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Helpful information

This page is set up for your convenience but we highly encourage you to contact or call us at 1-406-863-9099 if you have any more questions.

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frequently Asked questions

Rates & Packages

All rates on the website are per person. The rates are all-inclusive of accommodations, meals, horse riding activities/lessons, all on ranch non-horse activities, and the local rodeo.

Transportation to/from airport, into town outside of regularly scheduled shuttles, and off ranch activities (whitewater rafting; fly fishing). Personal provisioning from the grocery or liquor store and purchases from our Trading Post store are not included either.

We do not, as we’ve noticed that our guests truly get the complete dude ranch experience with a 6-night stay. We might be posting some shorter stays throughout the season if there are last-minute cancellations.

Activities

You do not need to sign up prior to arrival. We do ask that you peruse this season’s schedule and decide what you would like to do. Our trail rides, riding lessons, and non-riding activities will have a limited capacity this season, so during orientation on Sunday evening, we will ask you to sign up at that time for the week.

Absolutely not! This is your vacation, and you can plan it accordingly. However, most folks leave wishing they had been able to do more of the activities. We have some great offerings and are coming up with some new activities this year, so don’t miss out!

This season we are expanding our Cowpoke/Jr. Wrangler programs under the direction of our Programming Manager.  We are building a new, large children’s activities room and a fenced outdoor play area.  We are currently working on our programming, but lots of arts/crafts, games, our petting zoo, playground, etc.  They will have a blast and they will be tired by the end of the day!  Look for more details later this spring.

We are also ramping up some new activities just for teens!

Babysitting is available for children under 2 years old at a rate of $55/hour. Please make sure that you book this prior to your arrival.

We have a small trout pond on the ranch that we keep stocked for fishing (no fishing license required). We also have Spencer Lake on the property that you are welcome to fish in, but you would be required to get a Montana fishing license. As part of our activities programming, we offer fly casting lessons on the front lawn.

On Wednesdays, we offer a half-day fly fishing excursion in Glacier National Park thru the Glacier Raft Company. This would be at your own expense and costs approximately $475.

Transportation

Glacier International Airport in Kalispell, Montana – airport code FCA. The airport is just 15 miles from the ranch! See what the airlines that fly into FCA during the season and off-season.

Yes! There is an airport shuttle fee of $55 each way ($110 round trip) per group of 4 being picked up at the airport at the same time. If there are 5-8 people in your group, an additional charge of $55 each way will be applied. If you have 9-12 people, a third $55 charge each way will be applied. These charges can be added to your room for checkout at the end of the week.

Uber or a Taxi service is also available.

AMTRAK’S Chicago to Seattle/Portland Empire Builder trans American train makes stops in nearby Whitefish three days per week.

As part of our activity programming, there will be scheduled shopping trips into town. If you would like to go into town outside of those times, we can shuttle you for $35 round trip/per group in a van – if a shuttle van and staff are available. Or you may Uber or Taxi.

Cars can also be rented by the day or week.

On Wednesdays we offer excursions to Glacier National Park to do a half-day Whitewater Rafting trip or a half-day Fly Fishing excursion. We partner with the Glacier Raft Company and they send a bus for pickup. These trips are at your own expense.

We do not offer any transportation outside of this trip. We would recommend renting a car. To truly experience the grandeur of GNP you will need to drive along the Going to the Sun Road which can be an all-day event. There is a Hertz rental car facility in Whitefish with daily rentals.

Horseback Riding

Yes each guest gets their own horse for the week for the majority of the horseback riding activities. However, if a guest is not satisfied with their horse feel free to ask our head wrangler for additional instruction or possibly switching to another horse.

We might switch your horse for a particular horseback riding activity because we have some horses that are better than others when it comes to working cattle and rodeo activities.

You do not need any experience. We have guests who have never ridden, guests who are advanced riders, and everything in between. We match the horse for each guest based experience level, ability, height, and weight.

If you are a beginner or have not ridden in a few years you might like to take a few lessons at home before coming to the Ranch.

Each guest receives a complimentary water bottle upon arrival which can be tied on the saddle or put in a saddle bag. It is very important to stay hydrated on the trails especially during the summer months.

Food & Beverage

Unfortunately, we do not have a liquor license, so no, we do not. We do provide some alcohol throughout the week for different activities (whisky or wine tastings, etc). You are more than welcome, and encouraged, to bring your own or use our provisioning service and for a $20 fee we can pick some up for you prior to your arrival and have it in your room!

Our chefs do an excellent job of accommodating dietary restrictions, such as diabetic, gluten-free, lactose intolerance, vegetarian, or vegan. We are not able to cater to specific types of diets, such as Keto, Atkins, etc.

Because of the time crunch we have on Sundays and our limited number of available shuttles, we cannot stop at the store for you to shop. We can, however, provision for you prior to your arrival. If you send us your list of groceries and/or alcohol at least one week before you arrive, we can pick them up and have them in your room for you for a fee of just $20.

Lodging

Yes we do have single occupancy rates. With a family like atmosphere, single travelers will not feel alone once at the Ranch.

Smoking is not permitted inside the buildings or on the trails. However, smoking is permitted on the designated smoking areas.

Most major cell phone carriers do get coverage at the ranch. You might need to walk around a bit for the best service, but there is coverage. We also provide free Wi-Fi.

General

Guests have told us numerous times that they thought a ranch vacation was out of their comfort zone but, with all of the other activities in the area that they would give it a try. Well, every one of them said it was the best vacation they have ever had. People come from all over the world to enjoy the western experience. You could be sitting at dinner with a couple from Ireland, a person from France, another couple from New Zealand, a family from Florida, a movie producer from California, and all of the staff – it is really cool! With so many different activities at the Bar W there is always something for every age level and physical ability. We invite you to step off the beaten path while making memories guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Spring: Early spring, the end of March through the middle of May, the temperatures will get up to 50-60 degrees in the daytime, and down to 30-40 degrees at night. Late spring, early summer, mid-May through the end of June days are about 60-70 degrees, and nights are 40-50 degrees.

Summer: Days from the beginning of July through the middle of September are a warm 70-90 degrees. During the summer, the nights cool off to a pleasant 55 degrees.

Fall: Days from the middle of September through October are usually high 50’s to low 60’s during the day, with nights in the 40-50 degree range. Temperatures cool off towards the end of October, early November.

Winter:  Average high temperatures for the months of December, January and February are around 30 degrees, with the average lows around 15 degrees. With all of the snow available, you’ll be grateful Whitefish Mountain Resort is only 20 minutes from the Ranch.

We recommend Travel Guard, which is a third-party insurance company that many of our guests use for travel insurance. Call Travel Guard at 877-249-5376, reference product #109400, along with the “Dude Rancher’s Association” for the best rates.

Allianz Insurance also carries travel insurance.

We have a large variety of souvenirs available, including Bar W tee shirts, sweatshirts, baseball and cowboy hats, and some local sundries.

Completely! By the middle of the week, it will no longer seem like you came by yourself. Our guests and staff make lasting relationships at the Bar W Ranch.

If you are coming from a foreign country, you will need your passport to enter the USA, but not while you are at the Ranch or in Montana.

No. You might want cash if you go shopping in town, or participate in any off-ranch activities.

Our entire staff works very hard before, during, and after your stay with us and they use the tips, on top of their wages, for their total income. Tips are collected and pooled and then distributed among all of our staff according to the number of hours worked that week. We ask that you not tip individuals, but if you do, they will turn it into the office for the collected pool.

As for a suggested amount…we hope that you enjoy your stay and are very happy with all of the services that you receive and that you will tip accordingly.

Cattle Drive Week

The cattle drive is one of the most popular packages of the year. We encourage people to make their reservations early, so they get the accommodations they want.

No. The Ranch has sleeping bags, pillows, cots, and all the camping gear, although guests are welcome to bring their own.

The cattle drive is not nose-to-tail riding, and you are in control of your own horse. That being said we have had beginner riders who did very well. There are always wranglers nearby to give instruction and to make sure everyone is safe.

No. We have had guests bring a sun shower or baby wipes for personal hygiene.

There is an outhouse at the base camp for guests to use. On the prairie, there are no bathrooms until guests return to base camp.

Cowgirl Up Week

We start the week with an orientation ride which covers the basics including stopping, turning, and general safety. This is the same for everyone regardless of experience.

Throughout the week, we have rides ranging from one hour to all day. Some are scenic walking rides and others include some more advanced riding that includes trotting and loping.

Honey & hot cream hot rock foot massage and a signature full body massage.

Photography Week

The Bar W arranges a variety of actions, portrait, and landscape shots. Guests will have the opportunity to photograph running horses, cowboys  & cowgirls in full regalia, beautiful shots of Lake Swisher, scenery on the Canadian border ride, and wildlife from Triple D Farms including wolves, leopards, and more.  Please note, not all of these shots are guaranteed but guests will have a wide variety of photo shoots available.

Guests should expect some riding. However, not as much as a traditional summer package. Enjoy multiple 1-hour and 2-hour rides during the week as well as the all-day ride to the Canadian border. The week is focused on creating breathtaking photo shoots to capture the true beauty and excitement of Montana.

The Bar W has partnered with professional photographer Danny Nestor of Danny Nestor Photography to provide guests a workshop oriented experience and host our photography shoots each day. We recommend that guests bring their own camera equipment and know the basics of how to work their personal camera, as well as to use our professional  photographer as much as needed.

Adults Only Week

Adult Only week is similar to our traditional packages but include additional adult oriented activities.

Our minimum age for Adult Only Week is 18 years old. However, there are a few activities that require guests to be 21 years of age such as wine tasting night.

Our Adult Only week is a FANTASTIC week for singles! As a smaller ranch, we participate in activities as small groups and eat meals family style with other guests and staff. Once you arrive you will not feel alone, and will leave with new friends.

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