Big Timber, Montana Dude Ranches
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Sweet Grass Ranch
Sweet Grass Ranch
Welcome to our family! Come enjoy spectacular scenery, warm hospitality, and an authentic western way of life as you experience new adventures, find your inner kid, and refresh your spirit.
Sweet Grass Ranch is part of a sixth generation, family-owned and operated working cattle ranch and guest ranch. We are secluded in the Crazy Mountains about 6 miles from the nearest public road. The ranch was homesteaded in the late 1800s and the original ranch buildings are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The Van Cleve family homesteaded in this area around 1880, putting together property for a cattle ranch and were instrumental in starting the dude ranch industry. Shelly (Van Cleve) Carroccia grew up on the family cattle ranch and a guest ranch owned by her parents in the southern part of the Crazy Mountains. In the early 1950s, her grandad purchased the land where Sweet Grass ranch is located from the Brannin family. Shelly and Bill Carroccia began operating their own guest ranch business in 1965. Three generations now live on the ranch and the combination of cattle ranching and guest ranching is an integral part of our lives. We all love it and have been blessed by the many wonderful people we have met over the years.
Sweet Grass offers unparalled riding opportunities on thousands of acres of both mountain country and rolling meadows and plains. Our cattle graze at the guest ranch during the summer, so we're able to offer our guests the option of moving cattle and traditional ranch work, but we also know this is your vacation. We tailor 4-5 different daily rides to our guests' interests and abilities. We offer half-day rides, long all day rides, horsemanship clinics, cattle drives and livestock work, and family, kids only or adults only rides.
With about 20 guests a week, we are able to offer individual attention and a relaxed family atmosphere. Our well-loved horses are primarily quarter horse or quarter horse cross, each with unique personalities, and all raised here or acquired from neighbors in the ranching community. With a herd of 65 horses, we can always find a great match for any rider whether you've never been horseback or were born in the saddle. Horses and kids know the value of play, and we offer swimming rides, bareback rides, "get-lost" rides, gymkhanas and games on horseback.
Aside from a wonderful riding program, we also offer fishing both in the miles of Sweet Grass Creek that flow through our property, high alpine lakes and a series of beaver ponds (with a boat for the kids). Great hiking trails abound, and a picnic lunch is always available.
Sweet Grass Ranch provides fun the for entire family, with a natural water slide, inner tubing the creek, campfires, photography workshops, massages, weekly horsemanship clinics, a hot tub, and lots of indoor and outdoor games available. We also offer day trips through Yellowstone National Park, local rodeos, and trips to Native American sites and local cultural highlights.
While we have no organized evening social activity, guests never lack for plenty to do. Guests can play cards or pool in the main lodge, visit on the porch, take an evening stroll, read a book by the fireplace, or join in a sing-along. There are always activities for the energetic and we have equipment for soccer, volleyball, football, softball, horseshoes, "pasture golf", and paintball.
Lots of animals call this place home, so expect to see deer, bear, elk, antelope, coyotes, mountain goat, wild turkeys, eagles, hawks, songbirds and an occasional glimpse of a moose, wolf, or mountain lion.
We do not have TV or cell phone service, but do have satellite internet and a small honor store for sundries, phone cards, hats, t-shirts and snacks. Laundry facilities also available.
Rates from $1575/week/person. Discounts for return guests, kids, honeymoons, and groups of 10 or more. Pack trips extra. Email, write or call Page Dringman for brochure with information and DVD.
Delicious aromas will greet you each morning from our kitchen. Meals are served family-style in our dining room, with sack lunches for all day trips and weekly outdoor cookouts. Hearty meals with beef, pork, chicken and fish, lots of fruit and veggies, fresh produce, and home made breads, pastries and desserts. We guarantee you won't leave here hungry. Cookies, ice tea and lemonade always available. We can accommodate special diets with advance notice.
Guests are free to enjoy the ranch as they wish. Everyone gathers on the porch before dinner for "happy hour" (BYOB). Evenings are filled with good conversation, a friendly card game, an impromptu sing-along by a campfire, horseshoes or billiards, outdoor games, star-gazing or an occasional brilliant display of the Northern lights, if not an awe-inspiring lightning storm. Trips to enjoy our rich cultural heritage can be arranged.
Our cabins nestle along the Sweet Grass, so you can hear the creek in the evening, and the occasional howl of a coyote or hoot of an owl. Accommodations range from rooms in the main lodge with a shared bath, to rustic log or framed cabins with private baths, fireplaces and porches. The cabins range in size from small cabins with twin beds, to larger family cabins with multiple bedrooms, living rooms, and fireplaces. Our beds all have homemade quilts and down comforters.
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