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“Lifelong Dream, over in 40 winks!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lonesome Spur Ranch

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Lonesome Spur Ranch
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3.0 of 5 Ranch   |   151 Schwend Road, Bridger, MT 59014   |  
Hotel amenities
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
“Lifelong Dream, over in 40 winks!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2014

It was every thing I ever hoped it would be....and more. I wanted to experience life on a real rustic, authentic working ranch. That's exactly what it was. I felt like I was staying with ' old friends ' and felt completely at home. The only fault I can find is entirely my own. You must go for longer than a week!! I wish I could have stayed longer. With their dedication to providing a wonderful experience, Lonnie and Elaine always had a plan B when the complexities of Montana weather tried to spoil our plans. I shall look forward to a return visit in the future.
Penny, Aberdeenshire

Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
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35 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Carlisle, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2014

what can i say about the lonesome spur ranch that i havent already said..... yet again the ranch life was a fantastic experiance, we were lucky to be able to gather cows and calves ready for injections and castration (only for the bull calves!) the scenery is spectacular and different each day. the horses are chosen to match the riders ability and if you have one that becomes your new best friend, you can request to ride that horse again and again but be prepared to ride others as the horses are all given days off to rest!! as its a working ranch we were asked to help with the setting up of the irrigation pipes ready for the irrigation of the grass fields for the horses winter feed, although the pipes are heavy, many hands made the job much easier. we got to ride in the arena and practiced our steer cutting and penning, lonnie and glen ( our wrangler) demonstrated how to "head and heel" the steeres. nicky (wrangler) and barry( her husband) took us to their land to help them to move some cows and their calves, the scenery there is stunning with views of the yellowstone river and mountains . one thing we managed to fit into this holiday was the pig raceing at a local restraunt and bar, the food there was great and the evening was topped off with the pig races although none of our group had winning pigs, (any profits from the race nights goes towards local scholership funds) i will be returning again as i still have things left on the to do in montana list!

Room Tip: had a cabin down on the yard, great for the early morning starts.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex, UK
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2014

We booked this trip as a 21st Birthday gift for my daughter with Ranch Riders who were very efficient and everything turned up when they said it would. Now if you're wanting 5 star luxury, don't go here...but if you want to experience some of the loveliest people, stunning scenery and most beautiful horses please go, as soon as you possibly can.

The ranch is situated within sight of the awesome Beartooth Mountains, and every night you get spectacular views of thunder storms and lightning moving across them or amazing night skys with a billion stars twinkling away.

We were staying in the Bunkhouse, situated at the bottom of the hill, and directly opposite the Barn and Corral, which was handy coz i could fall out of bed and straight into the barn lol! The beds were heavenly, soft and cosy, just right after a day in the saddle, we had an en-suite which was lovely, shower head was a little scaly but hey that didn't matter...its a ranch!!! Always had lovely hot water which was the main thing. Some people had a Log cabin with shower and loos outside but they didn't seem to mind as everything was spotless whether inside or out. Towels weren't changed daily and there is no room maid every day, which didn't really bother me, I always hang my towels up in hotels so their not changed every day so this was not a problem. you helped yourself to towels if you did need them and we only had to ask if you were running low on anything and it was left in the main part of the building that day.

Meals were in the cookhouse at the top of the hill, i tried to walk up a few times but the lovely people there just put you into one of the monster trucks and run you up there. They did start to irrigate the field mid week so it was a little wet to walk up...thats my excuse anyway lol.

People who own the ranch are lovely, Lonnie and Elaine were so kind to us, as my luggage was delayed by BA on the way out, Elaine lent me jeans and shirts to help me through the week, luckily we were a similar size, and Jane, one of the regular guests was amazing and lent me hats, gloves and waterproofs. Was a little dissapointed that the suitcase turned up just before the Rodeo, as Elaine was going to Bling me up with some of her Barrel racing clothes...damn BA!!!
I don't know what I would have done without them. Glen and Nicky who were the wranglers were amazing and we learnt so much from them, i.e. how to tack up and ride western style, something totally alien to us as we ride English style at home. We met several ranchers, Randall, Bill & Shannon who were really interesting people and again we learnt so much from them, from herding cows, corralling them, innoculating, branding and even castration! We herded the cows, calfs and bulls, which was brilliant and then had to mother up the babies that had been separated, by keeping them in the main herd and not letting them try to head back to the last place that they saw mum. Little tinkers were working in unison to try to outwit us I'm sure, one would break away, then when we went to round that one up about 8 would nip out behind us...certainly kept us busy. And Bill & Shannons cinnamon rolls, yum yums and doughnuts were awesome!

Now to the stars of the show...the Horses...OMG what a beautiful, healthy and well mannered bunch they were, I rode Duke ( who was a drop dead gorgeous dark palamino, and Janes horse Wrangler a beautiful dappled grey) both horses were totally different, but I felt safe on both. My daughter fell in love with Dollar, a smallish pony, but a little stunner. They are sure footed and even with some of the difficult work they plodded on and gave us the confidence to tackle ravines and hills that our horses at home would probably have dropped dead in their tracks if we had asked them to climb some of this terrain! lol
I must admit that I did close my eyes at one point and let Duke do his stuff, cos it was very high, very slippy and I was absolutely terrified. But having done this I was amazed at myself for actually climbing up and down this ravine and wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

We played games with the calfs on the ranch like a bunch of kids, did some irrigation work and had a night out at the Rodeo, a local roping competition, an evening in a local bar and a night around the camp fire, with beers and conversation, which was a really lovely way to get to know the other guests and the guys and gals that live and work on the ranch.

I can only summarise by saying that if you want the holiday of a lifetime, meet great people, ride superb horses and see some of the most spectacular terrain, go to the Lonesome Spur Ranch, if you want 5* luxury, with hot and cold running waiters, go to Egypt or the Carribean!
I can still smell the sage that we rode through, it was magical and something I will never forget along with everything we experienced there.

Go... it will save your sanity!!! xx

Room Tip: All of the rooms are lovely but the Bunk House was brilliant as it was down by the barn and horses.
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2014

I have to say the two weeks I spent at Lonesome Spur were two of the best of my life. Montana itself is an amazing place with such an honest and laid back attitude to life. Not to mention it is exceptionally stunning and well named as 'big sky country'. I arrived late at night in Billings and stayed at a Motel before being collected by Lonnie (who owns the ranch) the next morning. He was extremely friendly both at first greeting and then throughout my entire stay. As a single traveler I can honestly say that Lonnie and his staff made me feel exceptionally at home and appear to treat all of their guests as if they are part of the family. Which in itself is an amazing things considering they are open for more than half the year and meeting new people every single week and yet everyone was treated so kindly and patiently. With the guests changing weekly I think I was really lucky with the people I stayed with during my two weeks which included guests from England, Germany, United States, Sweden and Australia. The Wranglers and staff were so friendly and helpful. The food prepared by Kath the chef was lovely too and kept me full all day, everyday. My room was lovely although I did have nightly visits by the Mosquitos which seemed to be getting in somehow and I was badly bitten by them (resulting in me having to visit the hospital for swollen eyes!). I was offered a different room but I liked the location of mine so decided to stay put (once I had my allergy tablets). The horses were amazing. A real mix of ability but all very good at their jobs. My favourite was a black gelding called Beau who I gelled with early on in my stay and was allowed to ride for the majority of rides after that. They are very accommodating in that way. I feel I was exceptionally lucky with the time of year I stayed and was able to take part in everything I could have wished for (and more). Here's a break down of what my trip involved...

Day One - Lonnie collected me from my motel and we stopped off to watch his wife Elaine who was competing in a barrel racing competition. It was great to watch and an excellent start to the trip. I was introduced to some of the other guests and showed to my room. I then had my riding assessment on a horse called Wrangler and with wrangler Tyler. I was shown how to tack up western style and the basics of controlling with one hand on the reins before heading out for a short ride around the ranch on some different terrain. The guests had a brief meeting to prepare for the next days events and match guests to horses. In the evening we were taken to the local bar 'The Buckeye' for tea, games of pool and getting to know one another. It was a lovely start to the holiday and I felt at ease with everyone's company straight away.

Day Two - 4am wake up call! We prepared the horses at 4:30am before having breakfast at 5am. We then loaded the horses into the trailers and had a 2hour drive to Soap Creek for the cattle drive. I rode a horse called Moon who could be a little lazy at times but was nice natured and well mannered. We first worked in groups to find the cattle and then had to pair mothers with calves and then headed out with 108 cattle to move them to better pastures with a better water supply. Temperatures reached at least 95F and we rode for hours and covered miles. The scenery was spectacular and it was an amazing ride. We arrived back at the ranch and had dinner at 6:30pm. I stayed up with a few of the other guests and staff and we had drinks around the camp fire. Lovely evening.

Day Three - 8am start. Barrel racing today. I rode one of Lonnie's own horses, a palomino called Duke who was lovely. We practiced barrel racing and then had a little competition of who could do it the fastest in which I came third. we then learnt how to steer cattle and had a couple of attempts each. We stopped for lunch and had a few hours to ourselves before being driven to Cody, Wyoming. We stopped at a supplies store where I bought a cowgirl hat and cowgirl boots and were given time to look around some of the stores and visit a bar. We then ate at Irmas resturant. We then went to the Cody Nite Rodeo which was a very fun and entertaining evening which included bull riding, steer riding, bareback horse riding, barrel racing, roping and team roping. We got back to the ranch about 11pm.

Day Four - Another 4am start for a second trip to Soap Creek for a cattle drive. This was the day I met the lovely Beau and fell in love with him. He was an amazing horse and I trusted him 100%. We covered over 13miles and again the temperatures were very high but we were given more responsibility on this trip to gather cows etc which was really good fun. On the way home we stopped at a bar in Edgar and Bill bought us all drinks as a thank you for helping him move the cattle. For tea Buffalo Bill (a different Bill) visited the ranch and made lovely buffalo roast, it was so nice I even had seconds. A few of the guests and I went to the Buckeye in the evening and the wranglers bought drinks for everyone all evening, very kind of them.

Day Five - Cow Camp. I had a horse called Chase for camp. The camp is situated in the Beartooth Mountains and belongs to an elderly wrangler called Randall. It was about a 2 hour drive to reach the camp. We stopped for lunch and then rode into the Beartooth Mountains to see if we could locate Randall or his cattle. Neither of which we found. The landscape in and around the Beartooth Mountains is the most spectacular and breathtaking I have ever seen. As we rode up into the mountains the sky turned black and large thunder and lightening storm started (always have a waterproof with you as the weather changes quickly in the mountains). Chase was quite lively and had a few big bucks with me which did unnerve me a bit. When we got back to camp Lonnie gave everyone the option of going on another ride for a lope etc or staying at camp. As a few guests decided to stay at camp I swapped onto Wrangler who I felt alot safer on and we rode further into the mountains. When we got back we set up our tents and sleeping bags and then had dinner. We sat round a camp fire until late in the evening and could hear cyotes in the distance. The stars were amazing in the darkness of the mountains. It was so cold I slept in all of my clothes so be warned that if you plan to do cow camp make sure you take lots of layers!

Day Six - Breakfast at 7:30am ready for the days ride. Lonnie knew I hadn't felt comfortable on Chase the day before and so asked Tim the wrangler to ride him and let me ride Moon again instead. Lonnie has received a call from the sherrif to let him know that one of Randall's cows had been hit by a fire truck the night before we we headed out on the horses to find it and see how badly injured it was. We split into three groups and I rode with Lonnie and a couple of the german guests. We had a lovely ride through some of the terrain and Lonnie even let us have a short lope as well. We stopped for lunch in the mountains and Lonnie was very friendly and chatted to us about the horses and ranch etc. We grouped back together and drive to a local resturant where we discovered the cow has been found and was fine (just a little lame). Randal hadn't turned up to camp still when we got back so we packed up and headed back to the ranch. Dinner when we got back and then another trip to the Buckeye bar for the evening. Some of the older cowboys were in the bar and taught us how to dance. It was a really fun evening.

Day Seven - Ride in Cotton wood (area quite local to the ranch). I rode a lovely horse called Remington who was very sure footed and good natured. It was a much quieter and easy ride which was welcomed after some very long rides during the week. We had the afternoon to ourselves and then headed back to the Cody Nite Rodeo in the evening as it was the final night of the season so i felt really lucky to be there for that.

Day Eight - Ride in Cotton Wood but pasture three this time to see some indian rock paintings. I had Beau again who Lonnie specifically gave me as he knew I had really liked him. It was another slow and steady ride. In the afternoon a couple of us were taken to the local supermarket. In the evening it was the weekly trip to the Buckeye to welcome the new guests who had arrived that day and we stayed for most of the night again.

Day Nine - One of my favourite rides of the whole holiday. I was again riding Beau and Nicky and Barry (two of the local wranglers) took us to the Pryor Mountains to check on the mares and foals. The landscape is absolutely stunning and we were able to have quite a few lopes on the flatter parts. Nicky and Barry were very friendly and funny and chatted to us all the whole ride. The evening was quieter and I caught up with some of the new guests.

Day Ten - I rode Laredo the Mustang. He doesn't get ridden very much because he's hard to catch but was great to ride and very responsive. We drive to Two Bear Ridge where Bill keeps his cattle as one of his neighbours cows had escaped into Bill's herd so we split into groups to find it. I again rode with Nicky and she let us Lope again which was great fun. By the time we met back up again another group had found the missing cow and she was back where she belonged. We drive back to the ranch for dinner and as the ride had been shorter than planned we went on another ride in the afternoon around the area surrounding the ranch. We then went to the Cowboy Bar Museum for a look around and a drink. It didn't have much in the 'museum' but I still think it was worth the trip. We also had a short spell in the hot tub when we got back to the ranch.

Day Eleven - When I work up I found my eyes had swollen (almost shut) due to a reaction to the mosquito bites and so Elaine's son, Andrew, took me to the Beartooth Billing's Clinic to be checked by a doctor. The service was very thorough and quick and everyone was really friendly. Everyone else had headed up to cow camp again and Lonnie and Tim (another wrangler) had waited half way up the mountains for me to catch up so luckily I wasn't too late and my eyes were better again within a few hours. On the drive to camp we spotted some of Randall's cattle so unloaded the horses and pushed the cattle back up the mountains and then rode into camp. Once camp was set up and the horses were settled we drive to Cooke City to look around the shops. Randall and his helper Josh arrived at camp at about 10pm and everyone chatted briefly before going to bed.

Day Twelve - We headed out on the horses at 9am to a spot at the bottom of the Beartooth Mountains. We rode up the mountain looking for cattle along the way. Riding through the forests and across lakes was amazing and completely different to any other rides we had done until then. We split into two groups and pushed the cattle back down the mountains. As it's open range we were able to drive the cattle up the roads and all the traffic stopped for us, it was amazing to be part of this ride. We held the cattle whilst the wranglers caught and treated a few with hoof problems before finally taking them to their final destination of Lily Lake. We had spent 9 hours in the saddle but it was the most amazing day. We got back to the ranch about 9:30pm and we had driven home in a huge thunder and lightning storm which continued throughout most of the night.

Day Thirteen - A few of us went to Yellowstone National Park. We were driven their by Elaine's son Andrew and Bruce and it was great because they have been quite a few times so knew the best places to take us. We saw Elk, Buffalo and even a couple of Bears! The geysers were amazing, especially Old Faithful. It was a long and tiring day but so worth it.

Day Fourteen - We had originally going to be doing barrel racing and steer cutting but Lonnie had heard that the annual Poker Ride was on in Fromberg and gave everyone the opportunity to join it. I was originally down to ride Laredo but as it was my last day Lonnie let me swap onto Beau which I was so pleased about. It was a 13 mile ride where you collected 5 poker cards along the route and whoever had the highest hand at the end won all of the money. It was really good fun and loads of locals were there too so it was nice to talk to some of them as we rode too. At the end of the ride the wranglers took back all of the horses to the ranch and we stayed in Fromberg for a meal and to watch a live band (Exit 53) until late into the evening. It was a lovely way to spend my last night and just added to the great atmosphere I had felt throughout my stay.

Day Fifteen - breakfast and goodbyes before being driven to the Airport by Andrew.

I have broken my trip down into days so that anyone considering the ranch can see just how much variation there is. This all depends on the weather, other guests etc but i think I was exceptionally lucky. My only reservation about going back is that I had such a fantastic time I would worry that it couldn't live up to that high expectation again and i never want to tarnish the happy memories that I hold of the Lonesome Spur and I my two week stay there.

If anyone does decide to go after reading my review, please give Beau and big hug and kiss from me! Tell him I was the one who fed him apples every day.

Room Tip: I stayed in the Bunk House which was right next to the barns so I thought it was quite handy I was c...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlisle, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013

i returned to the lonesome spur ranch this october as the first snow was melting away, unfortunatly we didnt get to ride as much as on other visits, if the ground is wet it can be unsafe to ride ( both for horse safety and the guests). we were still able to help one of the ranches neighbours to gather cows and help with the preg testing, do some rides to check the fences and that the cows were still in the pastures they were suposed to be in, gather firewood, mend fences in a coral, even some pleasure rides !! we even got some time to do the retail therepy and visit some local pubs. as usual there were horses of different abilities to suit all the riders from complete novice to the more experianced riders. i will be returning to hopefuly ride in a bit more dust next summer, instead of the mud.....

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lockerbie
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2013

I have never been to a Ranch Holiday. That said, I knew what I wanted. A working Ranch,! Nothing more nothing less. So I booked through Ranch Rider Holidays. .......I had a Ball!!!!! Yeeha! Where do I begin? Well? Lets start with the accommodation, more than adequate, good clean and with coffee machine and air conditioning, the room was fantastic, all in the Cowboy style. Shower and toilet in an adjoining building. No problems here, good hot water! The riding was fantastic, herding and branding cattle, moving cattle to other pastures etc, I even got to brand calves myself! The food was good wholesome, and plenty of it! I really enjoyed the Bueberry Pancakes for breakfast, bacon and eggs, sausages, cereals and lots more!! Coffee on tap, juices,and for those of more plain requirements, ice cold water! Each day we rode, having completed a good horse safety presentation, no one was left wondering! The Ranch wranglers were helpful and easily to hand for any help you might need, plus Lonnie and Elaine, the owners were always available for any questions, or any problems that might need to be solved. We certainly had none!! The brochure by Ranch Rider, was clear and concise with its description of this Ranch holiday, and it certainly lived up to our expectations! I couldnt find anything wrong with this holiday, and would certainly recommend it to anyone, young or older, I am 60 years old, and should have done this earlier.
The horses were well behaved and in excellent condition, well cared for, and the most beautiful animals I have seen. from Paints to Quarter horses, Cow horses to Trail horses. There wasnt enough time in two weeks, to do what i wanted to do! And believe me, I tried! Lol!! Wow! This was a dream come true for me, I will be back, as soon as I can! In the meantime, Yeeha!

Room Tip: Take good riding boots with a heel, warm clothes for night time, long sleeved shirts for the sun pro...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chichester, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

I have been lucky enough to return to the ranch twice this year. On both occasions I have had a wonderful time, and am always sad to leave. When I am there I feel like part of a team. The owners Lonnie and Elaine, and the guys and gals that work there are all really friendly and will do there upmost to make it your perfect holiday. I cannot wait to return next year.....

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Lonesome Spur Ranch

Address: 151 Schwend Road, Bridger, MT 59014
Location: United States > Montana > Bridger
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Bridger
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Lonesome Spur Ranch 3*
Number of rooms: 12

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