☰ Menu

Category: Summer


Sweet Life of Bees: A Montana Apiary Story

Join us as we follow our new colleagues—the bees—as they homestead in the Rock Creek Valley. Chapters are in reverse order so that followers can read the latest updates first. To read from the beginning scroll to Chapter 1 near the end of the page. 

Chapter 4, Winter: Ranch-to-Table Honey

by Kelsey Bruns, Beekeeper, Master Naturalist and Little Grizzlies Kids Club Coordinator

Honey is an amazingly diverse food that can enhance a dish or soothe symptoms of the common cold. It has been harvested and used for thousands of years, thus, working its way into cultural and medicinal practices worldwide. This year at The Ranch, we have been able to harvest 10 gallons of our very own honey that reflects our local ecosystem, and it’s going to make the farm-to-table culinary experience just a touch sweeter as we move into the winter months.


Photo of winter glamping on Rock Creek by Joey Wong of Kava Studios.


Dining with Honey

At The Ranch, Executive Chef Josh Drage and his culinary team use an average of 25 gallons of honey per year!  Though honey is often only thought of as a sweetener, this product is far more dynamic. Our culinary team uses honey as a seasoning and flavoring agent in everything from soups and sauces to marinades for our local meat products. Its floral and earthy flavor components can accent savory dishes in addition to sweet treats.

A Ranch server pours tea to drink during a fireside event


Pairing Power

Just like wine, honey takes on the flavors of its ecosystem. Honey can be sweet, musky, and malty — to name just a few tasting points. Those flavors can be emboldened by pairing them with certain ingredients. We look forward to using this flavor enhancer multiple ways in our ever changing seasonal Montana menus.

As part of our winter seasonal offerings, our Bar Manager Ned Derosier is also incorporating our honey into the drink menus. As the days are getting colder and the snow flies onto our valley floor, there is no better way to warm up than with our simple, but very special, Honey Harvest Hot Toddy!


Honey Harvest Hot Toddy Recipe

Ingredients: Read more…

Category: Summer


Guest Blog: A Week at The Ranch

Behind the Lens During a Summer Stay

A couple of Adirondack chairs sit ready for a moment of reflection on Welcome Pond at The Ranch at Rock Creek
Photo courtesy of Benjamin Morgan.

As one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, we often host photographers looking to capture migrating wildlife, iconic ranch scenes and high country views. We delight in seeing our wild landscape from different perspectives. Thanks to Instagram and Facebook, we’re able to share guest and staff member talents with our international community every day. Read more…

Category: Summer


Celebrating Culinary Arts Month

Gourmet Food with Big Sky Balance

National Culinary Arts Month couldn’t come at a better time. Summer produce is rolling in and The Ranch kitchen is highlighting Montana’s freshest food with creative, ever-changing menus. We want to recognize the chefs, servers, managers and purveyors that make The Ranch’s dining experiences shine.

As part of the Relais & Châteaux commitmentsExecutive Chef Josh Drage and his talented team focus on making our cuisine a reflection of local tradition while delivering a first-rate luxury experience. We want to thank our staff members who achieve this precise balance every day of the year.

In a recent TripAdvisor review, Claire V., wrote, “The freshness of the food rivaled that of my favorite restaurants in New York City. The service was remarkable and is clearly a top priority of management. While the Ranch at Rock Creek is certainly ‘high-end,’ it is not stuffy.”

Members of our evening culinary arts team enjoy the Fourth of July celebration
Members of our Evening Culinary Team on Fourth of July. Left to Right: Executive Chef Josh, PM Servers Alex, Kaylen, F&B Event Manager Christina, Executive Sous Chef Ben, PM Server Willie. Photo by Willie MacDade.
Read more…

Category: Summer


Ranch Traditions: Saturday Barn Dance

After Memorial Day weekend, guests start seeing a Saturday barn dance on our list of weekly activities, along with the Friday breakfast ride, Tuesday rodeo and Sunday Wells Fargo stagecoach rides. They are now a feature of our summer itineraries and most of our seasonal celebrations, like Autumn Harvest Weekend, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A driver picks up guests in a restored Wells Fargo Stagecoach at The Ranch at Rock Creek

General Manager Jade McBride says, “Out of all the great and amazing activities we do here at The Ranch nothing receives more positive feedback than the barn dance night.” Our barn dance was inspired by a treasured piece of Western history. We hope to restore and share a community celebration that’s sorely missed in modern society. Read more…

Category: Summer


Cross It Off Your Bucket List

10 Dreams Turned Reality at The Ranch

Every vacation is a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. Here are 10 classic bucket list adventures that The Ranch at Rock Creek fulfills each year.

1. Become a Horseback Rider.

Notice, we didn’t say, “go horseback riding.” The Ranch teaches horsemanship, so you can go from being a greenhorn to a rider during a week’s vacation. The Ranch’s equestrian program is a customized, robust experience, with guests deciding how far they want to take their riding skills. When English riders arrive at The Ranch, they leave with new skills and appreciation for a different world.

Horseback riding is one bucket list adventure you can have at The Ranch at Rock Creek

You can learn how to saddle and care for a horse before your first trail ride. In the next several days, you may summit higher terrain and start roping. After the better part of a week, you might be comfortable enough in the saddle to learn pole bending or barrel racing in the rodeo arena. See a 4-day sample equestrian itinerary for a taste of this adventure.

Read more…

Category: Summer


What’s a Ranch Rodeo? Photo Essay on a Montana Tradition

IMG_4072-2Photography by Robert A. Cole

The end of summer is on the horizon, and with it comes a seasonal change in Ranch customs. Our weekly summer barn dances and ranch rodeos stop with August as we focus more on wildlife migrations, fall fly fishing and harvest. A staff member and talented photographer, Robert Cole, spent the summer documenting our weekly Ranch at Rock Creek rodeo at Camp Roosevelt Arena. Robert traveled from Northern California to work in Montana this summer. Although he has photographed sports before, the rodeo was a new experience. Trying to balance the cultural significance with the athleticism is always a challenge. In this week’s blog, we explain the historical significance of rodeo events to modern competitions and working ranches, while Robert explains his approach to photographing this important Montana tradition.  Read more…

Category: Summer


Ranchspiration on a Montana Vacation

Ranchspiration-Montana

Guests use many words to describe inspirational moments during their Montana vacation. However, no one word seems to encapsulate the surprise and delight that you get from Montana experiential travel—so we invented one! “Ranchspiration” signifies any special moment at The Ranch that might pique the senses or inspire introspection and adventure. At the start of our summer season, Tracy Larson visited The Ranch at Rock Creek for a stay with her husband. Although she’s already a lover of off-the-beaten path experiences, she brought her expertise to bear on how experiential travel can change your perspective and open (barn) doors. Thanks, Tracy, for sharing your thoughts, photos and adventurous spirit!


Destination Ranchspiration

by Guest Blogger Tracy Larson

When I travel, I want to feel a sense of place, the daily life, local flavors, sights, sounds and smells. I want to unlock what is unique about the destination. From the moment my husband and I pulled on to the dirt road leading up to The Ranch to the moment we pulled back on to the pavement headed for home, I was enjoyably immersed in the ranch life of Montana. Read more…

Category: Summer


For the Family and the Foodie: Friday Breakfast Ride

Summer Breakfast Ride at The Ranch at Rock Creek

If you’ve never been given the nearly impossible task of trying to book an ideal family vacation, then we envy you. It’s hard to please everyone, especially when you throw in grandparents, teenagers and infants. When our luxury guest ranch began five years ago, we were thinking of those people who wanted more than a one-size-fits-all destination. With more than 30 different activities available throughout the year, (and that list is growing all the time), family ranch vacations in Montana can be a horseback riding vacation, a relaxing mountain retreat, an angler’s paradise or a romantic getaway at the same time. We have a plethora of activities that cater to individuals, small groups and kids’ preferences, but this week, we want to focus on some of the new features that turn a group experience, like dining, into an unforgettable family moment.

ranch-breakfast-ride

Read more…

Category: Summer


Great Room Cocktails: Huckleberry Season

Huckleberry Bear Traps in the Great Room

Montanans take pleasure in foraging for seasonal ingredients. Guests who visited us in the spring might have enjoyed cuisine filled with flavorful morel mushrooms, gathered in the local forest. Now, the Flathead cherries have just been picked and huckleberry season is upon us. The recent heat wave means that the berries arrived early and will disappear fast thanks to foraging animals—bears and humans alike.

montana-huckleberries

If you’re on the hunt for these elusive berries and you find a berry-rich hill, it’s a good idea to pick as many as you possibly can. We suggest reserving some for fresh uses, while divvying up the majority between preserves and freezer containers so that the sweet grape-like smell can linger in your kitchen year-round.

huckleberry-recipes

There are several types of huckleberries, but the two types that grow in our region of the Rockies are the black huckleberry, or Vaccinium membranaceum, and the blue Cascade huckleberry, with the fitting name of Vaccinium deliciosum.

Read more…

Category: Summer


Extraordinary Journeys: Fly Fishing

 fly-fishing-rock-creek

Summer in Montana can take on a faster pace than other seasons. The long days make you want to get up earlier in the morning and stay awake after the stars come out—with the recent full moon and the alignment of Venus and Jupiter, there’s been plenty to see after dark. However, it’s when we slow down and enjoy an activity for several hours that we are amazed by Montana’s wildlife and scenery.  A recent guest took some time to write about her experience with one of our signature activities, fly fishing. We think she captured the slow pace, patience and beauty of fishing on Rock Creek, as well as the valuable experience of working one-on-one with our guides to master one of the most elusive fly fishing techniques. Thanks, Gwen for sharing your adventure. 


Words of Wisdom—Fly Fishing

by Special Guest Blogger Gwen Books

Properly Presented Dry Flys Will Catch Fish...after a few hours on Rock Creek with my fishing guide, Riley Fitting, he uttered the prophetic phrase. I was successful in catching two large trout and one baby trout, however it was due to his assistance…as in his shouting: Hook It!

selecting-flies

I grew up fishing, my father had three daughters and it didn’t deter him from teaching us one of his favorite pastimes. Not as much fly fishing as baiting with a worm or lure and dropping in a lake or stream. I’ve only recently realized seeing fish in a creek or following the fly downstream is a challenge for my aging eyes. I spent a half day fly fishing at The Brando Island and neither Teihotu or I caught a fish, and I never even saw them in the gin clear sea. Read more…