How gorgeous is this photo of Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake in the heart of Glacier National Park? The 215-room hotel was originally built by the Great Northern Railway in 1915, and has maintained a lot of its Old World charm. You won't find air conditioning or televisions in rooms, just straight shots of this gorgeous view. The hotel offers a long list of ways to explore the park, including boat trips and ranger-led hikes. Many Glacier is also known for its Red Bus Tours, vintage ruby-colored buses from the 1930s with roll-back tops that make it easy to take in the scenery as passengers cross the park, learning about its history and heritage. Another great way to see the park is on horseback with Swan Mountain Outfitters, which leads riders on half or full-day rides along the park's lakes, and through its forests and meadows. Visitors can end the day with a Montana microbrew at the hotel's Ptarmigan Dining Room, overlooking the lake.
Nature lovers looking to channel their inner cowboy will be thrilled to discover Montana's Ranch at Rock Creek, a working cattle ranch comprised of over 6,600 acres nestled at the base of the John Long Mountains that offers visitors a chance to experience some of the prettiest, wildest wilderness in the United States. Guests can spend their days here horseback riding across fields of wildflowers, hiking the surrounding hills, or mountain biking the forest trails. The ranch also offers Western sports like clay shooting and archery, and even pistol shooting at the nearby Rod & Gun Club.
There are a range of accommodation options to choose from—opt for "glamping" in a canvas tent along the Creek, or take a room at the main Granite Lodge, or settle into one of the property's twelve log cabins. Fly fishing fans should check into Trapper Cabin, which offers secluded fishing right outside its front door thanks so its position beside the river. Evenings see guests gather at the Silver Dollar Saloon for cocktails and games before dinner at the lodge, with dishes like Montana-raised beef and lamb, paired with local, seasonal produce prepared by executive chef Josh Drage. Families can take advantage of the property's Little Grizzlies Club, which takes kids on outdoorsy excursions like tadpole collecting or a visit to the ranch's horse barn, while parents will enjoy a trip to the Granite Spa for rejuvenating treatments like the Rock Creek Stone Massage.
Ever since I laid eyes on the photo above, "glamping" at the Resort at Paws Up has been high on my list of to-do's. Located on a working 37,000-acre cattle ranch in Greenough, Montana, Paws Up has four camping sites featuring one and two bedroom tents like this one, from Moonlight Camp. Situated at the base of Lewis and Clark's Lookout Rock along the Blackfoot River (the very one from A River Runs Through It and home to some of the best wade-fishing in the country) Moonlight includes amenities rarely found in the great outdoors, like housekeeping and a "camp butler". There's also daily meals of rustic, farm-to-table fare like grilled elk loin or sauteed rainbow trout, prepared by the camp's chef and served in the dining pavilion.
When you're not at the campsite, choose from a long list of outdoor activities like white-water rafting through the Alberton Gorge, water skiing across Seeley Lake, or hot air ballooning across the Blackfoot Valley. Visitors can even saddle up and spend the day working with the ranch hands on an honest-to-goodness cattle drive.
If relaxing is what you have in mind, head down the wooden path through the forest of pine trees to the resort's Spa Town. I'd opt to end the day with the "Moonlight Massage" in a candlelit tent, followed by s'mores around the bonfire back at camp.