The Resort at Paws Up


“This upscale dude ranch with great views of the surrounding Bob Marshall Wilderness & Mission Mountain Range is the most unique experience my family & I have had in the US. We'd stayed in 'luxury tents' in Africa & recently in India but most likely this type of experience is unique to Paws Up here in our own country. With kids ranging in ages from 11 to 17 (and four of them!) it is not easy to find places to visit where all of us have a great time and can go off in pairs here or there for certain activities.

We sat next to the fire on the edge of the river, laughing like we were kids. The sun hid behind the snowcapped mountains, painting the sky as the cool night breeze made the fire dance before us. Marshmallows slowly melted into soft, gooey pillows snuggling the dark chocolate pieces between two graham crackers. The crickets sang their love songs as my parents told stories of when the four of us were kids, when the days were simpler. It was however, that simplicity of our childhood that was revived during our time at Paws Up. Sharing the innate beauty of the Montana landscape with the people I love most and the comfort of a five star resort is one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had. The next morning, the heavenly smell of bacon sneaked up to our room to wake up my brother and me. We went down to the kitchen to find my dad flipping pancakes and frying bacon, just as he did on Sunday mornings when we were kids. The six of us sat together sharing our excitement for the day’s activities while savoring every last bite of the huckleberry pancakes. Horseback riding was the first activity on the list. My mom had not been on a horse in over 15 years, but all her doubts vanished as soon as she saw how gentle the horses were. We rode on to the wilderness, our guide leading the way followed by my little sister who had been a rider from a young age. After galloping through the meadows, we took a trail forested with ancient Ponderosas dressed in their yellow – orange colors. The sinuous path eventually led to a ridge overlooking the entire ranch. We stood there for a moment looking at the rolling hills covered in golden and red hues as a delicate mist rose from the valley. In the distance, the Blackfoot River snaked its way through the 37,000 acre ranch, the faint breeze blew a bucolic scent of the ripe earth below and I realized how lucky we were to be in such a beautiful place. During the afternoon, we split up to enjoy other activities around the property. My parents spent the afternoon in a couples massage in Spa Town, my sisters rappelled down a 167-foot rock and I raced my brother down a 15 mile trail in mountain bikes. We met up again for dinner at Pomp. The refined, rustic ranch cuisine along with the wine and the incredible vistas set the tone for a night of quality time spent with some of the best people on earth. The next morning we woke up before dawn. I walked out of the cabin and stood under the moonlit sky, listening to the burbling water of the Blackfoot River and the chirping birds singing their morning song. Waking up to such soothing sounds actually make an early morning incredibly pleasant, unlike the sirens, honks, and trains I wake up to back in New York. After a few moments my family came out and we made our way to meet our guide for our next activity. Just as the stars began to fade we arrived at the place where our hot-air balloon was to take off. A few moments later the balloon began rising, along with the sun. Before our very own eyes, we watched the day unfold. We brushed past the clouds and watched the occasional bald eagle soar the morning skies hunting for pray. The wind carried us gently to the other side of the ranch, where we descended into a graceful landing. We were picked up and taken to the Trough Restaurant for breakfast. Walking into the restaurant I was hit with by a wave of palpable aromas of fresh game sausage, fried eggs, and even the sweet smell of freshly baked pastries.  Every plate from the Eggs Benedict to the French toast was plated to look like a master piece. Just when we thought this couldn’t get any better, we bit into our plates and immediately smiled. The white truffle Hollandaise sauce bathed two perfectly poached eggs and the thin-sliced smoked trout laying on top of a crispy, yet fluffy English muffin that combined in harmony to create an explosion of flavor with every bite. Shortly after, Chef Ben Jones approached our table to ask how our meal was tasting. Our mouths were so full we barely managed to say how much we were enjoying ourselves. The rest of our time at Paws Up was filled with quality family time, enjoying the outdoors and the great activities offered by the staff. Though WiFi is offered throughout most of the property, we never really felt the need to use our phones. Between being pampered by the Paws Up staff, eating delightful food or running around 37,000 acres, phones really served no purpose.  

Great for A total break from city grind with your kids. The resort is on a 37,000 acre working cattle ranch in central western Montana with 10 miles of the Blackfoot River (made famous by the film “A River Runs Through It”) flowing through the property. Nature and wildlife abound here, as well as an authentic Western experience.With whom Great for families, or multi-generational occasions, as well as a romantic few days with your wife – I can even see having a small company retreat here. Best for kids 8 and up, although there are plenty of activities for children under 8 as well. Memorable moment Fireside s'mores after dinner under the big sky completely lit up with stars followed by long, deep sleeps every night (except the very first night) of 8+ hours. It doesn't get much better than that! Best time to go Activities are plentiful in any season, but many fun events are scheduled in summer and early fall. Christmas is also a special time at the ranch – filled with sleigh rides and Santa and other fun holiday activities. “Glamping” (glam camping) must be enjoyed when it is warm enough so do keep that in mind. Be aware This is not a large ‘resort’ in terms of rooms. You have the choice of luxury homes or estates – the largest of which has four bedrooms. In the summer months there are luxury tents as well that I highly recommend. *Luxury tent camps can be reserved for larger parties – reunions, weddings, corporate retreats, etc.

Room options There are a total of 28 luxury homes – 9 two-bedroom homes, 13 three-bedroom homes, 2 four-bedroom homes, and 4 one-bedroom homes. Each home is completely private – and each home has either a four-person golf cart or five person car to take guests around the property. In addition to the luxury homes, there are 5 luxury camps, each has 6 safari-style luxury tents with en suite bathrooms (4 two-bedroom tents and 2 one-bedroom tents per camp). Every tent camp has its own particular vibe and is in its own unique place on the ranch. You’ll want to choose a different ‘home’ for your next stay to mix it up! Service & vibe I’d say the friendly, knowledgeable staff makes every guest feel like family, while providing quality service and care. The vibe is luxury meets down-home country - the relaxed atmosphere and capable ‘yes’ attitude certainly provides a feeling of comfort and familiarity. This was a welcome change for me from so many of the business hotels I typically stay. Food With a Montana born and bred executive chef, the food centers around local Montana meat and farms, artisanal breads, and breakfast favorites like huckleberry pancakes. Good, yummy, American fare – what you feel like in such a place. Don’t let names like Pomp, Trough, and Tank fool you – the food varies from “refined rustic ranch” to casual Western flair. And of course, you cannot visit a working cattle ranch and not experience the chuck wagon. Local produce, meats, and markets are an integral part of all of the food at Paws Up. Price per night Nightly rates are based on two adults and include 3 meals/day, as well as transportation to and from Missoula International Airport, on-property transportation, and a menu of activities. Spa services and guided activities are an extra charge, but part of the experience. Rates range from $885 - $2995 per night, depending on the home or camp and the season.

To Do & See We were never bored for a moment, but I personally enjoyed just the peace of it all. With 37,000 acres of mostly untouched land, there are plenty of opportunities to see animals such as elk, and of course, cattle. With ten miles of the Blackfoot River running through the property and right past some of the camps, stunning views abound in every direction! Sport & Activity One could start one’s day working out in the Fitness Tent (seasonal), or with a Yoga or Yogalates class. From there, depending on the season, there are almost too many activities to list. From horseback riding to skiing to fishing to dogsledding, you can spend your entire vacation outside and never do the same activity twice. (See the website for full descriptions). With friendly, capable staff, beginners and pros alike can try their hand at snowshoeing, skeet shooting, riding snowmobiles or ATV’s, archery, hot air ballooning, and everything in between. Choose a guided tour or go off on your own. Spa & Grooming Head on over to Spa Town – an assortment of tents connected by a wooden boardwalk, set amongst the trees by a brook. There you can get anything from a river rock hot stone massage to a shaman treatment to a huckleberry body scrub.

Where 40060 Paws Up Road Greenough, Montana 59823 Getting there Fly into Missoula International Airport (connects from many major airports including Chicago & Atlanta) and get picked up by a Paws Up driver, price included in your stay – the ride is a mere 30 minutes to the ranch. Website has flights listed from many major cities, along with fares. Contacts Toll Free: +1 800 473 0601 Tel: +1 406 244 5200 CEO: Stephen Beaumont

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