Guided Rides

Dude ranches and outfitters are the best way to first experience wilderness trail riding if you don’t have a horse available to ride. Their reliable mounts can get you to places you might not otherwise discover. Although it’s a thrilling experience to ride your own horse in the wilderness, if you’re traveling from out-of-state, if your horse doesn’t have the trail experience to be safe, or if you are on a budget or have a time limit, booking with an outfitter is the way to go. You won’t have to deal with Coggins tests, vet and brand inspection paperwork, trailer issues, and feed or boarding expenses. Plus, you’ll have the chance to meet a whole new character–your furry, four-legged guide. 

The best part of a guided ride is being  paired with a wonderful horse.

Experience a Guest Ranch Vacation

There is an amazing number of guest ranch vacations in Montana to choose from. Some are luxury, some budget. Some are bring-your-own critter, some provide everything. Some are like a dude ranch right out of Hollywood. Some are real working ranches where you definitely get your hands dirty. But all give you provide you with remarkable memories, sometimes for the most unexpected things: the trickle of a spring, the burst of sunrise over a mountain, or the velvet touch of a horse’s muzzle.

When my kids were toddlers, our family visited the same dude ranch three summers in a row where we stayed in the same old cabin next to a small stream. While the adults went riding in the hills and fly-fishing in the river, a babysitter watched the kids while they played in the stream, chased the ranch’s chickens, pet the resident kittens, and climbed up and down the ladder to the loft. Now that they’re adults, my kids still remember that stream and the loft with such fondness that they’ve each returned to stay in the same cabin some 25+ years later.

Wilderness Edge Resort
Wilderness Edge Resort with little Horn Creek running through the campground
Horn Cabin, Wilderness Edge Resort
Nothing special to look at, this cabin became one of my children's fondest memories because of the creek in the yard and the ladder to the bedroom loft

Horseback Riding Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is a big place. The Mammoth Hot Springs and the Tower Falls are on the north end of the park, Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone Falls and Old Faithful are in the middle. The rest is lots and lots of wilderness. Wildlife is most visible both early and late in the season. Some years it takes until June for the snow to melt, but other years are clear and dry by May. There is no hunting in the park, so if you’re going with your own horses to trail ride, September and October are the best times with no competition from tourists or hunters.

Most of the outfitters on our list of businesses who have legal permission to guide people by horseback in Yellowstone Park are also hunting outfitters who run pack strings in the fall, so the only time to book with them inside the park is in the summer. Rest assured that they know where the quietest parts of Yellowstone are and can take you to the best trails.

Horseback Riding Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is about half as big as Yellowstone but most of it is more rugged and unaccessible by horseback. The areas that are good for trail riding are also shared by a large number of hikers (relatively speaking.) The only horse concessionaire in Glacier Park is Swan Mountain Outfitters. When it comes to Glacier, they’re the pros! I’ve found that they often know more about trails and regulations than the seasonal rangers.

If you’re interested in remote riding without tourist competition, there are miles and miles of scenic wilderness trails just outside Glacier National Park and many outfitters and guest ranches to serve you.

Dude Ranches

Day Ride Outfitters

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Guest Ranch Resorts With Fly-Fishing

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Glamping

Glamping (glamour camping) took off in the desert southwest and has also become popular in the Adirondacks and the Northeast. A few places in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho now offer it as an option. It’s a fun idea: to go camping under the stars but still have a hot shower, a chef-prepared meal, and a luxury bed to sleep in certainly has a lot of appeal!

Multi-Day Pack Trip Outfitters

Both resorts and outfitters offer multi-day pack trips in the summer. Sometimes you can join an organized trip, but it’s perhaps more common for a small group of 4-to-8 people to take a trip together. There are a wide variety of types of groups: friends, family, singles, teens, etc. There are also a nearly unlimited number of places to ride–that is, until dates start getting booked. If you have a special ride in mind, it’s best to book early.

Drop Camp Services

If you want to hike or ride your own horses further into the wilderness than you’re able to carry supplies, many outfitters provide drop camp services where they will pack in your gear or food for you. In some instances, this is a simple arrangement for you and your backpack to hitch a ride with a pack string to a pre-determined spot for a number of days, saving you time and energy in reaching back country trails. Other times drop camp services are handy when planning a long through-ride where you’ll need supplies left for you. Many hunting outfitters do drop-camp services for people to get to a more remote base camp and hunt from there. Basically, the possibilities are endless. 

Hunting Outfitters

Almost all dude ranches and outfitters offer hunting packages in the fall. Montana’s big game hunting comes with it’s own rules and regulations. If you’re interested in simply trail riding during hunting season, we suggest sticking to inside National Park borders where there is no hunting allowed. Otherwise, speak to the outfitters or hunting guides of the area you wish to hunt in for information on getting licensed and making plans.

Historical Riding and Reenactments

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Chief Joseph Ride - Appaloosa Horse Club

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US Cavalry School

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Cheyenne Trailriders

Lorem ipsum dolCheyenne Trailriders offers you this opportunity to tour an American Indian reservation from a unique vantage point – from the back of a horse, the way our ancestors did it. Zane and Sandy Spang are members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and they welcome you to visit their homeland.

The reservation consists of approximately 444,000 acres of beauty, from the timbered hills teeming with spring and summer wildflowers to the sagebrush prairies where you will find tipi rings that bear evidence of the presence of their forefathers sojourn in years gone by. As you ride you may meet up with other residents of the reservation – the many varieties of wildlife that abound here.

In order to help you appreciate the significance of your visit to this land, workshops are provided on Northern Cheyenne history, culture and ethnobotany. You can also learn about Gourd dancing and how to play the intertribal ‘Hand Game’. For your evening campfire entertainment, you can listen to a Cheyenne storyteller, join in a country western singalong, watch a comic troupe of Clown Dancers, or just relax to the beautiful music of a Northern Cheyenne flute player who composes his own music and makes his own flutes.

A brochure will be sent to interested parties containing detailed information on ride components that you can choose from to design your own ride, whether it be for an hour or a week. Our horses are gentle and well trained. For those who do not ride horseback, covered wagons can be provided that follow the riders. Also covered in the brochure is information on meals, lodging and automobile tours of the reservation.

Directions: To get to the Cheyenne Trailriders Ranch you travel to Ashland, Montana on Highway 212, proceed to the northern end of town where you will turn onto Highway 2. This is a paved road that will take you along the periphery of the historic St. Labre Mission complex where Highway 2 changes to Highway 11. Follow Highway 11 until you see mile marker 50, then take the next left turn (which will be marked) onto a gravel lane. Stay to the right when you cross a cattle guard and the road will take you up around a hill and into a valley where the road ends at the Cheyenne Trailriders Ranch.

Cheyenne Trailriders
Northern Cheyenne Reservation, Ashland, MT 59003

Badger Two Medicine Back Country Eco-Tours

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.Blackfeet Tours offers family-friendly 8 hour to 2 day adventures to the sacred Badger Two Medicine area in the heart of the Rocky Mountain Front located near the southern border of Glacier National Park. Gain insight into the past way of life, which is significant to the deep-rooted heritage spiritually and culturally, of the Blackfeet Native Americans. We will hike to the Two Medicine River where you will break for lunch and learn how to set up a tipi. Learn about the tribal customs, histories, and stories while experiencing a land resplendent of wildlife, wildflowers, and spectacular scenery.

Hike in or horseback ride into the backcountry! Blackfeet Tours offers family-friendly guided 2-day, 1-night trips to the sacred Badger Two Medicine area in the heart of the Rocky Mountain Front located near the southern border of Glacier National Park. Gain insight into the past way of life, which is significant to the deep-rooted heritage spiritually and culturally, of the Blackfeet Native Americans. We will hike or ride horseback to the Two Medicine River where you will break for lunch and learn how to set up a tipi. Learn about the tribal customs, histories, and stories while experiencing a land resplendent of wildlife, wildflowers, and spectacular scenery.

Crow Country DH7 Ranch

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http://www.crowcountry.com/horsebackriding.htm

Wagon Trains

Teton Wagon Train

Teton Wagon Train & Horse Adventure

Historic Trails West

https://www.historictrailswest.com/

Missouri River Wagon Trains

 https://missouririvermt.com/wagon-train-rides