Hawley Mountain Guest Ranch Blog


Sand Hill Cranes Are Sighted at Hawley Mountain Ranch

Look what was spotted by the keen eye of guest, Karen Elliott.  Two elusive sand hill cranes were hiding in the sage brush below the lodge.  Karen was able to photograph these unusual birds, but off they flew once they discovered that they were being watched.  Beautiful animals in flight, and it's entertaining to listen to their unique call.

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100th Year of Jarrett Ownership of Hawley Homestead

This year we celebrate the 100 years that Hawley Mountain has been owned by the Jarrett family. This little piece of paradise was purchased from homesteader, Tom Hawley, bythe present co-owner’s great-great grandfather, Ralph Jarrett, back in 1917.  This photo shows Tom Hawley's  original cabin once located near our present day barn and corrals.


The 160 acre property was used by the Jarrett’s for decades as a “stopping off” place for their bands of sheep while making the 80 mile trek from the Jarrett sheep ranch west of Big Timber into the higher elevations of wilderness to graze on government permits for the summer. The first photo below shows the bands of sheep grazing at Hawley Mountain before heading into the summer range in higher elevations.  The second photo is present owner's grandfather, Tom Jarrett, heading into the mountains with supplies on pack horses.

sheepinpasture1     tomjarrett  

In 1972 Bill Jarrett (another great-great grandson) and his wife Sadako visualized that this property could be a special place for others to enjoy, so he established the present day guest ranch that is still in operation today.

BillandSadako at Hawley Mountain Ranch

Many changes and improvements have occurred over these past 100 years, but the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains and pristine Boulder River continue to awe visitors as they experience the uniqueness of Hawley Mountain.  Let the celebration begin!


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.

cowboy coffee3

This hot coffee is a great way to finish off a steak.....or sip with a brownie or some other yummy dessert that is served at the cookout.  It especially "hits the spot" on those chilly September evenings when it's a little harder to stay warm.  A few coffee grounds left in the bottom of the cup is a sign that this beverage was a truly a cup of "cowboy coffee"!




"We're Watching You!"

hawley mountain horses

When our horses are tied to the hitching rails waiting for guests to arrive, they have some time to look around and assess their "soon-to-be" riders.  Our little Annie is checking you out right now!

staring horses at Hawley MountainRanch

Here is a double stare from Flinch and Dozer.  Don't you wonder what they are thinking as they are checking you out?

staring horse at hawley mountain ranch

Here is an "eye-to-eye" moment with our horse, Archie.  And there are about 40 other horses in the herd that watch as guests arrive at the corral.  We think by doing the assessing our horses have figured out their riders and are processing the best way possible to take good care of everyone while out on the trails.

An “Old-Timer’ Prospector

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 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.


sheepinpasture1 sm

 In 1917 Ralph Jarrett purchased the 160 acre homestead from Tom Hawley.  For a time the property was used to graze cattle, but then it became a resting spot for bands of sheep.  Jarrett sheep were herded across the West Boulder divide from the home ranch on the north side of the Yellowstone River between Big Timber and Springdale.  After trailing sheep for 35-40 miles herders stopped the bands at the Hawley Mountain property for 2-3 days.  Pasture was grazed before moving the bands of sheep on up the mountain divide to government permits in the higher elevations close to Yellowstone Park. 

Happy Times for Happy Children

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

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.

overlook HM    trail2 HM   group at HM

A saddlebag lunch is enjoyed while taking in the surrounding mountainous scenery. It’s a perfect place to throw a Frisbee, shoot some great photos, or better yet, take a relaxing nap before heading back towards the ranch. This ride has provided many lasting memories for our ranch guests (and countless Christmas card photo opportunities!) for our guest ranch vacationers.

picnic HM   family at HM   trail HM


“Big Sky Country” 

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



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!

See You at the 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 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...
volleyball at hawley...
roping at cookout

On 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!"

boy horseback rider

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



A “wrangler” is defined as a person who herds or cares for livestock on a range. That’s exactly what our wranglers at Hawley Mountain Ranch do…. and they do their job well.  

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. 

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

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We are included in Travel Montana

Our activities are permitted by the Gallatin National Forest.

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All Rights Reserved.

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