Childhood dreams inspired Jim Manley to search 20 years for the perfect ranch. His search culminated in Philipsburg, Montana, where he found the ideal homestead to share with his own children. A decade ago, he decided to share it with other families as The Ranch at Rock Creek, a property that would become the world’s first Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star ranch.
The Ranch at Rock Creek is deeply committed to guest service and safety, as we channel our pioneer past through difficult times. We opened on June 1, following Montana’s second phase of reopening. We are booking guests on our website or directly with our reservations team at 1-877-786-1545, website live chat, or email@example.com. Please contact us for more information on revised lower maximum occupancy, secluded accommodations, and 32 included private activities.
We are currently making changes to ensure we are on the cutting edge of guest safety. Please see the frequently asked questions section below regarding our new policies and procedures.
FAQ for COVID-19 Procedures and Policy
- How can I book my stay?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- How will we be assured enough space to socially distance from other guests?
- Will I be asked to wear a mask while on The Ranch?
- Is the Granite Spa open?
- How are you ensuring accommodations are safe?
- How can we do your all-inclusive activities while social distancing?
- What protocols are being followed for safe dining?
- How will my dinner be served?
- How will housekeeping procedures ensure my accommodation is safe and sanitized?
- How will my inclusive airport transfer take place while social distancing?
- What precautions are you taking to ensure safety during horseback riding?
- Are private buyouts available?
We have shifted to a very flexible cancelation plan for any guest impacted by COVID-19.
We have moved our final deposit date to from 60 days to 30 days prior to arrival and our nonrefundable policy to the same 30-day window to give guests more time to make the best choice for their families.
The Ranch’s accommodations and activities are scattered across our 6,600 acres. 17 of our 29 accommodations are located in separate buildings. Whether you prefer a hybrid glamping cabin on Rock Creek or a luxury house set into the hillside, you’ll find your home away from home at The Ranch.
We are reducing our maximum guest count from 125 per night to just 75 per night during the summer to ensure we can space everyone out and keep the required distance for safe operation. After Labor Day, our maximum guest count will be reduced further to 50 people per night.
Effective July 15th, Montana’s governor implemented an executive order requiring all businesses and public spaces to require employees and customers to wear masks indoors and outdoors where a 6-foot separation cannot be maintained.
The Ranch has worked very hard to ensure that you have plenty of space to roam during your stay. Our safety procedures for activities, and reserved or in-room dining greatly reduce the instance that you will need to wear masks for the safety of your party, staff and other guests. Guests will not be asked to wear masks in dining areas. However, they will be asked to wear masks in public areas. We will provide patio seating for anyone preferring not to come inside and wear a mask.
Guides and staff will wear masks and gloves during the moments when social distancing isn’t possible. We will ask guests to do the same in those rare instances. Out on the trail or activity, once six feet of distance can be maintained, face masks will not be required. If a guest does need assistance that requires guides to go within 6 feet it is mandatory that guides and guests put on their masks.
The Granite Spa will reopen on October 1, 2020. Please contact your Ranch Ambassador to make an appointment.
We are putting a 24-hour block between guests on every accommodation to ensure appropriate time to let the room rest and our team to fully sanitize the space. This is another reason bookings must be completed directly through our reservations team until September 23.
We have reduced housekeeping services to once per day. Guests may request an additional evening turndown service or request reduced or no services during their stay.
An amenities catalog will be provided so that you can order complimentary snacks, beverages and periodicals.
We will continue to offer private activities, but space them out to ensure we can clean all the gear and sanitize it before every activity.
Due to spacing of activity start times and sanitation of our extensive included equipment, each day we will include one guided activity and one nature-based activity. We have added 11 new guided or self-guided activities to ensure families will be able to explore further than ever before while creating space and time for proper sanitation and social distancing protocols for guided activities. For example, you might enjoy horseback riding in the morning and then sapphire mining, disc golf, hiking or Respite on Rock Creek in the afternoon.
We are asking families to stay together for all excursions to ensure groups can be adequately spaced.
We have staggered our start times for activities so that we can control the number of people in the Rod & Gun Club. Most fittings will be done at the site of the activity. We ask that you abide by start times for the safety of our staff and guests.
Guests will be asked to hike, bike or e-bike to activity locations rather than driving, so that we may follow social distancing procedures.
Guides and staff will wear masks and gloves during the moments when social distancing isn’t possible. We will ask guests to do the same in those rare instances. Out on the trail or activity, once six feet of distance can be maintained, face masks will not be required. If a guest does need assistance that requires guides to go within six feet it is mandatory that wranglers and guests put on their masks.
Our kitchen staff is trained in safe food handling techniques.
For guest eating in the main dining room, we are reducing the capacity of the venue to ensure plenty of space is between all guests and a lower head count ensures less people there at one time.
If you join us for reserved dining in the Granite Lodge, Pastoral Creekside Picnics or Buckle Barn lawn, your meal will be specially prepared for your party.
If not plated, meals will be served family style to avoid cross-contamination. Meals like our Black Pine Dinner have been served like this for years, and allow guests to choose a variety of dishes and go back for more of their favorites.
We are reducing our twice-daily housekeeping services to once-daily services. Guests can request turndown service or they can request reduced housekeeping services during their stay.
We will provide hand sanitizer and disinfecting products for guest use in each accommodation.
Airport transfers are available and included from Missoula, Butte and Anaconda airports. A Ranch employee will greet guests at the airport and drive them to The Ranch. Masks will be required during transportation. Water and snacks are available for the drive.
If guests prefer to drive themselves or do not wish to wear masks, a Ranch employee will greet guests at the airport and provide a complimentary private vehicle from Enterprise car rental agency for guests to transport themselves to The Ranch. They will be ushered to The Ranch with our driver leading the way. (Advanced notice required)
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.
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.
When COVID-19 travel restrictions and recommendations begin to ease in Montana and other states, we will have some availability to accommodate families and small groups looking to have The Ranch to themselves. Please see our private travel page for more information.
“Words cannot describe our experience at the Ranch. It was awesome. When you can provide an overall experience like that during COVID, it says a lot about the professionalism of your staff and the overall direction being provided by management. When three teenagers say they will be taking their children/grandchildren to the Ranch someday, you have made quite an impression!! We will be back to experience the Ranch after COVID, although I am not sure how it could be any better!”
~ August 2020 Guest Survey Response
Message from the General Manager
In this unique season of unexpected changes, I have been reminded of aspects of The Ranch that remain unwavering. Our Ranch was homesteaded in 1893, and its early residents went through a lot of very challenging and unprecedented times. Yet, in spite of those things, they persevered season after season, year after year. We take pride in renewing that perseverance in difficult times, much in the same way.
We look forward to welcoming each of you back here – those that have stayed with us in the past, those who have reservations for this year, and those of you who have us on your bucket list.
Please stay safe and healthy, Jon
Respite on Rock Creek
Virtual Travel to The Ranch
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” ~Rachel Carson
Join us on Instagram for a daily video of mountain zen and for regular “Respite on Rock Creek” IGTV episodes. In this series, our dedicated staff shares their passion for nature, ranch life and culture. They provide quick tutorials for projects like at-home wine tastings, Dutch oven cooking, crafting seed bombs and horse mane and tail braiding. Scroll to the right to see episodes from our dedicated staff and read about Respite on Rock Creek on Forbes.com.
Our staff teamed up (from home) to talk to our community about our sustainability efforts since eliminating single-use plastics last Earth Day. Reducing the plastic in our landfills by 60,000 bottles was just the beginning. Please join us for a virtual tour of our wild spaces and an in-depth look at how we show our love for this incredibly beautiful world we live in.
Chef Drage and his ranch-to-table cuisine have been an integral part of The Ranch since it opened a decade ago. Join him at Piney Pond as he honors his Grandma Dixie who taught him Dutch oven cooking. Learn a short history of this Western culinary art and find a recipe for her Logan Canyon Chicken and braised lamb.
Every spring Big Sky Country turns into Big Fly Country. In this special episode of Respite on Rock Creek, Matt Bean of Sunset Magazine asked Master Naturalist and Guide Madi King to outline the basics of casting, including a few drills you can practice right in your own backyard. If you can’t get to a stream, this is a way to find some mountain zen at home. Please recreate responsibly.
General Manager Jon Martin kicked off our IGTV series with his favorite activity that he found at The Ranch – archery. This is one of the ways he finds some respite after a day at “the office.” These tips can help you if you are interested in honing your archery skills at home. It’s also a great hobby to consider because it can be done while safely social distiancing.
Despite winter’s brief return, every day our bees get closer to returning from their winter home on the other side of the Sapphire Mountains. Join Apiarist/Activities Director Kelsey Bruns as she checks on our sweet friends and delivers supplemental nutrition.
On January 1, 2020 Expert Fly Fishing Guide John Piacquadio didn’t know how impactful a decision he’d made to create a work of art for 365 consecutive days. Watch as our Artist-in-Residence fishes, ties flies and makes angling-inspired art in his studio. He reveals how his art has become a daily meditation during Montana’s stay-at-home order.
Food & Beverage Director Christina Wernikowski and Dining Room Manager Leigh Dollard explain how they started their own local business, The Philipsburg Food Share, to support local businesses and bellies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Glimpse the hard work that goes into each week’s boxes with help from Western Montana Grower’s Co-op.
While The Ranch and its on-site childcare, The Nest, are closed, Director Katie Tobin has been sharing kids’ crafts and activities so our Ranchers-in-training can feel the spirit of The Ranch at home. Follow along as Katie instructs how to make seed bombs with native plants to brighten your world.
Grab a cup of coffee or a mimosa and take a virtual trip into the Granite Nature Spa with Manager Brooke Bucher. Brooke shares a simple recipe for an exfoliating treatment using sugar, salt or coffee grounds, as well as tips and tricks for turning your Sunday (or any day) into an at-home luxury spa experience. In addition to her spa expertise, Brooke’s the mother of four-year-old twins and she knows the difficulty and value of carving out a little time for self-care.
From the comfort of her home, Dining Room Manager/Sommelier Emily Pacsi shares her passion for three of her favorite wines that are included at The Ranch and pair well with a variety of dishes. Cheers!
- Riofavara ‘Marzaiolo’ Sicily, Italy 2018 40% Inzolia, 40% Grecanico, 20% Moscato
- Domaine de Marquiliani ‘Le Rose de Pauline’ Corsica, France 2018 50% Sciaccarellu, 40% Syrah, 10% Vermentino
- Neyers ‘Evangelho Vineyard’ Contra Costa County, California 2017 100% Mourvedre
Wrangler Samantha Dopp grew up showing paint and quarter horses on a national circuit. She shares her expertise today at the Camp Roosevelt horse barn during an in-depth lesson on mane and tail braiding. Watch her groom her horse Gator in preparation for roping and watch for cameos by Ranch goats Fruit Snack, S’mores and Gummy Worm.
We wouldn’t expect Activities Director Patrick Little to be anything less than, well…active, even during social distancing. Pat, his wife Maddy (a former Rancher), and their dogs Oz and Flint the Ranch Pup have been enjoying the backcountry ski trails every day. They say, “There are no friends on a powder day.” Take a downhill run with Pat as he proves that Flint is the best possible friend for a powder day. “Go, Flint, Go, Go, Go!”
Bar Supervisor Brooke Leninger shares a special cocktail, the “Mommy Dearest.”
2 oz Mint Infused Gin
1/2 oz Lime Juice
1/2 Half & Half
2-3 Muddled Strawberries
Muddle strawberries then add gin and lime juice. Shake on ice. Strain over fresh ice and top with half and half. Garnish with a mint sprig and strawberry slice.
It’s time for a second helping of Executive Chef Josh Drage’s Dutch oven expertise. Chef Josh his two-year-old son and sous chef Haines as sous chef take you through the process of curing, smoking and cooking lamb necks. Here’s your chance to test your ranch-to-table culinary skills and take your palate on a journey to Big Sky Country.