These Montana Dude Ranches Redefine ‘Roughing It’

The dude ranch vacation has moved beyond city slickers cornpone to white-glove luxury.

“TO BE A ‘DUDE’ is to be out of place,” explains Bryce Street, executive director of the Dude Ranchers’ Association. Since the 1880s ranches across America have opened their doors to curious vacationers; Street estimates more than 500 dude ranches blanket the U.S. today, most in the West. Montana is home to some of the country’s fanciest—a few retreats as horsey as an episode of Hey Dude, others with nary a spittoon in sight, but all certifiably cush. “Out of place,” sure, but still at home on the range.

Sage Lodge
You can’t blame the gold miners for flocking to this stretch of the Paradise Valley; they found both lucrative minerals and views almost as stunning as what’s now Yellowstone National Park next door. Open only since 2018, the hotel here isn’t terribly remote but its floor-to-ceiling windows perfectly frame an empty stretch of grassy valley backed by triangular mountains. Easy park access means wolf-watching trips in pursuit of the population famously reintroduced to the area a quarter century ago. Starting at $189 per night

By Allison Williams, Seattle Met Magazine

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Eric Richards