Glamping on the old frontier
STORY BY Seth Putnam
Photography by Jesse Lenz
A working farmstead outside of Philipsburg, Montana, brings a touch of luxury to the Wild West. The Ranch at Rock Creek is an immaculately outfitted vacation spot that offers uncompromising service to everyone, no matter whether they’re celebrity entertainers or a family on holiday.
A host of pure West activities await: fly fishing under expert tutelage in Rock Creek itself, paintballing, trail riding, snow mobiling, skiing at Discovery Ski Basin, and our personal favorite, clay pigeon shooting at a world class setup that includes seven concealed launchers on remote control. Get outfitted at the Rod & Gun Club; then ask your instructor if you can play Baseball, a competition between two shooters in which one takes the first blast, and upon her miss, the second gets a chance to break the clay and get the first shooter "out." Three outs make a win. After it’s all said and done, relax with a massage or a stint in the sauna at the Granite Spa.
The Ranch’s main dining room is an exercise in culinary delight. Executive Chef Josh Drage takes great care to source fresh and local ingredients, which means that the tender rib eye you’re slicing into may well have come from the farm a couple of hills over. Just across the river, the staff stages coffee and pastries each morning in the canvas-sided Blue Canteen. Should you prefer to venture into more rustic environs, servers will happily organize a picnic.
Not one but two watering holes are available to quench your thirst. First: The Great Room, which is crowned with a pair of bull horns over the bar. A roaring fire, overstuffed leather furniture, and poker tables complete the Maverick vibe. Next door is the Silver Dollar Saloon, which boasts four bowling lanes, billiards, karaoke, darts, a cinema, and bar stools made out of saddles for simply taking it all in. That’s not including the well-stocked bar in each of the rooms and tents, where a bottle of wine is set out should you be in the mood for a nightcap.
The jewel in the Ranch’s crown has to be lavishly appointed half-cabin-half-tent structures situated along Rock Creek. Inside: fine furniture, rugs, a claw-foot tub, and a blazing wood stove. The property has become known for this sort of glamorous camping (or “glamping”), and the wooden hot tubs on the back porches are perfectly situated for a quick dash into a freezing-cold stream. Elsewhere, the Granite Lodge offers more-traditional rooms replete with frontier charm.
LAST WORD: If attention to detail and unparalleled service are what you require on your sojourn in the frontier, get to Philipsburg.
info: The Ranch at Rock Creek, 79 Carriage House Ln, Philipsburg, MT 59858 | (406) 859-6027