For outdoorsy types who still want the indoorsy amenities of a fine hotel, consider the Resort at Paws Up, a lux-ranch in Greenough, Montana, about 25 miles from Missoula. Amid scenery straight out of A River Runs Through It (literally — the movie was filmed nearby), you can choose daily activities including ATV riding, fly-fishing, river rafting and even a cattle drive.
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Popular with families, the ranch’s tents come in one- and two-bedroom sizes, with actual doors and en suite bathrooms complete with whirlpool tubs. A long way from that solo bivy. Each cluster of six tents has a camp butler who prepares breakfast and dinner in the open-air communal area (lunch is taken at the main Paws Up restaurant) and sees to guests’ needs. At night the entire clan can gather around the communal pit for some fireside chats.
Need more shelter? The other option, highly-appointed homes, are better suited for the camping-phobic. Set-apart homes vary in number of bedrooms and include amenities like hot tubs, barbecue grills, plus high-speed internet, and front porches with rocking chairs and killer views of the mountains and fields, where the ranch’s cattle herds can be seen grazing in the distance.
Chef Adam Cooke, hired last year, is trying to put Montana cuisine on the map, the same way he helped establish Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm as a culinary destination. At the ranch’s two restaurants, he’s using local produce including foraged mushrooms and berries, and some of the best thick-cut bacon you’ll ever taste. And steak, course — this is a cattle ranch after all.