Other Riding

Ranch Roundup: 10 Best Horseback Riding Vacations in Montana

best-montana-horseback-riding-vacation
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Written by Mandy I.

Hey, dude! Lifetime memories await in The Last Best Place.

Montana is quickly becoming the destination in the United States for ranch vacations. With our state’s spectacular views, untouched wilderness, and trendy spots like Bozeman and Whitefish, it’s the perfect balance of civilized and wild.

And, what better way to enjoy the Big Sky State than on horseback? There are dozens of locations around the state who offer the authentic Montana experience on horseback.

Whether you’re looking for an upscale or rustic ranch experience, you’ll find the perfect match (or several) in our list of the 10 best Montana horseback riding vacations:

With so many ranches, vacation spots, and outfitters to choose from, it can be overwhelming to figure out which Montana horse riding vacation is right for you… until now!

Big Sky Yoga Retreats (Gallatin County, Montana)

Ladies, this one is for you. Big Sky Yoga Retreats offers luxury yoga and horseback riding vacations through its signature and world-renowned Cowgirl Yoga™ program.

Though several retreat styles are available, we recommend starting with Dude Ranch Cowgirl Yoga™. It’s a week-long women’s retreat filled with yoga, meditation, friendship and—of course—horseback riding!

If you’re a horse lover who also wants to deepen your connection with nature and fill your creative funnel, this vacation is for you.

big-sky-yoga-retreats

If you’re in search of rest, relaxation, community, and horse time, look no further. (Photo Source: Big Sky Yoga Retreats)

What’s to Love:

  • Luxury accommodations, gourmet wine and meals, and infinite R&R.
  • All riding levels (especially total beginners) are welcome.
  • Community-centric and supportive atmosphere makes room for creative inspiration. 

Know Before You Go:

  • Only available during certain times, check the website for booking dates.
  • Horseback riding retreats sell out early, so book far in advance.
  • This is for women only, so no boys allowed! 

Chief Rookie Aside: These luxury women’s yoga and horseback riding vacations were what first brought me out to Montana. Read my Big Sky Yoga Retreats Review then use referral code “HRcowgirlup” during registration for a special gift upon arrival!

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The Silver Bow Club (Divide, Montana)

Nestled near the Big Hole River sits this luxurious destination for your next epic Big Sky adventure. This truly spectacular lodge offers posh suites and cozy cabins for vacationers in addition to a huge selection of activities.

The Silver Bow Club offers horseback riding as well as helicopter tours, ATV adventures and so much more. This is the perfect option for those looking for a mix of luxury accommodations, while still enjoying the rustic heart of the Last Best Place.

Silver-Bow-Club

Horseback riding is one of many activities you can enjoy. (Photo Source: www.silverbowclub.com)

What’s to Love:

  • 1,800 acres of gorgeous private property, as well as thousands more acres of National Forest to explore.
  • All inclusive resort, which means core meals and activities are included.
  • About a 45-minute drive from historic Butte and close to some of Montana’s coolest ghost towns.

Know Before You Go:

  • The horseback rides are full-day, which means this might not be the best choice for total beginners.
  • More luxurious accommodations come with a more luxurious price tag, so start saving up now for an unforgettable trip!

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Comfortable Cowboy Boots

Lone Mountain Ranch (Big Sky, Montana)

Located in one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in Montana, Lone Mountain Ranch offers the perfect balance of luxury and rustic authenticity.

With several cabins and adventure packages to choose from, there’s a perfect option for everyone. From the honeymooner to the family with small children, everyone will have a great time at Lone Mountain Ranch.

lone-mountain-ranch

If you want to ride, fly fish, hike, and dine in style, this is a perfect fit. (Photo Source: www.lonemountainranch.com)

What’s to Love:

  • Guided horseback rides accommodate all riding levels.
  • Rides venture into the Gallatin National Forest and Lee Metcalf Wilderness for an authentic Montana experience.
  • Lone Mountain Ranch offers a variety of adventure packages beyond horseback riding (e.g. fly fishing, cross-country skiing).
  • Don’t miss the dinner sleigh ride if you visit in the wintertime!

Know Before You Go:

  • Rider weight limit is 230 pounds.
  • Times available mid-May to mid-October.

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Learn more about What to Wear Horseback Riding in Montana on Horse Rookie.

The Bar W Guest Ranch (Whitefish, Montana)

For vacationers interested in the full Montana equestrian experience, the Bar W Guest Ranch is a great choice. Located near Whitefish, this ranch offers guided rides for vacationers of all ages and experience levels.

At the Bar W, you can boost your skills with their horsemanship clinics, or learn to barrel race, sort cows, or even steer wrestle. Then, compete in the Bar W Guest Ranch Rodeo! (Can we get a yeehaw?)

bar-w-guest-ranch

Enjoy an all-inclusive, life-changing horse riding experience. (Photo Source: www.thebarw.com)

What’s to Love:

  • Unique horseback riding options for everyone, from trail rides to rodeo events.
  • Beautiful accommodations make for a super comfortable stay.
  • Kids can enjoy the amazing waterpark, and adults can relax with golf, shopping, and fine dining only a short drive from the ranch.

Know Before You Go:

  • If you’re not interested in staying at the ranch, you can book trail rides up to seven days in advance.
  • Bar W Guest Ranch packages are all-inclusive, which means horseback riding adventures, meals, and accommodations are included in the cost.

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Rocking Z Guest Ranch (Wolf Creek, Montana)

For a cozy, family-friendly and horsemanship-focused vacation, there’s no better place than the Rocking Z Guest Ranch.

This incredible vacation spot offers a unique opportunity to enjoy Montana views on horseback while learning or enhancing your horsemanship skills.

While gorgeous trail rides are included, the focus for this family ranch is on creating a bond between horse and rider. This is the ideal spot for families and individuals looking to fully experience Montana with a memorable horse partner.

Rocking-z-guest-ranch

Enjoy trail rides in this family-friendly paradise. (Photo Source: www.rockingz.com)

What’s to Love:

  • Learn the basics of Parelli natural horsemanship.
  • Enjoy the cozy, small business atmosphere with a focus on horses and authentic ranch life.
  • Nestled in gorgeous West-central Montana between Helena and Great Falls.

Know Before You Go:

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Comfortable Cowboy Boots

Swan Mountain Outfitters (Glacier National Park, Montana)

Montana is known for its untouched wilderness and protected areas. Among these, Glacier National Park is the crowning jewel.

While the park can be enjoyed by hiking along the many trails, driving along Going To The Sun Road, or rafting along the river, the best way is by horseback.

Trust Swan Mountain Outfitters to give you the best experience available for your Glacier getaway.

swan-mountain-outfitters

Explore Glacier National Park in the best way–by horseback. (Photo Source: www.swanmountainglacier.com)

What’s to Love:

  • Swan Mountain Outfitters offers trail rides for all ages and experience levels.
  • Enjoy the stunning Glacier views on a horse expertly selected to fit your needs.

Know Before You Go:

  • This is a guide service that will take you through the park, but they do not offer accommodations or meals.
  • Review booking information before you call. You’ll need to know certain information about each member of your group before you book.

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K Lazy 3 (Lincoln, Montana)

Enjoy traditional pack camping at its finest at the K Lazy 3 Ranch in Lincoln, MT. The folks at this spectacular ranch near the Bob Marshall Wilderness offer unforgettable pack trip adventures.

From three to nine day trips, there’s a great option for novice and expert riders alike. If you’re looking for a real wilderness adventure, this is your place.

From trail rides to backcountry trips, the K Lazy 3 has it all. (Photo Source: klazy3summeradventures.com)

What’s to Love:

  • Camp under the stars with pack trips that take in the best views Montana has to offer.
  • Enjoy hiking and fly-fishing along with world-class horseback riding in one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the state.
  • Looking to see some wildlife? The Bob Marshall is known for incredible wildlife sightings. If you’re lucky, you might even see a Grizzly bear. (Pro Tip: Bring bear spray!)

Know Before You Go:

  • The K Lazy 3 also offers trail rides, but no additional lodging.
  • The pack trips are multi-day, which means hours of riding. This might not be the best choice for newbies or younger children.

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Triple J Wilderness Ranch (Augusta, Montana)

Augusta is known for its hunting and extraordinary scenery. Triple J Wilderness Ranch takes full advantage of each, with guided trail rides and pack trips for guests on their sprawling property.

They also offer kids programs and a huge variety of other activities to keep every family member happy and entertained.

triple-j-ranch

Enjoy a wide range of ranch activities and kids programs at the Triple J. (Photo Source: www.triplejranch.com)

What’s to Love:

  • This ranch is open to anyone from beginner to the experienced rider.
  • It has three spring fed Rainbow Trout ponds for instructed fly fishing. They also provide basic fishing equipment.
  • Want to rough it in style? Try one of their popular pack trips.

Know Before You Go:

  • This ranch requires traditional riding gear, which means cowboy boots are a must.
  • Lodging, meals, and activities are all included in the package rates.

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Find your perfect pair of boots in our list of the 16 Best Cowboy Boots.

Paintbrush Adventures (Absarokee, Montana)

Ever wonder what life on a working cattle ranch is really like? Here’s your chance to find out.

Paintbrush Adventures offers guests a glimpse into the realities of life on a Montana ranch.

You’ll soak up the breath-taking views of south-central Montana, while learning the ins and outs of cattle ranching from the back of one of their well-trained mounts.

If you want to learn about Montana’s heritage, you’ll love Paintbrush Adventures. (Photo Source: paintbrushadventures.com)

What’s to Love:

  • You’ll get to experience life as a cowboy or cowgirl!
  • They offer trail rides and multi-day pack trips for the adventurous at heart.
  • This ranch is enthusiastic about sharing Montana’s heritage, both of its Native people and the cattle ranchers.

Know Before You Go:

  • Multi-day pack trips are set up on a specific schedule. Check their site before you book.
  • The best time to book at the ranch is early spring- you’ll get to experience calving and lambing season!

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Flathead Lake Lodge (Big Fork, Montana)

For comfortable luxury on the shores of one of Montana’s greatest treasures, Flathead Lake, look no further than the Flathead Lake Lodge near Big Fork.

The beautiful ranch combines high-end living with incredible rustic adventures that will appeal to every family member. There are options for hiking, fishing, and of course, horseback riding.

flathead-lake-lodge

Make your vacation as luxurious or rustic as you like. (Photo Source: www.flatheadlakelodge.com)

What’s to Love:

  • The ranch offers guided trail rides for adults as well as children and even offers horseback riding classes.
  • With gourmet and campfire dining options, you can choose from rustic or refined at this comfortably luxurious locale.
  • Enjoy everything Flathead Lake has to offer, as the ranch is literally on the shores of the lake.

Know Before You Go:

  • Plan to enjoy this ranch during the summer months to take full advantage of the lake.
  • The lodging is luxuriously rustic, with wifi. Although you will find no telephones, computers, or TV.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best dude ranch in Montana?

It depends based on what you’re looking for! Check out each of the ranches above got 10 solid options.

Still can’t decide? The Bar W Guest Ranch offers a truly authentic Montana experience, with guided trail rides as well as horsemanship clinics and the opportunity to learn about and participate in rodeo events.

This is an amazing opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors with every member of your family. They offer everything a dude ranch should — comfortable lodging, great food, a friendly atmosphere, and an authentic Montana experience.

Who has the best Yellowstone horseback riding?

Hell’s A Roarin’ Outfitters out of Gardiner Montana offer exceptional guided rides throughout Yellowstone. Choose from half, full day, or even one hour rides with a catered lunch. Kids are welcome.

Ditch the station wagon and enjoy the outdoors in true Montana fashion on the back of a trusty steed.

Who has the best trail riding in Montana?

It depends based on what you’re looking for! Check out each of the ranches above got 10 solid options.

Still can’t decide? Triple J Dude Ranch is one of the top-rated trail ride providers in Montana. They pride themselves on the highest quality ride, from offering extraordinary scenery to ensuring that horse and rider are perfectly suited to one another.

You’re guaranteed to feel like a true Montana horse expert by the end of your ride.

What should I wear horseback trail riding in Montana?

The state is known for its rapidly-changing weather, so you’ll want to be prepared. Head over to Rookie Rundown: What to Wear Horseback Riding in Montana for our head-to-toe advice.

What are the best tack stores in Montana?

Don’t worry if you arrive without all the proper riding gear and attire. We have plenty of awesome tack stores in the area that supply everything you need.

Check out 36 Can’t-Miss Tack Stores in Montana.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a honeymoon getaway that is every bit as luxurious as it is romantic, or something a little more family friendly, there are amazing horseback riding vacation options all over the state of Montana.

With our top ten choices, you will find incredible hospitality and extraordinary adventure.

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About the author

mm

Horses have been part of my life... my whole life! I grew up on a dude/cattle ranch in Montana, so I'm used to long days in a Western saddle. I also blog about motherhood and how to balance horse life and family life.