Bear Creek Guest Ranch


Be a part of "The Last Best Place."

Our world is always changing, but not so much here at Bear Creek Ranch! We do have some limited wi-fi access but no cell phone service. You may see elk or deer, or even an occasional bear, on the property from your cabin window. And you will see a bunch of horses! Horses are a huge part of our identity, our being, our lives. We really hope you can join us in that enjoyment, whether it be on a day-long ride, cattle drive, or simply caring for them in our barn or corral.

We'll take care of the details - you can just show up and enjoy yourself. When you arrive at the ranch for your Montana horseback riding adventure, you will feel welcome and right at home. We offer full day horseback rides and do so in small groups and have four week-long horseback riding adventures, Riding the Four Winds and Off the Beaten Path in addition to cattle drives in the Fall and Spring, something for horseback riders of all levels! Those week-long trips are described if you click on them below. Love to have you join us.

Each horseback riding vacation event specializes in something different, but they all have adventure and fun in common. These horseback vacations are like nothing else you have ever experienced, and you will have amazing memories and stories to take home with you. Along with learned knowledge and a new found appreciation for the western way of life!

Come and immerse yourself in the Montana way of life and share in a bit of real American history. This part of the country truly sets Northwestern Montana apart from any place you have ever or will ever visit. From our week-long horseback vacations to cattle drives to horseback day trips, see why the people who have visited Bear Creek Ranch return again and again!


Horseback Vacations, Bear Creek Guest Ranch

Spring Celebration:

Sunday, May 19 –

Saturday May 25, 2024

Click the link below for more information.


Horseback Vacations, Bear Creek Guest Ranch

North American Indian Days:

Sunday, July 7 –

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Off The Beaten Path:

Sunday July 21, -

Saturday July 27, 2024

A Father & Son Summer:

Sunday, August 11-Saturday, August 17, 2024

Bill's Special Riding Week:

Sunday, August 25-

Saturday, August 31, 2024

Click the link below for more information.


Horseback Vacations, Bear Creek Guest Ranch

Riding the Four Winds in The Fall:

Sunday, September 8-Saturday, September 14, 2024

'Fall' in Love with Montana:

Sunday, October 6 -

Saturday October 12, 2024

Indian Summer, The Last Gather:

Sunday October 20 -

Saturday October 26, 2024

(Featured combination year end trip.)

Click the link below for more information.

Please call or email to inquire about availability. Or book online!

406-226-4489 or

Montana Ranch Vacations

'The Imperfectly Perfect Ride'

There is no such thing as the perfect horseback ride.  But there are those rides on horseback that sure as hell are pretty damned good! I’ve been part of some real successful rides that, quite simply, just plain worked. When you’re half way through a good ride and the energy in your guests is turning to smiles, engaging conversation, even an improvement in their horsemanship skills, you know you’re onto something good!

That good ride is a pleasure. It plum flat feels good and you know it when you feel it. 

I’m thinking of one ride in particular that we do. There are some pieces to that day’s adventure that fall into place and make the ride just right. In most cases, we’ll be riding in a small group, generally with no more than eight riders but preferably with four to six folks with some riding experience.  A guest doesn’t need to be super handy but hopefully has some rides under their belts, while also being in decent physical shape. There’s a difference between sitting on a horse and “sitting a horse.” Sitting a horse requires some effort, legwork, and a good posture that’ll move you towards that “riding light through feel” concept that the Dorrance brothers fashioned going back to the early days of the modern pure horsemanship movement. When our guests begin to ride lightly and you can comment to them how good they are riding, it’s all good!

There’s no doubt that a ride into some remote country, awesome in sight, and with blue skies and the sun shining, we’re ahead of the ball game. Even in Northern Montana, our warm weather days are common. We’ve got the mountains covered, and with some good travelling onto a river bottom for variety, those natural resources, that are often taken for granted, are well appreciated. Every so often we’ll bump into a grizzly in a coulee or a coyote racing away from us at warp speed, which only adds to the spice of life on a good ride. I know what you’re thinking. We see those griz from a distance, usually moving away from us. But occasionally, we’re able to get a good look from a distance and they are a sight you’ll never forget. So in my world, if you see a grizzly, that means you’re gonna’ have good luck!

Well alright then. 

There’s the matter of how good it feels and how important it is to yours truly to do a ride and never see another soul. That’s where we normally are. Alone and with only us and the Four Winds! We seek out the untrammeled trailed and untrailed country. That’s the way we like it and so will you. There’s something special about a small group of riders and no one else. I swear, you will love that sense of solitude. It’s just us baby! 

There’s another thing I’d like to mention and that is how we ride. By that I mean we ride with as little nose to tail formation as is humanly possible. You don’t like constant nose to tail and neither do I! There are sometimes when you’re on a narrow trail and may have to amend that but for the most part we ride with some freedom attached. Ride to the side, ride with your partner, ride alone, ride as you feel you want to. It’s easier than you think. We don’t have lots of do’s and dont’s. There’s no need for that kind of behavior! We’ve been doing these rides for longer than about anyone I know and our style has worked well for us.

There you go! Riding big country with good folks and even better horses is what we all want.  We’ve got it here and I am so grateful for that.  An almost perfect ride is the result of thought, engagement, preparation, and the “want to” that’s necessary to make the day a winner.

 Vaya con Dios mi Amigos. Bill.

Oh yeah, there’s one more thing I’d like to mention.  We don’t do a whole lot of hard, fast, pounding rides. We save the speed for the arena if we’re roping, barrel racing, or moving cows in our arena. We do occasionally break into a trot on wide open country and that’s fine but I think it’s important to manage the horses over the course of a long season. It’s Hollywood that dramatizes opening up the horseflesh into a gallop. But that’s what it is… drama.

Hey, last but not least, you’re going to meet some really neat folks at our place, and you will undoubtedly enjoy riding with a new friend and sharing new experiences with them. There’s no better way to develop a new friendship than from the back of a horse!

"We do everything that we can to maintain the authentic Western way of life, even in the ever-changing, fast-paced world of the present. When life slows down, you slow down – cell phones are forgotten. The sky is bigger, the plains more vast, the mountains are higher and the air is more clear. And you'll appreciate it all!"

See Our Recently Added Special Vacation to the 2024 Schedule!

'Fall' in Love with Montana

Experience Fall in Montana and enjoy all that it has to offer.

From the beauty of the mountains to the love that you will feel when you leave!

"The Best Rides I Know"

Sunday, August 25th to Saturday, August 31st



$4495 per person

$8495 per couple

Give us a call for any additional pricing information.


Horseback Vacations, Bear Creek Guest Ranch

Bills Special Riding Week!

The Best Rides I Know:

Well, it’s about time ain’t it! It’s about time to pick out the best trail rides I’ve

ever done and then do ‘em again!

So, next season (2024), I’ll be putting together a week that will highlight some of the most awesome country I know, the best riding on our best horses, riding our best selection of trails one day with the potential of moving cattle the next day, and in addition we’re going to highlight each of our eight guests over the course of the week as I share with you country you’ve never seen before and perhaps never will again!

I started riding the country that surrounds me at my home, Bear Creek Ranch,

more than forty years ago. I came to the ranch with the idea that I’d gather up a

few horses and somehow, some way, be able to ride folks into the country that surround us. We do stay out of Glacier National Park for the most part but

focus our best rides both In the Badger-Two Medicine and Blackfeet Reservation

Country. Believe me, you “won’t believe” what you’re going to see. Over the

course of many years I’ve had the pleasure of riding areas that are “off the beaten

path,” and not ridden by anyone. We’ve done those rides for, in many cases,

years, and have yet to ever see another soul. We can ride with “effect” and not at

a regimented walk in a crowd. If we care to hit a trot or a lope, we’ll do so. Do

keep in mind that we’ll also pay attention to our horses and will manage their

days with care directed towards their lives as well. Hitting it too hard isn’t good

but riding too slowly isn’t what you are coming for either. I think our many guests

that have ridden with us over the years would agree. And by the way, if you care

to, there’s a bunch of reviews on our operation at Feel free to

take a look!

So back to “my favorite” rides of the last half century, almost! Beginning on

Sunday, August 25th we’ll be picking up 8- 10 guests at the airport in Kalispell. The

ride back to the ranch is about seventy miles so we’ll be at the ranch in any hour

or so. You’ll be staying in one of our five cabins and eating some real filling and

nutritious homemade meals every morning and evening. We pack lunch in saddle

bags and eat on the trail each day. Following an introduction to the ranch and our

staff we’ll be riding in our sand arena to match everyone up to the right horse and

the right saddle. We’ve got plenty of horses to choose from and you will be

welcome to ride the same horse all week or switch things up and ride a few

different ones.

For the record, we do have a weight limit of 225 pounds and on the week in

question we are asking that you have some riding experience. You don’t need

alot of experience as we’ve got horses that will be more malleable than others

but you will feel more comfortable if you’ve got the basic horsemanship skills


The ideas I have for the following week are to ride a different bit of country every

day. I’ll run our options by you each evening and we’ll go from there. Wind, rain,

or snow won’t be a factor during this period of time. The sky is blue and sunny,

rain will be hard to find, and snow season is still a few months off. No mud and

no bugs! You’ll be riding the mountains, the foothills, and the coulees along the

river. You won’t need to ride nose to tail. Spread out when you care to. On any

given day we may have the opportunity to see a bear, black or grizzly. They’re

there and you’ll see tracks and scat. We see the big ones from a distance and

with a group on horseback there is no danger.

I’ve always maintained that a day horseback is a day well spent. That’s where we

want to go! There’s a whole lot to be said about swinging a leg over and heading

out. That’s really the essence of a good ride. If you’re riding in good country, on a

good horse, and with good folks, you’re way ahead of the ballgame. Everything

else is gravy! You are going to be riding with some good people. Believe it or

not, we rarely have a mix up or an unsatisfied customer. So many of the groups

that have been informally put together for the adventure vacations are a big part

of the joy you’ll experience over the course of the week. You’ll be meeting folks

from our country and beyond. This past season we had ‘em from Sweden,

Ireland, and Australia.

If after reading this you still find yourselves with some questions regarding times,

dates, and details please feel free to call us here and send an e-mail. We’ll

probably be here but if not just leave a message. Some guests talk to us a half

dozen times before they ever arrive. Ask away. No worries.

So, we’ll be good to go when you’re ready! We’d love to have you with us on this very special, first of it’s kind adventure vacation. I don’t know of another outfit

that does it like us. Bring some clothing, boots, and a hat along with a good sense

of humor and an appetite.

Hope you are well and again looking forward to another warm weather season,

still another 6 months ahead of us!

Let’s talk soon,


15750 US-2, Essex,  MT 59916 United States | (406) 226-4489 |

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