Sample Week at a Montana Guest Ranch

Schedule of Activities for an All-Inclusive Montana Vacation

Daily activities are offered for guests at our ranch, but they are certainly optional. Some guests like to participate in all activities offered, while others choose some, and then do things on their own for entertainment and relaxation. Activities for the day are scheduled depending on the weather and number of guests. Meals are served at 8:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. On some rides and activities, a bag lunch is packed for the guests. Lunches can also be sent with fishermen to the river if they choose not to return to the lodge for lunch. Fly fishing is available at any time.

We often split up into smaller groups, so that the all-day trips and rides are more individualized. This means different groups may go on different trips on different days. However, what a guest wants to do for the day is their decision. We only make suggestions to help you make a choice. Our goal is for everyone to know what opportunities are available for you to enjoy during your stay at Hawley Mountain.

The following is an EXAMPLE of a week’s activities at Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch:

3:00-6:00 P.M. Guests arrive at the ranch.

6:00 P.M. Dinner is served followed by introductions and some brief instructions for the week. A short tour of the ranch premises is given to acquaint guests with the building layout. Then a hike to a river falls is offered for those wanting to finish the day with some exercise (weather permitting and enough daylight).

10:00 A.M. Following some orientation at the barn area, a meadow ride and a stop for some instruction at the arena on ranch premises. This is an introductory ride to acquaint guests with their horses and the ranch terrain. Anyone wanting to ride during the week should go on this ride.

12:30-1:00 P.M. Fly attaching lesson in the lodge (for those beginning fishermen who want to try their hand at fly fishing.) Guests are instructed in small groups as they arrive back from their ride.

2:30 P.M. Ride on 4-Mile Trail (about 1 and ½ hours in length). This gives guests a feel for mountain trails.

5:00-6:00 P.M. Social hour with hors d’oeuvres on the Rock.

7:00 P.M. Fly fishing lessons at the pond.

10:00 A.M. Ride across the river, crossing the river twice (unless the river is too high). Otherwise, another shorter ride is chosen.

2:30 P.M. The Canyon Ride (about 1 and ½ hours in length) has some steepness going up and down giving a close view of the Boulder River or an easier ride to Bray’s Pond is offered.

4:00 P.M. Time for fishing or a short hike.

6:00 P.M. Cowboy cookout at the campfire, horseshoes, volleyball, “jeans” brandin’ night. Fresh trout can be offered as one of the entrees if guests bring it to the cook before 4:00 p.m.

Guests divide and flip-flop activities between Wed. & Thurs.

9:30 A.M. 6×6 truck ride to Independence, the gold mining area, and Blue Lake. Guests pile into the back of our Pinzgauer for an all-day outing going up on a primitive road reaching a summit of about 9500 feet during the 3-hour drive. Stops are made at the ghost town area of Independence and the old mine structures. Fishing can be done at Blue Lake, and the hearty hikers climb up to the top of Monument Peak (at 11,000 feet) for a spectacular view. Usually, guests are delivered back to the Lodge just before dinner.

10:00 P.M. Ride to High Meadow (with a saddlebag lunch) is about a 2 and 1/2-hour ride up and 2 hours back. This trail crosses the river on a bridge, has several switchbacks on the trail, and ends up in a lush meadow with a beautiful view of the river valley. On arrival back at the ranch, there is time for fishing, a hike, or just relaxing before dinner.

NOTE: Dinner is usually moved back to 6:30 p.m. these days to allow time for the 6×6 trip.

9:30 A.M. All-day ride to Meatrack Basin (about 3 and ½ hours up and 2 and ½ hours back). This ride takes you to our ranch hunting camp area which was used by the Native Americans thousands of years ago as a meat-drying area for elk. Guests may fish on the mountain stream, hunt for unusual rocks, or just relax under the shade of a lofty pine. Bring a book if you wish.


9:30 A.M. An alternative activity is a scenic float on the Yellowstone River for those not wanting to take the all-day ride. You float down the river for about 3 hours, stopping for lunch on an island. Tubing through the rapids behind the raft is a popular activity. Eagle sightings are exciting too. After refreshments at a local “soda fountain” you head back to the ranch before dinner.

10:00 P.M. Shorter rides at the ranch can be offered as well.

6:00 P.M. Cowboy cookout at the campfire. This is usually steak night.

Departure Day: After the 8:00 A.M. breakfast guests finish packing and head off to the airport, to another adventure in the West, or make their way home after a week of new experiences at Hawley Mountain Ranch. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for travel to the airport. 

Other options during the week: When guests do not want to ride horses or fish, hikes are an option. There are many fun places to hike, and guests may go on a guided hike or strike out on their own. Some places to hike close by are the Falls or Ron’s Point near ranch property (about 1 hour round trip), or Lookout which lies behind the lodge for a more strenuous hike (about 1 hour up).

Other hikes in the area are to Rasnick’s Cabin, an old prospector’s cabin which lies along a scenic creek bed (a 20-minute drive and about 1 and ½ hour hike up.) Trinity Falls (a 45-minute drive down the road and 1 hour hike up), or the hike to the Indian Caves (1 hour drive down the road and 1 and ½ hour hike up.) We bring a lunch for the Indian Caves trip and enjoy more hiking at the Natural Bridge.

Wilderness escape near Yellowstone
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