Marking 100 years this winter, Lone Mountain Ranch continues to corral the best of Montana's wild life and lodging. Tucked in the heart of Big Sky, Montana, the historic adventure outpost combines access to epic adventures in Yellowstone National Park as well as a menu of outdoor excursions right from the cabin door.
In the last century, Lone Mountain Ranch, now on the National Register of Historic Places, has made its mark in state heritage, evolving from homestead to dude ranch to boys' camp to its current occupation as a rustic yet upscale year-round outdoor vacation spot. Many of the original 1915 structures are preserved on the property, along with vintage decorative pieces. The ranch's cozy, Christmas-card setting affords big-mountain views and 30 perfectly appointed cabin rooms on 148 trail-front acres.
The property gives guests plenty of possibilities for outdoor adventure, from sleigh rides, snowshoeing, and Nordic and alpine skiing in the winter, to fly fishing, horseback riding, and mountain biking in the summer. While owner Paul Makarechian keeps the property immaculately modernized, he intends each visit to inspire nostalgia.
"We want people to experience the West in the way that feels true to them. Guests come here to experience the same things Montanans from the Old West were doing a 100 years ago. It's a sanctuary untouched by the fast, noisy world most of us live in," he says. "When they make it back to the lodge, they’re greeted with authentic, luxurious accommodations; local and seasonal gourmet cuisine; and the kind of warmth and hospitality that only happens in the true American West."
Makarechian says Lone Mountain Ranch guests typically have two things in common: an adventurous heart, and a love for nature and the outdoors. He recalls the moment when the importance of those devotions solidified, when he realized his newly acquired ranch was something special. It started one winter morning on a cross-country outing with family and friends in Yellowstone.
"As we trekked through snow-capped trees, amongst geysers in perfectly groomed powder, we came to a group of bison who were feeding," Makarechian says. "These creatures were incredible. To see them in their element, living off the land, was unlike anything I'd ever witnessed before. It was my own epic ranch experience, a true Wild West safari in the middle of wintertime. I couldn't wait to share it with the rest of the world."
Getting there: Direct flight to Bozeman, Montana, from most major cities. Then a one-hour car ride or transport to Big Sky.
Accommodations: Traditional or premium cabins, or private home rentals on the ridge above Lone Mountain Ranch.
Packages: To mark the 100-year anniversary, Lone Mountain Ranch will be adding impromptu weekend-stay options in addition to its popular all-inclusive packages.
Food: Gourmet meals provided by a professional chef, plus an onsite saloon, complete with a copper-top bar, handmade Western bar stools, and plenty of local brews.
More information: www.lonemountainranch.com
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