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Experience Horseback Riding During Your Ranch Vacation

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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. Our Horse Barn fits guests with hats, boots and riding helmets as needed. 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 30-minute to 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 on foot before transitioning into the saddle.

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 summer rodeo, complete with professional cowboys and “rough stock” events. The festivities start with a cowboy social hour near the horse barn. Enjoy beverages and snacks and get the chance to mingle with the rodeo athletes prior to the event. Then, watch from the stands as cowboys ride bucking broncos or rope galloping steers. Cheer on your favorite wranglers as they race around the barrels. Events such as wheelbarrow races and boot tosses get the audience participating in the fun. After the show, meet the cowboys and cowgirls on the Buckle Barn lawn for a rodeo barbeque.

At a Glance:

  • Summer rodeo and Behind the Chutes on Tuesdays, June-August
  • Pre-rodeo Cowboy Social Hour
  • Followed by a rodeo barbeque on the Buckle Barn lawn
  • Additional Seasonal Celebration weekend rodeos
  • Private rodeos may be produced at an additional cost

Summer Cowboy Breakfast

During the summer, start your Fridays with a refreshing cowboy breakfast between 8 and 9:45 a.m. Guests gather at the barn and hop into our horse-drawn wagon for a scenic ride to Piney Pond. Breathe in the crisp morning air as you travel out to a beautiful and peaceful setting overlooking the valley floor. You will arrive at Piney Pond for an 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 and enjoy a cheery ride back to Camp Roosevelt just in time for your full day of adventures.

High-Mountain Adventures

Fuse Lake & Twin Lakes Horseback Rides

Adventure awaits on our new advanced horseback riding adventures to high-mountain lakes in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, including lunch, provisions, guiding and gear. This exclusive excursion is available as a half-day or full-day activity, complete with The Ranch’s gear, seasoned guides and provisions. Ride to Fuse Lake and take in the scenery or fly fish for Arctic Grayling – the only fish species to inhabit these waters. Even further afield lies Twin Lakes, home to Rainbow and Cutbow Trout.

This exclusive adventure is only available in July and August when the snow clears from these alpine heights. Our Ranch outfitters (Montana Outfitter #31522) are currently the only permitted outfitter.

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?
  • Can I bring my own horse?
  • Do you offer English riding?
  • How are The Ranch vacations different to other Montana dude ranches?

We have approximately 75 horses. Our herd is primarily comprised of Quarter Horses.

Children under the age of 8 can join the Little Grizzlies Kids Club to experience our equine program. This program is 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.

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.

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.