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“excellent except for rundown cabin”

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JJJ Wilderness Ranch
Reviewed October 12, 2012

Top marks: Beautiful setting, tucked back into Mortimer Gulch, north of Sun River Canyon, one of Montana’s many incredibly scenic areas. Ranch owners Kim and Ernie Baker and their staff excel at making people feel at home and trying to accommodate each guests interests – hats off to them for hospitality. They have a lot of knowledge of the area and, besides the horseback riding, can suggest hikes and other activities. They also have enough staff to give a lot of personal attention. They work hard to help each guest have an enjoyable experience.

General comments:
The grounds are nice – lots of trees, some mowed grassy areas, gravel pathways. Watch for bunnies and squirrels, birds, even deer, etc. There’s a volleyball net and horseshoe pit, and plenty of room to throw a Frisbee, or you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

The main lodge has the dining area and a lounge area with lots of books, including local and regional books. It would be a nice place to sit and read, except that it features really uncomfortable furniture (mostly log), not conducive to relaxation. They advertise internet connection, which you can get in the main lodge, but it’s so slow that it is nearly useless – even some of the staff remarked on that. The lodge has a porch and a deck to sit on, nice places to sit and enjoy the setting. They usually have an evening activity for guests who are interested: local naturalists showing slides; Native American music, stories and history; campfire; etc. The hot tub was nice after long day of activity.

Meals are generally good, something different everyday. They will pack you a good lunch if you are going to be out on a ride or hike. Staff join the guests for meals, which I think is nice. It’s a good way to get acquainted and they’ll answer questions about the area. People sit where ever they like, so there is opportunity to mix it up and get acquainted with different people. Although I didn’t have any special dietary needs, I noticed that they were very accommodating for other guests who had certain needs, like gluten-free diet, or particular food sensitivities. Only downside is that breakfast is not served until 8:30, which I consider pretty late. However, you can ask Kim or Ernie about early options – they are very accommodating.

The ranch is very family friendly, with wranglers for the kids, who get their own orientation to riding and some kids-only rides and adults-only rides, but the ranch also has rides for everyone. The week gets off to a slow start, because you have to go through the horse orientation the first half of Monday, but that’s for the safety of everyone and to help ensure that you get a good experience the rest of the week. After that, there are daily rides in one of the most scenic areas in the state.

Other: The ranch can get pretty noise if there are a lot of children, so it was not as peaceful as I’d hoped. If you prefer a quieter experience, you might want to consider one of the “adult-only” weeks. Tip from the staff: when you are booking, ask if there are particular weeks when fewer children are signed up.

Needs Improvement: I stayed in large 1-room cabin, plenty of space, but run down, not a comfortable place to settle down and relax, and for the price, I expect nicer accommodation. If I’d had to spend much of the day there, I definitely would not have been happy with it. But generally I was only there in the evening and at night. I didn’t think to ask if other cabins were available. It seems to be one of the older cabins on the property. There are a few newer cabins. I only saw the inside of mine. The doors are askew; some window panes are cracked. The cabin door does not even latch, but stays shut because it sticks in the frame. Bathroom has a really small shower stall. There are a few chairs and a couch in the cabin and on the porch, none of them comfortable and some really worn out. Fabric on the couch is worn threadbare, exposing the foam. If I came back for another vacation, I’d ask for a different cabin.

On the positive side, the cabin was large, plenty of room. There was one king bed at one end of the cabin. The bed was fairly soft – I prefer firm, but that’s a preference, and I slept well anyway. There’s chest of drawers in the main room and the bathroom, plenty of drawer space to put your things. There are hooks (horseshoes) to hang things on. At the other end of the cabin there is a long counter top with coffee maker and small fridge. Coffee is supplied. The fridge is nice to have for your own favorite drinks or snack. Although the cabin gets daily housekeeping, it could use a thorough cleaning. There’s a porch to sit on (if you can tolerate the rundown, uncomfortable chairs), really nice to be out among the aspen groves, with good view of the ridge.

Overall: Great western vacation experience, largely due to the hospitality of the owners and staff, and the great location. But I give it less than five stars due to very rundown cabin.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank roam-ID
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kim B, Owner at JJJ Wilderness Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2012

It’s always great to get feedback and we appreciate the time you took to post comments about your stay. So glad you had a great time, but saddened you were not happy with your cabin. This is one of the original historic cabins built in the 1940’s – with hardwood floor and covered porch looking to the trout ponds. Ironically, it is one that many of our repeat guests request and was pictured in Sunset magazine last year. The king bed is a new pillowtop, but I can understand that a softer couch would be more comfortable at the end of the day; the porch swing is wooden and the other porch furniture is handmade willow furniture – not worn, but maybe could use some soft cushions. Cleanliness is a very high priority and I personally check each cabin before guest check-in to double check my staff. It seems I should have done some checking during the week too… I will be doubly tough next season! Anyway, thank you for your comments and hope to keep in touch!

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48 - 54 of 71 reviews

Reviewed August 13, 2012

We spent a week at the Triple J in July and could not have been more impressed. This is a ranch where the riding takes centre stage and everything is geared up to giving the guests a full immersion into the amazing scenery of Montana from the back of a horse. WIth a relatively small number of guests and a dedicated crew of wranglers with apparently endless supplies of energy and enthusiasm, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Very child friendly as well. Top marks.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Colin B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2012

Our grand daughter wanted to go "out west" to learn to ride - for her birthday trip we give our g.kids on their 13th birthday. She found JJJ on the web, we checked it out and it turned out to be fantastic. Kim and Ernie and all the staff, wranglers were very attentive, helpful. Neither of us had ever ridden horses but they did a great job teaching and watching over us. For a horse back riding, learning experience it could not be better. We told them what we would like to do and they tried very hard to accomodate. We wanted to do some faster riding, trotting, cantering and they obliged and made time on the trail rides for a little racing between us. The food and atmosphere were great. The cabin was comfortable, I would not want to be in it during an 80+ degree day. Wood stove was useful at night in mid June.
Do not go expecting soft luxury. This is a ranch and you stay in a cabin with running water, toilets and soft beds.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank ken c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2012

I have been traveling with a friend to dude ranches for more than 15 years. The JJJ wilderness Ranch gets an A+ rating in all categories. Additionally, Kim and Ernie, managing owners, are always available and work at doing everything and anything possible to enhance your experience. The ranch is well laid out with comfortable cabins that are kept exceptionally clean. The beds are comfortable and towels plentiful. The cabin, as well as the entire ranch, is well organized. The kitchen, dining room, hot tub, etc. are likewise spotless and well functioning. Food is very good and requested changes or preferences are cheerfully implmented. The staff, from wrangles to kitchen workers, are always smiling, happy, friendly, helpful and clearly enjoy their job. The horses are owned by the ranch. They are left out to graze on alternate weeks so fresh for the arriving guests. There are so many wrangles and staff that you can go on whatever type of ride or activity you want, even if you and a wrangler go along.l No nose to tail riding and many alternative activities (fish, hiking). Though the terrain is beautiful, it is primarily scenic riding. For those who are seeking rides that are primarily fast, this may not be the ranch for you.
A very special place - enjoy.

Room Tip: speak to Ernie or Kim
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank Nancy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2012

What a wonderful stay. It was very peaceful and serene. Ernie, Kim and the staff were very accommodating to all of our wishes. They went the extra mile to make our vacation the best.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank AMListon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2012

The JJJ is much more than just one more item to cross off the "bucket list". We recently returned from one of our best vacations ever. Always wanting to visit Big Sky Country (Montana), I did my typical thorough research before vacationing someplace new and discovered the JJJ to be a jewel in the rough. I had three objectives for this trip, relax, a lot of horseback riding, and some fly fishing. I'm happy to say that all three exceeded my expections. More importantly, my skeptical wife had the time of her life all week. Ernie and Kim Barker are the proprietors and your hosts each and every day. They are all about customer service and ensuring your stay with them is top notch. Your needs and wants are always met with a smile. Singles, couples or families get to stay in their own private cabin and bath, which is very nice. The accomodations were very clean and comfortable. The hired cook and her helpers produced facinating meals three times each day and we never left the table hungry. The wranglers were all very experienced, knowledgeable, and customer focused. We went on so many incredible rides into the country, fields, backwoods, mountains, and river trails. the views were breathtaking and even all the photos we took do not do it justice. For those that desired, having the ability to really gallop your horse vs. just walking along truly made the difference for us. This is one vacation we will always fondly remember.

Room Tip: We did not take a tour of the other cabins, but everyone we spoke with was very happy with their acc...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2012

I visited the Triple J ranch the first week of June, and I can say without a doubt, this trip was good for my soul. I had only ridden twice before in my life, but the wranglers were knowledgeable and I felt completely safe on the horse. The scenery alone is a reason to go on this trip. The sites are absolutely breathtaking.

Ernie and Kim are some of the nicest and most hospital l people I have ever met. In fact, the entire staff was very welcoming and courteous. They make it so that your vacation is what you make out of it... if you want to go fishing, one of the wranglers will take you... if you want to go an all day ride or do some work in the arena, they will make it work for you. It is a laid back and enjoyable environment.

Some other great things about this ranch... the food was delicious. Every meal was fantastic and they made sure to cater to anyone who had food allergies. Also, the cabin I stayed at was absolutely beautiful and very spacious. Lastly, there is a great hot tub that feels amazing to use after a long day of riding.

In the brochure, Ernie writes that you will be sad to go on your last day and he couldn't have been more right. It was sad to leave the ranch, but I definitely plan on visiting again. It really is a trip of a lifetime... you will not regret it.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Meghan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about JJJ Wilderness Ranch

Address: 91 Mortimer Road, PO Box 310, Augusta, MT 59410
Location: United States > Montana > Augusta
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Augusta
Price Range: $250 - $315 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the scenic corridor between Yellowstone and Glacier Park, the Triple J offers dude ranch vacations & pack-trips into the famous Bob Marshall Wilderness. Quality horseback riding for the beginner to experienced rider. Miles of scenic trails from flower strewn meadows to mountain vistas. Morning, afternoon and all day rides. Smaller groups, not long lines. Outstanding child & teen program. Great Fly-fishing opportunities for wild trout in the Sun River with experienced guides or solitude on the river. Beautiful spring fed stocked trout ponds at the ranch; or treks into the wilderness. Unlimited hiking with wildlife watching opportunities. Western activities, interpretive canyon tours, swimming or relaxing in the hot tub. Outdoor cook-outs, evening campfires, cowboy poetry, singing and wild-tale-telling! Delicious meals with fresh homemade goodies, garden vegetables and area grown meats. Comfortable, cozy delightful cabins. Escape to a different way of life. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Jjj Wilderness Ranch Hotel Augusta
JJJ Wilderness Ranch Augusta, Montana

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