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Glamping Under the (Five) Stars

The Ranch Retains Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Status

A luxury glamping cabin at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Ranch at Rock Creek

We’re thrilled to announce that we have garnered the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award for the third year in a row!

During the evaluation process, Forbes Travel Guide Inspectors book an incognito stay and judge the property based on 800 objective standards. For hotels that are potential four or five-star properties, they visit twice to ensure the rating is accurate. This designation is independently judged each year, so we can never rest on our laurels.

Last week, Forbes published an article featuring some favorite things that incognito inspectors noticed at their top hotels, resorts, spas and restaurants this year. We are honored to be included.

We want to thank all our dedicated staff members who have helped The Ranch achieve the honor this year. Travel is imperfect; people are often met with travel delays or little inconveniences being away from home; however, it’s the staff that go out of their way to ensure that our guests are experiencing excellence during their stay.

According to Forbes, a Travel Guide Five-Star rating is given to “outstanding, often iconic properties with virtually flawless service and amazing facilities.”

We are pleased to be the world’s only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star ranch, as well as the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star glamping destination. Our approach to travel allows us to take two seemingly rustic things, camping and ranching, and tame it with a taste of luxury. Here, we delve further into why The Ranch at Rock Creek’s style is all about the contrast between luxury and nature using Forbes Travel Guide’s uncompromising standards.


Iconically Western

The landscape of Montana has remained largely rural. Our few cities are hundreds of miles apart and, with just over one million people in the state, we are outnumbered by the animals that call it home. Perhaps the biggest testament to the natural beauty is the fact that we are home to two national parks, with The Ranch at Rock Creek situated equidistant from Yellowstone and Glacier. This year is the centennial of the National Park Service and avid travelers will use this as an excuse to finally experience Montana—its parks, its people and its history—when they visit properties like The Ranch at Rock Creek.

Our herd of horses runs into the corral after a day in the pastures.

Our area of Southwest Montana is secluded and pastoral. Much of the economy remains the same as the days when the West was first settled. The Ranch is just one of many cattle or sheep ranches in the area that can trace its roots back to the Homestead Act of 1862. In addition, there are still mines in operation, including an active sapphire mine seven miles down the road where guests can sift through gravel to discover rough sapphires in a myriad of colors.

Although The Ranch has changed ownership, the integrity of the homestead has remained. Two remaining buildings are now accommodations, the Historic Barn and River House. It is home to a herd of 75 beautiful horses and a breeding herd of Coriente longhorns. In the summer, the meadows are used for hay production to feed the animals, just as they are on larger operations further down the valley.

The Ranch farms hay in the summer, just like other working ranches in the area.

Guests to The Ranch enjoy Western pursuits, like horseback riding, shooting ranges, fly fishing, stagecoach rides and hiking. One of the biggest luxuries of this glamping experience is that dozens of popular activities are at your fingertips from a summer breakfast ride to a night in the Silver Dollar Saloon. Visitors feel as though they’ve experienced Montana, both past and present, during their stay.

As John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley, “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love.”


Virtually Flawless Service

The Ranch’s staff puts the glamour in glamping, because they take away the potential challenges associated with camping in remote locations. Fresh pastries, coffee and tea are waiting for guests who want to watch the sunrise, piles of wood are chopped and stacked for the wood burning stoves and cedar soaking tubs are heated so that you can watch the stars in your own private hot springs.

While Chef Drage and his staff present constantly changing menus with seasonal, fresh ingredients, the activities department curates experiences that make the most of the weather and environment. The Ranch provides guides and gear for all of its activities; you can land in Montana without having to check skis or sport a cowboy hat on a long plane ride. A Ranch stay is all-inclusive, so these amenities are provided without needing to request them.

As a Relais & Chateaux property, The Ranch's cuisine is created to compliment the ranch lifestyle.

Much of the flawless service goes on behind the scenes. The housekeeping department creates a luxury oasis in the form of canvas cabins and luxury log homes amidst the rugged landscape. Our drivers chauffeur guests to Discovery Ski Area, Granite ghost town and Historic Philipsburg. We even have a bike wrangler who ensures that bikes can be left at one location and returned to a guest’s accommodation by breakfast time.

We go a step further to produce events, family reunions, weddings and business retreats, maintaining a staff of Ranch Ambassadors and Group Coordinators to provide a stress-free experience. Ranch Ambassadors perform the duties of a concierge, a local historian and a skilled outdoorsman at once.

A wrangler arrives to pick up guests in our Wells Fargo wagon.

Our passionate staff contribute in so many ways both on property and in the local community. They help The Ranch continually improve its guest experiences and services, and they share their photos on our social media accounts. Follow us on Instagram to see pictures from “Day in the Life Takeovers” with Ranchers throughout the year.


Amazing Facilities

The Granite Lodge serves many of the same functions as a 19th century National Park Lodge. The Great Room hosts social hour, the Granite Lodge dining room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner by the heat of a wood fire and the Flagstone is a meeting place and outdoor dining area during the weekly Chef’s Grill. Our glamping cabins line Rock Creek, and our luxury private homes are tucked into the valley floor.

The Granite Lodge under a starry night's sky.

A short walk away, you find the Silver Dollar Saloon, the Granite Spa, the outdoor pool and hot tub.

The pool is just one of the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star amenities.

As important as the facilities themselves, is the lack of construction on most of The Ranch. Our 6,600 acres are mostly undeveloped. Rock Creek maintains a Blue Ribbon designation, alluding to its water quality and healthy fishing populations. Depending upon the season, yoga classes take place in the Buckle Barn, on mountaintops, by the stream or in the wildflower meadows.

Blue Ribbon Rock Creek runs through the valley at The Ranch at Rock Creek.

The nearly untouched landscape means unobstructed views, big skies and wildlife migrations. Activities like the pool, archery, shooting and the ropes course are built into the landscape, so that they are unseen from Rock Creek Road. As you venture through the hills and valleys on bike or on foot, The Ranch’s possibilities open up to you. The longer you stay, the more you explore and experience.

A guest takes the "Leap of Faith" jump on the ropes course.

We love what we do and what is possible in our corner of Southwest Montana. We’ll continue to reach for the stars, and we hope our guests will continue to choose a destination that’s as notable for its wilds as its sophistication.


Join us this year for a bucket list vacation. View our spring specials and seasonal celebrations to take advantage of added value, along with Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star standards.