Montana’s luxury adventure headquarters
Montana is famous for big skies with big views, but The Resort at Paws Up adds big adventure to the mix. The luxury resort and working cattle ranch sprawls over 37,000 acres in the Blackfoot Valley, 35 miles northeast of Missoula. With 10 miles of frontage on the Blackfoot River — the inspiration for the book and movie A River Runs Through It — Paws Up more than qualifies as Montana’s luxury adventure headquarters.
Ride an ATV, round up cattle, water ski at Seely Lake — if you can’t find something fun to do, you’re not looking hard enough. The adventure-based resort offers a menu of activities so comprehensive that you'll want to take advantage of a pre-trip call with a personal concierge to plan all the fun. After the decision-making is complete, you’ll arrive at Paws Up with a trip designed down to the smallest detail.
Families with children will appreciate the Kids Corps of Discovery Adventure program with age-appropriate activities divided into three levels. Little Discoverers (ages 4-5) enjoy pony rides and Western treasure hunts, Adventure Club participants (ages 6-12) race go-karts and jump into the river from rope swings, while Teens (ages 13-17) can wage paint ball wars. Does “Corps of Discovery” sound familiar? It’s the name that explorers Lewis and Clark gave their expedition that crossed the West to the Pacific. And, yes, the duo explored this very spot.
The adventure doesn’t end with summer. Winter visitors zoom off in a snowmobile, snowshoe through the forest or ride through the meadow in a horse-drawn sleigh. It’s also possible to add skiing into the mix with a stay at Paws Up’s slope-side chalet at nearby Whitefish Mountain Resort.
You soon discover that camping is nothing short of luxurious at Paws Up, which offers five sites overlooking the Blackfoot River. Each camp features six kitted-out tents and a dining pavilion. Opening the flap to your canvas tent reveals an en-suite bath, overhead fans and a spacious deck. After a day of adventure, relax by the fire as the camp chef cooks up roasted rainbow trout or chili-dusted Black Angus hanger steak. Later, munch on s’mores prepared by the camp butler. And you’re going to sleep well tonight in the Paws Up signature Last Best Bed.
If you’d rather stay in a vacation home, Paws Up has 28 on offer, including the Morris Ranch House, once owned by famous aviator Charles Lindberg. Plush touches like hot tubs, flat-screen TV’s, fireplaces, radiant heated floors and fully equipped kitchens complete the lodging picture. But, of course, you don’t have to cook as meals are included at Trough for breakfast and lunch, or Pomp for dinner. The ranch even provides a compact car for getting around the expansive grounds.
Choices are part of the luxury at Paws Up. You have the option of dividing your vacation stay between three nights of glamping by the banks of the Blackfoot River with four nights in a vacation home.
There’s more to the resort ranch than adventure as your taste buds soon discover. Executive chef Ben Jones presides over dishes of locally sourced Montana food products that he calls “refined rustic cuisine.” At Pomp, an evening dining venue, enjoy bison tenderloin raised in St. Ignatius or Hutterite chicken from Cut Bank, two nearby communities. And don’t miss a breakfast of huckleberry pancakes served at the more casual Trough.
The Montana hotel hosts several culinary events throughout the year. The Upper Crust is a cookie and pie baking camp featuring pie expert Kate McDermott and James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal. At Montana Master Chefs, a weekend of adventure and cooking with the country’s top chefs, you’ll experience the ultimate combination of luxury, fun and food.