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“BEST experience EVER!!!”

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JJJ Wilderness Ranch
Jacksonville, AL
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“BEST experience EVER!!!”
Reviewed 8 June 2013

We have traveled quite a bit over the years, both in the U.S. and abroad and have never experienced a vacation like this. It was MORE than we could have ever hoped for. The Barkers know how to integrate their guests into their day-to-day ranch living. Because the young wranglers are so confident and cordial, riding the trails on horseback every day was an experience that we looked forward to each day we were there. They were happy to tailor the rides to our wishes. Our log cabin was MORE than comfortable. It was cozy, well-decorated and quaint. The food was outstanding, the hospitality was incredible and the friendly and homespun atmosphere with the unbelievable Montana landscape as a backdrop provided an adventurous, relaxing, fun and memorable vacation for us!!!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Phyllis T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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66 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
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  • English first
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English first
New Orleans
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2013

5/23/13
We treasure our week at the JJJ Wilderness Ranch July 2011 & again highly recommend it to friends. Our 10 yr old grandson accompanied us, learned to ride horseback, graduated to running the poles & barrels, and honestly did not want to leave. The Barker family offered a perfect balance of wilderness trail riding with just enough down-home comforts from campfire celebrations to daily elevated chef dining! Congeniality, panoramic scenery, assistance of skilled wranglers, fun accommodations, & remarkable stock of horses…helped this trip rank
as most memorable! Linda, Phil, & Hunter, New Orleans, LA

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Linda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mass
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2013

We went as a family of 4, 2 kids 15 & 12 my wife and I, we have done 2 other dude ranch vacations in the past. The ranch itself was very nice and in good order. We were very surprised that the week we stayed in July that there was just one other guest at the ranch, an older gentleman traveling alone. He was very nice and had very little to no prior riding experience but it was clear we were going to ride together regardless so that the other wranglers could stay and work on fences and other things that needed doing on the ranch. I did talk with Ernie about wanting to get more riding in but it was clearly not conveyed to wranglers who called it a day for us when the other guest was all done riding even though I asked for us to continue.

The evenings were not at all what was advertised, the first night the did have the wranglers play some music around the camp fire, which was nice. The next night with out saying anything to us that there is nothing going on they had a family party and didn't include guest, which is not the way it should be when you advertise family entertainment at night. We didn't think to much about it until the next night after another shortened day of riding and after another meal of ground beef nothing going on again. I understand there were not many guest there but I paid a considerable amount of money for a family vacation based on there offering on there website which they did not deliver buy any means. They clearly didn't do things because of low occupancy which is not fair to the guest that pay full freight.
We did become friends with the one other guest on the property and he also was not impressed at all with overall experience. The cook was very good but it was clear he had very low cost ingredients to work with. I don't like ground beef 3 times in 3 days nor is it what I paid for, or sandwich meat on wonder bread for lunch.
I did after day four (after thinking about it all night) confront Ernie about it. He was very nice as always, he did apologize and said it would be better. The issue with that is I should have never have had to ask several times prior and then finally really push him to get it, thats just bad business. Forget the fact we cant back those 3 crappy days.
He did have the wranglers make every effort to do things at night like volleyball, that is all we were looking for, something to do. That night for the older gentleman was not great and he left the next day before he even got to enjoy a steak dinner, which they did do next night with a very cool naturalist who brought some photos in, really to bad because other guest paid big money to get no entertainment at all geared to him and no good meals. I feel like that wouldn't have happened if I didn't speak up.

Over all the ranch had potential to be good but the emphasis that week because of low occupancy was more on fixing fences and getting work done then on the guest who paid almost $8 grand for a 6 day week. Thats not good business and really after asking several times for service that wasn't delivered until I almost had to demand it is not a place I would go back to or recommend.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
7 Thank WillDesire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
DudeRanchCowgirl, Owner at JJJ Wilderness Ranch, responded to this review, 30 April 2013
My heart was sick when I learned of this review. The gentleman who wrote this review visited the ranch in July of 2011 not in 2012, and we had not heard these comments until now, over a year and a half later. We appreciate constructive criticism but there are some corrections needed.

The family visited during an unusually slow week, which is does not happen very often. We had a pack-trip out during this week and we had let these guests know in advance that it would be a quiet week. I’m sure that was disappointing. That said, the family did have full activities each day, and the same amount of staff per ride as would have been in a typical week. We promote smaller rides to accommodate different levels of riding experience and the family were not advanced riders. They also had private rides. The extra wranglers that were not needed were doing other ranch chores as it would not make sense for all to go on each ride. I can’t imagine that if asked, our staff would not have accommodated their requests as they are trained to do so.

In the evenings we did have music, campfires, volleyball, a naturalist, a ranch cook-out and a river cook-out. We probably should have tried to have a dance, but it is difficult to do with a small number. The other guest referred to in this post was booked in for a shorter time; he did not leave early, and his comments were positive when he left.

The comments “ground beef 3x per day” and “low cost ingredients” are simply not true. We take great care in menu planning and the only ground beef served would be the burgers at the cook-out. We also serve tacos at the Mexican lunch buffet. Dinners are usual ranch fare from pot roast dinner to grilled chicken, roasted turkey, ribs, etc. We have fresh produce grown locally and make the dinner breads and desserts from scratch. I remember this particular guest raving about the ribs we served. In all of our 38 years, we have never served Wonder bread – we order specialty breads from the food service for the sandwiches that go in the sack lunches when the guests eat lunch out on the trail; we do not serve cold sandwiches for lunch at the ranch, ever.

This family was given a 15% discount on their week at the ranch and they did not pay 8 grand. We feel very badly that he felt his family did not experience our typical ranch week due to the unusual circumstances of fewer guests. Our staff relayed that they actually took extra time with this family – he had many requests. Both of his children “friended” the ranch and some of the staff on Facebook after their stay and also wrote a nice note in the ranch guest book. We wish them the best of luck in future vacations.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2013

My wife and I spent a week there in June 2012 and saw all kinds of weather! The staff are friendly and professional. The kitchen staff laid on some excellent meals. We went on some great trail rides. The area is great and the ranch tailored the rides to suit our wishes and abilities. I particularly like the fact that they trailered the horses out for one or two of the rides, which enabled us to see more of the Montana country. We would like to have stayed on for an extra day or two.
We hope to go back sometime.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank EasyDuzzit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Southeast
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2012

I have made two trips into the Bob Marshall Wilderness, using the Triple J Ranch. I was very pleased with both pack trips. This outfitter will pick u up at the Great Falls airport and transport you to the ranch. They will also, return you to the airport. You stay overnight in the Ranch house, which is nice and comfortable. The food is outstanding at the ranch and on the pack trip....you will not be hungry. The only thing, I was not a 100% pleased with, were the horses. I ride and have my own horses, so I am used to my horses responding to my cues....since these horses are rode by tourists, they constantly want to eat and will do so, if u let them. This would be true with any outfitter. The horses are very sure-footed and gentle, anyone can ride them, but an experienced rider will be correcting the horse along the trip, because they have been allowed to do what they want. This gets old real fast. Anyway, the wranglers, guide, cook and packers know their jobs and do it well. Over all this is an excellent outfitter. The Bob Marshall Wilderness is a very beautiful area, you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Trailrider52
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moscow, ID
Level Contributor
132 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 October 2012

Top marks: Beautiful setting, tucked back into Mortimer Gulch, north of Sun River Canyon, one of Montana’s many incredibly scenic areas. Ranch owners Kim and Ernie Baker and their staff excel at making people feel at home and trying to accommodate each guests interests – hats off to them for hospitality. They have a lot of knowledge of the area and, besides the horseback riding, can suggest hikes and other activities. They also have enough staff to give a lot of personal attention. They work hard to help each guest have an enjoyable experience.

General comments:
The grounds are nice – lots of trees, some mowed grassy areas, gravel pathways. Watch for bunnies and squirrels, birds, even deer, etc. There’s a volleyball net and horseshoe pit, and plenty of room to throw a Frisbee, or you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

The main lodge has the dining area and a lounge area with lots of books, including local and regional books. It would be a nice place to sit and read, except that it features really uncomfortable furniture (mostly log), not conducive to relaxation. They advertise internet connection, which you can get in the main lodge, but it’s so slow that it is nearly useless – even some of the staff remarked on that. The lodge has a porch and a deck to sit on, nice places to sit and enjoy the setting. They usually have an evening activity for guests who are interested: local naturalists showing slides; Native American music, stories and history; campfire; etc. The hot tub was nice after long day of activity.

Meals are generally good, something different everyday. They will pack you a good lunch if you are going to be out on a ride or hike. Staff join the guests for meals, which I think is nice. It’s a good way to get acquainted and they’ll answer questions about the area. People sit where ever they like, so there is opportunity to mix it up and get acquainted with different people. Although I didn’t have any special dietary needs, I noticed that they were very accommodating for other guests who had certain needs, like gluten-free diet, or particular food sensitivities. Only downside is that breakfast is not served until 8:30, which I consider pretty late. However, you can ask Kim or Ernie about early options – they are very accommodating.

The ranch is very family friendly, with wranglers for the kids, who get their own orientation to riding and some kids-only rides and adults-only rides, but the ranch also has rides for everyone. The week gets off to a slow start, because you have to go through the horse orientation the first half of Monday, but that’s for the safety of everyone and to help ensure that you get a good experience the rest of the week. After that, there are daily rides in one of the most scenic areas in the state.

Other: The ranch can get pretty noise if there are a lot of children, so it was not as peaceful as I’d hoped. If you prefer a quieter experience, you might want to consider one of the “adult-only” weeks. Tip from the staff: when you are booking, ask if there are particular weeks when fewer children are signed up.

Needs Improvement: I stayed in large 1-room cabin, plenty of space, but run down, not a comfortable place to settle down and relax, and for the price, I expect nicer accommodation. If I’d had to spend much of the day there, I definitely would not have been happy with it. But generally I was only there in the evening and at night. I didn’t think to ask if other cabins were available. It seems to be one of the older cabins on the property. There are a few newer cabins. I only saw the inside of mine. The doors are askew; some window panes are cracked. The cabin door does not even latch, but stays shut because it sticks in the frame. Bathroom has a really small shower stall. There are a few chairs and a couch in the cabin and on the porch, none of them comfortable and some really worn out. Fabric on the couch is worn threadbare, exposing the foam. If I came back for another vacation, I’d ask for a different cabin.

On the positive side, the cabin was large, plenty of room. There was one king bed at one end of the cabin. The bed was fairly soft – I prefer firm, but that’s a preference, and I slept well anyway. There’s chest of drawers in the main room and the bathroom, plenty of drawer space to put your things. There are hooks (horseshoes) to hang things on. At the other end of the cabin there is a long counter top with coffee maker and small fridge. Coffee is supplied. The fridge is nice to have for your own favorite drinks or snack. Although the cabin gets daily housekeeping, it could use a thorough cleaning. There’s a porch to sit on (if you can tolerate the rundown, uncomfortable chairs), really nice to be out among the aspen groves, with good view of the ridge.

Overall: Great western vacation experience, largely due to the hospitality of the owners and staff, and the great location. But I give it less than five stars due to very rundown cabin.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank roam-ID
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kim B, Owner at JJJ Wilderness Ranch, responded to this review, 16 November 2012
It’s always great to get feedback and we appreciate the time you took to post comments about your stay. So glad you had a great time, but saddened you were not happy with your cabin. This is one of the original historic cabins built in the 1940’s – with hardwood floor and covered porch looking to the trout ponds. Ironically, it is one that many of our repeat guests request and was pictured in Sunset magazine last year. The king bed is a new pillowtop, but I can understand that a softer couch would be more comfortable at the end of the day; the porch swing is wooden and the other porch furniture is handmade willow furniture – not worn, but maybe could use some soft cushions. Cleanliness is a very high priority and I personally check each cabin before guest check-in to double check my staff. It seems I should have done some checking during the week too… I will be doubly tough next season! Anyway, thank you for your comments and hope to keep in touch!
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Cornwall, UK
2 reviews
Reviewed 13 August 2012

We spent a week at the Triple J in July and could not have been more impressed. This is a ranch where the riding takes centre stage and everything is geared up to giving the guests a full immersion into the amazing scenery of Montana from the back of a horse. WIth a relatively small number of guests and a dedicated crew of wranglers with apparently endless supplies of energy and enthusiasm, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Very child friendly as well. Top marks.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Colin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about JJJ Wilderness Ranch

Property: JJJ Wilderness Ranch
Address: 91 Mortimer Road, PO Box 310, Augusta, MT 59410
Region: United States > Montana > Augusta
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Augusta
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The JJJ Wilderness Ranch on Montana's majestic Rocky Mountain Front specializes in dude ranch vacations with horseback riding, trout fishing, hiking and gracious western hospitality. Fantastic Kids Program, home-style meals, cowboy barbeques, singing and marshmallows around the campfire & much more! Horse pack-trips into the famous Bob Marshall Wilderness also available. Limited guest numbers. Providing the ultimate outdoor vacation is our goal! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Jjj Wilderness Ranch Hotel Augusta
JJJ Wilderness Ranch Montana/Augusta

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