Bear Creek Guest Ranch


MONTANA HORSEBACK VACATIONS

Spring

Horseback Vacations, Bear Creek Guest Ranch

Spring Celebration:

Sunday, May 19 –

Saturday May 25, 2024

(A few spots left)

Get a taste of everything it means to be a cowboy!!

This is the week we start our season with and it's the week we do it all!!

Book between April 1st-30th and receive a special Spring discount.

Click the link below for more information.

Summer

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

(FULL)

A Father & Son Summer:

Sunday, August 11-

Saturday, August 17, 2024

Bill's Special Riding Week:

Sunday, August 25-

Saturday, August 31, 2024

(FULL)


Click the link below for more information.

Fall

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 -

Wednesday October 9, 2024

Special 3-night vacation

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 Bill.bearcreekranch@gmail.com


The Last Gather

Horseback Vacations, Bear Creek Guest Ranch

Sunday, October 20 –Saturday October 26, 2024

*Featured Combination year end trip!

*Some riding experience required. 

Cost:

$3995 per person

$7495 per couple

*Excluding Taxes and $20 Indian Reservation Permit


Give us a call anytime!

406-226-4489

One of our Best Trips!

During the course of our trip this past season, as shown in the accompanying photos, I spent quite a bit of time riding and visiting with one of the owners of the cattle we were gathering, Ray Champ. Ray is one of the states' most accomplished rodeo announcers and in addition, raises quarter horses and cattle as well. He matches my enthusiasm for the guest business while at the same time is always looking for ways to spend his time horseback. One can be in Ray's company for five minutes and feel the infectious energy he has for riding and getting to know complete strangers. You'll see what I mean next fall!
We'll be joining forces with Ray and his family and spending the later October days gathering and moving their herd from the Mitten Lake Country on the Blackfeet Reservation , some of the most awesome country you'll ever have the pleasure of riding in, out of the mountains and foothill country, and taking them east.
This trip begins with your arrival at Bear Creek Ranch by plane to Kalispell or driving directly to the ranch just west of East Glacier. Arrive that Sunday by mid-afternoon, get settled in your cabin, meet myself and Diana, Ray, and the crew, and we'll be off to the barn and arena and will begin matching you to the right horse for the week.  This trip, in particular, will require some good riding right out of the gate! 
 At times, you will want to get after a stubborn cow or calf, or a bunch of them, not wanting to move just because you want them too! You'll need to use your horse and yourself as best you can and push that bunch towards the rest.  Our horses will be ready for the job at hand and so will you!  Every hour that goes by horseback will build your confidence level and by the end of the first day, you will be good to go.

We'll be gathering cattle for at least two days while moving the main herd to a smaller, holding field, and then going back and finding and pushing strays and smaller groups of cows and calves to the same field. We should be ready to take the whole bunch cross country on Wednesday or Thursday and will then be taking them cross country to their winter home at Four Horns Lake, a two-day trip horseback and with any luck, the wind at our backs.

On that note, you will notice a bit of snow in the pics from this past October, well, we had a blow alright, but we kept on riding and had some absolutely gorgeous days as well. We did have some wind but for the most part, it was at our backs! Mornings in this part of Montana will be pretty nippy with the daytime sun warming things up. You'll need a good coat, hat, and gloves. You'll love this time of year.

If there is a trip with us that I'd say might involve a few more hours in the saddle over the period of five days this one would be it. We'll be needing to get all the cattle out of the foothills by the time we're done. We might have an easy day or two but may well have a long day or so mixed in. If you're in good shape and want to be there horseback you'll get it. Nevertheless, I would recommend some riding before you get here. We'll put the right horse in front of you for sure. You do your part as well.

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!

Our very first special 3-night horseback vacation!!

15750 US-2, Essex,  MT 59916 United States | (406) 226-4489 | bill.bearcreekranch@gmail.com

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Cowboying The Front Range

Know more about our new Cattle Drive.