Triple Creek Ranch

Boutique, gourmet, luxe, adults only

5551 West Fork Road., Darby 59829

406-821-4600

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At a Glance

Set in the towering Douglas firs of Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Triple Creek Ranch is a Relais & Châteaux property with twenty-four cozy, well-appointed cabins.

Indagare Loves

  • The food: gourmet cuisine and often-changing menus, a rarity in this part of the U.S.
  • The owners’ phenomenal Western art collection — from cowboy to contemporary
  • The ranch cattle drive, which should be booked in advance; a rare experience under Montana’s big sky
  • The stocked wet bar in each cabin including high-end house wines and spirits
  • Choosing your own Christmas tree for your cabin, decorated with Triple Creek ornaments

Review

One of Montana's three luxury properties (The Ranch at Rock Creek and Paws Up being the other two), Triple Creek Ranch is an adults-only hideaway that doesn’t forget its heritage or its geography. The personalized service — your cabin fridge is stocked with your favorite beer, for example— and the epicurean fare are nothing short of five-star. But the log-and-cedar accommodations, most of which were built in the 1990s, are rustic enough to have a true cabin-in-the-woods experience (albeit with flat-screen TVs in each room, his and her vanities and toilets, steam showers and clover whirlpools, a stocked wet bar and kitchenette). Although the massive log-post king beds, wood-burning fireplaces, Western art and furniture make each cabin feel rustic and cozy, the open floor plans and clerestory windows keep the spaces feeling bright.

But at Triple Creek, it’s worth emerging from your cabin to horseback ride on national forest land, hike along the Lewis and Clark trail, take part in the somewhat addictive sapphire panning (where guests use traditional equipment to look for the gems in loose dirt brought in from a nearby mine) and the blue-ribbon fly-fishing opportunities. If you visit during the winter, you can also go dog-sledding with Iditarod racer Jessie Royer, skijoring — the relatively unknown sport of being pulled on skis behind a horse — and access the skiing at nearby Lost Trail, which will transport you back to childhood with deep powder, no lines and only four chairlifts.

After you work up an appetite at any one of these activities, the acclaimed restaurant beckons. The wine cellar has been recognized for the last eight years with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. In addition to decadent meals in the dining room (which are served at generous opening hours, unlike at many other ranches), guests seeking more intimacy can opt for cabin service or the private chef’s table, kitchen-side, where stunning seven-course meals and wine pairings are served personally by the executive chef and sommelier.

The exquisite attention to detail at Triple Creek starts at the top. Owners Craig and Barbara Barrett are very much involved in ranch life and welcome guests to their home for cocktails (and personal tours of their private art collection) every Sunday during the summer season and on New Year’s Eve. They also host four unique celebrations throughout the year, including a fly-fishing event during the famed spring skwala hatch and a raucously fun and philanthropically oriented cowgirl event each fall. There are also fabulous artist weekends, vintner weekends, cooking schools and unforgettable holiday celebrations.

Who Should Stay

Active adult travelers, and children sixteen and up, who are eager to experience the West with adventurous activities, gourmet cuisine and a cozy cabin in the woods.

Getting There

Triple Creek Ranch is about a two-hour drive from the airport in Missoula, Montana, and an hour’s drive from the small, private airport in Hamilton.

Written by Carter G. Walker

What's Nearby

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