A Western Vacation for the Whole FamilyIf you want to slip away from the hustle and bustle of the city and into the rolling ridges of the countryside, Bar W Guest Ranch is where you should be. Stretched on 3,000 acres on Spencer Lake in Whitefish, Montana, the ranch is open all year round to extend true western hospitality to all its guests, be it through its accommodation options or variety of activities. So whether you’re planning your upcoming winter vacation or your summer holidays next year, read on to find out why Bar W is where you should be.
A Look at the Past of Bar W Guest RanchBefore it evolved into a dude ranch, Bar W was the sanctuary of a father who wanted to escape the chaos of his workplace. Former world-class skier and outdoorsman Dave Leishman moved permanently to Montana with his wife Jan and his daughters Meghan and Emily after falling in love with the western way of life. Previously, he and his girls would visit a ranch in Northwest Montana where they would ride, work, interact with interesting people, and enjoy the rodeo experience. However, short holidays weren’t enough, which is when he decided to partner with Double D Guest Ranch’s owner Phil Dukes to buy his own.
Why It’s Time that You Drop By Bar WUnder Dave’s and Phil’s leadership, Bar W Guest Ranch received numerous accolades, including the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014, Signature Ranch Best of Horseback Riding in 2012 and 2013, and Signature Ranch Best Dining 2012. These alone make the dude ranch worth exploring, but here are more reasons that truly make it stand out. Dogs Welcomed – Bar W Guest Ranch truly is for the whole family, including members on all four feet. While you can’t keep them inside the lodge or cabin, they’ll be comfortably placed in stalls in the barn and provided with relaxing beds, shavings and water. Just remember to have your pet on a leash while roaming the ranch. Best Horse Riding Experience in Montana – Dave and his girls hardly knew how to ride when they visited their first dude ranch. However, they’ve come a long way and use their experience to help their guests. As a horse-oriented ranch, Bar W offers an advanced and diversified equestrian program and boasts the best trainers in the area. You can explore the mountainous beauty of Montana, especially the peaks of the Stryker Range, meadows of Swisher Lake, and open prairie of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.
A Wide Variety of Activities – If your idea of a vacation entails a lot of action, this is where you should be. The ranch provides a range of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, skeet shooting, fishing at Spencer Lake or Trout Pond, archery, wagon rides, and steer wrestling. Guests can also take part in the rodeo, which features barrel racing and pole bending along with other activities.
Three Types of Lodging – Bar W offers three accommodation options to suit different needs: traditional western lodge, rustic cabin suites, and unique Glamping tents. The main lodge features six rooms, three common spaces, and a game parlor. In addition to promising comfort, the lodge overlooks the horse pasture and allows you to enjoy the wildlife making its way through the wetlands around Spencer Lake. As for the cabin, it was designed by Montana’s skilled Amish to overlook the pasture and surrounding forest. There are two suites you can choose from, both of which boast hand-crafted log furniture and a rustic design. Finally, the Glamping (GLAMorous camPING) tents allow you to enjoy an informal western feel without compromising on luxury. With each tent, you get a queen size bed, futon, kitchenette and private porch. However, the tents are only available between May 1st and October 31st.
Indoor Evening Entertainment – The 60x100 indoor arena is used to improve riders’ skills or train the horses. However, it’s also where you can get together with everyone to enjoy live band music, dancing and an ol’ fashioned hoe-down. You can even book the arena for a wedding, company party or reunion during your vacation. All Year Round Activities – Unlike most dude ranches, this Montana gem is open all year-round. So even if you can’t make it in summer, you’re welcome to enjoy the different activities offered in winter, including snowshoeing or hiking the ridge near Spencer Lake, dog sledding, ice fishing, pigeon shooting, and sleigh ride dinners. You can also relax in the peaceful surrounding in a nice hot tub on the ranch or at one of the nearby day spas.
Numerous Events Around the Area – Whitefish offers its visitors a wide range of events, including the Winter Stroll along Main Street and the Winter Carnival to crown the Royalty. To ensure that you don’t miss out on these, the ranch’s website details monthly Whitefish events.
Different Package for Different People – Bar W offers a variety of packages, including CowGirl-Up, Western Cattle Drives, Adults Only Week, and Photography Week. During off-peak months, the least you can expect to pay is $75 + tax per night for only your room. However, rest assured that you get more than your money’s worth at the ranch by going for a more comprehensive package.