Lone Mountain Ranch: About the Destination

Located in Big Sky, Montana, United States

Lone Mountain Ranch is nestled amid the rugged peaks and pine forests of the Montana Rockies, just outside the borders of Yellowstone National Park. Located within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the ranch shares many of the park’s stunning natural attributes. Here, untamed meadows unfurl across glacial valleys where clear rivers wind and wild creatures roam. Centered on the banks of the North Fork of the Gallatin River, the lodge property encompasses 148 acres of protected parkland in the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Wildlife and Natural History

Stretching across more than 28,000 square miles, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest, nearly intact temperate-zone ecosystems in the world. This extensive habitat is home to the highest concentration of wildlife in the lower 48 states, harboring an array of species that include bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, wolves, grizzly and black bears, and more.

The region’s landscapes showcase the power of the Earth’s geological forces, with evidence of geothermal activity rising directly from the soil. Bubbling mud pits, steaming geysers, and colorful mineral springs attest to the presence of an enormous volcanic magma chamber lying just below the thin crust of the Earth’s surface—a volcanic host spot that has shaped the land over the centuries.

People and Culture

Archaeological evidence suggests that humans have inhabited the greater Yellowstone area for more than 11,000 years. Many Native American tribes have a traditional connection to the land and its resources—26 tribes are officially associated with the park today.

Explorer John Colter is widely considered to be the first person of European descent to have entered the Yellowstone region, returning to St. Louis from his initial 1807 expedition with tales of spouting steam and bubbling mud. Formal expedition teams would eventually bring back visual records of the area’s captivating natural phenomena, prompting the U.S. Congress to establish Yellowstone National Park—the world’s first national park—in 1872. While the park attracted wealthy travelers, frontiersmen were drawn to the surrounding open grazing lands, establishing the cattle ranches for which the area is still well known.

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