This horseback riding vacation is based at a historic guest ranch that dates back to the late 1800s. The 520 acre ranch sits at the base of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest. Guests can explore the mountains on horseback riding trails, enjoy fishing, hiking, shooting, archery, and a host of other activities. Ride where western artist Charlie Russell once rode and gained his inspiration. At 5,000 feet in elevation, this ranch enjoys the best of Montana’s weather.

The ranch has horses suitable to every level of horseback rider. For the more experienced, trotting and loping can be incorporated into rides where the terrain allows. Unleash your inner cowboy and participate in the cattle-drive horseback ride. For those who would like to get more comfortable in the saddle, lessons are available for an additional charge. The riding style is Western.

Accommodation ranges from lodge rooms to free-standing historic log cabins, or the large, well-equipped Ranch House. The Lodge features cozy guest rooms, the dining and living room; and is in close proximity to the hot tub and rec room. The Ranch House is perfect fit for larger families. With many situated along the banks of the Judith River, no two cabins are alike. This equine vacation allows horseback riders to experience the area's history first hand.

There are no reviews for this holiday at the moment

THE RANCH

Montana is a magical place in the summer. The rivers are cool, the air is crisp, and the sun warms the face. At 5000ft in elevation, this ranch hosts the best of Montana’s weather. The 520 acres sit at the base of the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest allowing guests to explore the mountains by horseback, fish for trout in cascading streams, hike to see the bountiful wildlife, or take guided tours into the National Forest. There is enough time to do it all.

The Lodge is where guests mingle over cocktails before dinner and then enjoy the evening’s dinner selection. The Lodge also features suites and well appointed guest rooms. The historic cabins are situated close to the river and no two are alike. From the Meadowlark to the Cayuse, the styles and decor vary. Some have four bedrooms, some just a bed and a fireplace.

The ranch is known for horse riding and there are horses suitable to every level of experience. Riders traverse the wide-open prairies, ride along, and through, the Judith River and explore the mountains of the Helena Lewis & Clark National Forest. For more experienced riders, trotting and loping can be incorporated into rides where the terrain allows. Participate in the cattle drive ride and unleash the inner cowboy! For those who would like to get more comfortable in the saddle, lessons are available for an additional charge.

There are plenty of activities from archery to hiking to shooting. For the more adventurous, take a UTV tour to the Helena Lewis & Clark National Forest for a hike to the nearby caves. Or visit nearby Sapphire Village for a taste of the local culture. The nearby mine is the only place where the precious Yogo Sapphires can be found. Prospector Jake Hoover discovered them in the late 1800s, and he just so happened to be Charlie Russell’s first friend in Montana. You can take a UTV tour to the Hoover Cabin where the two lived for a couple years after Russell first arrived in the state.

This ranch offers an all-inclusive style dude ranch vacation, perfect for single travellers, couples, friends and families. Welcome to Montana!


ADVENTURES

Horse riding; Horse riding is what the ranch is known for. Ride in mountain terrain, lope across wide open fields and traverse the Judith River all from the back of your trusty steed.

Guided Tours; Explore the 520 acres and the nearby Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest by way of UTV guided tours. Explore the varied terrain around the ranch and visit the historic Hoover Cabin.

Fat Tire Bikes; See the surrounding Montana countryside from a different saddle on our Fat Tire E-Bikes. Peddle on your own or get some assistance from the high-powered motor capable of 20 mph speeds.

Fishing; The first mile of the Judith River flows through the ranch. Wide swaths of river are ideal for fly fishing adventures. Montana’s waters await!

Shooting & Archery; Practice your marksmanship with the safe and fun sport shooting and archery programs. Clay pigeon and target shooting available. Age Minimums: Archery — 5 years Old, .22 Shooting — 8 years old, Shotgun Shooting — 16 years old.

Hiking; The ranch borders the Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest, with exceptional nature to explore all around us. See the wildlife and landscape Montana has to offer, and explore the nearby caves for some spelunking.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

There are over 40 horses at the ranch, mainly Quarter Horse type with some mules and draft crosses. The ranch accommodates all levels of riding and have horses appropriate to all levels of experience. The saddles and riding style is western and riders are given pointers if not familiar with the style. Most English riders find it easy to adapt to. Learning to ride is also a lot easier in western style!

Two rides are offered per day (except Sundays when the horses get the afternoon off). New guests will take a slow walking ride first, and then can move onto more advanced rides with trotting and loping if they demonstrate they can safely control your horse.

Ride in mountain terrain, lope across wide open fields and traverse the Judith River all from the back of a trusty steed. Ride back and forth across the River to the local Elk Preserve, or up to Porcupine Ridge for a breakfast cookout. The neighbouring 2.8 million acres of the Helena Lewis and Clark National Forest provides endless trails to explore under the Big Sky.

Riding lessons are not included ($30/pp for a one hour group lesson).


Rider requirements

Riders of all abilities are catered for at this ranch. The wranglers will match you with an appropriate horse for your skill level.
Age Minimums: Slow rides — 5 years old, Fast Rides — 8 years old.
The maximum weight limit is 250 pounds (17st 12lbs/ 113.3kg).

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 250 lb/114 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

There are different types of accommodation available at the ranch depending on availability and preferences. Please note that check in is at 2pm and check out no later than 11am.

CABINS:

The historic cabins offer spectacular views of the ranch and surrounding landscape, with fireplaces, living areas, wet bars or a kitchenette depending on the selected cabin.

S Lazy 4 Bar - One of the ranch's historic cabins bearing the original ranch name and brand. This cabin sleeps four with two bedrooms and one bathroom. It has a queen bedroom and a bedroom with two twin beds. The main living area features a fireplace and wet bar.

Cayuse - This historic cabin is the largest cabin at the ranch sleeping eight guests with four bedrooms and one bathroom. Two of the bedrooms have queen beds and two of the bedrooms have two twin beds each. The Cayuse has a cozy living area and wet bar. It is located next to the Poolhouse and close to the Lodge.

Outlaw - This cabin sits along the Judith River. It sleeps three with one full bed in the bedroom, one bathroom and a twin bed in the living room.

Wildlife - The historic Wildlife cabin has two bedrooms: one with a queen bed and the other with two twins, sleeping four guests. It has a wood-burning fireplace and wet bar.

Judith - The Judith cabin sleeps four guests with two bedrooms and one bathroom. One bedroom has a full bed and the other has twin bunk beds.

Meadowlark - This cabin sleeps five with two bedrooms and one bathroom. One bedroom has a queen bed and the other has two twins. There is an additional twin bed in the living room. This historic cabin features a unique wall of windows and a wet bar inside.

Sheepherder - The Sheepherder cabin has one queen bedroom and one bathroom and sleeps four with two twin beds in the living area. It also has a wood-burning fireplace and wet bar.

Homesteader - This is a single-room cabin that sleeps two and has one bathroom. The Homesteader has a queen bed and a fireplace in its cozy living area.

Cookhouse - The Cookhouse is the ranch's Honeymoon cabin and is designed for romance with a sunken fireplace and king bed. There is an additional twin and the room can sleep a total of three.



LODGE:

The lodge is where guests can gather for meals in the dining room and in the large living area. There are also three guest rooms called the Buffalo Rooms. Two are fitted with king beds and the Buffalo Suite has a king and twin bed.



RANCH HOUSE:

This is a perfect fit for larger groups or families. It has a full kitchen, four bedrooms and three bathrooms and sleeps eight. The house features two king bedrooms and two queen bedrooms.



AMENITIES:

The Historic Barn: Built in 1902, the barn is great fun for evening entertainment and group activities like square dancing or charades! Plus it can be set up for basketball and badminton.

Hot Tub; Enjoy a glass-enclosed indoor hot tub and soothe tired muscles from a day of adventuring or to warm up on chiller evenings.

Games & Rec Room; Have a family card game in the lodge or challange your friends to some horseshoes, table games or ping pong, this is perfect for the kids!



Meals:

Gather in the Lodge dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start the day with homemade breakfast classics: pancakes and waffles; biscuits and gravy; breakfast burritos, with lighter, continental style options also available. Lunch will fuel riders for an afternoon of adventure. Before dinner, gather in the Lodge for cocktails before meal of choice meats, pastas, fresh trout and more—with a roaring fire in the wood-burning fireplace on chilly evenings. Please advise of any special requests, diets or allergies in advance.



Please note that the ranch's Liquor License application is currently pending but guests can bring their own alcoholic drinks.


Vegetarian or other dietary requirements within reason can be accommodated with advance notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests before booking.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures

You will need to get a visa or an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) visa waiver to enter or transit the USA as a visitor. You should consult the US State Department website to determine which you will need.

You should be aware that if you have travelled to or have been in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen on or after 1 March 2011, you are normally not eligible for an ESTA visa waiver and will need to apply for a US visa.

Passport and Visa requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa

In Canada: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/united-states

Climate Summary

Montana, the fourth largest U.S. state in land area, has large climatic variations due to its geographic diversity and altitudinal range. The central and eastern portions of the state are part of the Northern Great Plains, which experience warm summers and cold winters. The western part of the state is mountainous, with snowy winters and cool summers.
In Hobson, Montana summer starts in June and ends in September, these are said to be the best months to visit the area. The month with the highest relative humidity is February, lowest is August. The month with the highest number of rainy days is May and the lowest is February. The climate is cold and temperate. There is significant rainfall throughout the year in Hobson.

Climate Chart

Health

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

You should always bring any regular prescription drugs you may need with you.

BE AWARE: There are restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain prescription drugs into the US. The USA Food and Drug Administration website contains further information and advice on bringing medicines into the USA.

Medical treatment is expensive and there are no special arrangements for British visitors. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

You should take suitable steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and ticks. There are occasional outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases.

Health authorities have classified the USA as having a risk of Zika virus transmission in Florida and a few parts of Texas

You can contact the emergency services by calling 911.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in the USA and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Electricity

In the USA the supply voltage is 120V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 120V).

Mobile, WiFi and charging

There is no cell service at the ranch, but WIFI is available in all guest areas (public areas and guest rooms). For emergency calls, the staff at the ranch can assist with the use of a landline. If you want to bring a GoPro please be advised that you will have to have permission from all other guests and guides that they are willing to be filmed.

Packing List

Ranch attire is casual, but if you wish to dress up for evenings, western wear is appropriate. We always suggest dressing in layers as temperatures will vary throughout the day. Below is a list of suggested packing items:

- Riding Helmet - we strongly recommend that you wear a properly fitted riding helmet of the current standard which is PAS015 or BSEN1384 (One can be provided, but we recommend you bring your own)
- Gloves
- Jodhpurs, breeches or other comfortable trousers (jeans may rub and can also be quite hot)
- Half Chaps - these are great when worn with ankle boots and help prevent the stirrup leathers rubbing against your legs
- Riding Boots/ Cowboy boots - it is important to have correct shoes or boots for horse riding. Jodhpur or ankle boots with a rubber sole are recommended but sturdy shoes with a slight heel are preferred (such as walking boots)
- T-shirts/Sleeveless tops/Comfortable shirts
- Long sleeve shirts – we highly recommend riding in long sleeve shirts to block the sun
- Comfortable western or denim shirts
- Bike Shorts / Tights / Underclothing – To minimize possible chafing from riding
- Jeans/Long Pants – Pairs for riding and pairs for evening/daytime wear
- Shorts
- Outerwear – Jackets, vests and layers are suggested
- Hoodies or pullovers
- Beanie or warm hat for chilly evenings
- Rain Jacket (we do have limited slickers available to borrow in the barn)
- Sandals/Flip flops – For the hot tub area
- Cowboy Hat (w/Stampede String) and/or Ball Cap
- Bathing suit – For the hot tub
- Sunglasses
- Lip balm
- Sunscreen
- After-sun moisturizer
- Personal Items - toiletries, any medicines you require and please be sure to take insect repellent
- Camera, spare Batteries/Chargers - an absolute must! It is also a good idea to take a camera case you can strap around your waist or onto a belt for whilst you are riding
- Plug in converter – If you are traveling from outside the USA
- Reusable plastic or stainless-steel water bottle - it's very important to drink a lot of water when it's hot, especially when doing physical activities
- Lightweight backpack – allows you to carry your essentials around the ranch
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Personal fly-fishing equipment for the avid fisherman

Provided by hosts
Riding helmets

Programmes

The ranch is open from end of May to beginning of October. Any length of stay can be booked but there is a minimum of 3 nights. Arrival can be any day of the week but please note that Sunday afternoons are time off for the horses.

Departure Dates

2024: Any day arrival, open 24 May to 1 October.

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.

Single rooms are only available in Lodge Rooms and Homesteader Cabin. Please see single rates in "detailed prices".

No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Lodge Room 2,019
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Cabin2,479
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Ranch House2,975
2024 - weekly8d/7n7single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin2,625
2024 - weekly8d/7n7additional person (after 2 guests)1,919
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 289
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Cabin355
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Ranch House425
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin375
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)275
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 319
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Cabin385
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Ranch House455
2024 - per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin405
2024 - per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)305
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Lodge Room 2,409
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Cabin2,955
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Ranch House3,545
2024 - weekly8d/7n7single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin3,129
2024 - weekly8d/7n7additional person (after 2 guests)2,285
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 345
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Cabin425
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Ranch House509
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin449
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)329
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 379
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Cabin459
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Ranch House545
2024 - per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin485
2024 - per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)365
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description US $
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Lodge Room 2,705
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Cabin3,319
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Ranch House3,979
2024 - weekly8d/7n7single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin3,509
2024 - weekly8d/7n7additional person (after 2 guests)2,565
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 385
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Cabin475
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Ranch House569
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin505
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)369
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 425
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Cabin515
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Ranch House609
2024 - per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin539
2024 - per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)405
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Lodge Room 28,045
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Cabin34,449
2024 - weekly8d/7n7double pp Ranch House41,295
2024 - weekly8d/7n7single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin36,435
2024 - weekly8d/7n7additional person (after 2 guests)26,609
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 4,009
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Cabin4,925
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1double pp Ranch House5,899
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin5,205
2024 - 7 night+ per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)3,805
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Lodge Room 4,419
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Cabin5,335
2024 - per nightper night1double pp Ranch House6,325
2024 - per nightper night1single pp Lodge Room/Homesteader Cabin5,615
2024 - per nightper night1additional person (after 2 guests)4,215
Recommended Reading

E. Annie Proulx’s three books of Wyoming short stories (“Close Range”, “Bad Dirt”, “Fine just the way it is”)

Mary O’Hara’s “Flicka” triology.

The Virginian” by Owen Wister (a classic one) and

Zane Grey’s Western novels.

C.J. Box (i.e. “Open Season”) and

Craig Johnson (i.e. “The Cold Dish”).

Cowboy poet Baxter Black 

“Where Rivers change Direction”, a memoir by Mark Spragg about life on an early dude ranch.

Where the Rivers Run North” by Sam Morton, a historical novel.

“The Meadow” by James Galwin.

Lone Star: A History Of Texas And The Texans by by T. Fehrenbach 

Discovering Natural Horsemanship: A Beginner's Odyssey by Tom Moates.

.Monty Roberts books, particularly ‘The Horse Whisperer’

Notes From A Big Country by Bill Bryson and

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck.

For the equestrian traveller who would like to see what is possible on horseback visit www.thelongridersguild.com 

Also a fantastic place to acquire your equestrian travel books is www.horsetravelbooks.com


Other Activities

The ranch offers a wide range of activities from archery and shooting to tubing in the Judith River and spelunking in nearby caves. The ranch’s 520 acres and neighbouring Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest offer plenty of landscape to explore, whether hiking on foot, by horseback, by UTV or e-bike.

Wildlife

Covering more than 2.8 million acres across 17 counties in central Montana, the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is home to a wide range of wildlife, including elk, deer, bighorn sheep, black bears, grizzly bears, lynxes, mountain lions, and bald eagles.

Other Country Information

The USA has 4 main times zones - Eastern Standard Time (EST), Central Standard Time (CST), Mountain Standard Time (MST) and Pacific Standard Time (PST). Vermont is on EST, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah are all on MST, California is on PST. Weights and measures are imperial although weight is always expressed in pounds, not stone. The US gallon is 3.8 litres in contrast to an imperial gallon which is 4.2 litres. Mobile telephone: 4G and 5G is widely available throughout the US in cities, towns, villages and along main highways with AT&T having the best overall coverage and T-mobile offering better speeds in cities. There is NO cell reception at the ranch, but there is WiFi in our saloon and office. There are still a few rural areas which have the older CDMA telephone networks. To be able to call from these areas we recommend buying a cheap Verizon phone from eg Walmart (from $13) and topping up with credit. Almost all hotels and airports offer free wifi connection.


Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
At the ranch. The closest airport is Great Falls International Airport (GTF), Montana
Transfer:
2024: Car rental recommended. A list of suggested transfer providers from neighbouring airports is available, please enquire.
Flight Guide:
London - Great Falls return from £880pp
Riders who booked this ride also considered
USA Arizona, Tucson Ranch
USA, Arizona, Tucson Ranch

This equestrian vacation is based at an all-round cattle ...Read more >

from US $259
Riding on the prairie
Canada, Prairie Working Ranch Stay

This relaxed equestrian guest / cattle Read more >

from US $229
Horse riding in Arizona, Rancho de la Osa
USA, Arizona, Rancho de la Osa Guest Ranch

A horseback riding vacation set in the high Read more >

from US $269