Gallatin Gateway, Montana

 

Photo: Lone Mountain Ranch

 

How about one more ski trip? Yes, the snow has finally disappeared, the trees are starting to bud, and the temperature is no longer hanging around freezing. At least at home. Montana is a completely different story.

Snow still blankets Big Sky Country. More flurries are in the forecast. So you can’t plan a trip to go horseback riding, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting just yet. But you can still go cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, and snowshoeing. While fly fishing, a year-round activity, has no crowds at the most popular spots right now.

Lone Mountain Ranch is the perfect spot for your last winter escape. The ranch was built in 1915 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It recently underwent major renovations and is now a rustic-chic retreat. Twenty-seven log cabins are scattered across the sprawling property along the North Fork of the West Fork of the Gallatin River. You zero in on Meadowlark, the original gatekeeper’s cabin. The one-bedroom cabin is adorable. The first thing you’ll see is the wide porch with a wooden swing. There’s a small living room, a queen-size bed, and a wood-burning stove inside. It even has a 33 rpm record player and a small collection of country albums.

Photo: Lone Mountain Ranch

Horn & Cantle is in a larger log building. The restaurant features lots of wood: high beams, wide-board floors, and sturdy tables. There’s a huge stone fireplace, an antler chandelier, and plenty of taxidermy, as well. Lots of leather fills the cozy Saloon. You’ll want to return for a Montana whiskey tasting. Plus an indoor wellness center, B-K, offers vinyasa-style yoga and a variety of massages in the ranch’s original lodge.

Then you have to start thinking about outdoor activities. There are 51 miles of groomed cross-country trails around the ranch. They cross into Custer Gallatin National Forest, a protected area that covers nearly two million acres. Six additional miles are reserved just for snowshoeing. The full-moon tours are favorites even among locals. Nearby Big Sky Resort has some of the best spring downhill skiing in Montana. All of this sits at the mouth of the canyon on the road leading to Yellowstone National Park, the country’s first national park. How convenient that National Park Week is just a week away.

So do you still need convincing? Or are you ready for just a little more winter?

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