Quite literally surrounded by some of the most stunning and majestic national reserves on the planet, with Glacier National Park to the north and Yellowstone National Park to the south, the state of Montana is a truly breathtaking place.
The towering mountain landscapes are beautifully contrasted by the many rustic towns and ranches clustered together on the plains below and the combination of the two gives Montana a unique frontier feel to it.
From horseback activities of all kinds to endless types of ranches and retreats, Montana is full of western experiences that will make you feel like an explorer, pioneer and outdoor aficionado all in one!
5 Unique Western Experiences to Try in Montana
Stay at a Guest Ranch
For a true Montana experience, you can stay at a guest ranch, like Rocking Z Guest Ranch, with a range of diverse activities available to you. Nestled into the rugged but beautiful wilderness north of the state capital of Helena, Rocking Z Ranch is everything you could hope for if you’re looking to experience a truly authentic Montana ranch.
The rooms are incredibly spacious, all en-suite and genuinely cozy as well as being exceedingly comfortable. You’ll have the luxury of sleeping amongst the sounds of nature and nothing else. Horseback riding is Rocking Z’s main activity — from trail riding to mountain exploring to building personal bonds with the horse, the instructors will walk you through it all.
One of the standout values of the Ranch is their dedication to practicing green-ranching and reusing almost everything, as well as employing ingenious methods to function sustainably. Check out the video below — which features Rocking Z Guest Ranch — for inspiration on planning your western getaway to Montana!
Take a Wilderness Horseback Pack Trip
Horseback riding is always a fun experience, but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of ambling through the wilds of Montana as part of a train of horses and riders soaking up the jaw-dropping scenery around you.
Swan Mountain Outfitters specializes in running multi-day excursions into the Montana backcountry on horseback and they are well known for providing tailored experiences for those with specific requests. They are also the exclusive provider of trail rides in Glacier National Park.
With trips lasting between 3 and 9 days and options to camp out in the wilderness or spend nights at stationary camps with beds, it’s an adventure you won’t forget!
Go on a Cowgirl Retreat
The Montana Cowgirl Camp caters exclusively to women seeking to connect with their inner cowgirl and do so in fine “glamping” style.
Run by the lovely Jeana Noel, the retreat offers a range of activities that combine the rugged adventure of horseback riding through the Montana wilds with introspective practices like self-reflection, designed to revitalize and inspire.
You can expect everything from fly fishing and hiking, to guided photography and gathering around the campfire to share ideas and experiences.
Swimming with Horses
For one of the most unique experiences you can enjoy in the world, let alone Montana, head over to the family-run and stunning Sweet Grass Ranch where you’ll have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim with horses.
In a perfectly picturesque location nestled at the base of the Crazy Mountains, Sweet Grass Ranch offers beautifully diverse terrain for you to explore on horseback.
The best part happens between July and September when you have the chance to accompany your horse on bareback swimming excursions in the nearby river.
Try a Body-Mind Equine Retreat
For a taste of western tradition and a chance to recharge your batteries, you can visit Lone Mountain Ranch; one of the longest established ranches in the state.
Lone Mountain Ranch is located in the scenic mountain town of Big Sky, surrounded by snowy peaks and a stone’s throw from Yellowstone National Park. It offers a unique chance to not only to improve horsemanship but also unplug with a variety of wellness, body and mind packages.
The Health and Wellness retreat package gives guests the opportunity to spend a few days accompanied by serene horses as well as guided yoga and meditation to leave you feeling revitalized!