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“Covered Wagon Ranch”

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Covered Wagon Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 22, 2012

My husband and I arrived early September, one rider and one non -rider, which did not pose any problems whatsoever. Nothing was too much trouble for the wranglers. Boon was an absolute star. I have a horse at home that I thought is 'bombproof'- these ranch horses are brilliant, up and down mountains, through rivers etc., they look after you so much. I have to say that the horses there are so well looked after which is lovely to see, they are very chilled and have lovely temperments.
The cabins are so authentic, comfortably furnished and cosy with a lovely verandah outside with rocking chairs.
Food in the lodge was great, congratulations to Tim the cook and the staff - we came home several pounds heavier!
Debi, JT and the staff really do make you feel like part of a family .
This holiday was booked for me by my beloved for my 50th birthday present and I can honestly say that it was the most memorable time of my life.
I have posted some photos - from many hundreds that I have taken. If anybody has any questions, please email me.
There were lots of ranches to choose from, after doing many months of research to get the right place - we without doubt made the right decision. We will be back.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank facefund
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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162 - 168 of 245 reviews

Reviewed November 10, 2011

My husband and I brought our kids on an 8-week drive across the country. Most of the time was spent camping, but we added in a 5 day stay at the Covered Wagon Ranch (CWR). When we pulled in and saw the row of cabins we knew we made the right choice. After getting a tour of CWR we went for our first ride that afternoon. Our 10 year old was signed up as a rider, but our 7 year old had no interest. He went on the ride with us with a little trepidation. Brian, a wrangler, brought us up to a beautiful alpine plateau and we saw a grizzly. After being in Yellowstone bear jams just a day before this was a real treat, a bear of our own. Upon returning and settling into the cabin before dinner (I might add the food is excellent and family-style seating allows you to get to know the other guests) we fell in love with the cabin. It is all you want of a rustic cabin and nothing more. Extremely comfortable and the front porch is a great place to relax and reflect. At the cabin our son begged us to be a converted to a rider which was not a problem, thankfully! Our last ride of the trip was to a tower at the top of a mountain. As we reached the rocky top of the mountain I watched the wrangler followed by both of my children on horseback and realized they were on their own and I was trusting the horses to keep them safe. How can we talk of CWR and not give credit to the horses and wranglers. The horses are amazing. Although they don't startle there are times when each horse was put in an uncomfortable decision, especially regarding deep mud and how to navigate it. We all learned to trust the horse to find the best route through the mud for itself. We each thought we had the perfect horse(s) which still leads to debate on the "best" horse. Captain Safety wins because my daughter is relentless. The wrangler dinner is a hoot. The wranglers are great with the kids and gave us a demonstration on roping....now we have a lasso from Murdock's. I could go on about how beautiful the scenery was, how good the food was, how interesting the wranglers are, how welcoming the whole CWR crew is, but the truth is you need to experience it for yourself. It is magical and a part of you becomes a cowboy forever. We spent the rest of our trip back to Massachusetts talking about CWR. My son and I were cowboys for Halloween and we are building a horse barn. Does that say what you can expect after a visit? Maybe.

Room Tip: I only saw our cabin, but based on everything else I saw of CWR they must all be great!
  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank WKeeler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2011

I have just returned from a fantantic week at CWR. There are many things that keep me returning each summer. Not only areTim's meals fantastic, but the wranglers are knowledgeable and friendly and do their best to make sure every rider has a good time. The horses are well cared for, the scenery spectacular, and the cabins are charming. The owners, Debi and JT, are very hospitable, and tend to your every need. No doubt I gained a few pounds but it was a wonderful week and I am already looking forward to next summer's visit!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled solo
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1  Thank 247zoeann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2011

Since coming back from a road trip on which Covered Wagon was a real highlight, we have been mulling over what it is that makes CW so special. The wonderful setting? The charm of the cabins? The sense that the horses are cared for with great skill, without the experience being so "expert" that it puts off novices like us? The fact that CW has resisted the temptation to over-expand? The extraordinary food - perfect, like when you go to friends and have the pleasure of the highest quality home cooking? Well, all of that, but most of all the dedication of a great team to go the extra mile to make your stay an unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank WillGS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2011

Spent a week at the ranch for our first dude ranch vacation ever. I don't think anything could have been better. Debi and JT make everyone feel like family, the food is incredible (plan on gaining a few pounds, because you won't be able to resist) and the wranglers are friendly and really want to give every rider a great experience. The perfect ranch for beginning riders all the way to professional. And the scenery is incredible, with all day backcountry rides that take you to places you wouldn't be able to get to on foot in one day. Not me, anyway! The cabins are rustic and comfortable, and the lodge is warm and cozy with cookies and snacks always available. Just like home!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Vicki N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2011

Don't doubt the reviews, it's all true! My fiance and I stayed 4 nights the last week of August and were so sad when it was time to leave. First, the location is amazing, beautiful scenery as far as the eye can see. When you first pull into the ranch itself, it doesn't jump out as one of the most amazing places you'll ever stay. The ranch was built in 1925 and from the outside it has maintained its original look for the most part. But within a few minutes the real beauty of the place sets in. The cabins are PERFECT. Great bed, wood burning stove, etc. The quality of a shower can make or break a place. There is nothing worse than a weak shower at the end of a long day. The shower/tub in our cabin was AWESOME. The view from our front porch was great. The ranch is located on the main road but the cabins are far enough away that while we did see/hear a few vehicles, it didn't effect the quality of our stay. Make sure you go out at night to look at the stars.

The food was amazing, 3 great meals a day, not a single bad bite. Beef, chicken, pork, shrimp...something new every day. My fiance is a vegetarian and they took great care to prepare special meals for her. They'll even pack you a lunch if you go out for the day! You eat your meals with the staff which is a really cool experience because you they are all such interesting & friendly people.
Riding: My fiance is experienced and i'm not. They will format your riding with your comfort level. I was a little unsure of how much i'd like riding a horse but by our last day i didn't want to stop. Their horses are well trained and the trails they take you on are mind-blowing. My favorite ride was something i've named "Bushwhacking with Lilly."
My main goal for this trip to Montana was to catch a trout. I just started fly fishing a couple years ago so i'm no expert. After two beautiful but unsuccessful days fishing on the Gallatin i landed two rainbows on the Taylor Fork on day 3. I was literally yelling, "YES YES YES!!!" If you have your own fishing equipment, talk to Brian (wrangler) about where to go & what to use. If not, you can hire a guide in Big Sky.

Tami & Chris (ranch managers) and Deb & JT (owners) were great. Every effort is made to ensure you have the Montana vacation you've dreamed of.
We've already started talking to family about a return trip, we can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Matt J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2011

I really don't know where to begin.....and being speechless is not the norm for me!! This was a wonderful family experience from start to finish. Our children (16,14 and 8) were expecting some form of our standard beach vacation this year, but were "shocked" to learn we would be going to a ranch in Montana!! After a big "sell" and some teenage tears and drama, we set out for our western vacation. The only tears at the end of our trip came when our daughters had to leave the Covered Wagon!! They desperately wished for more time at the ranch!! This is a first class operation including: JT and Debi (owners), the staff, the accommodations, the food, and of course the riding. We stayed for 4 nights/5 days and spent most daylight hours on horseback. The wranglers were experienced, fun and professional. We were able to decide what type of ride we wanted every day (scenery, length, location). Because this is a small family oriented ranch, our family of 5 set out each day with a wrangler on a private ride that was amazing from start to finish and tailored to our needs/wants. Each day incorporated something for everyone: beautiful views for Mom and Dad, loping for the teenagers, wildlife spotting for the 8yo. I also want to mention that CW owns all their own horses. Many ranches lease for the season. The horses at CW are well cared for and the staff KNOWs the personality of each animal and can match riders perfectly.

The accommodations are perfect: rustic enough to feel authentic while incorporating all the amenities (comfortable beds, crisp white linens, hot showers with fresh towels). The front porch was our favorite! The food is served family style and the guests and staff eat together which is a great touch. One of our favorite memories is the time spent in the dining lodge lingering after dinner over coffee.

Having never booked a vacation like this, I began investigating as most people do with google and the internet. My criteria included: Beautiful scenery, proximity to Yellowstone (some of the rides actually go into the park), rides that did not separate adults from children (many ranches do this), and flexibility to address what WE as a family wanted from the riding/experience (many ranches are very scheduled). We also wanted a little "luxury." The Covered Wagon met all these needs and more!!

Thank you to everyone for a trip we will never forget!!! WE WILL BE BACK!!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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5  Thank GoSteelers25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Covered Wagon Ranch

Address: 34035 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Montana > Gallatin Gateway
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Gallatin Gateway
Number of rooms: 24
Also Known As:
Covered Wagon Ranch Hotel Gallatin Gateway
Covered Wagon Ranch Montana/Gallatin Gateway

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