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“All a Montana Wilderness Experience Could Be”

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JJJ Wilderness Ranch
Reviewed 24 August 2013

One could not ask for a better, more enjoyable and relaxing dude ranch experience. Beautiful country, comfortable and clean cabins, fine food and a variety of riding and hiking options. Fishing too. The wranglers are competent, friendly enjoy their work and are a big part of the experience.

Having a smaller number of guests allows the owners to taylor daily adventures to peoples' interest and desired activity levels. Everyone has a good opportunity to get better acquainted

Above all, the owners, Ernie and Kim who make it all work are special people who make it all work.

You are sad to leave. Our family of four, ranging in age from 12 to 74 all left with lasting memories.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank 38rht
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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38 - 44 of 71 reviews

Reviewed 7 August 2013

Our daughter and classmates from New England spent a week at the Triple J Ranch, and had an extraordinary experience. The staff and owners were simply wonderful. We have decided that we are going to take a family trip back to the Triple J Ranch in 2014.

  • Stayed: June 2013
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2  Thank Jim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2013

My husband and I have been going to the JJJ for over 5 years now... each year gets even better. You just feel like family. The accommodations are perfect. Cute log cabin you keep warm with a potbelly stove. Breakfast, lunch and dinner all supplied in a home-style fashion at the main lodge. While the accommodation's are wonderful... it doesn't compare to the scenery and adventure when you go for your rides. The horses are wonderful even for a novice. The wranglers are always fun and each year you experience something new and exciting. It is a trip we look forward to all year round and especially getting to see our adopted family Kim, Ernie and Hayley Barker. We love you guys... Joan & Richard

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Joan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 July 2013

Our family takes many trips, but this is the first time I have ever had such a great time that I felt compelled to write a trip advisor review to tell the world how great this place is. If you are looking for family bonding time disconnected from the world in one of the most beautiful places you will ever see, JJJ is the place. Our children are 17, 17 and 15 and we have taken them on trips to Hawaii, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic and this one tops them all. This was our first dude ranch experience. In a way its like going back to camp when you were a kid. You ride horses, fish, hike, have camp fires, play volleyball, and bond with the other families and the wranglers.

Now the specifics:

The ranch itself is everything you would want. Our cabin was huge and beautiful. There were 4 beds in the loft, a queen in one room and my wife and i had a king. I asked the other guests about their cabins and everyone seemed pleased. One of the wranglers comes in daily and tidies up while you are on a ride which was a nice unexpected touch.

The owners are fantastic and aim to please. Ernie goes around and talks to everyone each night to get an idea of what everyone wants to do and then usually has two or 3 options. My boys and I wanted to fly fish. He accommodated. We did one afternoon trip to the Sun River and then an all day trip to a different section of the sun. These trips were led by Dillon who is a 20 year old wrangler who grew up in nearby Great Falls. He was awesome and enjoyed helping us and fishing himself as much as we did. My boys loved him. We caught tons of fish on a fly rod. Hoppers were the hot fly in the mornings switching to pheasant tail, prince, hare's ear nymphs in the afternoon. We caught over 10 each every time we went. The fishing is scenic and you have the river to yourself. We didn't bother with the waders and just waded in shorts and that was perfect.

We are pretty adventurous fisherman so Ernie had two of the wranglers ride us back into the Bob Marshall Wilderness to fish the North fork of the Sun River. This is a 3.5 hour ride each way along ledges and cliffs and the most breath taking meadows you will ever see. You see the country just like Lewis and Clark saw it. Just when you think the scenery can't get any better you see this pristine beautiful rushing river. Given that it's a 3.5 hour ride in and a 3.5 hour ride out, we only had about 2.5 hours to fish. My two sons, Dillon and i caught 38 trout in 2.5 hours. They were beautiful rainbows, browns, brook, and cutthroats. The colors in these fish were amazing and it was a thrill to catch totally wild fish that had likely never seen a fly before. They averaged 12-16 inches in size with one 18 incher. We left the ranch at 730 am and got back at 6pm. Most amazing fishing adventure i have had to date and I have fished some pretty incredible places. It is a long ride along some scary ledges but definitely worth it. If you are deathly afraid of heights try and talk Ernie into running you up there in the Pontoon boat and you will miss all the high ledges along the lake.

The riding was beautiful and varied. The scenery never gets old and you never see the same trail twice. We rode to points with amazing high vistas and we rode across prairies. On many of the trails you have to go nose to tail but there are certainly plenty of wide spaces where you can spread out. Horses are fresh and if you don't like your horse ask for another. If you horse won't stop eating the flowers they can put a bag on his muzzle. That relieves you from having to jerk his head up constantly, but doesn't look as cool in pictures. Tyler and Helen were our usual wranglers. Tyler is a true Montana cowboy and Helen is a remarkable rider who fell in love with the place as a guest and moved to Montana to work on the ranch. They made us feel totally comfortable and our kids loved them and Tylers dog (although only one of his ears stands up).

The food was great. Good variety and always good. One of our sons is very picky but he liked all the food and never went hungry. If there is a spot at your table one of the wranglers may eat with you and it is great to get to hear these kids stories.

The ranch is small and will accommodate 4 or 5 families at a time. Because of the small size, you get lots of personal attention. There were no other older teenagers at the ranch when we were there and we were worried our kids might get bored. Just the opposite. The wranglers are all college age kids and included our kids in their movie watching, runs to jump in Gibson Lake, basketball games in the barn, volleyball, etc. We had a fun dance the last night. When the kids weren't doing something with the other wranglers we played family games in our cabin. Cell phones don't work there. There is one spot that has wifi. That one spot was enough for our kids to check in each night with their friends, but it was inconvenient enough that they only did it once at night. They actually got to where they felt liberated by being disconnected from their phones and social media.


Tips:
Fly into Great Falls on Thursday and do Glacier National Park. You can do it in two days. It is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my life. Unsurpassed beauty and amazing hiking. It was 85 degrees when we were there but at the top of the Going to the Sun Road Kids got to play in the snow in July. If you do Glacier, the Park Cafe and Johnsons Cafe, both in St. Mary's are great eating spots. Coming out of the park on the way to the ranch we spent the night at the Izaak Walton Inn in a real train caboose. If you have kids they will love that inn. Very quaint. Google it.

If you fly into Great Falls take a cab to or make arrangements to visit a store called "The Big R". This is like a home depot size store of all things western. We got outfitted with cowboy hats and shirts. They have a huge selection of western hats with plenty to choose from in the $20-$40 range. They have more expensive ones too if that's what you want. We already had boots and Wrangler jeans but they had those too. They had everything you could imagine thats western wear and also had some groceries. They have an amazing Fly fishing shop inside the Big R. That is where i bought my flies and got lots of good advice from knowledgeable staff.

Have the driver stop in Augusta at the General store and stock up on some snacks for the room. We stocked up on Gatorade and snack foods for night. If you like beer and wine stock up there too. Around the campfire at night some of guests would have a couple of beers or a glass of wine. There also was a neat art store there that had very unusual things and also sold many used cowboy hats.

There is a gift shop at the Ranch and they have many neat items for souvenirs. They also have cowboy hats if you aren't able to make a stop at the Big R.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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9  Thank Steve P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2013

Our family travels quite a bit and this was hand's down the best family trip that we've taken. When it was time to put my horse out to pasture and say my goodbyes, I couldn't help but tear up. I didn't want the week to end. I will treasure the sweet memories I made during my stay forever.

The Barkers and wranglers are beyond hospitable, making sure every guest's needs and desires were met. The ranch's smaller size also made for an inclusive environment, creating opportunities to make new friends and share lots of laughs. If you are considering a trip to a dude ranch, I highly recommend JJJ. We enjoyed magical rides, great horses, guest rodeo, horse painting, pick up basketball, fishing in the trout ponds, cook outs, cowboy poets, swims in the lake and plenty of home cooked meals. No matter your age or whether you are single, a couple or a family, you will have a fantastic time!

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank cab2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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1  Thank Phyllis T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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Thank Linda 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

Address: 91 Mortimer Road, PO Box 310, Augusta, MT 59410
Region: United States > Montana > Augusta
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Augusta
Price Range: £190 - £239 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the scenic corridor between Yellowstone and Glacier Park, the Triple J offers dude ranch vacations & pack-trips into the famous Bob Marshall Wilderness. Quality horseback riding for the beginner to experienced rider. Miles of scenic trails from flower strewn meadows to mountain vistas. Morning, afternoon and all day rides. Smaller groups, not long lines. Outstanding child & teen program. Great Fly-fishing opportunities for wild trout in the Sun River with experienced guides or solitude on the river. Beautiful spring fed stocked trout ponds at the ranch; or treks into the wilderness. Unlimited hiking with wildlife watching opportunities. Western activities, interpretive canyon tours, swimming or relaxing in the hot tub. Outdoor cook-outs, evening campfires, cowboy poetry, singing and wild-tale-telling! Delicious meals with fresh homemade goodies, garden vegetables and area grown meats. Comfortable, cozy delightful cabins. Escape to a different way of life. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Jjj Wilderness Ranch Hotel Augusta
JJJ Wilderness Ranch Montana/Augusta

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