When it comes to travel, there are few things more invigorating than the crisp, clean air of the great outdoors–something Montana has in spades. At The Resort at Paws Up in Greenough, fresh air is really just the beginning, as I found out for myself on a winter visit to the iconic luxury guest ranch in the heart of the Blackfoot Valley.
After landing in Missoula at dusk, the sky turned to night quickly on my 40-minute drive out to Greenough, the ranch’s 37,000-acre plot a vast expanse of darkness illuminated by its striking homes and estates. The fireplace was roaring when I unlocked the door to Thomas Jefferson, one of ten Wilderness Estates on property, rich leather and wood accents bringing additional warmth to the space beneath its soaring ceiling. There’s an old-world feel to this space, a nod to the property’s origins tracing back to the late-1800s (the land itself is said to have been a stopping point for Captain Meriwether Lewis in the summer of 1806). Today, it is home to a sprawling collection of 28 luxury homes and 36 tents–glamping takes on a whole new meaning here–and in August of this year, 12 brand new hyper-modern homes will join the collection with the unveiling of The Green O.
No matter where you choose to stay, there’s something for everyone year-round at Paws Up. Here’s how to make the most of a weekend at this extraordinary Montana hideaway.
Where to Stay:
Greenough is synonymous with The Resort at Paws Up–in fact, no visit to this side of Montana would be complete without a stay here. If your trip is planned for late 2020 or beyond, you’ll want to check out the brand new digs at The Green O for unparalleled tranquility and modernity (though note that this section of the resort is adults-only). If glamping is more your style, opt for one of Paws Up’s impeccably appointed tents, each of which features all the bells and whistles of a more traditional accommodation. And if you’re traveling with a larger group, one of the resort’s luxe homes is an ideal option, providing ample space without sacrificing privacy.
Where to Eat:
Dining at Paws Up is expectedly (and delightfully) inspired by Montana’s homegrown bounty, driven by Executive Chef Sunny Jin of Napa Valley’s French Laundry and El Bulli in Catalunya. At Pomp Restaurant, dine on “refined rustic ranch” fare before or after a drink at Tank, a cozy fireside bar. Trough offers a more casual Western-inspired dining experience during breakfast and lunch hours; if you happen to be staying in one of the camps, take advantage of the special dining programs there. Last but not least, limited reservations are also available at the resort’s chuck wagon, complete with a scenic ride to the Blackfoot River, a banjo player, and more; guests can also partake in bespoke s’more-making.
What to Do:
Some of my personal favorite activities during my visit to Paws Up were centered around the weekend’s wine theme, part of a widely beloved Visiting Vintner series hosted by the resort on an ongoing basis. On this particular wine weekend, Napa Valley’s Chappellet family put on a variety of interactive events, including a blending seminar, a “Meet the Winemaker” reception, a robust tasting dinner, and more.
Throughout the year, the calendar of events at Paws Up is consistently impressive, so be sure to take a look at the schedule before your stay and plan accordingly–outside of planned events, there’s plenty to do around the property at leisure, from ATV tours, fly fishing, and archery to sporting clays, wilderness workshops, and, of course, a spa appointment or two (if you go during the warmer months, you’ll have the pleasure of experiencing Spa Town, a one-of-a-kind brookside cluster of white open-air treatment tents (the spa is housed in a traditional building during the wintertime, so treatments are available all year long). And naturally, with ranch life comes equestrian experiences, so no matter your experience level, you’ll be able to take advantage of the ranch’s stable in one way or another.