The Resort at Paws Up

40060 Paws Up Rd, Greenough, MT 59823, USA

One of the most luxurious Western guest ranches, opened in 2005, the Resort at Paws Up, in Greenough, sprawls over 37,000 acres of classic Montana landscape: elk-filled meadows, rocky peaks, and ponderosa pines in the Blackfoot Valley, with the river of the same name running through it all. The most sought-after accommodations are the “glamping” tents on the banks of the Blackfoot or along Elk Creek that are available May through October and organized into five separate camps, taking just six guests each. The camps combine a Western lifestyle with an African safari formula: canvas suites with private baths, a communal dining pavilion with fireplace and fire pit, private camp chef, and butlers to help organize guest activities. Families and friends who prefer four walls between themselves and nature stay in enormous wood-and-stone villas with heated hardwood floors, fireplaces, leather furniture, huge flat-screen TVs, and panoramic windows; some of these homes come with outdoor hot tubs and tented bedrooms for kids.

All guests have the opportunity to hike, rappel, canoe, play paintball, take cooking classes, and more, but the main action is on-site fly-fishing and horseback riding for all levels on 100 miles of private trails or in a 23,000-square-foot equestrian arena; adults and kids 12 and up can help move small herds of Black Angus cattle on sample stock drives. If parents want private adventure time, kid wranglers entertain young’uns. In the evening, communal entertainment takes place in a renovated barn that serves as stock sales venue, dance floor, and movie theater. Despite the busy activity menu and flow of golf carts transporting guests to and fro, the ranch is large enough, and accommodation so widely spaced that guests can survey the landscape and not see anyone.

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Glamour in the Wilderness

Spanning 37,000 acres of western Montana‘s wilderness, The Resort at Paws up has made this rugged landscape accessible to luxury travelers. At Paws Up, “camping” is both glamorous and rustic. Tents are safari-like in construction—think elevated with hardwood floors and tented walls—and lavishly appointed with a signature bed, down comforters, electricity, a spacious deck, and ensuite bathroom. You’ll also have twice-daily housekeeping services, gourmet meals prepared by the camp chef, and your own personal camping butler. Set on the banks of the Blackfoot River or Elk Creek, you can take in the soothing sounds of water running by. For a brick-and-mortar stay, vacation homes are set on four acres of land and designed with elegant, rustic charm. Wrap around decks, stone fireplaces, and private hot tubs are characteristic of most vacation homes here. Nadine, part owner of Paws Up and Lipson family member, hand picks each detail in the homes as well. In keeping with the family-owned resort’s name, Paws Up (in honor of their dogs’ friendly greetings), all homes have a special statuette of a porcelain dog.

Spa Town

Get closer to nature with treatments from Paws Up’s meadow-side spa. Located where the edge of an expansive pine forest meets a lush meadow, Spa Town is a secluded place for deep relaxation. The full-service, private treatment tents are outfitted with heated massage tables, hardwood floors, and running water. The landscape here will undoubtedly lull you into a deep sense of relaxation, as each room features views of the meadow beyond (often dotted with wild horses) and the tranquil sounds of a babbling brook nearby. There’s also a fitness tent in Spa Town with the latest exercise equipment and a variety of yoga classes.

Work the Ranch like a Cowboy

After Lewis and Clark trekked across the area on their historic expedition, cattle ranchers and frontiersmen have worked the land for generations. For nearly a decade, guests of Paws Up have been learning about these Montana traditions. When the Lipson family bought the commercial Black Angus ranch, they renamed it Paws Up after their dog’s enthusiastic greeting. While the property continues to operate as a cattle ranch, the focus has shifted from commercial sales to keeping traditions alive and creating opportunities for guests to immerse themselves in ranch life. Activities at the Paws Up Resort include everything from horseback riding to hot air ballooning. The quintessential adventure here is helping with the cattle drive. This authentic experience is lead by an actual cowboy who will teach you how to drive, sort, and pen cattle. Throughout the day you’ll enjoy stunning views too. This is the kind of immersive learning experience you won’t have on a stay anywhere else.

Lay of the Land at Paws Up

If you followed in the historic footsteps of Lewis and Clark through the Rocky Mountains, you would end up on the same land as The Resort at Paws Up. With over 120 miles of trails, I’d suggest getting the lay of the land by taking an ATV tour first. After you have an idea of how large the property is, you can choose from all kinds of activities like archery, hiking, sporting clays, rappelling, and more.

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