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“Best Vacation Ever!!”

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Covered Wagon Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
New Castle, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Best Vacation Ever!!”
Reviewed July 2, 2013

We just arrived home from our trip to the Covered Wagon Ranch, and we spent our airplane trip home figuring out when we can go back! We researched ranches and read reviews for almost a year before deciding on the Covered Wagon. Not only did it live up to all the great reviews, but far exceeded our expectations. From the minute we arrived and Melissa gave us a tour, we felt at home. We really did feel like part of the family, and the owners Kurt and Melissa create such a warm and caring atmosphere. We were amazed at the personal attention we received—there is no other vacation spot where the owner will sit down with you at breakfast every day and ask you what you want to do that day! The log cabins were cozy and complete with a wood burner for cold nights and rocking chairs on the porch. The food was incredible, from the fanciest dinner to the picnic lunch out on the trail and freshly baked cookies that were always abundant in the cookie jars. The family style dinners gave us a chance to get to know the other guests and staff. We liked the small size of the ranch because we really got to know everyone. We cannot say enough about the staff; they truly made our experience top notch. Everyone on the ranch was so friendly and helpful during our entire stay, including the owners, wranglers, kitchen and office staff, housekeeper, and ranch hands. My eight year old granddaughter enjoyed helping with the horses, especially grooming and feeding them. She even got up for the 6am feeding! (Thank you Lindsay for encouraging her to help with the horses and making her feel like she was part of the team)The horses were amazing during all of our rides! Kurt and Melissa take the time to match each rider with a horse that matches their experience level and personality. We were all beginning riders, and we had great horses and rides each day! (Thank you Memphis, Roxy, Emerson, and Prizm!!) It is nice that you get to ride the same horse everyday—by the end of the week you really get to know your horse and work well together. We were a little apprehensive about doing a lot of climbing, so Kurt and our wrangler (Patrick) helped us to find trail rides that we were comfortable with that also gave us the great views of the beautiful mountains. We were so happy to have Patrick as our wrangler all week! We cannot say enough good things about our trail rides with him. He was knowledgeable about the horses and the surrounding area and wildlife---we felt safe with him wherever we went, even when we saw a bear during our ride! He patiently helped all of us learn to ride more confidently and worked with well with everyone, including my granddaughter. He was friendly, easy to talk to, and worked hard to give us a fantastic week of riding! The scenery from the saddle was breathtaking! Beautiful mountains, meadows, rivers, creeks, wildflowers, and animals were everywhere. We even saw a momma moose and her two babies near the ranch! It was probably the best time we have spent as a family, and we have wonderful memories from the Covered Wagon Ranch.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank boromom30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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241 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (49)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
2 reviews
Reviewed June 29, 2013

This was our third trip to CWR. We are still riding new trails and seeing more beautiful and wonderful sites. It was great to see old friends and meet new ones. You are treated like family and Kurt will razz you if he gets a chance. The staff is amazing. The chef, Tim Brown caters to your every need as does the entire CWR crew. The rides are tailored to your abilities and preference. Do your family or self a favor and try it once. You won't regret it. You may regret that you have never been. Kurt and Melissa are doing what they love and I imagine old Vic is smiling because the CWR is still providing the same experiences he envisioned when he started the ranch back in 1925. We miss Debi and JT but they couldn't have left the ranch in better hands.

Room Tip: All the cabins are authentic, rustic, comfortable with awesome views. No bad choice.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Heplocker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
westchester, ny
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 24, 2013

As a seasoned traveler with high expectations I was gratified to discover that Covered Wagon Ranch lived up to all the rave reviews. The cabins were clean, homey and comfortable. The food was way too good and Tim, the cook was very attentive to any dietary restrictions the guests had. The horses were well cared for (I'm a veterinarian) and the scenery was spectacular; but what convinced me to sign up for a return trip were the people. Melissa, Kurt and ALL their staff were kind, professional and really made you feel welcome. They made sure that my daughter and I were well-matched to our horses as well as to our wrangler. Kurt's knowledge of the trails was impressive but decisions as to how long to ride and where were ours.
Melissa and Kurt's philosophy, that the guests become "part of their family" sounds a little corny but it really works. As a consequence, friendships also develop between the guests and by the end of your stay you realize you will be missing everybody, not just the people that work there. Having said all that, if you're looking for quiet, alone time (which at times I was) it's easy to find. Walking down to the corrals after dinner to sit and watch the horses was my favorite way to spend an hour. Other guests enjoyed sitting by the fire in the main house house, knitting and reading. In summary, if you're looking for a beautiful, relaxing, fun place to spend some time, Covered Wagon if for you.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank nina s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belle Mead, New Jersey, United States
1 review
Reviewed June 19, 2013

This 4 day life changing trip was a Christmas gift from husband for a girl friend and me.
Covered Wagon Ranch has it all for the total get away to refresh, relax and totally appreciate
Mother Nature at her most gorgeous. This small intimate ranch setting offers the best in hospitality, personalized adventure and pure mountain outdoors. If you love genuine people, like to fly fish, hike, ride, love animals, and appreciate experienced horses who know mountain trails, this is the place for you. Melissa, Kurt and their friendly and professional staff make you feel at home from the minute you drive through the gates. The log cabins are warm and cozy with a wood burning stove for the chilly mornings and front porch with rockers for kickin off your boots to relive the adventure of the day over some well deserved adult beverages. Family style, delicious meals are served in the main lodge where you eat with interesting, outdoor loving guests and the amazing staff. The wranglers are not only friendly and fun to be around, but so knowledgable about the countryside and all the mounts. Once paired with your horse for your stay, you quickly develop a trust and total appreciation for your horse's ability to carry you safely through rugged Gallatin Nat'l Forest countryside where we enjoyed views and terrain never experienced for those of us who live back East. Wildlife and spring flowers in amongst the sage brush will never be forgotten. The highest compliment that can be paid to this wonderful establishment is how many times guests continue to return the Covered Wagon Ranch. I know I will return for a longer stay to relive those wonderful traditions of the CWR and the personalized, warm welcome one is guaranteed while there. Libby D

Room Tip: There are no "better" cabins. Given the number of people in your party - Melissa will se...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Libby D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Exeter, New Hampshire
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 18, 2013

Covered Wagon Ranch has everything you want and nothing you don't-- rustic but comfortable cabins, hearty home-cooked food, spectacular country, friendly yet professional staff, including skilled wranglers. But it's the horses who make this trip so special. Ranch owners Kurt and Melissa have put together a herd of 70+ horses whose heart and athleticism is truly humbling, and who can accommodate beginners through experienced riders. When you stay at Covered Wagon, you ride the same horse throughout your visit; and by the time you leave, you feel as though you and your horse are partners, and the Covered Wagon Ranch guests and staff are your family. It's no surprise that many guests return year after year.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Linda A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 16, 2013

We recently spent five days at Covered Wagon Ranch, and all we can say is that this was the greatest vacation experience ever! There is not one single thing that could have been better or different – the experience was absolutely perfect!

The ranch is located in some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen – just driving in from Bozeman was an exhilarating experience. The mountains, the river, the skies – it is all absolutely breathtaking.

The ranch itself is a quaintly rugged little collection of cabins nestled down between two hills. There are only ten cabins (which is one of the main reasons we chose this one), the oldest of which date back to 1925. The lodge and some of the other buildings are newer, but they still exude the same pioneering feel. Inside, the cabins have been thoroughly modernized with electricity, indoor plumbing, and electric heat in the bathroom. The main room of our cabin was heated by a wood stove (some of the cabins have propane stoves) which only added to the rustic feel.

The rooms were clean, neat, and absolutely delightful. There are no TVs, no radios, and no cell phone service (all of this is a big plus!), though they do have wifi (better reception at the lodge than in the cabin, but who comes here to read email??). There was even a personalized note from Sharon, the housekeeper, welcoming us to the ranch when we first checked in. Anything we wanted was provided – extra pillow? No problem! Extra towels? No problem! Wood for the stove was kept constantly supplied, and if you had any trouble with your stove they were more than happy to come in and show you how to work it.

I don’t even know where to begin talking about the staff. Every single person was incredible, from the owners all the way down. Knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly: what more can you possible ask for. Kurt and Melissa, the owners, made us feel at home from the first second we were on the property. The wranglers and the guides were incredible (especially Lindsay!). The riding was adjusted to each person’s level of experience and desire for that day. Want to take an all-day ride today over some of the rougher trails? No problem! A short ride over an easier trail? No problem! Don’t want to ride at all today? No problem!

The guides made full use of the trails in the area to provide us with an incredible experience. From the sunken forest to what felt like the top of the world, every step of every ride was memorable. The guides are versed in the history of the region, the main geographic features, the local wildlife, and anything else you want to know. Lindsay even gave us a crash-course in the local wildflowers! We took over a thousand pictures during our stay in Montana, most of them from horseback, and every image is spectacular.

The horses themselves were also incredible. It is extremely obvious that they are some of the best cared for animals anywhere. Beautiful, healthy, and strong, they made the riding fun while allowing for a bit of a challenge over some of the rougher terrain. I rode both Memphis and Simon while my wife rode Reno and Trigger. Magnificent creatures all!

Finally, I want to give a special thanks to Tim, the chef. My wife and I are both vegetarians and were a bit concerned about this being as we were headed right into the heart of cattle country. This was no problem at all, though (note: if you have special dietary considerations, let them know when you are making your reservation so they can prepare). Some of our fellow guests were even jealous of the grilled tofu and the stuffed mushrooms! Hah!

Apparently Kurt and Melissa recently took ownership of the ranch (though both have been working there for some time), and as their first guests we can say is that if this was any indication of the long-term prospects of Covered Wagon Ranch, this place is going to be here and be enjoyed by everyone for a very long time to come!

Room Tip: Try to get a cabin with a wood-burning stove - it completed the experience!
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank EarlBiringer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carefree, Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed June 12, 2013

If you are considering a Western experience with horseback riding, don’t trot but gallop to the Covered Wagon Ranch. Located in a spectacular setting one hour from Bozeman, Montana, this facility has rustic, clean cabins; good, plentiful food; wonderful ambiance; and most importantly, great horses. The owners, Kurt and Melissa will match your prior riding experience perfectly (from never ridden to expert) as well as make every effort to assure your stay is a great experience.
My wife and I have been to five star dude ranches (spas, gourmet meals, etc.) but trust me this is a far better experience and you will get a great bang for your buck. We rode through some of the most beautiful country, stopping for lunch in high mountain fields (we saw elk and mule deer), returning with enough time to explore the area. Yellowstone is a short drive and there is great fishing and rafting nearby as well.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Bob B
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

Property: Covered Wagon Ranch
Address: 34035 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway, Big Sky, MT 59730
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Montana > Big Sky > 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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