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Indagare Matchmaker: The Best Lodges & Ranches in the American West

This year, Americans are looking for domestic destinations that give them privacy and direct access to the great outdoors. The American West, with its vast expanses, beautiful vistas and opportunities for private charter flights is particularly well suited for the adventure-loving hopeful traveler. The region is also home to some of America’s most appealing ranches and lodges, offering luxe accommodations combined with old-time adventure. Read on for the best lodges in the West.

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to discuss whether one of these lodges is right for you, and to learn more about coronavirus travel safety, including the destinations that are open to travel, new COVID-19 hotel policies and future trip-planning advice, inspiration and other ideas.

Related: U.S. Hotels with Private Cottages

Lodge at Blue Sky, Utah

Set on 3,500 acres in Utah, the Lodge at Blue Sky is a contemporary ranch with a design focus, elevated cuisine and renowned horsemanship and wellness programs.

  • Best for: Those looking for a high-design, extremely accessible retreat with excellent food, a contemporary aesthetic and many activities both on and off property. Multi-generational families may prefer this location for skiing, as some members can ski while others relax on property.
  • Room to Book: One of the five Creek Cottages, located at the bottom of the hill. These are extremely private and adults-only.
  • Keep in Mind: The design is contemporary, so those looking for an old-school ranch with a traditional atmosphere may prefer another property.
  • Favorite Activities:  Hiking with or without a guide, biking and fly-fishing in nearby rivers, horseback riding, helicoptering to mountain yoga and clay shooting in the summer;  snow shoeing and cross country-, alpine-, and heli-skiing in the winter.

Related: WSJxIndagare Offer: Lodge at Blue Sky

Ranch at Rock Creek, Montana

Located on 6,600 acres, the lavish, all-inclusive Ranch at Rock Creek offers a gorgeous interpretation of a Wild West adventure, with an excellent dining program and incredibly stylish accommodations.

  • Best for: Couples, families and groups of friends who love exploring outdoors and enjoy a plush but authentic Western setting. The ranch is also a fabulous place to take over as a larger group for a special occasion, like an anniversary or party.
  • Room to Book: Sweetgrass, a two-bedroom canvas cabin
  • Keep in Mind: Because of the variety of accommodations tailored to specific needs and interests, those considering a trip should contact Indagare for more information.
  • Favorite Activities: Clay shooting, fishing, paintball, skiing, snowmobiling, bowling and foosball at the Saloon

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado

A collection of historic log cabins that were reassembled with a lot of taste, style and money, Dunton Hot Springs makes a luxe base from which to explore the great outdoors.

  • Best for: Anyone who wants a glamping experience, including couples who are looking for a romantic cabin adventure and families who want to do outdoors activities from a comfortable home base.
  • Room to Book: Each cabin is unique and has special touches: Bjoerkmans has a sunken tub and living space, Potter house is great for families because it can hold up to ten people, and Echo has an outdoor shower. Contact Indagare for help deciding which is right for you.
  • Keep in Mind: Dunton is not right for those who are looking for sleek, 24-hour service and to be surrounded by people and a scene. Also not for those who need to get there on a direct flight.
  • Favorite Activities: Bathing in the hot springs, hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, yoga, Pilates, skiing, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing.

Taylor River Lodge, Colorado

The beautiful Taylor River Lodge feels like a luxurious summer camp for adults and kids. The resort also has a game room (with a pool, dart board and more), a salt water pool, hot tub and a spa, as well as a restaurant with incredible farm-to-table cuisine

  • Best for: Couples who are looking for active adventure as well as some R&R; families seeking many options for entertainment, activity and connection; friends and family who want to take over the entire property to celebrate a big occasion.
  • Room to Book: The 17 cabins accommodate either two or four guests and all have a rustic-chic style. For families of four or more, there are two accommodations that have full kitchens and bathrooms with gorgeous freestanding tubs.
  • Keep in Mind: The lodge is only open from May to mid-October.
  • Favorite Activities: Fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, inflatable kayaking and horseback
    riding

The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming

Set on 30,000 acres in the middle of Wyoming’s unspoiled Platte River Valley, this designer-chic guest ranch celebrates Western heritage and adventure with elegance.

  • Best for: Discriminating travelers who are ready to fall in love with the West through active pursuits and luxurious accommodations.
  • Room to Book: Magee Homestead, located five miles from the main ranch, which comes with its own dedicated staff and can be taken over by a group, or the 700-square-foot yurt, which can be accessed on horseback and includes gourmet dinners cooked over open fires.
  • Keep in Mind: The lodge is open only from May through October and is very hard to get to: guests fly into the Denver airport and then drive four hours to the property.
  • Favorite Activities: Horseback riding, big game hunting, fly-fishing, rock climbing

Triple Creek Ranch, Montana

Set among the towering Douglas firs of Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, the Triple Creek Ranch is a Relais & Châteaux property with twenty-four cozy, well-appointed cabins.

  • Best for: Active adults who want to experience the West through adventurous activities, gourmet cuisine and a comfortable cabin in the woods.
  • Room to Book: Chipmunk for couples; Osprey, a restored fishing cabin on a river bank, for those who want to fish from sunrise to sunset
  • Keep in Mind: Guests under 16 are not accepted
  • Favorite Activities: Cattle drive (book in advance), hiking the Lewis and Clark trail, sapphire panning, dog sledding

Lone Mountain Guest Ranch, Montana

Located just seven miles from the lifts at Big Sky ski resort and twenty miles from Yellowstone, this historic ranch offers one-week packages (Saturday through Saturday) for adventurous vacations in the summer and prime Nordic skiing in the winter.

  • Best for: Travelers who want an affordable way to explore the beauty of Montana and experience the charm of a historic dude ranch.
  • Room to Book: The Ridgetop Lodge, a six-bedroom cottage set away from the heart of the ranch and so perfect for larger groups
  • Keep in Mind: The atmosphere is truly old school, with meals served family-style, which some will love and others wont’.
  • Favorite Activities: Whitewater rafting, zip-lining, skiing, ropes courses

Resort at Paws Up, Montana

The ranch that pioneered the concept of glamping (luxury tented camps) has an exquisite setting and continues to draw a loyal following.

  • Best for: Low-key families who want a ton of activities
  • Room to Book: One of the two- to four-bedroom homes
  • Keep in Mind: Activities are not all-inclusive, so can add up
  • Favorite Activities: Clay shooting, whitewater rafting, ATV riding, snowmobiling, hayride

Mountain Sky Guest Ranch, Montana

The gold standard for summertime family ranch vacations, Montana’s 10,000-acre Mountain Sky Guest Ranch offers impeccable service, charming log cabins and fabulous activities in an idyllic mountain setting.

  • Best for: Active travelers and families who seek adventure and Western tradition in breathtaking surroundings with deluxe comforts.
  • Room to Book: Pony, an original cabin from the 1930s, and Big Horn, a newer cabin ideal for families. Book as soon as possible, as this Montana icon sells out up to a year or even two in advance.
  • Keep in Mind: There are no TVs in the rooms and no cell service.
  • Favorite Activities: Golf, horseback riding, hiking, fly-fishing

Related: Summer Road Trip Ideas: The Best U.S. Hotels You Can Drive To

Contact Indagare or your Trip Designer to discuss whether one of these lodges is right for you, and to learn more about coronavirus travel safety, including the destinations that are open to travel, new COVID-19 hotel policies and future trip-planning advice, inspiration and other ideas.

– Emma Pierce on August 7, 2020

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