Pine Butte GUEST RANCH In The Heart of Montanaâ€™s Rocky Mountain Front
magine riding through a fragrant pine forest up a narrow trail that opens onto a breathtaking view of rugged peaks in all directions. Pause for lunch in a field of wildflowers and let the sun warm your face. No beeping phones. No rumble of traffic. Just the rustle of aspen leaves quivering in the breeze and the keening call of a soaring hawk. Welcome to a world apart ... the world of Pine Butte Guest Ranch. Sunset Magazine hit the nail on the head in describing Pine Butte Guest Ranch as “a revolutionary hybrid: part classic dude ranch, part progressive eco-lodge, part learning vacation, and part good cause.” Add to that our magnificent mountain setting and we don’t know how anyone can resist. Pine Butte offers our guests the horses, cookouts, and cozy log cabins of a traditional guest ranch. The difference is, our wranglers are as adept at identifying the birds, animal tracks, and wildflowers along the way as they are saddling your mount. We have a full-time naturalist on staff who leads our explorations of the backcountry. In fact, some folks think our excellent hiking opportunities may rival the riding! Because we are part of The Nature Conservancy, we make sure to walk the walk on conservation and leave the smallest footprint possible on the planet.
Glacier National Park
Pine Butte Guest Ranch Havre Choteau
Yellowstone National Park
Photos courtesy of Simon Williams, Kenton Rowe, Scott Randall and Bebe Crouse.
he ranch is tucked into a glorious confluence of mountain and prairie. The Rocky Mountain Front is where the plains collide with towering Alpine peaks, which makes it one of the most biologically rich spots in the state. Besides providing superb opportunities for hiking and riding, it makes for extraordinary bird and wildlife watching. The Front is still a land of grizzly bears and cowboys, and our guests will get to know the ways of both these icons of the West.
â€œa revolutionary hybrid: part classic dude ranch, part progressive eco-lodge, part learning vacation, and part good cause.â€?
ach day you’ll have a variety of choices to keep you busy and all ranch activities are included in the price of your visit. While hiking and riding are our mainstays, we stay flexible to accommodate the interests of our guests. Some folks bring their mountain bikes, art supplies, and fishing gear to enhance their stay. The great thing is, you can experience a variety of places and adventures but you only have to unpack once. Plus your day’s activities end with a wonderful meal and a great night’s sleep in your own comfy cabin.
Hiking You could easily spend years exploring the spectacular country surrounding the ranch. We offer a range of hikes, from an easy ramble to spot birds on the prairie to an all day trek to a sparkling Alpine lake. You never know what you might encounter along the way. It might be a delicate orchid or tracks left by a resident grizzly bear. Our staff naturalist leads these adventures, making sure you don’t miss a thing. Guests will also get exclusive access to the adjacent Pine Butte Swamp Preserve. The preserve encompasses a rare system of wetlands that provide food and shelter for some of the densest populations of grizzly bears in the Lower 48. In order to prevent disturbance of the bears, public access is highly restricted, so this is a very special opportunity.
Riding Our wranglers will pair you with an experienced and sure-footed trail horse for your mounted explorations. You’ll enjoy equestrian trails that wind through forests, ford crystalline streams, and take
you into high meadows with mountain views that just don’t stop. Riding in the high country is always an unforgettable experience, especially if you’ve never done it!
Kids Program We offer activities suitable for all ages, but sometimes it’s nice for kids and parents to have some space just for themselves. Maybe we’ll pull out some finger paints and adorn some of our favorite horses. How about a treasure hunt using a GPS unit (don’t worry, we’ll show you how they work!)? From exploring and learning to making and creating, there is an adventure waiting for all ages.
Fishing We work with nearby outfitters for anglers who would like to sample some of Montana’s legendary, blue-ribbon trout waters. We’ll help you set up a date and time that fits in with your other Pine Butte activities. If you just want to do a little wading, the North and South Forks of the Teton River wind through and around the ranch.
Relaxing Our beautiful swimming pool and front porch rockers are the ideal spots to just kick back with a good book. Need a nap? A hammock waits. If you’re feeling really competitive, you can jump into a game of horseshoes or bocci ball.
here are eleven cabins on the ranch, each with its own unique personality and flexibility. All have a cozy fireplace, private bath, and charming handmade furniture. Some are perfect for a couple’s retreat, others ideal for a family reunion. Our main lodge serves as the focus of social activity. It’s where you’ll find a pre-dinner glass of wine, an evening of music, and a collection of books, cards, and games. The nearby “Front Room” is a quieter spot to curl up on the couch, add to your life list following a day of great birding, or check your e-mail! We even have a small store where you can grab a toothbrush, postcards, sunscreen, and a lovely souvenir of your visit.
ur meals are in a category of their own. Fresh, healthy, gourmet, and abundant all describe the sumptuous offerings. We’re famous for our breads and pastries, but there is also plenty of fresh fruit right next to that full cookie jar. Both are stocked round the clock! Our cooks are happy to accommodate vegetarian and other special dietary preferences, just let us know your needs.
Go Deeper Our spring and fall Natural History Workshops are perfect for anyone who’d like to delve more deeply into a subject. They combine hands-on learning in the field with enriching evening talks and photo presentations. Same great accommodations and meals that we offer during the main summer season but with a bit more focused learning.
Our Commitment to Conservation Besides recycling and using high efficiency lighting and fireplace inserts, we utilize both wind and solar power. Thank the sun for our steaming showers and pleasant swimming pool. Much of the produce you’ll find in our sumptuous meals comes straight from the ranch garden and greenhouse. Our juicy steaks are produced on nearby ranches. Pine Butte is shining proof that living lightly on the land doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort or luxury! The Conservancy works in partnership with local ranchers to preserve the Front’s vital wildlife habitat. So, besides learning about the plants and animals we are protecting, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a nearby ranch and talk to the owners about their part in conservation.
Our Heritage The ranch has opened its doors to guests for more than 70 years. For the first half century, Kenny and Alice Gleason operated it as the Circle 8 Guest Ranch, a rustic retreat from the clamor of the outside world. When the Gleason’s were ready to retire, they wanted to be certain that the land to which they’d devoted themselves would not be subdivided or otherwise developed. In 1979, they sold it to The Nature Conservancy. We’ve maintained the Gleason’s commitment to warm hospitality and added a conservation element to the ranch experience.
Pine Butte Guest Ranch 351 South Fork Road
• Choteau, MT 59422
PHONE: (406) 466-2158 E-MAIL: email@example.com
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Published on Dec 25, 2013