Montana Ranch Tour
**As we have been thwarted because of Covid and international travel restrictions for the past 2 years, we have put our Escorted Ranch Tours on hold until travel restrictions have cleared. If you would like to be ‘kept in the loop’ to be informed when we plan our next Tour, please fill out the email form below.**
On our Escorted Ranch Tours, Ben escorts a small group back to his homeland to experience some of the history, culture, horsemanship, cuisine, stockmanship and music that he grew up with in the American West. We generally take the 10 day Tour in June/July where guests spend 7 days riding with Ben on a 5th generation working cattle ranch in Montana. We take the ‘guess work’ out of your vacation, taking you to fantastic places to eat, the best tack and gear stores, an amazing Ranch adventure and so much more. Below is a little information about the Tour – the trip of a lifetime!
We will be travelling to Montana to an authentic working cattle ranch nestled in the Mountains between Bozeman and Clyde Park. The ranch has been in the same family for 5 generations where horsemanship and stockmanship are a large focus. You will have the opportunity to advance your riding skills to the next level with both Ben and the Ranch owner out on the job. The Ranch runs on over 60,000 acres, as well as managing the breeding and summer grazing rotation for five neighbouring ranches which expands the cattle operation. You will come to the ranch as a group of relative strangers, you will leave the ranch as friends and family!
Ben will escort you to the American West where he is originally from! If you have only ever traveled to California or New York – you are missing out on an incredible part of the country, as every region in America is so diverse. On the Ranch both Ben and the Rancher will take you out for daily riding.
All cattle work is done on horseback and there is always something to do. This is authentic cattlework that needs to be done – no ‘made up’ work here! Daily riding is geared to the skill level of the riders. In addition to the cattle work, there is varied scenic trail riding. The panoramic views just get more awe-inspiring the higher you go. Along with moving cattle to new pastures – spring ranch work also may include checking fence, branding, doctoring and checking herd health & grass condition.
Horsemanship and Stockmanship:
Practical horsemanship lessons will be given on the trail – with emphasis on safely building practical communication with your horse. Stockmanship will be taught – the art of handling cattle horseback in a low stress and humane manner.
All day Friday and Sunday morning we have time for shopping in Bozeman. Ben will make sure he gets you to the local tack shops, saddlery and western stores and you will have plenty of free time to shop in the historic downtown area or check out a museum. We suggest packing your suitcase light – or booking an additional bag on the return trip to accommodate all your new purchases! We have had a couple of guests on our Tours buy a new western saddle and the saddlery is happy to ship back to NZ for them!
Virginia City & Nevada City Day Trip:
On Saturday, Ben will take you on a day trip to historic Virginia City & Nevada City – ghost towns frozen in time. Virginia City and Nevada City lie along Alder Gulch about one mile apart, the site of the richest placer gold strike in the Rocky Mountains, with an estimate total value of 100 million dollars. Virginia City is a remarkably well-preserved Old West Victorian gold mining town. The outdoor museum in Nevada City houses one of the largest collections of Old West artifacts and has one hundred buildings from 1863 to early 1900.
If it is running on the correct dates – Ben will take you from the Ranch to the Wilsall Rodeo to experience the excitement and entertainment of a small town American Rodeo. We will have a snack before we leave and you can purchase snacks at the Rodeo that night – which will be an experience in itself for most Kiwis!
Accommodation in your Ranch Tour Package is included for 3 nights in a hotel in Bozeman and your accommodation at the Ranch for 7 nights. The facilities are all about good old fashioned ranching hospitality, the rooms are simple with comfortable beds and clean bathrooms. Rooms are allocated on the order of bookings. Accommodation for single occupancy or couples traveling together is in a queen bedroom with own bathroom. Shared accommodation has a room with 2 single beds and a bathroom to share. Some of the accommodation, like the original homestead, has a living room area shared between the guests staying. Different Ranch rooms are allocated on first booked basis.
During the tour all breakfasts at your hotel and 3 dinners in Bozeman are included in the package price. Before we reach the Ranch approx 3 lunches will be your responsibility.
All meals at the Ranch are included in your package price. Maria cooks delicious meals with ranch-raised beef, garden-fresh vegetables, fresh seasonal fruit & salads, home-made cookies, hot breakfasts and freshly baked bread made with the ranch’s 100-year-old sourdough starter. It is all served family-style and you will not go hungry!
Group Size & Age Restriction:
We have a minimum of 8 guests on the trip to secure the exclusive use of the Ranch. We have a maximum group size of 10. The trip is designed for those 16 years and over.
Alcohol at the Ranch is BYO – before our transfer from Bozeman to the Ranch we will stop at a liquor store for anyone who would like to purchase their own drinks for dinner time. Any sort of alcohol is not permitted prior to or during riding activities.
Insurance is required, but as many people like to make their own arrangements for this or have the option free with their credit card – this price is not included in the package price. Please make sure you are covered for horse riding!
As one of your biggest costs is the price of airline tickets to and from the US – we recommend making additional travel plans after the Escorted Tour is finished. You will only be 2.5hrs north of Yellowstone Park – which is a real highlight when visiting the States – it is easy to hire a car and explore! If you would like further ideas of things to see in the American West, we would be happy to make suggestions.
As you will be ‘in the saddle’ for most of the week – and the majority of guests will not be used to this, the Ranch suggests the below for a general fitness guideline. “Guests who want to participate in Horsemanship activities should be fit enough to be able to mount from the ground unassisted and not have to rely on the horse or a mounting block. In general, participants should comfortably handle their own weight.”
Most Kiwis have a bit of a hard time or feel a little intimidated with this concept as we are just not use to tipping – it’s just a part of life in the US. We can help you out with this, but for the main part of this trip (the stay at the Ranch & meals) – we have included it in the price.
Flights are NOT included in your package price. Guests have the choice to either to arrange their flights with their own travel agent or book flights themselves. We will not be working with a recommended travel agent this year. There are both direct flights from LAX or SFO to BZN or you can fly with stopovers.
If you would like to be added to the ‘expressing interest’ list, for when international travel returns, please fill out the form below.