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Lowdown

  • Established

    2000
  • Owner

    Dave Leishman
  • Manager

    Gary Stafford
  • Tel

    406-863-9099
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    Summer: $300 - $550
    Winter: $225 - $425
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    Summer: $160 - $240
    Winter: $40
  • Minimum Stay

    Summer: 3 days
    Winter: No minimum stay
  • Maximum Guests

    42
  • Works with travel agents?

    Yes
  • Great For

    Action & adventure, Peace & quiet, Diverse scenery
  • Memberships

    Dude Ranchers Association

The Bar W Guest Ranch is located in Northwest Montana, just west of Whitefish, Montana. In case you’ve never been to this part of the world, think of heavily timbered mountains, open prairies, clear running rivers and streams, fresh air, sunshine, and big skies. The Bar W lies right in the heart of all that and more.

The ranch is home to some of the finest qualities of the western way of life and hospitality. This includes a special string of horses and cattle, indoor and outdoor riding arenas, miles upon miles of riding trails and open prairies, and a staff that will help make your vacation here one you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Good time to go

We offer year round adventure to accommodate all of our guests. Each season is unique in its offerings. Whitefish is a winter wonderland and the Bar W offers all winter sports and relaxing sleigh rides. Spring offers several of our specialty packages such as Adults’ Only Week, Spring Cattle Drive and Cowgirl Up Week. Summer brings horseback riding in the mountains, over the foothills and across the open prairies of Montana Big Sky Country, but there is plenty for all ages to do and discover at the Bar W. Back by popular demand are our specialty weeks in the fall. We offer Fall Cattle Drive, Cowgirl Up, Adults’ Only and Photography week.

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 4 and over

Kids are the heart of the Bar W Ranch.

They begin with learning to groom, saddle, feed and take care of their own horse. Throughout the week there are special kids rides and games in the arena.

The age limit for going on the trail rides is 7 years old. We have pony rides and babysitting for the smaller cowpokes. Throughout the week our kids counselor supervises activities such as paint your horse, nature walks, kids only dinners and more. There is a great game room with crafts, pool table, darts and games.

Arts & Crafts

play-doh, coloring, sketching

Activities

hiking, biking, picnics, outdoor play area, cookouts, petting zoo, floating, supervised swimming

Games

scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, soccer, volleyball, badminton, pool table, darts, games

Baby Sitting

From age 0 to 3. Hourly cost $15.

Baby Sitting Provided By

Kids Counselor

Environmental & Social Practices

Environment

Guests can participate in a voluntary towel rehang program to save on water & electricity. The ranch runs on low wattage CFL lighting to further save electricity. Our facility also recycles & composts. Low emission vehicles, diesel vehicles when possible are used. Energy Star appliances are also used. Additional environmental practices used: water & waste management, evironmental friendly cleaning products & office supplies, reuse of grain bags, guests receive a reusable water bottles, motion sensor lights, low flow showerheads and aerators, donate extra food to Ray of Hope and give manure to local farmers.

Community

We donate our extra food to Ray of Hope organization and provide manure to local farmers.

Ranch History

The idea of the Bar W originated in 2000. It began with a father’s longing to escape the rigors and chaos of the office and stave off burnout. He came to Montana with his two young daughters, Meghan (age 9) and Emily (age 7).

Dave Leishman, future owner of the Bar W, and his daughters were persuaded by longtime friend and owner of the Double D Guest Ranch in New Jersey(and now Bar W partner) Phil Dukes to head West and make the trip to the Bear Creek Ranch. Dave’s fears and doubts about his riding skills quickly abated. In no time, he and the girls were riding to the tops of ridges, where they could gaze at the Big Sky countryside for 130 miles in every direction.

It turned out to be a vacation for the ages – one of those life-changing, priority-altering experiences many people wait a lifetime for. It was a whole package - the riding, the western way of life, the rodeos, the work, and the people – a true total experience. Dave and the girls drew closer on each subsequent trip to Montana; it was an adventure that they shared year after year. He was hooked. So much so that after the next four annual trips Dave decided that a yearly excursion to Montana just was not enough anymore. Dave wanted a ranch of his own, a place where he could help people live the same experience he did on his first visit. Dave and his wife Jan joined with Dave’s brothers Greg and Phil Dukes to make the dream come true...

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Ranch-style
  • Meals served

    buffet style, scheduled meals
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, dining room (casual attire)

Wait until you sit down to breakfast or dinner and taste some of the best down-home cooking this side of the Mississippi - Montana style! Meals are prepared with love and care and are always served in hearty portions - no one leaves hungry. Have a unique food requirement? Just let our cooks know and we'll accommodate your request.

Meals are served family style by our own cooks. The aroma of fresh coffee will greet you each morning as you open your eyes . Breakfast might be in the lodge or at the top of our rides overlooking the valley. If you are on the ranch for lunch we’ll utilize the play meadow, gazebo or have it right in the lodge - otherwise you’ll make it and take it with you on the trail. Dinners are usually in the lodge unless we do a dinner ride and cook out on the ridge or have a wagon ride and dine in the play meadow or at the gazebo.

Lowdown

  • Address

    2875 Highway 93 West
    Whitefish
    Montana
    59937
    USA
  • Remote Location

    Yes
  • Elevation

    3200 ft
  • Private Land

    250-1000 acres
  • Public Land

    more than 50k

Nearest Town - Whitefish

Whitefish is situated 5 miles / 15 mins from the Ranch.

Facilities in Whitefish include: grocery store, pharmacy, church, post office, medical clinic, hospital, bank, atm, gas station.

For shopping Whitefish offers: boutique shops.

Ranch shuttle

$35 each way/6 guests

Nearest Airports

Glacier International Airport, Kalispell

Distance

16 miles / 30 mins

Airlines

Delta, United, Allegiant, Horizon

Ranch shuttle

$35 each way/6 guests

Lowdown

  • Type of Riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

    Intermediate
  • Rides are grouped by

    Pace of Ride, Everyone rides together, Rides tailored to guest requests, Rides dictated by ranch work, Families ride together
  • Max riders per ride

    8
  • Wranglers per ride

    2
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guest Horses

    50
  • Horse Types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft Cross, Paints, Arabians
  • Hours in the saddle

    Morning - 2 hours
    Afternoon - 3 hours

The Setting

Private Land (250-1000 acres)

The ranch is made up of 100 acres of private land; however the majority of riding is on 3,000 acres of state land that joins the ranch.

Public Land (more than 50k acres)

We ride and explore an additional 400,000-500,000 acres.


Our Riding

Scheduled rides

Though there is a structure to the riding week there is certainly flexibility for special requests and there will be changes throughout the week depending on those.

Guided rides

All rides are guided by ranch owners or wranglers. Groups are ideally kept to 4 guests with 1 wrangler; however, maximum group size is 8 in which 2 wranglers will ride out.

Riding Freedom

Riding freedom depends on the riders and their ability, the pace is determined by the least experienced within the group

Riding considerations

no riding experience needed

Hours in the saddle

Morning and afternoon rides are offered as well as all day rides twice a week.


Why our riding stands out

  • Diverse horseback riding progam
  • Some of the most experienced training available
  • Mountainous Montana terrain surrounding the ranch; situated along the foothills of the Rockies and the prarie of the Blackfoot Indian Reservation

Sample Riding Itinerary

Day 1 Guests start with arena work, ensuring you are matched to the right horse and to ensure you are safe and comfortable. You will then head out on an hour trail ride. In the afternoon you can choose from an hour or a two hour ride trail.

Day 2 In the morning guests can try their hand at cattle sorting in the arena. In the afternoon, whitewater rafting is on offer or 2-3 hour trail ride.

Day 3 Guests can choose from either a half day ride and full day ride.

Day 4 You can take advantage of the full day ride option if you chose half day previously or vice versa. 

Day 5 The morning of the last day is when we like to make special ride requests happen if possible as well as practice for the rodeo. In the afternoon guests take part in a ranch rodeo which includes barrel racing, pole bending and a steak race.

Riding Lessons

Group lessons are available from beginner to advanced

Details

lessons come with package

Given by

wrangler

Location

on the trail, in the arena

Cattle work - pasture gathers

We offer spring and fall cattle drives; please keep an eye on our upcoming events for additional details.

When

May, Sep

Frequency

Yearly

No. of cow/calf pairs

300

Interaction

Guests participate

Branding work

Please watch our events for further details on our spring and fall brandings.

When

May, Sep

Frequency

Yearly

No. of Branding

50

Interaction

Guests participate

Calving work

New for 2011, calving is now on offer. Guests can ride out and help during the calving season.

When

Mar, Apr

Frequency

Yearly

Interaction

Guests participate

Arena Work

Type

indoor arena, outdoor arena

Activities

penning, sorting, roping from the ground, barrels, pole bending

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    Summer: $300 - $550
    Winter: $225 - $425
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    Summer: $160 - $240
    Winter: $40
  • Minimum Stay

    Summer: 3 days
    Winter: No minimum stay
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Summer: Sun
    Winter: Any day is fine
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Summer: Sat
    Winter: Any day is fine

Bar W Guest Ranch can cater for up to 42 guests. Accommodation includes Lodges, Cabins and Luxury Tents. See below for details and indicative rates.

Lodge | Main Lodge l Overview

Minimum Stay

No minimum

Description

The main lodge is 6,200 square feet of classic elegance and traditional western informality. It will be your relaxing retreat during your horse riding holiday. With 6 bedrooms, three common spaces, and a game parlor, the lodge is sure to please. There is no shortage of great views from the decks that overlook the back horse pasture, the arena, and even the wildlife rich wetlands surrounding Spencer Lake.

Rooms

6

Cabin | Eagles Nest

Rates (Per Person)

$325 - $515

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

Eagles Nest – The top suite in the cabin Eagles Nest offers a bedroom with a queen bed, a sleeping loft with two full size log beds, a living room with two more full size futons, a private bath, a kitchenette with microwave, refrigerator, sink and coffee maker. The deck overlooks the south pasture and surrounding forest, which is a great place to watch the local wild inhabitants. The Eagles Nest can sleep up to 10 utilizing the two futons in the sitting area.

Rooms

3

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

fridge, microwave, hair dryer, seating area

Cabin | Bear Den

Rates (Per Person)

$325 - $490

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

One of the cabin suites, Bear Den offers a bedroom with a king size log bed, a living room with two incredibly comfortable full size log futons, a private full bathroom, a kitchenette with microwave, sink, refrigerator and coffee maker. Bear Den also offers a private covered porch. The Bear Den also features a deck that overlooks the South pasture and surrounding forest. Don't be surprised if you see a Moose or a few deer in the mornings and early evenings.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

fridge, microwave, hair dryer, seating area

Lodge | Main Lodge l Aspen Suite

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $330 - $515
Winter: $200 - $275

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

The Aspen suite is beautifully appointed with a king bed, large full bathroom with double headed shower, jetted tub, bidet, and large vanity. Aspen also offers a private deck, television and a great view. The Aspen Suite also has bunk beds in an attached but separate bedroom. Perfect for families on a horseback riding vacation.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

hair dryer, seating area, washer / dryer

Entertainment

tv, jetted tub in bath

Lodge | Main Lodge l Solitude

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $300 - $425
Winter: $125 - $185

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

The Solitude has a full bathroom, two beautiful wooden futons and a queen bed sleeping up to 6 very comfortably. Great for group ranch vacations.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

hair dryer, seating area, washer / dryer

Entertainment

hot tub

Lodge | Main Lodge l Whitetail

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $300 - $425
Winter: $125 - $185

Minimum Stay

No minimum

Description

A real favorite amongst guests, sleeps two in a queen bed and can also accommodate two more on a full-sized futon. It has a private bathroom, large walk-in closet and a great view of the property and the lake.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

washer / dryer

Entertainment

hot tub

Lodge | Main Lodge l Tamarack

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $295 - $345
Winter: $75 - $105

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

The Tamarack is on the first floor. It sleeps two with a queen bed, and has a walk out to the main deck overlooking the south pasture. It has a half bath directly across the hall with access to a shared full bathroom one floor down.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Shared bathroom

Amenities

washer / dryer

Entertainment

hot tub

Lodge | Main Lodge l Appaloosa

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $285 - $325
Winter: $65 - $85

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

Appaloosa is our most affordable bedroom, which is a short distance from the game parlor on the first floor. The Appaloosa is furnished with log furniture and has a queen bed. A shared full bath is directly across the hall.

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Shared bathroom

Entertainment

tv, hot tub

Lodge | Main Lodge l Sunroom

Rates (Per Person)

Summer: $325 - $490
Winter: $125 - $250

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

Sit on your walk out patio, sip a beverage and watch all the operations of the ranch. The Sunroom has a queen bed, full bathroom and an adjoining yet separate bedroom with a set of bunk beds and two full sized futons making it great for family dude ranch vacations.

Rooms

2

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

hair dryer, seating area

Entertainment

tv, hot tub

Lodge | Main Lodge l Gameroom

Minimum Stay

No minimum

Description

Our game parlor is equipped with a big screen television, a pool table, dartboard, wood stove, card table/chess set, a bar area and lots of space to move about. There are two futons in the basement as well for a family style sleeping arrangement.

Luxury Tent | Bitterroot tent

Rates (Per Person)

$300 - $425

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

This isn’t your ordinary “pup tent.” Glamping or “Glamorous Camping” has come of age here at the Bar W. You get the best of both worlds – being and feeling a part of nature while staying in an elegant setting at the same time. Wake up, make a cup of coffee and sit on your deck watching the ranch come alive all around you. If you want to help with chores and catching the horses, you better hurry though - you have to be there pretty early. Head to breakfast and enjoy a hearty meal sure to keep you fully charged for your activity filled day-- h

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

fridge, hair dryer, seating area, air conditioning, washer / dryer

Luxury Tent | Stillwater

Rates (Per Person)

$300 - $425

Minimum Stay

3 nights

Description

This isn’t your ordinary “pup tent.” Glamping or “Glamorous Camping” has come of age here at the Bar W. You get the best of both worlds – being and feeling a part of nature while staying in an elegant setting at the same time. Wake up, make a cup of coffee and sit on your deck watching the ranch come alive all around you. If you want to help with chores and catching the horses, you better hurry though - you have to be there pretty early. Head to breakfast and enjoy a hearty meal sure to keep you fully charged for your activity filled day-- h

Rooms

1

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

fridge, hair dryer, seating area, air conditioning, washer / dryer

Entertainment

hot tub


Booking Policy

Request a 50% deposit with the remaining balance due upon departure

Included in your stay

meals, activities, lodging, Riding

Extras

Tax

about 5% tax

Gratuity

There is a 10% service charge added to the bill upon departure

Massage

We are happy to provide transportation to and from the spa

Other

Whitewater rafting, Rock Climbing

Lowdown

  • You can borrow

    Riding helmets, Saddle bags
  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi.

Onsite

Outdoor Activities

mountain biking, sporting clays, campouts, wagon rides, bird watching, square dancing, hiking, archery, horseshoes, volley ball, wildlife photography

Winter Activities

snowshoeing, winter ice fishing


Fishing & Wildlife

Fish in Spencer lake for large pike, perch or bass - perhaps a trout still lingers in this once rated trophy trout lake.

Fishing on offer

spin, fly, lake, equipment available

Wildlife

Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Elk, Turkey, Bald Eagles


Additional Services

Corporate Retreats

For groups of 100 & over. Whether it is a brainstorming project, a team building event, an employee bonus, a board/stockholder retreat, or to inspire, the Bar W is the perfect setting.

Weddings

We can cater for groups of 100 & over. If you are looking to truly create a memorable wedding experience, the Bar W has great facilities to make it a Montana-style event to remember.


Local Attractions

Whitefish

Great shopping, dining, theater, and nightlife just 3.5 miles down the road. There is always something going on in the Majestic Valley arena like rodeos, concerts, cowboy shows, etc.

Distance

3.5 miles / 15 mins


Glacier National Park

The “Crown Jewel of the Continent” is well worth the 23 mile trip to see and drive on the “going to the sun” road.

Distance

23 miles / 30 mins


Whitefish Mountain Ski and Summer Resort

Just 7 miles away, has plenty to offer throughout the summer with festivals, gondola rides, walk in the tree tops and much much more

Distance

7 miles / 15 mins

Our comments

Highs

  • In a beautiful setting and with staff who pay close attention to detail, this is an ideal location for your honeymoon or wedding
  • A relaxed atmosphere with opportunity to stay busy, with trail rides and arena activities such as roping cattle, trying barrels and sorting cattle. Or, enjoy a trip into Kalispel
  • If you're traveling as an individual, you will quickly feel a part of the family – the staff care of and love the ranch and what they do, are fun and hospitable
  • A ranch tucked away against the mountains, yet minutes from a resort town. Several activities take place off-ranch within the town of Kalispell

Lows

  • Most rides are at a walk, however, it's perfect if you want quiet, scenic riding. They also offer cattle drives during the year
  • The kitchen is set near the lodge rooms, so at times you can hear the chefs within the kitchen. Previous guests rave about the food

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Best week ever

The staff and owners were second to none !! Everyone should experience this opportunity!!!! The wranglers were very experienced and knowledgeable about teaching the ways of riding!! The cooks and housekeepers were a breath of fresh air. With the food being amazing and not expected at a dude ranch, ate too much!!

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Bar W Guest Ranch on TripAdvisor