Montana Guest Ranch Frequently Asked Questions​

Here are some answers to our most commonly asked questions regarding your Montana dude ranch vacation. From accommodation options and amenities to activity schedules and dining arrangements, we’ve got you covered to ensure your experience is unforgettable.

We are in the mountains at an altitude of 6,400 feet, which means the weather can be a bit unpredictable. During July and August the days can be in the high 80s, yet at night it usually cools down and you will want a long sleeve shirt or light jacket. Layering of clothing is your best bet. Any time during the season a passing shower or storm can occur – even hail in July! Fortunately most days are sunny and beautiful. What are the closest airports? Billings to the East and Bozeman to our West are the closest airports, both about 3 hours away. Guests can either rent a car or choose our airport pickup service which is an additional cost.

 Billings to the East andBozeman to our West are the closest airports, both about 3 hours away. Guests can either rent a car or choose our airport pickup service which is an additional cost.

We are 42 miles south of the closest town of Big Timber (population about 1700). However, the town is well equipped to serve you, so a fishing license, waders, snacks and soda, beer, or other drinks of choice can be picked up there. It is a nice place to walk around and enjoy the shops and restaurants. Crazy Mountain Museum is an inviting stop, among others – visit the Big Timber Chamber of Commerce for more detailed information. If you have time for a stop on the way to the ranch, Natural Bridge and Falls is a beautiful area to see that is right off the road.

How do we get one? Many guests practice their fly fishing in our trout pond where a license is not needed. If you plan to fish in the river, however, you will need a license. You may obtain one at Sweet Cast Angler or The Fort in Big Timber. You have the option of a 2 day pass or a 10 day. We recommend the 10 day option since the exact days you will want to fish depends on the weather and scheduled activities at the ranch.

We provide fly rods at the ranch, and your first fly is complimentary. A variety of flies are for sale at $2.00 each. Since the river temperature is cool, you may want waders. These should be reserved ahead of time and can be rented from the Sweet Cast Angler in Big Timber which is open on Sundays. We are happy to reserve waders for you if you provide your shoe size.

We do get mosquitoes and some flies at the ranch. We recommend you bring insect repellent.

Your accommodation, meals, and all activities are included in the price of your stay. In addition a 1.75% accommodation tax must be charged, and a 15% service charge for our staff to share is strongly encouraged. A massage therapist comes to the ranch once a week, and that service is paid separately. Another added cost is use of our airport pickup option.

Lodge rooms contain one queen bed and one set of bunk beds which are suitable for children, teens, and small adults. Cabins A and B have a bedroom with a queen bed, and a loft with 2 single beds. Cabin A also has a rustic sleeping loft that can be a fun option for kids. Our deluxe Cabin C has a bedroom on the first floor with a queen bed, and in the loft there is one double bed and one queen. Each of the cabins and lodge rooms has one full bathroom.

Our minimum age for riding is 6 years old.

For a variety of safety reasons, we do require that a wrangler is with guests during every ride. Horseback riding is offered each day during your ranch stay. We begin your week with some riding instruction and gradually increase the length and level of the rides. You may ride the same horse for your entire stay. Two of our longer rides include bringing a saddlebag lunch.

Our insurance and most of the terrain in which we ride does not permit us to run the horses. We do offer time in the arena for some riding instruction, and for guests to practice their riding skills. Inside the arena guests are able to practice the faster gaits.

We do have frontloading washers and dryers which guests are welcome to use. We provide detergent as well.

Wireless internet is accessible in the main area of the lodge.

No, we do not have cell phone reception at the ranch. We have a separate line that is for use by guests and staff. The contact number to provide to others while you are away is 406-932-5792.

We do not have a liquor license at the ranch, but you are welcome to bring alcohol with you to the ranch. People often bring a bottle of wine to dinner or enjoy a beer during our social hours or cookouts.

Please let us know of any allergies you have, so we can inform our cook. We are accustomed to making food accommodations for many different allergies.


  • Camera
  • Flashlight
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm or chapstick
  • Shampoo and other toiletries
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hat or cap with a brim
  • Bathing suit for pond or hot tub
  • Cowboy boots or shoes with a heel for riding
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Raingear (preferably NOT a poncho)
  • A warm jacket or parka 
  • Gloves for warmth in June and Sept.
  • 3 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of shorts

Dress is casual with jeans and t-shirts mostly. With our altitude being at 6400 feet in the mountains, the mornings and evenings can be very cool, while the afternoons can be quite warm. Layering of clothing is a good idea.

Big Timber is your last chance for gas and supplies. McLeod has only a bar and a post office. If you desire alcohol, soda, or extra snacks, you must bring your own. Each cabin and lodge room has a small refrigerator for your convenience.

A library with books and paperbacks, playing cards, and games for children are provided in the lodge. Complimentary laundry facilities are also available.

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Hawley Mountain Ranch

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