Paws Up Resort, Montana
I posted some photographs on Instagram and Twitter of a trip I took recently, and got a lot of feedback – it seems there is a lot of curiosity about Paws Up Resort in Montana.
Paws Up Resort
And rightly so… any place that combines unspoiled, wide open, gorgeous wilderness with first class creature comforts certainly stands intriguing.
What is “Paws Up?” Paws Up is a 37,000 acre working dude ranch located in Greenough Montana, in the Blackfoot Valley. Missoula is the closest airport about 35 miles away.
But it’s not your typical dude ranch -not a chance partner.
What makes it stand out is that it offers luxury tents as accommodations – that’s right – no pitching a little pup tent with a polyester sleeping bag as your berth- guests get a comfortable bed, headbaord and all, with a down comforter and electric bed warmer for those really cold Montana mornings…which by the way, are super cold. It is hard to get out of that bed.
In addition to real beds, you get a tile-floored bathroom with a porcelain sink and toilet with plumbing inside your tent. It makes some chain business hotel bathrooms look like out houses.
This, dear traveler, is GLAMPING.
The tents are set up for families, and ours had a separate room IN the tent for the kids-…kids all slept on cots, so the beds are reserved for the grown ups.
TIP: I really enjoyed having a tent right on the river. It’s a nice view, and we could go out and fish anytime – the resort makes the rods available with your stay. Kids also enjoyed skimming rocks on the river.
The resort also offers luxury homes to rent… but the novelty of the luxury tent is really what makes this places special, in my opinion . But the homes might be better for large family groups wanting to stay together.
Now before you get all excited in your boots, here’s the kicker: Paw’s Up ain’t cheap cowboy.
The tent or house rates are one thing – starting at $1200 a night depending on the season – but you’re going to want to take part in all of the activities that Paws Up coordinates so you can explore the many acres of wilderness. And that’s what you really need to take into consideration.
Fly fishing is an absolutely gorgeous experience… It is a beautiful and peaceful day out on the Blackfoot River- to relax with kids on the water, with no electronics, was beyond pleasurable.
We spotted eagles, and other wildlife out on the boat, in addition to our catch of the day. My 9 year old even caught a fish.
You do need to know that no more than 2 can go in one boat at a time, so if you have a larger family you’ll have to split up. And the price is a staggering $450 a boat for a four hour ride, with a guide If you have four people in your family, that’s $900.
Another activity we tried is paintball in the pine trees… The resort staff takes you out in a big patch of wilderness (not hard to find here) for a thrilling afternoon of washable paint warfare in the towering trees. It was fun -& yes, it does hurt when you get hit by the paint pellets, but it didn’t seem to bother the 20 adolescent boys with whom my daughter and I played.
Other activities offered are horse back riding, kayaking, hiking, river rafting, hot air ballooning, and much more. MAKE SURE you read each activity carefully before you go- there are age restrictions for some, so plan in advance to avoid disappointment if you have younger kids who may not be able to do everything. Some activities fill up so book as soon as you can.
Archery is included with your stay… as well as access to a fitness center – but who has time for a gym when you are there?
Honestly, you don’ t have to take part in activities every day if you choose not to. Sitting out by the river with a book for part of the day is peaceful, and you can take unorganized hikes as a family on your own.
If you stay in a tent, the morning starts gathered near a campfire, while your tent butler makes you breakfast of your choice. The tents are all arranged in clusters, so you eat with members of about 5 other tents.
The resort is rather spread out… it is 37,000 acres large, so you really feel the vast wilderness. Although that makes it a little bit more inconvenient for getting around the resort, and getting to your activities on time, it makes you feel how big and open Montana really is – it’s the 4th largest state by area. There are shuttles within the resort to take you where you need to be.
The food is good, and there is a restaurant for other meals… watch in the summer though there are a lot of bees on the restaurant patio.
Paws Up offers different packages for families, and also has babysitting services if you have small children. If you can afford it, it makes for a trip the kids will love, a trip where you will spend many fun hours together with little distraction of electronics, and a trip where you will feel very comfortable in your home on the range.
For other glamping options, at different price points also try: