Lodging & Meals (for group guests only)
Non-Profits By Invitation
SPRING, SUMMER, FALL SEASONS
In these seasons, guests relax, meet, play, observe and learn our approach to ranching as they enjoy this unique place on the edge of Yellowstone.
Spring is a time of preparation, when cabins and lodge are deep cleaned, vehicles and equipment checked out and tuned up, ditches cleaned and pivots readied for irrigation, fields dragged, fences adjusted and repaired, saddle horses hooves are trimmed and shod, saddles and bridles cleaned and oiled.
As the world warms, winter snows melt, streams rise and rush, the range begins to green, wildflowers bloom, migratory birds return, bears emerge from their dens and the wildlife have their young.
Shifting into summer, the gardens are planted, water is spread across our fields, and cattle return to the high country. Beavers get busy, fish get active as insects hatch, aspen brighten with new leaves and cottonwoods release their summer snow and pines their pollen. Alternately wolves howl and coyotes bark. Anticipation has transformed into action. Riders move the cattle up country, monitor range health, and wage (organic) war on weeds. Hikers head for the peaks.
As fall weather sets in, the aspens go golden, bull elk bugle to challenge one another while cow elk call softly to their young to stay near, snow sticks to the ridges, bears dig for yampa, and slowly the land grows quieter. Meanwhile water diversions are shut down, fences dropped to ease wildlife migration, firewood is sustainably harvested, cattle gathered, boundaries marked and patrolled. Nordic ski trails are cleared and posted in readiness for winter use. With the onset of winter, the cattle leave the Basin and the saddle horses get a well-earned rest.
During winter, two to six feet of snow blanket the Tom Miner Basin and surrounding mountainsides. Winter reservations are available from mid-December through March. We offer our guests numerous opportunities to participate in the winter activities of the ranch. We hope you’ll join us.
We offer daily skiing for $10, and overnight rentals in back country cabins starting at $50. Our 2017/2018 ski season will open in late December. For more information and/or to make winter reservations, please call (406) 848-7729
* Staff Assisted **Require Hired Guide And Are Off Ranch.
A wonderful alternative to skiing and snowshoeing on our trails and in the backcountry is dog-sledding very near the ranch with Absaroka Dogsled Treks out of Pray, MT. Experienced mushers will take guests in custom designed sleds through areas normally reserved in winter for the wildlife only. For the more adventurous they even offer a chance to drive a sled solo! These amazingly strong small dogs will give you the thrill of a lifetime. We will be happy to communicate costs and make reservations for our guests. Three options are offered including a six mile, a ten mile trek, and an eighteen mile trek. All treks begin at 9:15 a.m. and the ten and eighteen mile treks include lunch on the trial. http://www.dogsledmt.com
Take a winter hike on snowshoes to enjoy the views, track wildlife, or photograph, all at your own pace. We groom 20 kilometers of trails for both cross-country ski and snowshoe enthusiasts; snowshoers can stay on the skate ski paths. Additionally, 7 kilometers are marked as a backcountry trail. With advanced notice and an additional charge, we are happy to arrange guided snowshoe tours.
Three primary trail systems depart from ranch headquarters and head deep into the Basin. Our terrain offers a variety of challenges, but the most effortless trail, Willow Way, rolls south past the horse arena. The route crosses Tom Miner Creek and continues on a 6.5 kilometer loop. For an easy kilometer, the trail winds through willows and an open meadow, then among a distinctive aspen grove. Hidden in the willows, the Davis Cabin homestead still stands, a tribute to a family that arrived in the Basin in the early 1900s. The rustic shelter is reminiscent of their more rugged lifestyle. Rent this cabin for a backcountry adventure at an affordable price.
Willow Way cruises another kilometer to meet the Anderson Trail, which is a straight shot, and then slightly downhill back to headquarters. Another short trail leads south from this junction to the Anderson Cabin, a one-room warming hut. Terrain is similar although once out of the aspens and alders, views of the 10,300-foot Ramshorn Peak, Twin Peaks, Sheep Mountain, Specimen Ridge, and Yellowstone's boundary suddenly appear.
Intermediate snowshoers find the Skully Trail system initially challenging, then delightful. The track heads west and after gliding past a frozen pond and between large aspens, the trail connects to Ezra’s Trail. En route, you'll wonder if the devilish .3 kilometer, 400-foot climb is truly worthwhile. It is. Once at the Skully Tent, Mountain Lion Run trail and Skully Loop head off through timbered and rolling terrain. The snowshoe back down from the tent is a .3 kilometer steeper incline on Ezra’s Trail. Alternatively, the more gradual Tini’s Revenge boasts grand views of the Davis meadow and across the valley to surrounding peaks.
The more challenging Reed Sawmill Trail climbs en route to a cabin that was once part of the Reed family sawmill operation. A nearly 10 kilometer round trip in the Pine Creek drainage, this trail offers scenic views of Paradise Valley, Emigrant Peak, and the lower portion of Tom Miner Basin. The trail ascends through summer pastures and into wooded Middle Creek drainage and continues to climb to the warming hut historic Sawmill Cabin at 7,400 feet. The return trip offers more declines, banked turns and views of nearly the entire ranch. About 7 kilometers of this trail are marked and left as backcountry.
The ranch has numerous pairs of adults and kids snowshoes. More equipment options are available in Livingston at Timber Trails (406) 222-9550, and in Bozeman at Northern Lights (406) 586-2225 and Bangtail Sports (406) 587-4905.
We groom 20 kilometers of trails for cross-country ski enthusiasts. Additionally, about 7 kilometers are marked as a backcountry trail. Both skate-ski lanes and classic tracks are maintained daily. Our conditions predictably offer blue wax conditions much of the winter. With advanced notice and an additional charge, we are happy to arrange guided ski tours, and provide ski lessons on the ranch.
Three primary trail systems depart from ranch headquarters and head deep into the Basin. Our terrain offers a variety of ski challenges, but the most effortless trail, Willow Way, rolls south past the horse arena. The route crosses Tom Miner Creek and continues on a 6.5 kilometer loop. For an easy kilometer, the trail winds through willows and an open meadow, then among a distinctive aspen grove. Hidden in the willows, the Davis Cabin homestead still stands, a tribute to a family that arrived in the Basin in the early 1900s. The rustic shelter is reminiscent of their more rugged lifestyle. Rent this cabin for a backcountry adventure at an affordable price.
Willow Way cruises another kilometer to meet the Anderson Trail, which is a straight shot, slightly downhill ego-boosting cruiser back to headquarters. Another short trail leads south from this junction to the Anderson Cabin, a one-room warming hut. Terrain is similar although once out of the aspens and alders, views of the 10,300-foot Ramshorn Peak, Twin Peaks, Sheep Mountain, Specimen Ridge, and Yellowstone's boundary suddenly appear.
Intermediate skiers find the Skully Trail system initially challenging, then delightful. The track heads west and after maneuvering past a frozen pond and between large aspens, the trail connects to Ezra’s Trail. En route, skiers wonder if the devilish .3 kilometer, 400-foot elevation climb is truly worthwhile. It is. Once at the Skully Tent, Mountain Lion Run trail and Skully Loop head off through timbered and rolling terrain. The fast ski back down from the tent is a .3 kilometer speed run for thrill seekers and skiers with powerful snowplows. For less experienced skiers, the more gradual Tini’s Revenge boasts grand views of the Davis meadow and across the valley to surrounding peaks.
The more challenging Reed Sawmill Trail climbs en route to a cabin that was once part of the Reed family sawmill operation. A nearly 10 kilometer round trip in the Pine Creek drainage, this trail offers scenic views of Paradise Valley, Emigrant Peak, and the lower portion of Tom Miner Basin. The trail ascends through summer pastures and into wooded Middle Creek drainage and continues to climb to the warming hut historic Sawmill Cabin at 7,400 feet. The return trip offers fast downhills, banked turns and views of nearly the entire ranch. About 7 kilometers of this trail is marked and left as backcountry.
The ranch has no ski rentals. Ski equipment is available in Livingston at Timber Trails (406) 222-9550 and in Bozeman at Northern Lights (406) 586-2225 and Bangtail Sports (406) 587-4905.
For the young and young at heart, the ranch has several good sledding hills. We have sleds and toboggans!
Data Collection On Wildlife Movement
Due to the ranch’s location in such a uniquely wildlife-abundant area coupled with the fundamental desire of nature enthusiasts, ranch staff and guests to feel connected with our resident wildlife species, we make an effort to gather consistent data regarding the movement patterns and behavior of the wildlife that also call the basin home. We update our wildlife viewing logs daily by both guests and staff with information including tracking where species have been seen, number seen, gender, location and date.
During specific times of the season when there is an increased level wildlife/predator activity, we’ve benefited from current research and the counsel of local wildlife experts who help us remain connected to responsible and balanced methods of living and ranching with wildlife ranging from beavers, moose and grizzly bear, just to name a few.
Wildlife Viewing & Tracking
Most forms of wildlife in neighboring Yellowstone National Park freely traverse B Bar ranch. Elk, white-tail and mule deer, moose, grizzly and black bear, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bobcat, mountain lions, and numerous small mammals cross the six-mile boundary in common with Yellowstone Park to roam the ranch's 9,000 acres. More than 75 bird species either migrate through or reside year-round on the ranch. We are fortunate to regularly observe sandhill cranes, great blue herons, great-horned owls and bald and golden eagles. We also see red-tail and rough-legged hawks, Clark's nutcrackers, western meadowlarks, black-billed magpies, mountain bluebirds, ruffed and blue grouse, gray and Steller's jays, western tanagers, mountain chickadees, pine grosbeaks, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, and various ducks and other waterfowl. Additionally, Tom Miner Creek provides precious habitat for its rare community of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout and a growing population of beavers. Enjoy early morning/evening glassing of the nearby mountainsides, hire a local naturalist guide to interpret wildlife behavior, or scout our trails for animal tracks and other signs year round. One local guide for hire can be found at http://yellowstoneguidelines.com
Opportunities abound for photography of landscape, wildlife, and ranch life at B Bar. Guests have enjoyed capturing their experiences here through the lens no matter their level of skill. We have proudly hosted photography workshops with capable instructors from Bozeman's F-11 Photographic Supplies. They are http://f11photo.com/index.html and an excellent local resource for all things photography. Also, we post photos almost daily on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/B-Bar-Ranch/294358013993565 to chronicle what is happening at the ranch. We have appreciated the special perspectives from our guests who have contributed photos to our FB page.
Professional photographers are welcome to contact the ranch office for terms and permissions to use photos taken at the ranch.
Outdoor Fire Pit
Located at the edge of the pond, our fire pit has been the site of many groups or individuals for impromptu sing-alongs, s’mores, visits, warmth while skating, relaxation, or contemplative time.
Cards & Games
In the lodge’s Big Room there is an alcove of puzzles, books, cards, and many games that have collected over the years. We maintain and update them for guests to enjoy when they return to the lodge after their excursions. There is a woodstove nearby for winter comfort and a sound system for guest use with their music device or CDs.
Observe Low Stress Livestock Handling*
Low Stress Livestock Handling (LSLH) involves herding techniques by human “handlers” intended to maximize predictability and minimize confusion, and thus reduce stress for the livestock being handled. It is highly dynamic in practice and varies with the unique characteristics of each herding, or handling event. As they continuously gauge the individual and collective “personality” or sensitivity of the livestock, handlers apply varying degrees of pressure, using basic factors of speed, approach angles (always in straight lines), body posture and position. The pressure techniques are focused upon a particular handling objective, i.e. moving to fresh pasture, sorting groups, loading in trucks or trailers, and more. The handler’s attitude is critical to successfully mediating the interplay between his/her application of pressure and the animal’s response to it.
LSLH provides a remarkable opportunity to view the movement of energy and intention through the “field” of livestock/human interaction. Different animals respond in different ways, and the energy of the herd often follows pathways opened and energized by the most sensitive individual animals. Handlers must synthesize keen observation across the entire field with specific loci of higher energy and then nimbly and precisely adjust their behaviors to maintain constructive coherency with the animals being handled.
Our cattle are certified organic and grass-finished. As time and opportunity permit, guests are welcome to observe from the ground as staff collect and move cattle through the vast range.
Google Earth & GPS Range Work*
We embrace new and extremely useful digital technologies like Google Earth and GPS instruments which draw on satellite imagery and maps to assist us in collecting, recording and monitoring data. Among the elements we track are weed patches, livestock pasture rotation, fence lines, watersheds, wildlife migration patterns and hunting patrol locations, just to name a few. As these information packed practices continue to develop, we look forward to the process of education and implementation to better assist us with progressive management of our range, riparian and forestland.
Riparian vegetation is an essential function of any ecosystem and requires monitoring and management when assessing over-all stream health, especially when impacted by domestic livestock. Bank vegetation and root structure create stabilization, organic matter and vital nutrients for aquatic microorganisms. When planning our grazing rotations through riparian areas, we use precaution and daily observation to maintain the integrity and health of these sensitive areas, keeping in mind that successful long-term planning and riparian stewardship will not only benefit the aquatic life around these areas, but the ecosystem as a whole.
There are multiple hiking trails in various directions on the ranch as well as public trails in the nearby campground. Enjoy wide vistas of the ranch and uphill climbs into the cooler forest above. Bring your binoculars for spectacular bird and wildlife watching, and your track guide to identify the many animals traveling these corridors. A minimum hiking group of four is required here in grizzly bear country and we supply bear spray, maps and radios for you to safely enjoy your hike. A good, local guide familiar with B Bar is available for hire at http://yellowstoneguidelines.com.
Our tennis court, rebuilt in 2011, is located just behind the small row of cabins. Rackets and balls are in supply, but serious players usually bring their own! Our portable ball machine makes practice possible any time. Friendly games and tournaments break out among family or group members on our mountain court. Complete with a shaded, comfortable viewing area, the tennis court is fun for anyone inclined to play or watch.
In the trees below the ski trail system is our 18 hole disc golf course. Designed by Bill Stewart, this world class course features official chain basket holes and rugged, mountainous terrain. All holes are par 3. The course's 9 holes are played both directions to take full advantage of challenges from the hills and water traps. The course record, held by Bill Stewart, is 8 under par. Our own chef Aaron Davis' personal best is 7 under par. Bring your own discs or buy them in our gift shop.
Bocce ball, croquet, corn hole toss, sticks ‘n cups, badminton and volleyball are among the fun assortment for those who love to play. Viewing is easy from a rocking chair on the nearby porch.
Whether you're looking for whitewater or a scenic float, you'll find them on River Source Rafting's Yellowstone River trips. Jason Matthews and crew offer two kinds of float trips.
Enjoy the rapids of Yankee Jim Canyon with experienced, personable guides. Strikingly beautiful and featuring the largest commercially run rapids on the Yellowstone River, Yankee Jim Canyon is a fun-filled whitewater rafting experience suitable for all ages. Whitewater trips are an exciting mix between family-friendly rapids, scenic vistas, and wildlife watching. On whitewater trips rafters frequently see bighorn sheep, elk, eagles and osprey and have even caught glimpses of bear and moose! Wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet and prepare yourself for a rollicking good time. The half day seven mile trip takes between two and three hours. The full day whitewater trip is a seventeen mile whitewater raft adventure down the Yellowstone River and includes a delicious deli-style lunch featuring local, organic produce, bread and desserts.
Jason and crew from River Source Rafting beckon you to cruise the Yellowstone River through Montana’s famous Paradise Valley, bordered by the majestic Absaroka and Gallatin Mountains. These trips are a great way to see the beauty of the river and mountains without getting wet. The lush, cottonwood groves lining the banks provide a home for a variety of waterfowl and native animals including bear, moose, deer, elk, big horn sheep, pronghorn antelope, river otters, and beavers. Be sure to bring your camera with you! Mornings and sunset are the watering times for most animals along the river and provide the best opportunity for wildlife viewing. This trip takes about three hours and departs three times daily: morning float, afternoon scenic float, or an evening sunset trip. All ages are welcome. They strive to make your trip as educational and enjoyable as possible!
While we don't run our own string of dude horses, there are off ranch options available for riding in beautiful surrounding Paradise Valley, Cinnabar Basin, and Yellowstone National Park. There is sometimes an option of hiring horses and guide for use on the ranch. Please inquire about all options when you book!
Participate in noxious weed identification & removal*
In the firm belief that organic practices benefit beef, produce and rangeland (hay and pasture), we go to great lengths through every season to combat noxious weeds by manually pulling, "dead heading" and using organically approved, non-toxic vinegar spray that effectively kills a variety of weeds without the use of chemicals. While weed management is a daily routine for land and livestock staff, once a week all ranch staff come together in a collective force to combat populated areas of noxious weed such as houndstongue, knapweed and hoary alyssum. A specialty "weed crew" is also employed in the middle of the growing season and has made a continued substantial contribution in ridding the land of these harmful plants by collecting and removing truckloads of the destructive plants.
In the summer of 2012, larvae of the Police Car Moth were discovered eating the flowers and leaves of houndstongue. This astounding finding brought researchers from the University of Idaho to the ranch to collect and study this caterpillar, a potential biological agent against houndstongue. So far the results are promising and enthusiastic researchers are making an annual trip back to the ranch for ongoing data collection and analysis.
Lastly, we combine seasonal timing, “prescribed” herding techniques and rangeland management by using cattle as tools to graze certain noxious weeds such as Canada Thistle in order to negatively effect the reproductive cycle of the plant. After the cattle have impacted highly populated areas, re-seeding takes place in these same areas using native grass seed in hopes of rehabilitating the natural reproduction of the native grass species.
We are currently experimenting with the use of goats to combat our noxious weeds. Unlike other ruminants, goats prefer to graze weeds, including toxic weeds and other woody plants over grass. Goats can digest toxins other grazers cannot and have a uniquely shaped mouth, which destroys the seeds of the plants they consume. Thus, many people use goats to address problems such as an influx of rose bushes, noxious weeds and other woody forbs that grow along creek sides and in pastures. We graze our small herd of goats on knapweed, hoary alyssum and houndstongue, using portable electric fence to keep them contained and safe against predation. By grazing the goats, who love the seeds and flowers of these plants, we are attempting to interrupt and even diminish the reproductive process of these particular plants. Research shows that with patience and consistency, goats can make a substantial difference on weed growth and reproduction.
Expect some of the world's best dry fly fishing from the blue ribbon Yellowstone River! High fish counts, year round access, and spectacular scenery draw anglers from all over to the waters from Yellowstone National Park to legendary Paradise Valley and beyond. Conditions created by the early July salmon fly hatch and following hopper season give novices an excellent chance for success. Fly shops in Gardiner and Livingston offer guided drift boat trips. Try wade fishing in the shallower areas near Emigrant or during low water seasons.
Among the local fly shops and guides: http://www.parksflyshop.com in Gardiner and http://www.yellowstoneangler.com in Livingston.
Observe range health monitoring
We collect data annually in order to monitor and track changes at different locations around the ranch using land management products such rain gauges, grazing cages and monitoring kits created by LandEKG and draw upon the knowledge obtained through rangeland consulting workshops. We also spend substantial time riding and herding our cattle throughout the growing season to determine daily range impact based on stock density and growth amounts.
Backcountry Ski-In Rentals
For the real adventurers we offer two options for an overnight backcountry experience. You can ski in or snowshoe to either our Skully Tent or Davis Cabin for $50 per night. The price is good for two people and includes your skiing the day of arrival and the day of departure. Each additional person will be $20 per night. (Details about our backcountry rentals coming soon.)