We’ve experienced Bison Quest Adventure Vacations on the Wild Echo Bison Reserve in Montana twice now - once last year in July and this year in June. The Wild Echo Bison Reserve is a very unique place – one where you can enjoy “an American Safari” and also disconnect from the world and decompress. It’s very private as the Reserve is only available to one group at a time. So it’s yours to hike, horseback ride, identify wildflowers, stargaze, view wildlife, etc. as you please. Note there isn't any Internet or cellphone access on the Reserve; for us, that was a plus because it let us disconnect but visitors should be aware of that.
On both visits the wildlife was amazing! Last year, in addition to the bison on the ranch (which will roam directly outside the camp where you are fenced in), we were taken for a drive one evening and saw a herd of elk, numerous deer and even a bear and two cubs. This year the elk had just fawned so they were in hiding, but we saw many deer and a moose and her baby. We’ve taken advantage of a number of different activities during our visits. Last year, fly fishing in July was a wonderful experience. This year we went horseback riding and did a lot of hiking on the ranch. Both times the "Bison Interaction" experiences where you roam among the bison (you're in a truck) and feed them were very unique and interesting; this year we even got to pet one of the young bulls. The weather in July was fantastic; in early June it was mixed (from warm sunny days to snow one morning!) but it didn’t stop us from enjoying the outdoors, and going at different times of the year enabled us to experience entirely different types of wildflowers. I’d also highly recommend the massages – which you can have in one of the tepees if you prefer.
For accommodations, there are two charming cabins with extremely comfortable beds, kept warm and toasty with a gas fireplace. (Note, the bathrooms are small but functional). We loved sitting out on the porch watching the birds coming to the feeders. The food is tasty, home-cooked American cuisine with an emphasis on organic and local products. You can have naturally farm raised bison, eggs that have been freshly laid by the chickens (and taste entirely different from those you buy in a store), and delicious cinnamon sticky buns made in a Dutch oven that’s over 200 years old; personal pizzas cooked on the barbecue were also quite a treat, and cooking smores over an open fire at night brought back fun childhood memories.
I'd also note that the Reserve is eco-friendly and off the main power grid; their power comes from their own solar and wind generated energy. Also, there aren't any power outlets in the cabins, but the cabins have lights and power chargers can be provided for particular needs. If this is important to you, I'd suggest talking with the hosts to understand what options are available.
The hosts, Pam and Craig, are very knowledgeable wildlife biologists who readily share their knowledge of the outdoors with you. For a special treat, you can also hire them to take you through Yellowstone National Park. We did last year and it was well worth it. The first evening we arrived in Yellowstone they spoke with a number of locals to gather the best information about where to spot wildlife (especially grizzly bear) the next morning. Sure enough they didn’t disappoint – We saw brown bear, grizzly bear, moose, elk and more bison while in the park. They also were a wealth of information about the various water features (geysers, pools and hot springs).
Our trips to Wild Echo Bison Reserve have by far been the most relaxing vacations we’ve had; we’ll definitely visit again.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Are you the adventurous sort who loves new experiences and wild things? Participate in wildlife research and bison studies alongside our biologists and learn about the natural history of this awe-inspiring animal right outside your cabin door, as well as that of the numerous other species of wildlife that inhabit the Reserve. Hike through cool green meadows full of wild flowers, check on the success of the numerous nesting birds and count the young still in the nest. Live in a log cabin, relax in a Lakota Sioux tipi, and experience the ancient rites of the sweat lodge. Our Bison Quest camp is nestled into an aspen grove and surrounded by a powerful bison herd in the magnificent Montana wilderness. For an exciting and unique experience, where you are our only guests while here, join us for a bison and wildlife adventure that will stay with you for a lifetime. ... more less