Glamping (n.) - outdoor camping with amenities and comforts (such as beds, electricity, and access to indoor plumbing) not usually used when camping. That's how Merriam-Wesbster dictionary defines the word coined from "glamorous" and "camping."
For us in Western and Northwestern Montana who either live on a working cattle ranch or have friends that do, glamping is a bit of a curious thing. We don't really know whether to dismissively laugh at it and pity the poor souls who want luxury of a top hotel while staying in a tent or cabin, or to start crunching numbers and think about opening a glamping ranch ourselves. Still, we understand that each person's needs are different, and some of us even equip and run guest ranches perfectly suitable for glamping. So, if you have the money to afford it or know someone who does, if you're averse to traditional camping but want to spend some time in the nature, read on for a brief introduction to four guest ranches in Western and Northwestern Montana that offer a perfect setting for your glamping adventures.
- The Resort at Paws Up, Grenough, MT is only about a 30-minute drive from Missoula and probably as close to the definition of glamping as you can get. All of its 28 cabins and 36 tents offer the best in glamping luxury, plus all of the meals are included in your stay. Not only that, but they are prepared by renowned chefs. You can find out more about the ranch and the activities they offer (and trust me, there are many) on their website.
- The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, MT. Yes, there is such a thing as a five-star guest ranch, and the Ranch at Rock Creek is it. It's located in Montana's Granite County, aka gold country, and it offers western adventure combined with lavish, all-inclusive amenities. And, when you get tired of such hard western life, they even have a spa where you can unwind with their own signature spa line, CBD, mineral therapy, a tea bar created by their in-house herbalist, and more.
- Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, MT. This one is a great place for western romance not just because of its remote mountain setting ("hidden away in the Bitterroot Valley," as the owners put it on their website) but also because it's a delight for the senses. Its rustic elegance, gourmet food, impressive wine list, and warm service combine with the beauty of the surroundings for an experience that lives up to its price tag.
- Bar W Guest Ranch in Whitefish, MT is much closer to our home, and really close to Glacier National Park. Although not as luxurious as the previous three, Bar W Guest Ranch still offers fully furnished glamping tents, each with a refrigerator and coffee maker, and a private heated bathroom just feet away from the tent. Not only do they have comfy tents, but they also have some periods throughout the season when they accept guests for so-called "specialty weeks" such as Adults Only, Cowgirl Up (women only), Photography (with workshops led but well known photographers), and even a Western Cattle Drive.
Now that you know where to go for ultimate in ranch luxury, pack up that designer western wardrobe of yours, your Lucchese or Old Gringo boots, your fancy felt hat, and head on over to Montana for some glamping fun. And while you're at it, get some Buckaroo Bling to go with your outfits.