Featured Photo by Nine Quarter Circle Ranch

Best Montana Ranch Experiences Near The Yellowstone River Valley

If you’ve ever wondered what life is like on a Montana ranch, these guest ranch experiences near the Yellowstone River are a perfect place to spend a week in the Montana outdoors and learn all about ranch life. Ride horses, herd cattle, explore the natural beauty of the Big Sky state, and reconnect with your loved ones and yourself while having the experience of a lifetime.

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Yellowstone River Ranch Experiences: Nine Quarter Circle Ranch (Gallatin Gateway)

Best For Traditional Ranch Experience
Celebrating its 75th year of operation in 2021, Nine Quarter Circle Ranch has run under the same family ownership for over 3 generations since the late 1800s, giving them plenty of experience to create the perfect traditional guest ranch. Located between West Yellowstone and Bozeman, Montana, the ranch offers an all-inclusive week of genuine Western excitement and experiences with activities to keep everyone in the family busy. Ride horses that are hand selected to fit your riding style and experience level, sit down each night with family to enjoy a home cooked, Western meal, or go fly fishing, swimming, hiking, or square dancing. You can even sign the kids up for the ranch kids program, so they can explore the ranch with other kids their age while you enjoy your time at the ranch as well. Nine Quarter Circle is based on family values and guarantees a week of family bonding and learning in the Montana outdoors.

Nine Quarter Circle Trip Tips
Season: June to September, Most Recommended Activity: Horseback Riding, Unique Attraction: Swimming, Best Surrounding Attraction: Grand Teton National Park

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Yellowstone River Ranch Experiences: Mountain Sky Guest Ranch (Emigrant)

Best For Luxury Ranch Experience
If you want to experience Montana ranch life with a little more luxury, then the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch is the best place to get a mix of Western traditions and modern amenities. Opening in 1929 as a prominent dude ranch, Mountain Sky is now considered one of the nation’s upscale guest ranch resorts with unmatched views, fine food, great amenities, and a luxury environment to explore. The ranch also offers different vacation packages to choose from, such as the Summer Family Season, Fall Roundup, Wild West Women, Wild West Adventures, and Wellness Week. If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for in these packages, you can also create a custom experience to get the most out of your ranch stay. Additionally, Mountain Sky Guest Ranch has a long list of outdoor activities that will meet the interests of every guest from whitewater rafting and clay shooting to a wellness center and yoga sessions.

Mountain Sky Trip Tips
Season: June to September, Most Recommended Activity: Challenge Course, Unique Attraction: Whitewater Rafting, Best Surrounding Attraction: Paradise Valley

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Yellowstone River Ranch Experiences: Parade Rest Guest Ranch (West Yellowstone)

Best For Private Lodging Accommodations
Parade Rest Guest Ranch is located in West Yellowstone just 10 miles from the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. It is best known for being a place to relax and retreat in the Montana outdoors and enjoy the simpler things in life. You can go for a horseback ride around the peaceful countryside, settle in for a quiet day of fly fishing, go on a serene hike or bike ride with beautiful Montana scenery and wildlife, and much more to relax your mind and get back in touch with your loved ones. The ranch also boasts cozy and comfortable private cabins around the property, each with comfortable beds, porches, wood burning stoves and a unique history and personality complete with their own western décor. If you’re looking to reconnect with nature, yourself, or others, the Parade Rest Guest Ranch is the perfect backdrop to do so, with additional events, activities, and amenities to make your vacation one of the best.

Parade Rest Trip Tips
Season: May to September, Most Recommended Activity: Horseback Riding, Unique Attraction: Western Cookouts, Best Surrounding Attraction: Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone River Ranch Experiences: Lone Mountain Ranch (Big Sky)

Best For The Most Recreational Options
Open year round, Lone Mountain Ranch is one of the few Montana guest ranches that includes spring, summer, fall and winter vacation packages, so you can visit any time of the year. During the spring, fall and summer you can enjoy horseback riding, Yellowstone National Park tours, guided hikes, mountain biking, fly fishing, water sports, archery, a ropes course, axe throwing, yoga and more during your time at the ranch. But many people choose to come during the winter to enjoy stunning views of snow covered Montana and epic recreational activities like backcountry Nordic and backcountry skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and winter fishing. Whatever season you end up choosing, you can always expect a cozy cabin, locally sourced, farm-to-table food options, and plenty of fun events to add to your trip experience.

Lone Mountain Trip Tips
Season: Year-round, Most Recommended Activity: Fly Fishing, Unique Attraction: Dog Sledding, Best Surrounding Attraction: Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone River Ranch Experiences: Sweet Grass Ranch (Big Timber)

Best For Most Personalized Stay
Nestled at the base of the Crazy Mountains, a trip to Sweet Grass Ranch puts you in the middle of the beautiful Montana outdoors for a stay you won’t soon forget. Sweet Grass Ranch is a sixth generation family-owned cattle operation and guest ranch in Big Timber that offers a picturesque backdrop of alpine forests, pristine lakes, and rolling foothills dotted with vibrant wildflowers for learning and experiencing everything that goes into Montana ranch life. The ranch welcomes guests to pick and choose their vacation itinerary, including horseback adventures, authentic cattle work, hiking, wildlife viewing, and lake, stream or pond fishing, making the personalization options endless. You can also expect the charm of the Old West with Old West warm hospitality, family-style meals, stories around the campfire, and cozy cabins or rooms at the main lodge for lodging.

Sweet Grass Trip Tips
Season: June to September, Most Recommended Activity: Hiking, Unique Attraction: Swimming With Horses, Best Surrounding Attraction: Crazy Mountains

Content Writer and Social Media Coordinator. I paint, listen to music, and play with my dogs a lot. When I’m not doing all that, I love to read and try new things.

Maeve Miller

Writer, River Travel Magazine