My sister and I (she in Hawaii and I in Virginia) meet every two years for a vacation together. Both of us rode extensively when we were younger and love riding together still now that we are older. We first began this tradition lots of years ago and visited our first dude ranch. Over the years we went to several in Montana, Wyoming and California but Bonanza Creek is the ONLY one to which we have returned. And we have returned every vacation year for at least the past 10 years.
With a max of about 12 to 14 guests at a time, Bonanza Creek gives personal attention to everyone. From the beautifully furnished private cabins with vista views from the front porch to the selection of a horse to suit your needs and ability, Bonanza Creek is tops.
The riding is unsurpassed on sound, solid horses to suit your skill level with enough horses left over that if you aren't happy with yours, you can switch to another. My sister has her favorite and always tries to ride him but i just let June choose for me and have never been disappointed. They are alert, responsive and all they ask for at the end of a long day is to be brushed down and turned out. Unlike some places that corral all the guest horses every night until the week is up, here they get to go back out to the pastures with their buddies until the morning when they are brought in again for the day's work.
The scenery changes every day as you ride through fields, and forests and up to what seems like the top of the world or as you ride in a wagon to dinner one night in the Crazy Mountains - or even drive the team for part of the trek. Learning how to cut and pen is certainly an eye opener in terms of what cowboys have to do - its not as easy as it looks - and herding cattle, whether through open fields or through the forest is a highlight particularly when one tries to leave the parade and you chase wide around her and head her back to the herd!!
After literally hours of riding each day, there's just enough time before happy hour (BYOB) to grab something cold from your private fridge or brew a cup of coffee and relax for a bit in your cabin which is situated such that you can't really tell there are any other cabins there except yours. Each one has a spectacular view from the porch or deck. Nearly every time i've sat on "my" porch I've seen hawks soaring, and deer ambling.
The cooks are super and there is plenty of family style food served up in the dining room. I've never gone away hungry from a meal. After dinner the deck makes a great place to visit with June and David (her husband) and the other guests and talk about the day's events or learn something about the cattle business.
June and David and the wranglers, cooks and housekeepers are so gracious and such fun to be around. They all treat you as a very special guest (did I mention that you leave your cabin in the morning and come back to made up beds, cleaned cabins and fresh towels? ) while still making you feel like part of the family.
This guest ranch is for people who wish to ride and herd and laugh and make new friends. It does not offer to entertain you but instead, offers you unlimited ways to entertain yourself!
My sister and i have begun planning our 2011 vacation and guess where we are headed? Wouldn't go anywhere else.
While photos simply don't do it justice, i've attached a few.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Let your inner cowboy or cowgirl come alive at Bonanza Creek. We cater to those who like good horses, good riding, adventure, comfort and personal attention. A working cattle ranch that is a true horse riding experience. Four new cabins and a fabulous cook in the Crazy and Castle Mountains of central Montana. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Bonanza Creek Guest Ranch Hotel Martinsdale
- Bonanza Creek Guest Ranch Montana/Martinsdale