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Ride Big Sky Country

Montana Horseback Riding

See our full stable of horseback offerings below

A Week of Trail Rides and Horse Trekking

As a weeklong guest at the Bar W dude ranch, you get access to our all-inclusive horseback riding program. Varied rides and horse treks leave daily and let you saddle up for some of the most exciting, yet relaxing outings into the Montana mountains that you could imagine.

Take your trusted mount over the foothills, into the mountains, across lush wildflower meadows, and to unspoiled viewpoints and backcountry lakes surrounding Glacier National Park and Whitefish, Montana.

  • Sway through the Kootenai National Forest on horseback to the pleasant rhythm of creaking leather and clopping hooves.
  • Tie your horse to a wilderness hitching post near a vivid aquamarine lake with wide, sandy beaches that let you soak in the cool mountain sunlight.
  • Enjoy a horseback riding program in the Montana wilderness that forms the core of our weekly guests’ experience as well as the highlight.

Are you ready for the saddle life?

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Two-Hour Trail Rides or Half-Day Rides

If you’re not staying at the ranch or are a local, you can still experience the thrill of Montana horseback riding near Glacier National Park. Sited only 10 minutes from Whitefish, our ranch is easy to get to and impossible to forget.

With a 90-horse herd born and bred in Montana, we often have extra horses and wranglers available for two-hour or half-day rides through wooded mountain trails to iconic Big Sky destinations.

We offer trail rides to day guests based on availability and trail conditions. Reservations accepted a maximum of seven days in advance.

Warning: Day riders just take a sip of Montana wilderness on horseback, and you’re probably going to want more. We hand weekly guests the bottle with no need to drink responsibly. This is one time it’s encouraged to drink it all in.

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Choosing Your Horse

Our experienced wranglers hand-select a horse for every rider based on age, weight, riding ability, and overall riding style.

  • If this is your first time in the saddle, we’ve got great mounts for learning.
  • Seasoned loper? You’ll ride a horse that’s more ready to run and take on advanced terrain.

Wherever you’re at in your horseback riding journey, we’ll meet you with a horse that suits you well and give you the confidence you need to take your riding to the next level.

You’ll forge a bond with your horse and feel at ease enough to call it your own throughout the week.

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Horseback Riding Lessons

Horsemanship always leaves room for improvement — even for the most seasoned riders. For weeklong guests, you’ll have every opportunity to increase your knowledge and capabilities.

Your lessons will be personalized to your riding level with other similar riders. With a maximum of four riders per wrangler, you’ll never feel like you’re getting left in the trail dust, even if you are a greenhorn.

Watch as your ability to communicate with your horse, steer, and generally feel in charge of your trusty mount increase throughout the week in a genuine, authentic, and first-rate learning environment.

We group riders of similar abilities throughout the week so you never feel out of place.

Limited lesson opportunities also available for day guests.

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Learn Rodeo Skills

Throughout your week at the dude ranch, you’ll put together horseback riding skills worthy of a rodeo queen or king. Then, with your fanbase of new friends and family cheering you on, you’ll ride in the end-of-week rodeo for some friendly competition.

Whether your goal is to just have fun or to win, you’ll learn the ins and outs of pole bending, cattle sorting, barrel racing, and other arena sports to see how you fare.

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Family Horseback Riding

Bar W has the most extensive kids’ program of any dude ranch in Montana.

Small fries 3 and under will mostly take lead-rope rides around the ranch while under our babysitters’ care, but the fun really begins for cowpokes ages 4 to 6. For them, pony rides, arena games on horseback, and horsemanship lessons drive the experience.

And for junior wranglers up to age 11, the world opens up. Many junior wranglers choose to do the same rides as their parents, while others choose to hang back with other kids for shorter rides and rodeo arena games.

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Western Cattle Drive

Experience a real Western cattle drive at one of our most popular specialty weeks. You got to experience the horsemanship and beautiful country inherent in our spring or fall round-up.

“Cowboying the Great Divide” fills quickly, as it provides a unique and authentic experience few guest ranches offer to help bring in the herd. You’ll feel like a real ranch hand right down to the duds. Even full-time cowboys and cowgirls can’t wait for this experience every year!

2020 Dates: May 17-23, 2020, September 13-19, 2020, and October 4-10, 2020

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Wagon Rides

Bask in Big Sky Country splendor with a Bar W wagon ride that transports you to a simpler time.

Your Thursday- or Saturday-night wagon ride places you, your family, and new friends in a large wagon hauled around the ranch by a well-paired draft team.

The best way to experience the ranch, you’ll have the option to top off your experience with a dinner, dessert, and coffee at a scenic stop at Spencer Lake or elsewhere on the ranch.

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