Historically, ropes on a Montana ranch are lariats and lassos, the tools of the cowboy trade. In 2014, we expanded the concept of “roping skills” at The Ranch at Rock Creek by building a year-round ropes course, including 13 high ropes features and six low ropes features, in a protected natural basin a few short miles from the luxury guest ranch’s Granite Lodge.
The ropes course was added to a long list of outdoor exploits available at our all-inclusive ranch resort. Guests already choose between horseback riding, archery, geocaching, sporting clays, pistol shooting, hiking and some of the best fly fishing in Montana; however, this activity is quickly becoming a vacation highlight, especially with families and corporate groups who are looking for an activity that combines personal challenge with group participation. Its popularity may be partially due to the fact that our guests are already geared toward an “off the map” experience on their Montana adventure vacations.
Our course is available to guests 12 and older who pass height and weight requirements. Although the prospect of zip lining several stories off the ground may sound daunting, the course is actually very safe and fully customizable to each user’s preferences and abilities.
The name “ropes course” doesn’t begin to explain the adventure. The structure is set below a Rhyolite outcropping, overlooking the spectacular Sapphire mountain range. Guests are driven to the secluded location, away from the buzz of human activity, to begin a comprehensive orientation. Each person is fitted with state-of-the-art helmets, lobster claws and harnesses before they set foot on the course.
The rest of the activity is a “challenge by choice” adventure, allowing it to be personalized and expanded during the journey. It can include the lower six elements near the ground, as well as the elevated elements, such as the zip lines and rope bridges. The truly adventurous can opt to change the gradient of difficulty.
Ranch guests keep company with the inhabitants of a nearby Peregrine falcon nest, meaning the course platform offers a true bird’s eye view of Big Sky Country. Those who don’t wish to complete the course are invited to enjoy the view atop the platform or watch from terra firma.
We find that those who are apprehensive enjoy the experience the most, thanks to the transformative nature of this safe set of mental and physical challenges. Groups can also choose to work through the elements as a team, relying on friends, coworkers or family to move out of their comfort zone. Whether you arrive at The Ranch at Rock Creek for the ultimate glamping experience or to enjoy a Montana spa getaway, our new ropes course can be more than a few hours of fun; it can be the tie that binds a group together.