There are helipads but no cell phones or young children at Triple Creek Ranch, a 600-acre luxury Western playground on a slope of 10,157-foot Trapper Peak, Montana’s highest mountain, near the Idaho border. Owned by Craig and Barbara Barrett (he, the former CEO of Intel; she, a former astronaut and U.S. ambassador to Finland), this elegant, high-end dude ranch offers sapphire pan mining, scenic trail rides, fishing from stocked trout ponds, and guided hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing (including starlit expeditions), as well as themed weekend stays focusing on art, food, and wine. The owners’ no-hunting policy has resulted in large herds of elk and other game gravitating to the property, and guests frequently spot animals from huge log cabins decorated with leather furniture and original Western-themed art and equipped with wood-burning fireplaces, private decks, bar, Blu-ray players, and working Wi-Fi connections. (Though the ranch deliberately has no cell phone signal.) From May through October, for additional fees, the ranch pairs up guests with professional rodeo trainers and Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing operators. In winter, the lodge facilitates transportation, tickets, and equipment rental vouchers for the nearby Lost Trail Powder Mountain downhill ski center (300 inches of snow annually) and Chief Joseph Cross Country Ski Area.
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Although the ranch technically welcomes guests age 16 and older, it’s not pitched at teens, and guests in their 20s may feel outnumbered at dinner by an older crowd. Golf carts provide transportation between cabins and the main lodge. Helicopters ferry affluent visitors to Yellowstone National Park, the airport in Missoula (75 miles to the north), and stretches of the scenic Bitterroot Valley. Darby, the nearest town, with a population of less than 750, offers essential services such as a taxidermy shop, cider works, and nanobrewery.
Need to Know
Rooms: 23 cabins. From $950 per couple, inclusive of meals and on-ranch activities; three-night minimum. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Meals are served in the log-and-cedar main lodge. Here chefs use local meat and produce and fresh, flown-in seafood to create fusion menus from the American Southwest, the West Indies, and Central America—all paired with award-winning wines from California, Washington, and Oregon. If guests have saved room for dessert, they head for the massive fire pit outside the main lodge. It's continually stocked with marshmallow roasting sticks and baskets of other s’more-making ingredients. Spa and gym details: While there is no spa, in-cabin massages can be arranged. There is a small fitness center, and an outdoor pool and tennis court.
Who’s it for: Couples who think neither cell phones nor kids should be seen or heard. Our favorite rooms: Cabins the size of private homes dot the slope beneath the main lodge. A handful of more secluded abodes lie a mile or so away. Hidden among ponderosa pines, Chipmunk cabin has a writer’s loft atop a spiral staircase. Castle Rock cabin has a sunroom with a whirlpool-bath view of the forest. Fit for an entourage, Ponderosa house sleeps 30 guests who can host a cocktail party or hook a trout from the three-level deck atop a stocked fish pond. Nature lovers book Stage Stop, which looks out over a mountain-backed meadow where horses, elk, and wild turkeys graze. Plan ahead: Repeat guests book one-day cattle drives on the neighboring Sula Peak Cattle Ranch (June through October dates must be reserved a year in advance), or winter dog sledding with Iditarod race finisher and mushing guide Jessie Rover. Book way in advance for any stay in October, when the foliage is spectacular, and it’s still mild enough to horseback ride and fly-fish for steelhead trout.