If you were to drum up an image in your mind of what an Old West homestead should look like, you’d probably conjure up The Ranch at Rock Creek. And for good reason, as it was one, dating back to its original function as a mining claim in the 1800s (nearby Philipsburg was home to a major silver boom). It was homesteaded in the early 1900s and has been a working cattle ranch since, though it now doubles as a luxury guest ranch—and it is really, really well done. Though it’s been tastefully rehabilitated, much of the main lodge is original, and the log homes and tent-style accommodations that dot the valley seem like they could have been from that era as well, thanks to period-appropriate (though cushy) fixtures, and an incredible body of photography, all sourced from the state archives in Helena (19th century boy with pet bear? Check.). It’s all-inclusive here, and you can pick from a range of activities every morning, so if your kid falls in love with a particular horse, he can ride that horse everyday. (As a nice extra, they accommodate more advanced riders, too, which means you can actually get out and run.) There’s fly fishing, paint ball, shooting, archery, an on-site spa, and a rodeo every Tuesday night—they can also arrange for rafting, helicopter trips to Glacier or Yellowstone, or heli-hiking into the back country (those cost extra). And the food? The food is the perfect balance between comfort ranch and modern healthy— and all as locally sourced as possible. There’s a weekly post-rodeo barbecue, an evening of cooking outside in Dutch Ovens (a neat culinary trick that the chef, Josh Drage, picked up from his grandmother), interesting spins like sweet potato sandwiches, and the occasional night of wine pairings and fancy food.

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