Do you ever dream about riding the range against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains or fishing the same rivers that yesteryear explorers Lewis and Clark crossed on their epic Western journey?
The place to make those dreams come true is Lone Mountain Ranch in Montana.
Located less than 20 miles from Yellowstone Park, the ranch has been part of Montana’s tumultuous history for over 100 years. Homesteaded in 1915 as a cattle ranch, LMR has been a front seat to the settlement of the American West.
In the 1930s, the ranch first opened its doors to guests who wanted to experience the West in an authentic setting — riding horses, panning for gold, fishing and trapping. Later, the ranch had stints as a boys camp and, after World War II, a logging camp.
Many original structures that dot the property, including an ice house, gatekeeper’s cabin and cook’s cabin, are available as comfortable guest houses and give a glimpse into the history of the ranch.
From horseback riding and world-class fly fishing to top-notch culinary experiences and mountain biking, there's something to fit everyone's idea of fun. LMR has both outdoor rugged activities to challenge you and massages, yoga, and spa treatments to pamper you.
One of my favorite activities during a stay there was hiking through towering Ponderosa pines looking for wildflowers and birds. Taking a photography expedition into Yellowstone Park with one of the ranch’s accredited guides is also an unforgettable experience.
The ranch’s naturalist, Randy Hall, is an expert on the area’s flora and fauna. A hike with Hall is like taking a mini NatGeo course on Montana wildlife and history.
If you love to indulge your creative side, you can take an art lesson, complete with supplies and smocks, and carry a little bit of your own Montana moment home with you.
Whitewater rafting is available through a local company, Geyser Whitewater Expeditions, or you can try your hand at zip-lining against some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the country.
Some of the memories I left with are the clear rushing water of a river, the golden flash of a trout in the sun, sitting under the shade of a fragrant evergreen listening to the wind in the treetops and starry nights so clear you can almost taste the clean air.
For those with an adventurous spirit who want to experience the old (and new) West, there's not a better place than Lone Mountain Ranch, Montana.
Tamra Bolton is a freelance writer based in East Texas.