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

This "coffee making" duty is done by Ron Jarrett every week, and he prides himself on knowing just how to get the job done.  First the water has to be heated until it's boiling in the blue enamel coffee pot that has seen its share of open fires.  Coffee grounds are then stirred into the boiling water, they simmer for a couple of minutes, and then a cup or two of cold water is added to hopefully settle most of the grounds.

cowboy coffee2

Ready for a little cowboy coffee with your dessert?  Ron happily serves his special brew to whoever is willing to give it a try.


What great experiences for children of all ages who come to Hawley Mountain with so much to do in one short week!  The days pass quickly as they are filled with lots of outdoor activities and things to explore. 

hawley mountain horseback riders
frog catching at hawley pond
trout fishing on boulder river

Riding to Higher Places in Montana....

Off to a high meadow in the Montana wilderness go the Hawley Mountain horseback riders! Placer Basin trail is popular for hikers, as well as horseback riders, because of the spectacular view when looking up the Boulder River valley. After a short stop to overlook the impressive Hells Canyon, the riders continue on up the trail to reach a lush meadow often covered with alpine wildflowers.

trail2 HM

overlook HM

group at HM


“Big Sky Country of Montana” 

No other place (in our opinion!) shows off the sky like Montana, thus named “Big Sky Country”. You can’t help but notice the rainbows (which are sometimes double in size) and the various cloud shapes and colors depending on the time of day or weather patterns. 

double rainbow

hawley mountain at sunrise

mountain at Hawley

However, the most frequent comment we hear from guests about our sky is how brilliant the night sky becomes with the bright stars and moonlight hovering above the mountain peaks.  We have no light pollution to spoil the night experience which makes our sky so vivid and clear.


hawley mountain at night



Scurrying Here and There…..and Everywhere! 

chipmunk on log3

What an active year it was for the ranch chipmunk population!  It seems like they could be found everywhere!

Their favorite place to hang out was under the bird feeder near the lodge where they would scavenger seeds dropped to the ground by the finches, grosbeaks, and crossbills.  Hanging around the barn wasn’t a bad idea either, as horses tend to “slobber” some of their corn….a hearty treat for chipmunks!  Often we would see them scurrying from one rocky area to another, but chipmunks are always alert to enemies flying overhead…or to the dreaded ranch cat, Colter!

nature at hawley mountain guest ranch
guest ranch wildlife


Hiking Montana Mountains to the Top of the World!  

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.  

"Thumbs Up!"

dude ranch family vacation

Sometimes our young guests are a bit apprehensive when getting on their horse for the first time.  It’s a new experience for many.  

horseback ride at hawley mountain

girl horsback rider

        Our wranglers do a great job of reassuring the young riders and see that they are well taken care of.  Once the nervousness leaves, a sure sign that the child is enjoying the ride is when they give the “thumbs up” sign along with a huge smile.


Hawley Mountain......A Perfect Habitat for Elk


In years past elk herds grazed the meadows below Hawley Mountain Ranch, but the wolf packs that have ventured out of Yellowstone Park have drastically reduced the numbers.  However, elk do still reside in the area, as the massive forests, lush meadows, and nearby water source makes it an ideal location in which to exist. 

elk cow calf
elk herd at hawley mountain
elk in pasture at hawley mountain

Elk calves can be seen in the meadows with their mothers in June, but as the temperatures rise, so do the elk.  They head up into the higher elevations in the summer, with only an occasional sighting by guests of elk in the meadows below. In the fall you can hear the bugling of the bulls during the mating season….a unique sound that we always enjoy hearing!

Visiting Hawley Mountain Ranch Brings Many Smiles

Just look at the grins on the faces of these children!

smiling girls at hawley mountain
smiling cowboy at hawley
girl with horse

It certainly looks like they are having a lot of fun and enjoying a lot of new experiences.  There aren’t too many places in the world where parents can turn their children loose to explore nature and try new things on their own.

girl at cookout
smiling girl at cookout
smiling cowboy at cookout


These faces pretty much sum up their week at the ranch.

Food, Fun, and New Found Friends!!



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.  


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

 Each week some of our guests, who want to challenge themselves a bit by climbing to the elevation of nearly 11,000 feet, begin their trek near a glacier lake and ascend upwards towards an unbelievable view of the surrounding mountain ranges.  On the way the breathing becomes harder, the muscles start to hurt, and frequent short breaks are needed, but the accomplishment of “getting to the top” is well worth the effort exerted to get there.  

guest ranch hiking vacation

mountain hiking in montana


A “never to be forgotten” experience!  

Wild West Rodeo in Big Timber, montana...

rodeo bulldoggingThere’s nothing like a Big Timber rodeo to experience the old Western way of life in Montana.  Spectators of all ages converge to the fairgrounds near the Yellowstone River to watch the various entertaining events….everything from mutton busting to bull riding!
The last weekend in June is reserved for Rodeo Days in the small town of Big Timber.  It’s a time for family get-to-gethers, class reunions, and an influx of tourists to enjoy the two day event.  People gather in the grandstand in the early evening…and let the fun begin!

Campfire Fun on a dude ranch vacation

Not only is the campfire cuisine enjoyed by our ranch guests, but the variety of activities keeps people entertained. Intense volleyball games occur almost every week (using “mountain” rules, of course!). Roping our stationary steer, Norman, or pitching horseshoes tests skills of accuracy and provides a lot of laughs. Jean branding using our ranch irons sends guests home with a special (and inexpensive!) souvenir from Hawley Mountain.

 roping lesson1



jeans branding7

 family vacation as dude ranch


Top off the evening with tasty “cowboy” coffee", S’mores, and perhaps a little guitar music around an inviting campfire….a perfect time for conversation and relaxation!

campfire conversation1

cowboy coffee at dude ranch campfire

family vacation at dude ranch




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!



Can Dude Ranch Deer Become "Pet-Like"?

deer closeup2

Roaming around the ranch buildings this summer were some very tame deer.  Not that you could reach out and touch them, but they certainly showed little fear of humans.  These deer could be observed grazing nearby the guests’ cabins, meandering around the barn and corral area, and often were hanging near the paths as guests passed by.  Guess these deer know a “protected area” when they see one! 

montana wildlife at guest ranch

dude ranch wildlife




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We are included in Visit Montana

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".