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Montana's Lone Mountain Ranch

Snuggle in for a true Montana experience, a sleigh ride to comfortable cabins in a high-prairie meadow near Big Sky.

horse-drawn sleigh at Lone Mountain Guest Ranch, near Big Sky, Mont., image
Photo caption
A horse-drawn sleigh takes guests to dinner at Montana's Lone Mountain Ranch.

You'll go over a river and through the wood, but the destination is cushier than Grandmother's house. It's the sleigh ride dinner at Lone Mountain Ranch, a 100-year-old collection of rustic yet comfortable cabins in a high-prairie meadow near Big Sky, Mont., south of Bozeman. The meal takes place nightly from December through April.

Outside the ranch's Horsefly Saloon, 55 guests tuck under thick blankets, about 10 people to a sleigh. Matched draft horses, many of them Percherons, haul the visitors a half mile up a quiet, snowy trail to a cabin aglow with lantern light. An old railroad cookstove radiates prodigious warmth.

First there's hot soup and bread, then grass-fed Montana prime rib, roasted root vegetables, and cobbler served family style. A cowboy troubadour accompanies the food with stories and songs of Montana life.

Three hours later, everyone returns beneath stars and snow-laden firs. It's a memory to last a lifetime—or until next winter: Locals and visitors have been enjoying this annual event for 35 years.

Photography courtesy Lone Mountain Ranch

This article was first published in Winter 2016. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.