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“Almost Life Changing”

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Covered Wagon Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 2, 2013

The experience was more than we could have ever imagined. My wife and I chose CWR from a friends high recommendations. Having some, but not a lot of horse riding experience, we just wanted a nice special wedding Anniversary and riding horses was on our bucket list. Even before we got there, the attention to our needs and information provided via email was exceptional. From the moment we arrived at the airport to the tears that flowed when we left, we feel we made some lasting relationships in the 8 days we were there. Some Major points: The positive attitude was infectious and genuine concern for your Safety and happiness was outstanding. Every staff member we talked to - from the cooks, servers and wranglers, loved their job and loved being there. As one person said "we came as strangers and left as Family". We were met each morning with a great breakfast, great coffee, and a warm "what would you like to do today" from Kurt - the Co-owner. The horses we rode were extremely well cared for, responsive and yet gentle. Our lunches (we chose) were lunch bag style, very tasty and filling. And the Dinners: The dinners alone are worth the trip. I was amazed by the quality and quantity of the food. By day 3, I didn't know how the meals could get any better, and yet they did. It's a week later and I still think of that incredible Pork Tenderloin and that perfect London Broil, and BBQ Chicken, and Cod, and that soup, and the.... The days spent riding took us to places that you could ONLY experience on horseback. Not by car, motorcycle, airplane or hiking. I took hundreds of photos of the scenery and the people just to make sure we can recall as much of this experience as we can. We saw/photographed Grizzly, Elk, Deer, Eagles, Moose, and heard the wolves. Each day was different from the last. And by the time we left, we knew how to saddle, ride, and unsaddle and put away a horse with vigor. And the most valuable take-away we experienced, is the back to basics of no electronics, no cell phone, and no TV. (Well, I did have some internet access on my smartphone - but that was only to check the days weather.) It was all about making people and horses happy. Being friendly and sharing the days experiences and great food. And this "simple life" made us re-think about our own hectic, fast pace in-your-face life we have on the east coast. Our visit to CWR will forever be memorable and we highly recommend them.

Room Tip: The weather got to freezing almost each night and OUR cabin (not all) was heated via wood burning st...
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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90 - 96 of 248 reviews

Reviewed October 1, 2013

We're from Chicago and had never been to a guest ranch. We chose this one for our honeymoon on account of all the positive reviews that it's received from previous guests... flawless reviews. Well, it turns out those reviews are very well deserved. Quite possibly the most friendly group of people running an establishment that we've ever had the pleasure of spending time with. You're a guest without the pressures thereof. And along for a ride through the most incredible scenery you may ever see with your own eyes. It feels good to write a positive review because "you" feel like you're writing about friends.

Our personal cabin with a wood burning stove, claw foot tub, and front porch was very comfortable and, for our purposes, romantic. The meals held in the main lodge, prepared in the kitchen right off the dining room, were homemade, varied in sides and courses, and big. My wife is vegetarian and she was provided with a special dish every evening for dinner. The chef even sought us out one afternoon to ask specifics on her diet for that night's meal. He was a nice guy- needless to say at this point. Lunch was to-order. You fill out a sheet to build-your-own sandwich and then stuff whatever else you can fit in your lunch bag for that day's trip. They have a cupboard full of snacks available at all times of the day and more specific lunch items out in the morning for building your lunch to take out on the trail.

The horses were trained to such a degree that many of the guests inquired about purchasing the very horse they were set up with for their stay. My wife rides "hunt seat" but is now also interested in "western" after this trip.

I could go on but someone in a previous review must have covered all of this. I'll end with saying that we want to go back. We'd like to see Kurt and Mellisa again and all the other folks at the ranch making it happen. I definitely say, "give it a shot".

Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
1  Thank 175mikev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2013

My family has travelled a lot and been to many great places.....yet never have we taken time to review anything online. We would be so remiss, however, if we didn't convey our experience at Covered Wagon Ranch. We typically never return to a place for vacation because there are so many places in the world to see. This summer we made our 2nd annual trip back to CWR......and we haven't ruled out a three-peat. The beauty of Montana alone is worth the visit.....but what Kurt, Melissa, Austin, Kayla, Jerry, Tyrell, Keaton....and a host of other great staff did was make the experience personal. The opportunity to experience great scenery on horseback riding a new trail each day and interacting with such humble and genuine folks is exactly what you hoped you would get and more when you sign up for the adventure. The cabins are quaint, the food is good, the views are spectacular, getting to know other guests is a treat, the horses are well cared for, you are catered to in a way you don't expect but greatly appreciate......all of that is wonderful. But all of that actually pales in comparison to the fact that you just feel so at home there. The CWR experience is unique.....and I'm almost reluctant to share that lest your visit makes it harder for my family to book our next trip....but fair is fair......and the effort put forth by this amazing group of people needs to be shared....they've earned that. So if you are looking for a more intimate, personal way of seeing great scenery on horseback, taking a bit of a break from emails and phone calls (which you can still do there,,,,but you won't want to), then you'd be hard pressed to find a better place to hang your hat for a few days. As I said.....the world is full of cool places to travel to...but rest assured that my family will be making a third......fourth, etc. visit to Covered Wagon Ranch. The feeling is like going back to a cool place to see family....but family you really like....and we all know that while we love our families.....we don't always look forward to the visits! :). I hope you trust me when I say you'll love this experience.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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Thank ccm11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

The Covered Wagon Ranch is superb because is allows each guest to design the perfect vacation. This is a very small place (12 – 14 guests when I was there in September 2013), and really caters to its customers. The phrase “it’s your vacation – what would you like?” came up quite a few times, both from the owners and the staff. And they meant it. Each morning at breakfast Kurt or Melissa, the owners, would ask each guest what he or she wanted to do that day. The ranch is on leased national forest service property, so most guests are there to ride. Melissa would ask how long a ride a guest wanted, how difficult and what companions he or she would like. I was there for 5 days and took 5 very different rides – some just with a wrangler, some with as many as two other guests. Sometimes we rode directly from the ranch, sometimes we trailered out. It was completely flexible. They did a good job of matching the horses with the riders too. I’ve owned horses for 40 years and asked for a horse that was sensible but responsive. That’s what I got. There were several beginner riders there at the same time, and they got perfect beginner mounts. This is an equally appropriate place for an experienced rider or a one with little or no experience.

The only scheduled event during the day was the family style meals. The food was great, but the atmosphere was better. This was my first trip as a solo traveler (my kids don’t ride) and I wondered whether it would be awkward. The guests and staff all gathered together at dinner and told stories of what they did during the day. It was a great deal of fun, and most of the folks swapped e-mail addresses before they left. I met some lovely people and fully intend to keep up with them.

I booked this trip sight unseen because of the on-line reviews. They were so good that I wondered if they were edited or exaggerated. They weren’t. So I’m writing this partially as a thank you to the prior reviewers who pointed me to this place. The cabins were lovely, the staff terrific and the scenery incredible. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Room Tip: They're all good - the two bedroom ones have 4 double beds and would fit a family.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Leslie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

CWR was great place to spend our vacation. We had a 2 bedroom log cabin w/ a potbelly stove which was perfect. We rode 5 out of the 6 days we were at CWR and everyday was a new a different experience. The food was excellent. We are from Texas so the August weather in MT was such a nice break too. Melissa and Kurt are terrific and we can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Kara77005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2013

We were part of Laura C's extended family that enjoyed a stay at the ranch. Having been there 15+ years ago, I was eager to take my wife and daughter. My 5 year old now wants to move to Montana and work at the ranch. We were treated like part of the family (hmm . . . maybe better) and fed like honored guests. The cabins are spotless, the beds are comfortable and the riding is customized to your ability. We're already plotting the next opportunity to visit and enjoy the breathtaking scenery and equally breathtaking hospitality. Thanks to all the staff at The Covered Wagon Ranch and we hope to see you soon!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Tim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2013 via mobile

The CWR has wonderful, well trained and loved horses, friendly owners and staff, and access to beautiful rides. They tailor every ride to each person, from the length of the ride to the scenery you want to ride through each day. The food was good and plentiful and the bed was really comfortable. The spa felt great after a 6 hour ride! My husband doesn't ride, but the Gallatin River is right there for fly fishing!

  • Stayed: September 2013
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1  Thank dsill
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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