☰ Menu

Experience Horseback Riding During Your Ranch Vacation


The Experience

Montana is made for horses and The Ranch at Rock Creek is made for riders. Wide-open skies, sagebrush hillsides and snow-capped peaks are best experienced on horseback. Part of the experience of our Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star luxury guest ranch is having everything for exceptional horseback riding vacations at your fingertips as part of a privately guided activity.

Our program is highly customizable for each guest, with wranglers at the ready to guide you through this essential ranch vacation experience. The Ranch operates in the spirit of play, where travelers immerse themselves in the riding culture of Western Montana, rather than seeing it through the slats on a corral.

Learn Montana Horsemanship

With 6,600 acres to explore and miles of trails, there are always new adventures for all riding levels. Flat creekside trails are best for beginners while treks to peaks and rolling pine trails are enjoyed by intermediate to advanced riders. After you get fitted with boots and a hat, our wranglers ensure you are comfortable on a horse that matches your experience level. They give a basic lesson on natural horsemanship skills, horse tendencies and rider safety.

Our small group size ensures we are not a nose-to-tail property. There are opportunities for trotting and loping on all trails, contingent on rider ability and comfort level. Longer half and full-day rides are offered for intermediate and advanced riders when scheduled in advance.

Arena and Roping Lessons

Horseback Riding Lessons

Enhance your riding acumen with one-hour arena riding lessons. Arena lessons are suited to children and adults at all riding levels. Riders of all disciplines can benefit from a personalized learning experience at The Ranch. Lessons are a great opportunity for beginner riders to gain confidence or for intermediate riders to discover new techniques. Arena games are created at the discretion of the wrangler to best suit the ability and comfort of the riders. Complete an obstacle course, learn how to barrel race or how to pole bend. Try a Horsemanship 101 session in the round pen, learning ground exercises that develop trust with horses. During the summer, you can see how the pros do it during our weekly rodeo.

Roping lessons

Roping lessons are available to guests of all ages. Guests will first learn the basics of building a loop and practice roping a dummy-steer.

Behind the Chutes Tour & Rodeo

Before the rodeo each Tuesday in the summer, one of our experienced wranglers leads a tour of the Camp Roosevelt arena and explains the history and husbandry of the rodeo – aided by our knowledgeable Ranch Manager who competed in PRCA bull-riding for eight years. Then, guests get involved by helping wrap the roping steers, trying their skills on the bucking barrel, helping sort the rough stock and watching practice rounds through the arena.

The Ranch hosts a weekly ranch rodeo. Cheer on your favorite wranglers as they race around the barrels, rope and show off other skills that are necessary to care for and herd animals on a ranch.

At a Glance:

  • Summer ranch rodeo and Behind the Chutes on Tuesdays, June-August
  • Private rodeos may be produced at an additional cost

Obstacle Course

Our obstacle course was made with younger guests, aged four to eight, in mind, (although guests of all ages are welcome to try it). Guests can work on their skills through a fun thought-provoking obstacle course along Rock Creek. Riders will improve their abilities and confidence by making their way through steps, bridges, mazes and other obstacles under the instruction of our experienced wranglers. 

Summer Cowboy Breakfast

During the summer, start your Fridays with a refreshing cowboy breakfast between 8 and 9:45 a.m. Guests reserve a departure time from the barn or the Rod & Gun Club in advance. 

Wagon rides to Piney Pond can be booked for groups, with arrival times for wagons at 8:15am, 8:45am and 9:15am.

Breathe in the crisp morning air as you travel to a beautiful and peaceful setting overlooking the valley floor. Guests can choose to arrive at breakfast as part of a morning horseback ride, cross-country bike ride with the General Manager or hiking adventure. Arrive at Piney Pond for a fireside breakfast—enjoying cowboy coffee and both hearty and light fare, featuring Chef Drage’s Dutch oven dining experience. After breakfast, return to the wagon or continue on your morning adventure.

Ride-Along with a Rancher

For guests interested in a behind-the-scenes view of our working ranch, join our Ranch Manager for a few hours as he tends to his daily tasks across our 6,600 acres. Learn the history of The Ranch’s 127-year old homestead and what it takes to run a modern cow-calf operation.

This unique experience is tailored to what’s required on The Ranch that day and the interests of the guests. For instance, during calving season, you might check on newborn calves, or during the cooler months, you might head out to feed hay to the herd. Experienced riders can learn cattle sorting, one of the most skillful tasks required of a modern cowboy.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many horses does The Ranch have?
  • What are your age restrictions?
  • What are your weight restrictions?
  • Do you have any pregnancy restrictions?
  • Can I bring my own horse?
  • What precautions are you taking to ensure the safety of guests during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
  • Do you offer English riding?
  • How are The Ranch vacations different to other Montana dude ranches?

We have approximately 73 horses. Our herd is primarily comprised of Quarter Horses.

Children under the age of eight can take part in our obstacle course or adopt-a-horse programs. These programs are included in your stay.

Our maximum weight limit is 250 lbs., which is standard for guest ranches to ensure the longevity of the horse herd.

If a guests is 11 weeks or under in their pregnancy they will need to supply The Ranch with a doctor’s note permitting them to ride. If a guest is 12 weeks or further along in their pregnancy they will not be permitted to go on a horseback ride.

No, we do not allow guests to bring their own horse for health and safety reasons. Not all horses are familiar with our Western landscape and we do have wildlife on property. New horses do not acclimate appropriately during their time here. We also believe that a horseback riding vacation is an opportunity to experience new and different equine personalities.

  • In addition to wranglers wearing masks and gloves during the moments when social distancing isn’t possible, all rides will be scheduled in 30-minute increments. Guests must arrive no later than 15 minutes after their scheduled time to ensure we can limit the amount of people at the barn at one time.
  • We recommend that guests bring their own boots, hats and gloves if they have them as an extra sanitary measure. We further recommend boots with at least a one-inch heel.
  • Boots will be set out for guests based on their size on the daily. Guests riding more than once can either check their boots out for the duration of their stay or return them to be sanitized.
  • All guests must use the mounting deck to get on their horses. If they are unable to get onto their horse without assistance, they will not be permitted to go out on the riding activity. 
  • A safety speech and steering instruction will be done prior to any guests mounting their horses. Once the guests are on their horses, their wrangler will show them the steering instructions again; encouraging guests to try themselves.
  • Out on the trail, once six feet of distance can be maintained between horses, face masks will not be required. If a guest does need assistance that requires wranglers to go within 6 feet it is mandatory that wranglers and guests put on their masks.
  • Returning back to the barn, guests must wait for wranglers’ assistance to dismount from the mounting deck.

No. We encourage all riders to experience Western riding traditions while in Montana.

The Ranch at Rock Creek predates many dude ranches with its 127-year history as a homestead and family ranch. Today, as a guest ranch, we help preserve the legendary West by maintaining a horse herd, cattle herd, hay pastures and sustainable farming and recreation practices, in addition to our all-inclusive guest services. Our wranglers are exceptional horse men and women, who enrich our programs with their passion for ranch life. Even our Little Grizzlies Kids Club helps our youngest travelers learn of the traditions and horsemanship involved in running a ranch.

While most dude ranches operate solely in the summer, we are open year-round, offering outdoor Montana adventures like snowmobiling, ice fishing, shooting and archery, to name just a few. Our Western traditions extend beyond our horse barn to include a summer Saturday barn dance, Friday cowboy breakfast, poker tournaments, our Silver Dollar Saloon, five ranges for shooting, archery and ranch-to-table cuisine sourced from local farms and ranches.

There are few places in the world where you can wake up in Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star accommodations, dine on gourmet, locally sourced meals, learn to rope and barrel race and then relax for a Saddle Sore Soak at the Granite Spa. This contrast creates an unparalleled experience for our guests.