Where to Ski, Glamp, and See the Stars This Season

2.20.2014

By Jason Couvillion

Travel expert Jason Couvillion offers advice on spring ski trips, catching the Northern Lights, and picking a dude ranch.

Above: The Ranch at Rock Creek

Q: My boyfriend keeps talking about wanting to vacation at a ranch. I’m not a big country person—is there a place that will still have the comforts that I love but still satisfy his ranch fantasy?
A: A few luxury ranches have popped up around the country in recent years, catering to travelers who want to experience a working ranch but don’t want to rough it like at a working ranch. The Ranch at Rock Creek (pictured above, TheRanchAtRockCreek.com) is a perfect spot where your boyfriend can play out his cowboy fantasies while you get the comforts you like. Set in breathtaking landscape in Montana’s John Long Mountains along four miles of river, the ranch mixes traditional activities like horseback riding and fly fishing with luxury accommodations and a five-star restaurant. Guests can spend the day shooting clays, fishing in the Montana rivers located near the lodge, hiking, and mountain biking, then wind down at the end of the day in the world-class Granite Spa. Sample the amazing gourmet ranch cuisine before finishing the night in the Silver Dollar Saloon playing pool and darts, bowling, or just having a drink and relaxing. Wake up the next day and, after breakfast in the rustic Blue Canteen, take on the archery course or challenge each other in a game of paintball. Hopefully you and your boyfriend will be on the same team! If you want to go in late winter or early spring, the ranch also offers amazing winter activities, from snowmobiling to skiing, snowshoeing, and more. The ranch is located near the Discovery Ski Area (SkiDiscovery.com) in Philipsburg, Montana.

As far as accommodations, the ranch won’t let you down there, either. One option if you really want to placate your boyfriend’s urge to live like a rancher is to choose luxury glamping in one of the canvas cabins. These “tents” are fully equipped with king-sized beds, sitting areas, gas fireplaces, screened-in front porches, and private bathrooms, and are located along Rock Creek so you can sleep to the sound of the river. Or go for one of the freestanding cabins that are like your own private luxury log home in the woods. The ranch has a variety of cottage sizes, so if you want to bring some friends, they can all stay with you in your own private barn-turned-cottage. The Granite Lodge also has more traditional hotel-style rooms in the main building, so you’re close to everything, including all the comforts you want. To get to the ranch you can fly into Butte, Mont., on daily service from Salt Lake City, and the ranch will arrange to pick you up. Or fly into Missoula, Mont., from Seattle or Salt Lake City.

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