Sweet Grass, on the National Register of Historic Places, is our family ranching tradition since 1880; we are the real West. We raise Angus cattle and horses here year around. Guest numbers are limited to 20-22 so that everyone can pursue their own interests.
Riding is our main emphasis, with fourteen miles of canyon behind the ranch for those who like wilderness and alpine riding, or take a faster ride out into the lower rolling country where our winter ranch is located. We have endless miles of both the alpine and the open country to ride, so you have a wide choice of destinations and ride lengths. Several morning and afternoon rides, a short all-day ride and a long all-day ride are offered every day, with ride sizes kept small. Riding lessons are available-just let Page and Pat know you want them; there is no charge. We walk, trot and lope, depending upon terrain, with more trail riding in the mountains of necessity. Each guest is welcome to care for his own horse; be prepared to be up and about before breakfast to curry and saddle your horse. Bareback riding, games on horseback and swimming the horses are all a part of the fun in our life. For a truly memorable ride, take a sunrise ride to the top of the ridge to watch the canyon come alive and then come back to a hot breakfast and the rest of your day.
Everyone is welcome to take an active part in ranch life. There are cattle to check, salt, doctor and move as grass and water dictate. Besides our weekly routine check of cattle and grazing conditions, and moving cows if those conditions warrant it, we move cattle the week of June 20, and the week of July 16, and the first week of August and the week of September 2-9. Rocco sometimes takes guests to his winter ranch for corral work with cattle and we occasionally help neighbors with cattle. There is an opportunity every week to spend half a day working horses with Rocco and Annie using the natural horsemanship approach. Anyone who is interested can learn to rope on the ground. No guest is required to work, but the opportunity is here to take an active part in our life if you want to give it a try, or just to relax and have fun!
Although riding is our main activity, there are plenty of other things to do: fly fishing or spin casting is good in the creek, the lakes and the beaver ponds. The dry fly fishing gets better as the summer goes on and the creek is lower. We do suggest you bring your own fishing equipment, especially if you are serious about fishing. There is a wonderful natural water slide in the creek that both kids and adults love, especially on a hot day. The creek provides good swimming holes and inner tubing spots. The hiking trails are easy to use by yourself and lead to some breath-taking views. Both hiking and riding offer terrific photography opportunities. Nightly campfires and star-gazing, a pool game or reading are the usual night-time activities. Softball, field hockey and horseshoes entertain the energetic and loosen muscles after a day or riding, but a hot tub and massage (the massage is at an extra charge) are also available to soothe aches. Guests often see elk, deer, bear, coyotes and eagles on rides, and catch an occasional glimpse of moose, mountain goats and wolves. There are many lovely wild flowers and a wide variety of birds, with walks or rides to identify each. For an extra charge, overnight horse and hiking trips are arranged at the ranch, as well as trips to ghost towns, museums, Indian ceremonials, Yellowstone Park, golfing and white water rafting. We take any interested guests to local rodeos the last weekend of June and the 4th of July at no charge; other rodeo trips can be arranged if they are close enough to be feasible.
Although we don’t have a “Children’s Program” per se, we do a lot with the kids in the way of games on horseback, arena time to learn confidence and balance, fishing, kids’ overnight rides. We are happy to take the kids on special “kids only” rides if they wish to be free of adults for awhile, or they can stick around the ranch while their parents are riding for the day. They are welcome
to take part in everything; we don’t have any age limits for participation in anything. However, we also have rides without kids for adults. If you want a true babysitter, we can arrange that with some advance notice.
Three delcious ranch meals are served daily, family style in the dining room; each week is a different menu. There is a great variety, although we do ask advance notice for medical diets and vegetarians. Natural grass fed ranch beef, organic salad ingredients, fresh ranch baked breads and desserts, and home made ice cream are prepared by our ranch cooks. Lunches are packed to your order for all-day rides, fishing and hiking expeditions.
Comfortable, rustic accommodations range from rooms with a shared bath or a family unit with private bath in the main ranch house to larger family cabins with bath (tub and shower). We do ask guests not to smoke in the buildings; porches are fine.
There is neither TV nor social organization. Sweet Grass is for those who want a relaxing vacation with good horses to ride in lovely country, good fishing, family style meals, abundant wildlife, time to read and enjoy Nature, and a chance to try something different -ranch life as we live it.
Everyone gathers on the front porch before dinner to swap stories; they bring their own liquor, beer or soft drinks. We do have a small, honor system store for candy, pop, postcards, sundries and gifts. Beer and liquor can be ordered from town for guests who don’t want to bring it; just let me know and I’ll have it here for you.