Type of Venue: Off-site, dude ranch
Capacity: More than 75 guests
Nearby Accommodations: On-site
It was just after the silver-mining boom of the late 1800s that the first cattle ranchers arrived in Montana’s Granite County, bringing with them a pioneering spirit and a passion for the land. Acres of pristine pasture rolled out from a backdrop of snowcapped mountains as a blanket of brilliant stars became the nightly covering for cowboys. It wasn’t long before the land was homesteaded, laying the groundwork for what would one day become the world’s first Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star guest ranch.
The original 19th-century barn still stands on the property at the Ranch at Rock Creek — now a Relais and Chateaux property — as do many of the historic shelters and buildings constructed throughout the decades on this continuously operated working cattle ranch. Today the ranch offers visitors and groups an authentic Western dude ranch experience with an upscale spin: More than 20 year-round activities are available for groups throughout 6,600 acres of magical Montana landscapes.
Aside from ample space to roam and play, the Ranch at Rock Creek also offers four different accommodation categories for groups looking to stay the night on-site: a rustic-chic lodge, private luxury homes, a luxuriously restored historic barn and multiple glamping options. Groups attending events or meetings at the Ranch at Rock Creek can take advantage of the property’s all-inclusive pricing. Twice-daily activities are included for groups, along with lavish spreads for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. An on-site event coordinator can help arrange for off-site adventures and help make sure meetings run successfully in any of the exquisite meeting venues indoors and out.
Meeting days at the ranch can begin with an adventure during a sunrise or more leisurely with a guided fly-fishing trip on a Blue-Ribbon trout stream before heading to the boardroom or power breakfast. Social gatherings tend to end around a roaring campfire with handcrafted s’mores and cocktails.
Many of the meeting spaces at the Ranch at Rock Creek are available year-round, but the ranch’s on-site planners can provide more information on which outdoor venues will be open during the changing seasons. Year-round venues include the Buckle Barn Great Hall, the Buckle Barn Lawn, the Granite Lodge Dining Room and Patio and the Silver Dollar Saloon for up to 75 guests each and the Buckle Barn Library and the Den for up to 30 guests each. Seasonal venues include the Den Lawn, the Blue Canteen, the Granite Lodge Flagstone and Piney Ponds for up to 75 guests each; the Tack Room for up to 40 guests; and Bikini Beach for up to 45 guests.
Executive Chef Josh Drage’s ranch menus reflect the beautiful flavors of Montana’s varied seasons. All meals — breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and hors d’oeuvres — are included in the ranch’s inclusive pricing. The culinary team sources organic ingredients from local producers, offering the finest organic and sustainable meats and produce. Not only does the team prepare meals in a variety of ways — either in their modern kitchen or on a Dutch oven over an open flame — but meals at the ranch are more about culinary experiences, like cowboy breakfasts by the pond or the Chef’s Grill feast of Montana wagyu beef and wild line-caught salmon served al fresco. Alcohol is available.
Activities are included in the pricing for groups, and the events team works to curate on-property experiences that meet the goals of each meeting or retreat. Groups can check off bucket-list adventures or discover new passions with more than 20 activities, among them horseback riding, fly-fishing on 4.5 miles of Blue Ribbon trout stream, various shooting activities, 3D archery, a ropes course and mountain biking. During the winter months guests can enjoy downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice skating. Evenings at the ranch are spent in the bowling alley or playing a round of billiards, darts or shuffleboard before catching a movie in the Silver Dollar Saloon.
The ranch team excels at taking the experiences it offers to a new level to create experiences that groups will be talking about for years, from curated adventures and team-building activities to customized and themed menus. Guests can learn frontier skills like building a shelter and setting a snare or take part in a guided meditation in the beauty of nature. While on the property, guests can also take advantage of the on-site Spa and Wellness Center, where fitness instructors and massage therapists work to detox and destress weary bodies. Every guest receives a personal bike for use while on the property, which makes the 19-feature ropes course easy to access for group outings.