Last October we planned a fall family trip to Montana, one of the few states left on our travel bucket list that we’ve always wanted to visit. And by always, I mean since our obvious obsession with the show Yellowstone. Sitting on edge over here in my Stetson hat waiting for the new season to premiere.
Back to Montana – the beauty is unreal. There’s truly nothing better for your relationships than spending time together unplugged in nature, making memories that will last forever. It’s a breathtaking, new-to-us destination that was well worth the wait.
Getting to Montana
We flew into Missoula and were greeted by transportation from our resort who drove us to Greenough, Montana. For reference, Greenough is a 2-3 hour drive from Glacier National Park.
Where We Stayed
For this trip, we stayed at The Resort at Paws Up. Paws Up is an all-inclusive, authentic working cattle ranch situated in the pristine mountains of western Montana. We initially booked a two-bedroom Meadow Home; because of availability, we were upgraded to a three-bedroom Wilderness Estate.
The cabin was a total dream: Luxury features inspired by natural elements. We relaxed every day in the hot tub on our private deck, and when the snow started to fall, it was even more magical. One of my favorite moments was ordering pizza for a cozy movie night, roasting s’mores, and watching The Mighty Ducks as the grand finale. Building fires in our stacked stone and timber fireplace was so fun I started to regret ever installing gas logs at home.
Our 3,250 square-foot Wilderness Estate included
- Two king beds, two queen beds and one full sofa bed
- Three master bedrooms with en suite bathrooms
- Living room with stone fireplace
- Chef’s kitchen
- Loft game room
- Private deck with hot tub
- Wi-Fi access
- Daily full-service housekeeping
- Use of Lexus personal vehicle
This location is perfect for active families or couples who appreciate adventure. If you’re someone who wants to shop or dine at numerous restaurants, a city, a larger resort, or a location closer to a town might be a better option.
What We Did
Paws Up guests have personal use of a Lexus SUV, and we spent hours exploring the 37,000-acre property, watching for wildlife and taking pictures of bison, bighorn sheep and elk.
The girls were in heaven, playing in the fresh air and trekking through the woods in search of sticks to build a teepee while we rocked on the front porch sipping coffee. Okay – I rocked; it didn’t take long for Zach to offer his expertise and assistance to the teepee construction.
There are so many resort activities to choose from, you can live as slow or fast-paced as you like. Zach did plan several excursions for the two of us while the girls enjoyed the kids adventure club (more on this below). Unfortunately the outdoor spa had closed for the season, but the staff were wonderful and we loved our morning session in the Morris Ranch House.
The RZR Experience tour was a blast, but the absolute highlight was fly fishing on the Blackfoot River. No, I’m not kidding. If you don’t know, Zach is an avid hunter and I’d rather peel off my toenails than crouch in a deer stand. Learning to fish, however, was the perfect mix of methodical activity, relaxation and hysteria-levels of excitement when reeling in a catch. Even though the temperature was a balmy 12 degrees, and even though I should’ve packed a warm thermos drink and longer coat to defrost my backside, it was a perfect half-day of spectacular sights. Our boat guide’s positive energy was contagious, and we caught several beautiful trout and cutthroats which were all released back into their natural habitat.
Where We Ate
Paws Up is all-inclusive, so in the morning we grabbed breakfast to go from Trough or had it delivered to our cabin. For lunch, we usually ate at Tank which had delicious soups, salads, and sandwiches. Dinner at Pomp was incredible, we ate there twice. Pomp had the best atmosphere with a roaring fire and menu featuring wild game and comforting Western classics.
There’s no market on the property but Paws Up will deliver groceries. Had I known better, I would’ve requested snacks, drinks, and breakfast items to have on hand prior to our arrival. If you plan to stay longer than a couple of days, I recommend taking advantage of the grill and eating a couple of meals in your cabin since dining options are more limited.
Fun for Kids
The Kids Corp of Discovery is an immersive half or full-day program specifically tailored for the Little Discoverers (ages 3-5) and the Adventure Club (ages 6-12). Again, the Paws Up staff were amazing. Our two wild ones were worn out after nature lessons, trying out rustic skills around the ranch, and doing fun crafts like pumpkin carving. They ate in a resort restaurant and the ice cream was a big hit. Nanny and babysitting services are also available after hours.
We do like to have the girls with us as much as possible, but they were just a little too young to fully experience the resort during the season we went. If I could do it again, I would book our trip for August or September when more activities are available for younger kids. Now that both are six and older, they can join in all the fun. Cooper family fly fishing, here we come!
What We Packed
Here are a few of the outfits we packed for our trip!
Shop our ski gear here