Our "Mountain Climbing" Pinzgauer

pinzgauer at monument 1

This vehicle gets a lot of stares from other travelers as it heads up the primitive road at the end of the Main Boulder river valley. It seems to go where most other vehicles would not think of traveling!   

Sheep as Far as the Eye Can See

sheep on boulder road

Our Dynamic Ranch Horse "DOMINO!"

When our mighty horse Domino leaps across the meadow in this manner, he gets a lot of attention!  He was added to the herd many years ago as a big, reliable, and bomb-proof animal.  But to look at these photo one might wonder if those characteristics are true.


 100th Year Milestone at Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch  

Who would have guessed that the purchase of the Tom Hawley homestead by the Jarrett family100 years ago would result in the present day guest ranch at Hawley Mountain? 2017 was certainly a year to remember up here at the ranch.  A large group of family and friends gathered in July to help celebrate this important part of ranch history. 

100th hawley mountain ranch celebration

 First Horseback Ride of the Week

The guests gather on Monday morning at the barn for some safety and riding instruction given by our wranglers before heading out on their first ride of the week.

first morning horseback ride


Got a Hankerin' for a Great Cup of Cowboy Coffee?

We know just the place to enjoy this tasty brew.  Cowboy coffee is prepared twice a week at the Hawley Mountain Ranch cookouts.  

cowboy coffee1

 Crossing a Ranch River on Horseback

Why did the horses cross to the other side?  Because it's loads of fun!

Horses are wetting their whistles before heading across the pristine Boulder River.

guest ranch vacation

horseback riding vacation



Nothing gets the attention of our guests more than the words, “There’s a moose in the meadow!”  This always brings everyone to the lodge windows for a better view. 

montana moose in wilderness

guest ranch wildlife

A cow with her calf can be a hazard to anyone who dares to move too close to the pair, so remember to view from afar!  Occasionally one of these moose critters will venture to the pond to enjoy the seaweed...or simply make use of our meadow as a crossing to get to the river.  At any rate, seeing one of these majestic creatures in the wild is a total delight to experience.



If you have ever wanted to feel like you were viewing your surroundings from the top of the world, then join us on a hike up to Monument Peak which lies at the very end of a primitive road.

Monument Peak and Blue Lake


 BRAY’S CABIN in Montana....Now Just a Pond!

Brays Cabin

A very picturesque place in the Upper Boulder area just south of Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch is what used to be known to us as Bray’s Cabin.  Tucked back in the forest by a pristine spring-fed pond was a dwelling built by Robert Bray, probably in the 1920’s, along the old mining road to Independence.  Robert forded the Boulder River near 4-Mile to reach his cabin.


Prospector, TOM HAWLEY, .....The Montana Ranch Namesake

Not much is known about the early Boulder resident, Tom Hawley, but it’s a fact that he had a definite role in the settling of the Upper Boulder river valley.  Hawley was a daring Montana frontiersman in the 1880’s exhibiting reckless courage and matchless endurance like many of the pioneers of that time.  It is stated that at the age of 64 he walked the 42 miles to Big Timber in one day…...no small feat for even the fittest!

hawleycabin downsized

When the Boulder River valley was ceded to the government by the Crows in 1882, this area became a “home seekers paradise” for future ranch owners.  Being a prospector, hunter, trapper, and mountaineer, Tom Hawley was one of nine settlers who had homesteaded property in the valley before 1884.

Boulder Valley pioneers possessed a high degree of intelligence, honesty, and sturdy independence.  Hawley was no exception.  Tom raised some livestock and crops on his homestead, but he was a miner at heart.  He also assisted in the discovery of valuable mineral deposits farther up the river valley.   The photo shows Tom Hawley's cabin built near our present-day corral.



Any day on the river is a great day” is a quote we often hear from our fly fishermen each summer at Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch.  People come from all over to enjoy the pristine waters on the Boulder River, a place where both isolation and successful fishing can be found.Gary on Boulder
Our stretch of river frontage winds for over a mile and is easily accessible to wade.  Since our policy has been “catch and release” for forty years, the quality and quantity is unbeatable anywhere else on the upper Boulder River.  An equal mixture of rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout are lurking amongst the rocks and ripples.  The more experienced fishermen are often able to entice trout sixteen inches or better to their flies, and they come back to the lodge in the evening with big smiles on their faces and have many fish stories to tell.


Fun Times in the Montana Mountains

Heading up into the high country of Montana from our dude ranch in the Boulder Valley to check out the area around a glacier lake is a weekly activity enjoyed by our guests.  The 3 hour trip up a very bumpy road in our 6x6 Pinzgauer is a unique experience for most people and is certainy worth doing.

blue lake trip


See You at Our Dude Ranch Cookout!

Fun is provided by a fire…..great food cooked over hot coals followed by people gathering around a toasty campfire. 

Twice a week Hawley Mountain guests and staff head to the ranch cookout area to participate in food and fellowship.  Intense volleyball games (played by “mountain rules” of course!), roping attempts to snag our stationary “Norman, and horseshoe competitions are part of the evening’s entertainment. 

 ranch cookout at Hawley Mountain
roping at cookout
volleyball at hawley


GRAB YOUR BINOCULARS for Bird Watching in Montana!

Bird Watching….. A Popular Activity at Hawley Mountain

western taniger


eagle in flight

One source of entertainment for our guests, especially those living in the cities, is watching the various species of birds that are part of our wilderness habitat.  Depending on the season, the variety changes from month to month.  Perhaps the most unusual bird we see is the Western Tangier, recognized by its bright yellow and orange plumage.  Occasionally a blue bird is spotted, and a bald eagle and osprey are frequent visitors to the pond area eyeing those tasty trout.  

A Day in the life of a dude ranch horse...

Don’t you wonder what it's like to be a horse each day? 
It’s a GREAT life for our herd of more than 40 horses, as they only work hard for 4-5 months a year. 
The rest of the time our horses roam free in large pastures, grazing and resting in the wide open spaces of Montana.

montana horses in dude ranch pasture
horse herd in montana wilderness



Mountain Horseback Riding with Skye


horse at dude ranch1

horse at dude ranch3

horse at dude ranch2


If the Montana ghost town of Independence could talk, what amazing stories it could tell!  Independence’s town site doesn’t look like much today, but this area which is about 12 miles farther up the Boulder Road from Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch is rich in history and hidden beauty.  

old post office

"Multi-Generational" Family Reunions at a Dude Ranch

all-inclusive family reunion vacation

Family reunions at a guest ranch are becoming more common, as it’s a great way for families who live long distances from each other to meet somewhere “in the middle” to spend quality time together.   Our remote location provides a place for people to gather and avoid all the distractions of their busy lives. Instead family memories are formed while spending a week in an all-inclusive vacation with their loved ones. 

Gold Was Found in the Mountains of Montana

mining in montana mountains

There’s “gold in them thar’ hills” caused a rush of prospectors to head into the Upper Boulder Valley hoping to strike it rich.  At the peak of the gold rush in 1892-1893 over 500 men were in or near the mining town of Independence located in the high elevations of the Absaroka-Beartooth wilderness

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Our activities are permitted by the Gallatin National Forest.


There are a wide variety of ranches to choose from. 
For more information that might help pick the right ranch go to the page "How to select a dude ranch".