Gallatin River Lodge Blog

Top 5 Reasons Why Winter is the Best Time to Visit Montana

5. No crowds
If you have ever visited Southwest Montana during July and August, you may be surprised by how busy it can be. While there is still plenty of room to spread out, the highways, especially in and around Yellowstone are busy with visitors from all over the world. Once you get into the Park, it can feel a little crowded, especially when animals are along the roadways, or everyone wants to see Old Faithful at the same time.

During the winter, Yellowstone experiences 1/20th (yes, that’s right) of the summer visitation. While close to 4 million visitors come to the Park over the summer season, less than 200,000 visit the Park over the winter months. This means plenty of opportunities to see Yellowstone without many people around. If you have the chance, you should go to Old Faithful late afternoon, as you may not see anyone else! As far as the rest of the area, winter is also a great time to stay in and around Bozeman. For the state of Montana, occupancy levels run 40-50% on average, versus 90-100% in the summer.

Winter Top 5 img sm

4. More affordable
With the occupancy levels much lower, most hotels, B&B’s, and other accommodations lower their rates to help attract more guests, so it can be a great time to find a deal. We know one amazing place that offers luxury accommodations with a fireplace, and Jacuzzi, along with dinner for two, and breakfast for two, starting at $275/ night (spoiler alert: it’s us!!). Like most places, as demand goes down, so do rates. Rentals cars, lodging, and airline tickets can all be more affordable during the winter months, plus no crowds.

3. Recreation is just as good, maybe better
We know that there is a good reason that the Gallatin River near the Lodge does not freeze in the winter-more time to fish! While the weather can be a bit unpredictable, there are many sunny days here in Montana during the winter, and the fishing can be amazing. For the mountains surrounding town, they can receive 350-400” of snow! This means great opportunities for both downhill and cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, dog sledding, fly fishing and ice fishing, backcountry skiing, ice climbing, skijoring, and more. If there is a way to enjoy the winter, locals around here have found a way to do it.

Dog Sledding sm

2. Great time to learn more about the culture and communities
With shorter days, and longer nights, the Bozeman community has many evening classes, events, live music, and other gatherings during the winter. There are several Holiday festivals in Bozeman throughout the month of December. Bozeman also hosts a winter farmer’s market during the winter months. There are two theaters in town, each offering movies, live shows, dance classes, and plays. If you are into continuing education, or learning a craft, there are several classes at the Wilson, including glass blowing, pottery, theater and more. With Bozeman having such an eclectic community, we encourage guests to check out all of the incredible offerings.

1. Winter is magical!
While you enjoy a quieter, more peaceful experience (at a lower cost than summer), and take in all of the activities that this area has to offer, you get to enjoy it all under the beautiful Big Sky. It is really a magical place. It is basically like living in a winter postcard or snow globe. Everywhere you look, it feels like a winter wonderland.

Winter Bridgers sm

So, if you are even considering a trip to Montana, we highly encourage you to think about winter. Less people, lower cost, plenty of activities and adventures, a great local community to enjoy, and the magical environment that only Montana can provide. If you need help planning your trip, or just what to pack, we are here to help!
-PJ Wirchansky, Lodge Manager

Festive Infusions: Cranberry Infused Vodka

Learn how to make the most beautiful and amazing cranberry infused vodka at home.

Here's what you'll need:
-One pound fresh cranberries sliced in half. (The centers of the berries should be white or nearly so. Toss any that are soft or off colored
-One Litre Grey Goose vodka
-Fresh ginger root, peeled and thinly shaved

Cranberry Infused Vodka small

You can infuse the vodka in its own bottle but you'll need an extra container to hold the excess cranberries and liquid.
Be careful how much fresh ginger you use, it's potent and can dominate if you use too much. We used three, two inch shavings per bottle.Allow the fruit to steep for at least one week, turning the bottle to mix once a day.

In the end, the berries retain their beautiful color and make a pretty garnish. Or, cover them with chocolate for a zingy sweet treat!


Our Favorite Holiday Traditions

As a blanket of snow drapes over the Gallatin Valley, the days grow shorter, the nights grow a bit longer, and the ever desire of holiday cheer grows stronger. Although no one can deny that the crackle of a warm fire and a fine glass of wine can certainly enhance Montana’s winters, it’s the true care of tradition and familiar comradery that make the holidays so special. Here at the Gallatin River Lodge, outstanding traditions remain at the heart of our establishment, bringing our family to yours for this holiday season. You can count on the Lodge’s owner, Steve to recite some cowboy poetry, a welcoming atmosphere with housemade culinary creations & cocktails, and most importantly, our Great Room’s Christmas tree.

Holiday Fire warm sm

Every year, Steve hikes to his secret tree spot, being sure to find his perfect pick among the forest. He hand-saws it in the snow, and carefully carries it out from the woods to be taken back to the Lodge. Once here, it receives the royal treatment as it stands proudly in our Great Room. Lodge staff come together to adorn the tree in ornate decorations and fishing fly ornaments, handmade by Steve’s long-time friend. After this, the tree is finally ready to be lit, its twinkling lights adding to the cozy ambience for all to enjoy.

The days may be shorter and a bit colder, but Gallatin River Lodge traditions seem to have a way of warming guests with holiday cheer, and old fashioned western hospitality. We welcome you and your family to join us over the Holidays, and create new traditions of your own.

-Larissa Morales, reservations and guest services

Chef Scott's Autumn Pork Shoulder Recipe

1 5lb boneless pork shoulder
1 onion large dice
2 carrots large dice
4 ribs celery large dice
1/2 gallon fresh cider
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
12 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaf
2 cups chicken stock
2 heads garlic

Salt and pepper the pork. Sear on both sides for 4 minutes each side until brown. Add all vegetables. Add cider, syrup, maple, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Add chicken stock. Bring back to a simmer. Cover and place in the oven at 350 until meat is easy to pull apart. Reduce the braising liquid strain, season and use as your sauce.

Fall 2018 Fly Fishing Report Southwest Montana

Fall is my favorite time to fish our area water.

Our fall fishing is just beginning now and is a nice time to enjoy cooler weather, optimum river flows and foliage color change. We experience similar hatches to our spring period that share the approximate same photo period such as blue winged olive hatches, various caddis activity and golden stone emergence.

20080804 Flyfishing Yell 08 106 sm

There are also a variety of additional mayflies and October caddis that hatch on different areas of the Madison, Yellowstone, Missouri and Gallatin. Fall overcast conditions improve the quantity and quality of many hatches. Some of the best dry fly fishing of the year occurs now until late in October. Traditional nymph fishing is also quite productive when hatch activity and emergence is not quite as prolific.

Brown trout are more aggressive in all of our rivers now and fall runs of fish move up into rivers from our reservoirs. Streamer and modified nymph fishing can produce great numbers and some very large catches. Crayfish, sculpin and baitfish patterns are typical flies we use for this type fishing.

Fall Fisherman Paradise Valley sm

Please join us this fall for some of the best fishing of the year!

-Steve Gamble, Gallatin River Lodge Owner, Outfitter

Do you Invest in Yourself?

When many of us think of investments, we may think of real estate property, mutual funds, or something else that provides some return to us at a later time. Have you ever considered that investing in yourself may produce something incredible at a later time? Maybe it is continuing education in a field that compliments an existing level of expertise, or maybe it is in something new that provides additional income on the side. Or, another possibility is that we take the necessary time to invest in ourselves so that we continue to grow, prosper, and “earn” the return of a good quality of life-one that has balance in work, life, family, recreation, etc.

Fall Fisherman Paradise Valley sm

For many of our guests, they enjoy the investment of experience. For those living in a large metropolitan area, maybe the unobstructed night sky with endless stars is a new experience, or maybe traveling down a Montana highway where you are the only vehicle for miles is something you have never experienced before. It may very well be something different for all of us. A walk in the woods on a fall day, and enjoying the cool breezes allows me to appreciate the simple things in life. It offers a quick rejuvenation for the spirit.

Fall Hike Montana River sm

When you believe in the importance of investing in those experiences, you reap the benefits both immediately and in the long run, which is a lot more than one can say for some “investments.” The more we experience, the more we see. The more we see, the more we grow. The more we grow, the more we change and evolve as a human being. This is something that you can then take home to positively impact the people around you. Whether it is a trip to Montana, or someplace else, we believe in the power of investing in yourself, and know that it will produce great results. If you are looking for some new ideas to experience, feel free to contact us. We have plenty of ideas. Many of us have been investing for years, and have helped others to do the same. No commissions, no fees, just honest advice on how to make the most of your Montana experience.

-PJ Wirchansky, Lodge Manager

Farmer Spotlight Catamount Farm

Here at the Gallatin River Lodge we pride ourselves on fostering relationships with the local producers who we source our ingredients from. They inspire us to create dishes that showcase the abundance of the Gallatin Valley. This month we are thrilled to feature Catamount Farm; a small farm with a massive passion for what they do.

Catamount Farm

Catamount Farm started in 2012 and since expanded to quarter acre. Douglas Stream is the man behind it all. He found his passion working on his father’s farm at the young age of 10. He is an American Veteran and settled down in Montana in 1991. You can see the immense love for what he does by just talking to him. Each vegetable has a story and is grown with respect to the environment and to the people who later eat it. It is for that reason why we are so honored to work with Stream.

Catamount Farm 2

His top four reasons for pursuing a life in gardening is as follows:
1. Connecting more closely with the land is a way to become more self-sufficient
2. Practicing good stewardship is not only the right thing to do, but it is a form of therapy for nourishing one's soul;
3. I believe that fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables are absolutely essential for maintaining optimum health and nutrition; and
4. The simple joy and supreme satisfaction of bringing a sown seed to harvest and to know that my customer is satisfied with the results.

Here is to another bountiful year! Cheers!

7 Spruce Farms in Bozeman

7 Spruce Farm is a small, family owned and operated, farm tucked away in Bozeman growing hydroponic tomatoes. Started in January of 2016 by Tim and Darcy Gallagher, the farm produces beefsteak style tomatoes April through November, sold throughout the Gallatin Valley. With two greenhouses, utilizing 6,000 square feet and 1,800 plants, about 2,000 pounds of tomatoes are harvested each week at peak production.

7Spruce 002

Growing the tomatoes hydroponically allows the farm to control the growing environment enabling an extended harvest season especially for a climate like Bozeman. The temperature, humidity and watering are all controlled electronically. Bees zip from flower to flower, while thousands of predatory wasps and ladybugs act as guards against potentially damaging thrips and aphids. No pesticides are ever used.

7Spruce 006

Though started as small family operated farm, five part time staff have been employed to handle the care and needs of the plants and harvest of the tomatoes. With two greenhouses, utilizing 6,000 square feet and 1,800 plants, about 2,000 pounds of tomatoes are harvested each week at peak production. The tomatoes are picture perfect and taste better than they look. Lots of love and care go into the production of the tomatoes.

Local Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Savory Crepes, Sunny Side Egg

This savory crepe has become an instant favorite on our new breakfast menu. We thought it would be a nice one to share with our GRL family! Enjoy!

Crepe Batter

6 eggs
2 ½ cups milk
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
Mix wet ingredients, then dry ingredients and combine

Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
1 oz butter (cold)
1 oz all purpose flour
Mix together to make roux
6 cups heavy cream
Slowly add to roux
10 oz bleu cheese crumbles
½ tbs tobasco sauce
2 tsp toasted and ground fennel seed
½ tsp white pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
Add all seasonings. Let simmer low for 5 minutes

Savory Crepe 5.26.18 sm

Saute mushrooms, and asparagus on medium heat until soft
While sautéing veggies, pour crepe batter into saute pan, just enough to coat the pan. Cook on low heat, 2 minutes on each side

Add veggies to crepes, gently roll crepes
Add ¼ cup of Gorgonzola sauce on top
Lightly saute spinach and add to top of crepes

Finish off with a sunny side egg, Enjoy!

Meet Kaitin Broumpton, our new Special Event Manager

Raised in a suburb of Denver, Kaitlin spent most of her time outdoors in the Colorado sun. After graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder, she moved to Jackson Hole and became the Reservations Supervisor at one of the top resorts in the country, Amangani. After four years, she transitioned into the Lodge Manager Role with Blixt and Company, the top Driven Shooting Company in North America. With her past experience in luxury travel and catering to the utmost elite clientele in the Rocky Mountain West, she decided to move to Bozeman Montana to become the Events Manager here at Gallatin River Lodge. She loves creating special moments and beautifully executed events for all guests. When she is not working at the Lodge, you can find her on the water, paddle boarding or fishing with her Fox Red Lab, Lola.

IMG 6658

Getting Personal with Montana

We are especially thankful for the opportunity to share our beautiful home with guests throughout the year, as the Lodge has been operating as a “home away from home,” or for many guests, their “Montana Home” for close to 20 years now! We have welcomed literally thousands of guests from all over the world, and one aspect that resonates with our guests is the “personal” feel of the experience. Although we would love to take all the credit (our staff is the best!), the truth is that Montana and the communities that make up this area are really just full of friendly, down to earth people that help to personalize your visit. This makes an enormous difference when people are deciding where to come and spend their well-earned time away from the usual- work, family, schedules, and anything else that encompasses the busy life many of us experience on a daily basis. It is clear to us that when over 80% of the people who visit Montana come back for a second visit, this beautiful place must have something going for it. When there is a “personal” connection with the people, or a place, including how a place makes us feel when we are there, our minds desire an “encore performance.”

Montana MTOT sm

So, we encourage you to come out again, or come out for a first time visit, and get personal with Montana. Stop and meet someone new along your journey, go on a hike to a place that you have never been before and see what it feels like to breathe in the fresh mountain air, or the feeling you get when you see a crystal clear stream, or the view from a 10,000 foot peak. The emotional connection with a place doesn’t get any more impactful than the one here in Montana. Don’t hesitate to let yourself explore as much of our Big Sky Country as possible. Learn where the locals go for live music, or where they go to get the freshest, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Ask someone what they love about living here. Find that something, that some place, or someone that connects you to this area. We get to do this every, single, day. We connect to our guests, our town, our trails, our mountains, our neighbors, and everything else that makes this place so special.Seriously, don't wait any longer than you have to. We'll be here to make sure you get the very best experience!

-PJ Wirchansky, Lodge Manager, and local advocate for enjoying the Montana lifestyle

Dreaming of your next trip?

Approximately 80% of first time visitors to Montana will come back for a second trip within 5 years. With close to 150,000 square miles to explore, it’s almost like having an entire country to explore, all within the state. It is actually larger than Japan! And, with literally endless recreation, it’s no wonder that people start dreaming of their return trip about this time of year. Some guests tell us they start the dreaming of the next trip as soon as they get home. For others (like me), we made the exciting decision to move out here so we could enjoy all of this grandeur year round.

Fly Fishing small womens fishingFor those thinking of a trip back to Montana this year, we would recommend that you don’t limit yourself to just summer, as any time of the year can be phenomenal. Spring is just around the corner, and for many, it’s a time to enjoy all of the seasons in Montana, depending on elevation, of course. March and April are great times to visit, as there is still incredible skiing, as well as backcountry winter activities, along with some of the warm weather activities, including fly fishing, golf, and low elevation hikes. The weather can be quite comfortable- average highs at the end of March/ beginning of April are in the 50’s in Bozeman. As we get into May and June, they can be some of the more precipitous months, but this is also the time that the hillsides turn green, trees have their leaves again, and the snow retreats to the highest elevations. For those interested in wildlife, the newborn bison, elk, moose and bears are out and about, exploring for the first time. May is a wonderful time for fly fishing, and with low visitation, the rivers can feel like your own.

There is no question that summer is the favorite season for many, and with mild temperatures, relatively dry weather, and full access to all roads, and most trails, it is a time to explore. Fly fishing, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, ziplining, canoeing, kayaking, climbing, hot air balloon rides, and Yellowstone adventures are just some of the possibilities. We have the best snow pack in the west right now, so we will likely have great river conditions this summer!

Keep in mind that visitation is the highest in the summer, so things can be busier than other times of the year. If you are planning your trip and need some help in deciding what to do, feel free to email us, or give us a call for some ideas.

During the fall, things settle down a bit as far as the crowds, yet the recreation is still abundant, and the weather can be very nice in the lower elavations until the beginning of November. The leaves begin to change in September, and the days get a little shorter and cooler.

IMG 5049 sm
As we near December, our minds quickly switch gears to parkas, hats, gloves, and enjoying all the white fluffy snow that falls each year. Bozeman averages close to 100” of snow each year, with as much as 400” in the mountains just outside of town. Skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and backcountry trips into Yellowstone are just a few of the ways to explore the winter season in Montana.

If you are dreaming of your next trip to Montana, we hope that we have given you a good excuse to dream often. And, we hope that you will dream of multiple trips this year, which means you will get to come and stay with us!

If you need help planning, or just thinking through your trip, feel free to give us a call, 406-388-0148 or email us. 

January 2018 Ski Report

Some of the best skiing in the country is in Montana right now!

Bridger Bowl Ski

We have always been blessed with incredible snow here in Southwest Montana during ski season. While some places have good years, and not so good years, the two ski areas near the Lodge, Bridger Bowl and Big Sky Resort, typically have consistently good snow every year. Due to a consistent flow of Pacific moisture, and orographic dynamics (the mountains help too!), it snows a lot during the winter.

This year is no different, as Bridger Bowl (near Bozeman), has received close to 170” of snow since the beginning of November. With a settled base of 70”, there is plenty of fresh snow to enjoy! About an hour south of the Lodge at Big Sky Resort, they are reporting close to 120% of normal snowfall so far this year, and a base ranging from 52” at mid-mountain to 78” up top.

The Lodge is located just 35 minutes to Bridger Bowl, and an hour from Big Sky Resort, and makes for the perfect escape for those looking for relaxation, great food and beverages, as well as friendly faces at the end of a powder day! Click on the following links to check out the latest from both Bridger Bowl or Big Sky Resort.

Big Sky Snow

There is also great opportunities for cross country skiing as well. Both Crosscut Mountain Sports Center and Lone Mountain Ranch offer professionally groomed trails with amazing views! Give us a call to find out more about the endless winter recreation right here in Southwest Montana.

-PJ Wirchansky
Lodge Manager

Baby News

We have some exciting news to share with all of our Lodge family and friends. Two of our employees welcomed baby girls (born on the same day!!) last month. Nolan Bushman, a line cook the kitchen, welcomed Harper Ruth, and PJ Wirchansky, our Lodge Manager, welcomed their second child, Adalynn Grace. Both Moms and babies are doing well. Long time Lodge employee, Rikki Vallance, is also pregnant and is expecting a baby girl in December. Thank you to the many guests who have shared their blessings and well wishes with our new or soon to be new parents!

Harper Ruth, born October 7 at 8am. 6lbs 5oz, 19 inches long
Adalynn Grace, born October 7 at 6:30pm, 6lbs 4oz, 20 inches long

Baby News b

Top 5 (Lesser known) Winter Activities & Events in Southwest Montana

Winter is one of our favorite seasons here at the Gallatin River Lodge. Snow blankets the mountains and the valleys, bringing quiet days and starry nights. But that doesn’t quiet down the amount of things to do in Southwest Montana. Many guests hit the slopes for downhill skiing, or explore Yellowstone by snowcoach or snowmobile, but we have compiled some great activities and events that you might not be familiar with for your next trip. Here are 5 fun activities and events to add to your “winter fun list!"

Cross Country Ski in West Yellowstone (daytrip)
Rendezvous ski trails in West Yellowstone boasts 35 kilometers of gently rolling, groomed trails that are willing to please beginners and excite advanced skiers alike! Best of all, all the gear you need to rent is only a walk away at Freeheel and Wheel. You can call them at 406-646-7744. For more info on the Rendezvous trail please visit:

cross counry skiing

Explore  Lewis & Clark Caverns by candlelight
Experience the Caverns like the original discoverers! Lewis & Clark Caverns give tours by candlelight throughout December. Tickets go on sale Dec. 2nd- reservations are required. Coffee & hot cocoa provided at visitor center after tour! Check out their site at:

lewis and clark caverns

Go See the Nutcracker

Continue the holiday tradition by joining the Montana Ballet Company in their performance of the Nutcracker, December 1st & 2nd at 7pm. You can call MBC at 406-586-8702 or go online to buy tickets. For more visit:

Visit the Bozeman Winter Farmers Market
Take in the Montana experience with locally grown produce, baked goods and handmade arts, jewelry and crafts. The winter market is every second Saturday at 9am- 12pm in the Emerson Center Ballroom. To look up dates go to:

Get into the holiday spirit at the Bozeman Christmas Stroll

This season will mark the 37th Annual Bozeman Christmas Stroll December 2nd. Hang out with Santa, make gingerbread houses, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, go caroling & more! Events kick off at 12:30pm at the Emerson Center and stroll officially starts at 4:30pm and goes till 7:30pm. For more information visit:

christmas gingerbread

-Brianna Dudek, Reservations

Fall Fishing in Montana

Montana is home to very large Brown Trout. These big fish are often hard to catch and many anglers that fish our waters do not know the best tactics to have success fishing for these brutes. One of the best strategies is to fish during the fall months of September and October. Browns spawn in late fall and are much more aggressive prior to this activity. These big fish are most active late in the day. We fish very large streamer patterns and target areas near reservoirs and lakes where the largest browns spend part of the year. Join us this fall for a chance to catch big Montana Brown Trout!

Fall Fly Fishing Image Brown

Activities to Keep You Cool this Summer

Summer is the most popular time of the year for people to visit our beautiful state. It is also, in our opinion, one of the best times of the year to get outside and enjoy the endless recreation. We are now in the middle of summer, and although climatologically speaking, we experience “mild” weather here in Bozeman, the summers can be rather warm. During those hot days, many of us will seek “cooler” activities, especially during July and August. We have compiled a list of local activities that will help keep you cool this time of year (they are in no particular order):

1. Floating the Madison River-this is a fun, relaxing way to enjoy a warm summer day. The water is comfortable, the river flow is mellow, and most of the river is fairly shallow. There is a 6 mile stretch on the Madison River that allows day users to “float” from Warm Springs to Black’s Ford on a simple tube, float, or small boat. It is a leisurely activity that requires some planning, as you will need to make sure you remember to schedule how you are going to get from the starting point (with all your items), to the take out, and then back again to get your vehicle. There are local companies that provide tubes, life jackets, shuttles, and everything in between. Allow 4-5 hours from start to finish. Note that this is a great way to cool off, but remember lots of water and sunscreen. It can also be busy, especially on weekends.

2. Hike to waterfalls-Hyalite Canyon is a beautiful area, south of Bozeman that has a large lake, picnic spots, as well as hiking areas. One of our favorites is Palisades Falls, which is a short (less than a mile each way) hike in the trees to a waterfall. The higher elevation, as well as the water cascading off the rocks provides natural cooling for those looking for a break from the heat.

Palisades Falls sm

3. Swimming in a Montana Lake- yes, there are number of lakes that serve as local swimming holes throughout the summer months. Keep in mind that many of the lakes stay cool throughout the summer, so it is great to cool off on a hot summer day, but water temps can stay cool, so limit your time in the water. We like the Bozeman Beach area, Hyalite Reservoir, Cliff and Wade Lakes, or a hike up to Fairy Lake in the Bridgers provides both a hike and beautiful views, as well as a refreshing lake to swim at the end of your hike.

Cliff and Wade Lakes sm

4. Lewis and Clark Caverns-located outside of Three Forks, Montana is Lewis and Clark Caverns, which provides a nice and cool area on a hot summer day. Temps in the caverns are in the 50’s and the guided tour is around 3 hours. It is perfect during the hottest part of the day! Remember to bring water, as you do hike about a mile to get to the start of the tour. There is some basic stooping and climbing over rocks to get through the caverns.

5 & 6. Ziplining through the trees (and Whitewater Rafting)- located just 25 minutes south of the Lodge is a ziplining adventure that takes guests out and over the Gallatin River. The area is in and out of the trees, but the breeze along the river, and the sheltered/ shaded areas sure feel nice on a warm summer afternoon. It is also slightly higher in elevation than Bozeman, so the air temperature can run a few degrees cooler. You can also combine it with a white water rafting trip, which is another great way to cool off. White water rafting down the Gallatin is very exciting, especially early in the summer when water flows are at their peak. The temperature of the Gallatin River can be in the 50’s and 60’s so wet suits are encouraged and provided.

White Water Rafting Gallatin

7. Fly Fishing the Gallatin Canyon- Fly Fishing is another way to stay cool in the summer. Many area rivers stay cool throughout the summer, especially the Gallatin River. The Gallatin Canyon is a beautiful area south of the Lodge that is renowned for its walk/ wade fishing. Whether you have waders or not, the cool waters of the Gallatin, along with the sheltered areas in the canyon offer much cooler conditions than those in the valley. For the adventurous souls, combine hiking and fishing, and trek to one of the many alpine lakes in the Gallatin National Forest for arctic grayling or golden trout. Either way, this can be a nice way to spend a warm summer day!

8. High elevation hikes- generally speaking, the air temperature cools as much as 3-4 degrees for every 1000 feet in elevation gain, and since the Gallatin Valley is 4500-4900 feet in elevation with surrounding mountains as high as 11,000 feet, there are plenty of great hikes that provide solace from summer temperatures that can rise well into the 90’s. One of our favorite hikes close to Bozeman is Sacajawea Peak, at almost 9900 feet. It can be a nice & cool 65 degrees on top of the Peak, while temps in town are well into the 90’s. Or, head south on 191 towards Big Sky, and hike up to Windy Pass. Also, just below 10000 feet, it is a moderate hike that takes you through alpine forests, and into large meadows (great for wildflowers), to a stunning 360 degree viewpoint at the top. Keep in mind that these trails can have snow on them into July, so plan accordingly. Also, be prepared for changes in weather and afternoon thunderstorms throughout the season.

Hiking Bridgers sm

Or, if you need a break from the outdoors all together, the Museum of the Rockies is an incredible museum here in Bozeman with dinosaur exhibits, history, a planetarium, as well as a living history exhibit. There is also the Computer Museum, and Gallatin History Museum, along with shops, and restaurants.

We are always here to help you make the most of your Montana adventure. Feel free to call, email or stop by the front desk for tips, suggestions, or ideas. We look forward to serving you!

-PJ Wirchansky, Lodge Manager

3 Tips to Keep Garden Pests Away

Here at the Gallatin River Lodge, we are fortunate to be located off the beaten path and nestled up along over 300 acres of conservation land. These wide open spaces are what give our guests a true taste of Big Sky country. With that, come many natural challenges to keep our kitchen garden producing at its peak. 

Garden 2 sm

Here are my Top 3 Pests, and how I tackle them here at the GRL.
1. Deer
First, deer can be a problem in any garden! They love to snack on our violas and lettuce. To keep them out of our kitchen garden, we installed an electric fence around the perimeter. The fence has a low voltage, just enough to give the deer a small buzz when they try to approach the garden. The buzz scares them off to where they don’t find it worth it to come into the garden. Since we installed the fence, our deer problem is almost nonexistent! Our backup plan for when the deer do venture into the garden is using deer resistant plants. I planted a border of marigolds to protect the crops that deer find the tastiest. Marigolds are known to be unpleasant to deer in taste and smell. The hope is that deer will stay clear of the marigolds, and therefore the crops nestled in the middle will stay untouched.

Garden 3

2.Ground Squirrels or Prairie dogs
Ground squirrels may be the biggest threat we face in the kitchen garden. They create underground tunnels throughout the garden, munching on radishes, lettuce and flowers. There are many ways to deal with ground squirrels but one effective and humane way that we use, is solar sonic spikes. These solar sonic spikes are powered by the sun and need no batteries. The spikes emit a pulse throughout the ground every 30 seconds that irritates the ground squirrels, making them move elsewhere. Even though this method covers a large area, I find them to be most effective when used throughout the garden, especially in areas heavily hit.

Grasshoppers, aphids & black flees can do some serious damage if not kept in check. In the kitchen garden I use multiple methods to help keep them at bay.

Cayenne Soap Spray:
i.1 Tsp of cayenne pepper
ii.Squirt of castile soap
iii.Gallon of water
This homemade spray can be used directly on plants affected by aphids or black flees. Be cautious to dilute the solution enough, otherwise you run the risk of burning the plant. I suggest testing it on a small part of the plant first. I get the best success if I apply it twice a week.

Garden Tips 2 sm

Integrating flowers into the mix
There are many benefits of planting flowers alongside crops in the garden, one being that flowers bring in beneficial insects.  My favorite flowers to add are borage, marigolds, calendula and bachelor buttons. Beneficial insects such as hoverflies and ladybugs eat harmful insects. Some flowers help deter harmful insects as well such as marigold and calendula.  

(Diatomaceous Earth) is fossilized algae. When applied to soil where insects are a problem, DT breaks down the exoskeleton of the insect. DT is safe to eat and is commonly used in grain storage.

Overall, nature has its way of balancing out. I try to use humane methods and create a healthy environment to bring in beneficial insects to do the hard work for me! Trial and error will give you the results in your garden. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to combat the pests in your own.

Happy Harvesting!
Brianna – Kitchen Garden Manager

Top 10 Summer Activities in Montana

Our recent blog on wildlife watching was just one of the many activities that folks come to Montana to enjoy, but yes, there is so much more! Many guests enjoy exploring our nearby rivers and their incredible blue ribbon trout fishing opportunities, but we agree that there are many other activities we recommend to explore all that Montana has to offer.

As the snow begins to melt off of the mountains, and all of the hillsides become lush and green, we know it is the warm season in Montana. The difficult part is deciding what to do, as there are so many options for enjoying Yellowstone Country. Here are our top 10 favorite summer activities, in no particular order:

Considering there are 1.8 million acres in the Gallatin National Forest, and another 2.2 million acres in Yellowstone, hiking this area offers literally endless options. There are many, many trails in and around the Bozeman area. A few of our favorites include Grotto Falls up Hyalite Canyon (beautiful waterfall), Storm Castle (incredible views), and Sacajawea Peak (quite steep, and views of 10 mountain ranges). Be sure to pick up some trail maps of the area at a local outfitter, as it will give you a good idea of topography, and locations. Also, remember lots of water, snacks, your phone or a camera, and bear spray.

hiking trails bozeman

Mountain Biking
Similar to the advantages of hiking in this area, the rugged mountains of Montana and seemingly endless trail system allow for some world class mountain biking right here in our back yard. There are many trails in and around Bozeman, as well as in the surrounding mountain ranges. South of Bozeman, about an hour, is Big Sky Resort, which utilizes their winter alpine ski trails as mountain biking trails in the summer, complete with a lift to get you up as high as you would like to go. Same tips: lots of water, and maybe your GoPro!

We have a half dozen beautiful courses right here in Bozeman and Big Sky, including access to Black Bull, Bozeman’s finest private golf club. Spend the day working on your game, while enjoying the beautiful views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Be sure to let us know ahead of time if you would like to play at Black Bull, so we can take care of the details for you. We can also make arrangements at a few other private clubs nearby.
BB Golf

Whitewater Rafting
Only 25 miles south of the Lodge, along a narrow stretch of the Gallatin River is some of the best white water rafting around! There are half and full day trips for those wanting either an exciting or more leisurely excursion, while enjoying the beautiful landscape, or watching for animals. There are also opportunities to zip-line across the Gallatin River. Take a swing through the trees and over the river in the morning and then raft through spectacular rapids in the afternoon. TIP: For those looking for the most adventurous trips, be sure to book early in the season when water levels are high (typically during runoff, late May and early June).

Fly Fishing
Fly fishermen and women travel from around the world to Southwest Montana for its exceptional fishing opportunities. Many guests enjoy both floating drift boasts and walk and wade trips. We have been guiding guests on Area Rivers for over 35 years fishing the Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, Jefferson, and Missouri, as well as many private spring creeks, and lakes. We fish over 70 miles of each of these rivers, and they are all within an hour of the Lodge. There is also a private stocked trout pond on-site at the Lodge. Our guides have worked for us many years and provide instruction, tackle, flies and transportation. We can also process your fishing license application or provide a link for you to do so at home!

IMG 3761

Horseback Riding
Viewing the landscape from the back of a horse is the only way to enjoy mother nature, according to some folks! Similar to hiking and mountain biking, the horseback riding trail system in Southwest Montana, whether it is in the National Forest, or in Yellowstone National Park, is massive, and stunning. If you are looking for a true cowboy or cowgirl experience, you have to try horseback riding in Montana. There are half and full day rides available through several outfitters in the area. If you have an adventurous desire to spend the night under the stars, we can also help you arrange an overnight horse pack trip with a local outfitter.

horseback riding ranch

Day Trips to Ghost Towns, State Parks, or Hot Springs
It is really hard to list just 10 activities, so we have lumped a few “must do’s” into Day Trips. First, Montana is well known for its natural thermals, and fortunately, we are located near several hot springs that are open to the public. Bozeman Hot Springs is located only 10 minutes from the Lodge and has an exercise facility, or just 30 minutes west is Norris Hot Springs. Chico Hot Springs is nearby in Paradise Valley and the Boiling River, just inside Yellowstone National Park (North Entrance near Gardiner) is a wild natural soaking experience. Check out Virginia City and Nevada City which were bustling with gold miners in the 1860’s. There is gold panning, historic sites, ghost talks, entertainment (The Brewery Follies!) and more. There are close to 50 state parks in Montana, several of which are within an hour or so from the Lodge. Many have minimal fees, and offer an “off the beaten path” activity with less crowds, and plenty of beautiful scenery.

Outdoor Festivals and Rodeos
Red Ants Pants Festival. Yes, that’s a real one. It has become one of the highlights of a Montana Summer. It started in 2011, and is now a 3 day musical festival just outside the town of White Sulphur Springs. There is also the Sweet Pea Festival in Bozeman that takes place the first weekend in August. The Folk Festival is in Butte, just a little over an hour from the Lodge. There is plenty of music, and great food.  It is also FREE! If your dates do not work out for one of the festivals, there are numerous rodeos throughout Montana during the summer. Bozeman, Ennis, West Yellowstone, and Livingston are just some of the nearby towns that host a rodeo(s) throughout the summer months. July 4 is a very popular time for rodeos!


Restaurants, Shopping, and Museums
If you are going to be in Montana for an extended period of time, it is nice to take a day and enjoy something a little more relaxed. Bozeman’s downtown area is home to several blocks of independently owned shops, and restaurants. Montana offers an eclectic food scene with many offering locally sourced ingredients, including our very own Gallatin River Grill, with our on-site garden. Bozeman is also home to the Museum of the Rockies, which has one of the largest dinosaur collections, many of which were found right here in Montana. There is also the Pioneer Museum, which is the old Bozeman jailhouse, and is a historical museum for the area. One more that you may not have heard of is the American Computer and Robotics Museum. The Museum has been recognized by publications all over the world, and is free to everyone.

Yellowstone National Park
As we said, this list is in no particular order. Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first National Park, established in 1872, and is home to over 350 species of animals. It is absolutely a “must do.” There are over 70% of the world’s thermal features in Yellowstone. Yellowstone Lake is the largest high elevation lake in North America (above 7000 feet). Yellowstone is home to grizzly and black bears, wolves, elk, bison, bald eagles, antelope, badgers, wolverines, and a number of other animals. From the Lodge, the North Entrance (east and south of us) is only an hour and 40 minutes away. The West Entrance is just a little further at an hour and 50 minutes away (due south). There are private tours of Yellowstone National Park available, with several companies that will pick you up at the Lodge. Feel free to talk to us at the front desk, as we are more than happy to provide our favorite spots too!

Yellowstone Grand Prismatic sm

These are our top 10 activities if we were planning a trip to the area. There is also kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, hot air balloon rides, paddle boarding, ATV rides, swimming, hunting, and farm tours to name a few more. Montana is the 4th largest state in the US, and there is plenty to see and do. We welcome our guests to stay with us at our small, intimate lodge away from town. There are beautiful sunsets, wildlife watching, beautiful rooms and suites, and an incredible restaurant on-site. Feel free to call us to help you plan out your Montana vacation. We hope to see you this summer!

GRL Energy Bars

House made energy bars Montana
These are some of the tastiest, easiest to make energy bars, straight from the GRL Kitchen. Take some along for your outdoor adventures, and they will certainly keep you going!

Ingredient List
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
3 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup honey
1/ 2 cup peanut butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup dried cherries
¾ cup dried apricots

1. Heat oven to 350F, then line a 9 inch square pan with foil. Lightly oil or spray.
2. Add oats and almonds to small baking sheet, and bake 5 minutes. Stir and bake another 3-5 minutes, or until lightly toasted
3. Transfer oats and almonds to a large bowl
4. Combine butter, honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and sugar is completely dissolved
5. Pour mixture into the bowl with toasted almonds and oats. Mix well, then add dried fruit. Stir until combined
6. Transfer oat mixture to lined 9 inch pan. Use a rubber spatula and firmly press mixture into the pan
7. Refrigerate 2 hours
8. Remove block of energy bar mixture from pan and peel away foil. Cut into 12 pieces.

These bars are great for all ages, and can store up to a week. They provide plenty of protein, and energy for whatever adventure you have ahead of you. Enjoy!

Image compliments of Kayla Petering

May Garden Tips: Transplanting

With this nice weather upon us, we have been busy getting the garden ready for the season. One of our favorite activities this time of the year is visiting the local nurseries. One can get lost for hours looking at all the colors and different varieties of plants! To ensure a successful garden, it is essential to the pick the right plants. 

Garden A 2016.06.10
Here are our top 3 tips to follow when choosing transplants:
1)    Look for bushy and stocky plants, instead of tall spindly plants. This shows signs that the plant has had adequate amount of light. Stocker plants will also hold up to wind in your garden better than the spindly plants

2)    Look for foliage that is deep green in color. This indicates that the plant has been properly fertilized. Plants with light green or yellow leaves show that the plant is stressed and does not have the proper ratio of nutrients.

3)    When looking for vegetables, choose plants without flowers. If you choose a tomato plant with flowers, the plant is focusing all of its energy to produce fruit. The plant will fruit, but it will cause the plant to be stunted & it will never reach its full potential of bounty. Choose a healthy dark green, stocky plant without flowers. When you plant it in your garden, it will encourage more plant growth and you’ll be awarded with a bountiful harvest of tomatoes!

We hope you find this helpful when starting your own garden this season!

Brianna Dudek, Garden Manager

Enjoying the Wildlife in Montana

Wide open spaces, the “Big Sky,” stunning snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, and miles and miles of protected land…all for us to explore! Many guests who visit Montana are drawn to the state’s extraordinary beauty, regardless of what season, as each is spectacular to see. And, even though the animals probably do not think about this, I can’t help but notice that they may have the best view around.

Each evening at the Lodge, it is not just about our delectable dinner service, but it is also a time for wildlife viewing, as we are fortunate enough to have White Tail Deer, Sandhill Cranes, Canada Geese, Turkeys, Bald Eagles, a plethora of birds, a Porcupine on occasion, and this year, the Trout Pond has a resident Beaver. During the early mornings, typically around sunrise, and during the evenings, typically around sunset, are the best times to spot animals, as they tend to move around based on the Solunar Table.

IMG 1792

Not only does the Lodge itself provide an incredible opportunity for viewing wildlife, but Bozeman is located adjacent to the Gallatin National Forest, which has close to 2 million acres, which borders Yellowstone National Park, which is another 2.2 million acres. These two massive areas are home to over 350 species of animals. Many guests come to see Bears, Wolves, Moose, Elk, Bison, Fox, Badgers, Bald Eagles, and Wolverines to name a few. If you are coming for a visit, we encourage you to take some time to enjoy the many animals that call this place home. There are hundreds of hiking trails around Bozeman, and in the surrounding areas, opportunities for horseback riding (another great way to see wildlife), fly fishing adventures, and of course, trips into Yellowstone Park.


Feel free to give us a call for special tips on where to locate wildlife based on your plans for exploration and travel in the area. Remember to give wildlife plenty of room to be in their natural environment. And, don’t forget your camera, a good pair of binoculars, and a little patience...and have fun!

-Lodge Manager, PJ Wirchansky

Local Beef from Montana Wagyu Cattle Company

Each one of our menu items is a well thought-out combination of flavors, texture & colors, but we also place a high priority on where our ingredients are sourced. By supporting local and regional ingredients, we believe that it doesn’t only provide the highest quality & taste, but also strengthens our local community from the roots. 

We would like share some information about one of our MT partners, Montana Wagyu Cattle Company. Many guests are excited about trying authentic Montana cuisine, which we are proud to say encompasses many items, however, we are best known for our beef(Statistics say there are 3 cows per 1 Montanan citizen!).

At Montana Wagyu Cattle Co, it is more than just ranching for them. It is a passion. All cows are raised, finished & processed in Montana. We believe it’s some of the best steak you will ever try. They produce beef that is graded among the top 3% of all beef in the USA.
Wagyu is the American style of the famous Japanese Kobe beef. Montana Wagyu Cattle Co. started their breeding program with Kobe and their own Angus cattle in 1976. They have excelled at creating a flavor profile that suits the American palate of rich buttery taste of Wagyu and the deep robust taste and texture of Angus. This makes for an exquisite type of meat, and a one-of-a kind culinary experience with each dish. All cuts go through a process of dry aging for 28-30 days, creating an extremenly tender piece of meat with a deep flavor profile.

It is such an honor to showcase such a delicious product on our menu. A big thank you to Montana Wagyu Cattle Co. for sharing your passions with our passion of great food!

Spring Garden News

Spring time is officially here and our Kitchen Garden is getting ready for this coming growing season. Last year, we saved seeds from our leftover bounty and we will be getting ready to start planting, which will allow us a head start to the season!

We learned a lot from our first season last year, and have decided to redesign our layout to represent a Potager style. A Potager is a traditional French kitchen garden that focuses on artful design, and intermingles vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers.

IMG 0087
This will create a welcoming ambiance, and will encourage guests to interact with the garden. Here at the Gallatin River Lodge, we take great pride in providing the highest quality of local ingredients available in the Gallatin Valley.

We are thrilled to share our bounty with you all this season!
Cheers! Brianna Dudek, Garden Manager

March 2017 Fly Fishing

Spring is here!  It’s been a fairly cold Montana winter, with a good amount of snow.  It's not over though, and we will continue to get more snow, especially up high, which will continue to build on an already substantial snowpack.  As of now, all of our major river drainages are above average for snowpack levels with the Yellowstone at 128% of average.

IMG 7169 sm
A common question asked from folks is: when does our fishing season start?  The answer is: it's always fishing season!  Rivers in Montana are open all year.  There may be a seasonal closure on some rivers and smaller creeks, but for the most part, the big rivers around here including the Madison, Yellowstone, and Gallatin are open all year to fishing.  We can and do fish all winter, picking and choosing our spots based on the weather and where we find open water.  Those places are usually somewhere where there is a thermal influence that keeps the water ice free such as a Tailwater like the Upper and Lower Madison, or where warmer water from a spring creek joins a river or the spring creek itself.  The spring creeks around Livingston are great year round option.  I have included some photos from a guide trip in February where we fished the Gallatin behind the lodge from our private access.  The fishing was great and we even had fish rising to midges.
-Ryan Eisfeldt, lead guide

IMG 7114 sm

Another question I get asked is, when is the best time to come and fish.  That's a tough one but the answer is whenever you can!  Summer is great and definitely the most popular time for many.  I think that our spring, pre-runoff fishing, is the most underutilized and can be some of the best fishing of the year. As the temperatures rise, the fish become a bit more active. The insect activity also increases in the spring and we start to see our first hatches of mayflies and stoneflies in March.  After a steady diet of midges, the fish are really looking for something different to bulk up after a long winter.  When fishing late in the season, the fish can get a bit educated. This is not the case in the spring after having been left alone for the most part all winter. And, if you are looking to get away from other anglers, this is a great time to possibly have the rivers to yourself. If you haven't fished around here in the spring, give it a try.

Many Seasons, Many Reasons to Visit Montana

The Winter months in Montana are a great time to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, sled, take a sleigh ride, watch wildlife in Yellowstone National Park, or simply go for a walk in the snow. Or, you could go ahead and start dreaming about summer! January-March are the busiest times of the year for planning a summer vacation. Although we are in the middle of our winter season in Montana, and most of us are out enjoying the snow in every way possible (there is so much to do out here!), many of our guests who visit the Lodge during the warm season start planning their visit to Montana now.

Winter Bison small

Many of us enjoy an emotional boost when planning a trip and then going away on vacation. According to’s travel research, almost half (49%) of people say a holiday or vacation brings more happiness than a big occasion in life (wedding day for example). And, three quarters of people book a holiday to cheer themselves up when they are in need of a surge of happiness.

 DSC8899 sm

Once on vacation, over 70% enjoy the vacation more when they can make themselves at home. This is one area that we strive to provide for all of our guests here at Gallatin River Lodge. We have only 12 rooms, and with generally more than a 1:1 ratio of staff to guests, we want to make everyone feel at home, so that guests can enjoy the vacation/ visit as much as possible.

GRL 2017 2426 2

Many of the staff here at GRL have been in Montana for many years, and as locals, know how to make the most of their time exploring both winter and summer seasons. To make sure that all guests have a personalized experience while in Montana, we encourage you to give us a call before your visit so we can help provide you with ideas, suggestions, and must do’s while staying in Big Sky Country. Feel free to call Stephanie, Bri, or myself, as we are more than happy to talk winter, spring, summer or fall in Montana. There are so many reasons to come to Montana for a visit, regardless of season. We can’t wait to share this beautiful place with you!

-PJ Wirchansky, Lodge Manager

To read the full article on Travel is the True Secret to Happiness, click here.

Blood Orange Cranberry Scones


Orange Cranberry Scone
1 3/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8oz craisins
1 blood orange (zest)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Combins flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Sift together, stir in orange zest and craisins. Mix well. Add heavy whipping cream, mix together by hand until dough forms. On a flat, floured surface, roll out dough about a half inch thick. Cut into 3 inch triangles. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper an inch apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

Countdown to Christmas

As December rapidly approaches, everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit with decorations and holiday traditions. Our own Lodge decorating took place this week, and everything looks amazing. Whether you decorate two months early or two days before, the Gallatin River Lodge has your event count down.

Christmas Tree two med

The Christmas Stroll – Three Forks, MT  
Come join Three Forks for their Christmas Stroll, A Night of Lights on December 2nd from 5-8 pm. The festivities will be taking place on Main Street and they include a lights parade, silent auction, ginger bread house competition, and much more!

The Nutcracker -Bozeman, MT
Montana Ballet Company presents its 33rd annual production of The Nutcracker. Showings open December 2nd and run through the 3rd. Show times are at 7:00pm and 2:00pm on Sunday. Cost of admission ranges from $15-55.00 a ticket.

Holiday Organ Concert -Bozeman, MT
Hope Lutheran Church is hosting the Holiday Organ Concert on December 4th from 3:30-4:30pm. A donation of $10.00 is greatly appreciated.

The Christmas Stroll – Bozeman, MT
Bozeman’s very own Christmas Stroll is happening Saturday December 3rd from 4:30-7:30 on Main Street. Those of you who stayed with us this summer will recognize a similar theme to the summer’s biggest attraction, Music on Main Street, Main street will be blocked off and the festivities going on throughout the shops and street. Get your thermoses of hot cocoa out and get ready to see the streets in lights and filled with holiday cheer. 

Make sure you get out and participate in these great community events happening throughout the month of December.

Need a place to relax and unwind? Come stay with us, and take advantage of our Winter Romance Package! This winter package included lodging, dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine ($30 credit), and a full cook-to-order breakfast. Click here to book now!

Fall and the Changing of the Seasons

Although summer is typically the most popular time for visitors to come to Montana, fall is secretly our favorite time of the year for many Montanans. It is full of peaceful outdoor exploration, as well as winter preparation. October and November are two of the driest months of the year, and with average temperatures during the day in the 40’s & 50’s, it is still a fantastic time to get outside, and enjoy the many outdoor recreational opportunities. Of course, fishing and hunting are two of the most popular pastimes, but there is also hiking, horseback riding, trips into Yellowstone, wildlife watching, among others.

November sunrise

This is also a time to prepare for the exciting winter season ahead, with many of us getting out our skis, boots, snowshoes, sleds, and anything else that allows us to enjoy the fluffy white powder that Mother Nature typically blesses us with from November-March.

The mountains around the Lodge see anywhere from 250-400” of snow each year, making it one of the most reliable areas for snow sports. We are fortunate to have two world-class ski areas within an hour of the Lodge, with Bridger Bowl (35 minutes away) and Big Sky Resort (an hour) both accessible for downhill skiing. If alpine skiing is not your thing, we highly recommend Nordic skiing, as it is a fantastic way to get out on the snow, explore the trails, see wildlife, and get an incredible workout.

Winter Dogsledding

Around Bozeman, there are some great areas for ice climbing, and snowshoeing. If you head down towards Big Sky, and West Yellowstone, you are sure to see plenty of snow as well, along with some great opportunities for snowmobiling, dog sledding, and sleigh rides.

Located just 15 minutes from Bozeman, for those who enjoy more in-town offerings, there is plenty of entertainment, shopping, great local food (especially at the Gallatin River Grill!), museums, art galleries, special events, year round farmer’s market, and live music.

While we continue to enjoy this fall season, and dream often of our upcoming winter adventures, we would love for you to come stay with us, dine at our Grill, and choose however you want to immerse yourself in this stunning area.

To help you get ready for Winter, check out Whitney’s blog for more helpful tips.
We hope to see you soon!

-PJ Wirchansky, Lodge Manager

Steamed BC Honey Mussels

Steamed BC Honey Mussels - Porcini, Baby Bok Choi, Cipollini Onions, Coconut, Kaffir Lime and Lemongrass Broth
These mussels are only available certain times of the year, and are very limited.  They are super sweet, have an amazing meat to shell ratio, and are full of good omega 3 fatty acids.

DSC 0425

Serves 2

4 porcini - Sliced Thin
2 baby Bok Choi
3 Cipollini onions- sliced thin
1 can coconut milk(unsweetened)
1 tsp fresh ginger - minced
2 stalks lemongrass - cut in half and pounded
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup fish stock or veg stock
2 kaffir limes - zest only
1lb mussels
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup white soy

Slice the vegetables and pick the Choi leaves and set aside

Sweat garlic, lemongrass and ginger in sesame oil on low heat for 2 minutes with no color.  Add stock and coconut milk.  Add kaffir lime zest.  Bring to a simmer and season with rice wine vinegar and white soy or Shoyu.  Continue to simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into another pot and add veggies.  Bring up to a rolling boil and add mussels.  Cover until they open all the way.  Taste and make sure it's to your liking.  Add more Shoyu if need be or more vinegar.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh cilantro leaf
-Chef Scott Myers, Executive Chef

DSC 0423

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Much of what we enjoy around Montana are the many outdoor activities that this area provides. Regardless of the season, there are always plenty of things to do outdoors. With the stunning backdrop of mountains, rivers, and plains, it is easy to see why so many people come to Montana throughout the year. With all of those activities and adventures, comes the ocassional discomfort or pain associated with enjoying all this fun. When that time to heal and relax comes along, be sure to take care of your body the best you can, as it is the only one you have, and why not use it as long as you can, right?

spa 686389 1280
Massage therapy can be a life saver for those experiencing pain or discomfort from illnesses, health disorders, or sports related injuries. It has a number of incredible benefits for a wide variety of individuals. Here are just some of its benefits:
-relief from neck or back pain
-can reduce insomnia
-improves circulation
-helps with muscle soreness
-stress reducer
-helps to control high blood pressure
-helps control anxiety and depression
-can relieve arthritis pain
-boosts immunity
-feels great!
Once you take the first step to healing with a professional massage, you will be on your way to restore, rejuvinate, and decompress your body. This will lead to a healthier, happier, less stressed you, and one that can take on any of Montana's adventures. For guests staying with us here at the Lodge, we do offer in-room massage therapy to help you to heal and relax.

Get Ready for Winter 2016-17

Although it may not seem like it, with our recent mild, sunny weather, winter is just around the corner! Whether you are an adrenaline junkie who only skis black diamond runs, or a classic Nordic skier who enjoys listening to the sounds of nature, we have everything you are looking for right here to prepare you for winter fun, including, opening dates, activity suggestions, and the Farmer’s Almanac predictions for local Montana weather.

BS Resort
Tentative opening dates (subject to snowfall):
Big Sky Resort, November 24, 2016
Bridger Bowl, December 9, 2016
Red Lodge Mountain: November 25, 2016
Whitefish Mountain, December 7, 2016

Cross Country/ Nordic
Bohart Ranch, December 7, 2016

Rendezvous Trails, November 22, 2016
Lone Mountain Ranch, December 9, 2016

LoneMtn Ski

Can't wait to start out the new ski season with a fresh pair of skis? Then, checkout Bridger Ski Foundation's Annual Ski Swap, happening the first weekend of November. Drop off for items you wish to sell is Friday, November 4 from 10am-7pm at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds. The Ski Swap begins Saturday, November 5 at 10am-6pm, and continues Sunday, November 6, 10am-2pm. It's a great way to get a new pair of skis, boots, poles, and a way to get rid of your old ones for cash.

Do you prefer to walk/ snowshoe in the winter? We have some great trail recommendations for you. Whether you enjoy snowshoeing on a regular basis or just when the weather warms up a bit, these 9 trails will be sure to impress!

-Sourdough Nature Trail
-Triple Tree Trail
-Galligator Trail
-Pete's Hill
-Bozeman Pond
-Cherry River Loop
-Sourdough Canyon Trail
-East Gallatin Recreational Area
-Gallatin County Regional Park (sledding too!)

Snowshoe Img

For complete directions, and trail descriptions, click here:

As everyone knows, these winter wonderland activities are completely dependent on Mother Nature, including snowfall and temperatures. Weather in Montana can change without notice. If you don't like the weather, just wait 10 minutes, and it just may change! Are we destined for an average winter, or a snow-filled doozy of a season? According to the 2017 Farmer's Almanac, we are in for an average start with a colder and snowy season beginning mid-season. So, enjoy this mild stretch of weather for now, as winter is just around the corner. 

YNP Bison

We have all kinds of winter activities around Gallatin River Lodge to satisfy every type of winter enthusiast, including those who want to sit fire-side, or enjoy an in-room massage while the snow falls. Check out our luxurious lodging options, including our Winter Romance Package to enjoy an unforgettable getaway with that special someone in your life!

For those planning a trip to Montana, let us know how we can help you take advantage of all that this beautiful area has to offer. We look forward to welcoming you to our Montana home! 
-Whitney, Sales and Reservations
(Photos compliments of the amazing Montana Office of Tourism)

Halloween Events in Montana

Happy October! The fish are still biting, and many of the leaves have changed and fallen off the trees around Gallatin River Lodge. Whether you are a local patron or an out of town guest, we have compiled a list of the top 5 spookiest October events for the weekend to get you outdoors in our wonderful Montana community.
#5 Spookiest Event:
 Big Sky Bigfoot Conference in Hamilton, MT. Have you ever been hiking and feel like someone is watching you? Or perhaps you have gone hiking and are trying to hunt down this elusive creature. Either way, head over to the Bitterroot River Inn and Convention Center to listen to the cryptozoology community talk about Bigfoot. Perhaps we will catch a glimpse of him here at the Lodge someday! Tickets are $25 in advance and include both days of activity. Friday Oct. 21 – Saturday Oct. 22, 2016.

Fall 2012 28 300mm 567
#4 Spookiest Event:
 Halloween Cemetery Ghost Hunt at Sunset Hill Cemetery here in Bozeman. With SyFy’s hit series Ghost Hunters on its 12th season it’s no mystery why this event will no doubt draw a crowd. Everyone is curious about the afterlife and those weird paranormal happenings that seem to always coincide with some tragic event in years past. These expert local ghost hunters will be there will equipment and knowledge to lead you on your own ghost hunt Saturday Oct. 22, 2016.
#3 Spookiest Event:
 Bannack Ghost Walk in the historic Bannack Ghost town just outside Dillon, MT. This was a close battle for the number 2 spookiest event spot; however, with a tour guide how scary could it be? ;) Bannack was established in 1862 as a gold mining town on the Grasshopper creek. With locals leaving when the gold mining slowed down in the late 1940’s, the once vibrant town slowly dwindled till in 1950 the state of Montana accepted it as a state park. The evening walks are scheduled for Friday Oct. 21, 2016 7-9 pm and for those daring adventurers Saturday Oct. 22, 2016 9-11pm. Each tour can accommodate up to 100 people and reservations are needed.

Bannack 02
#2 Spookiest Event:
 Winning the spot of #2 is the Old Prison Museum Haunted House in Deer Lodge, MT. Known as one of Montana’s most haunted locations, this old prison is sure to be scary when Halloween’s touch is added. It is recommended 12 years old and up, so mom and dad grab a babysitter for those little ones before heading out! Price of admission is $10.00 and the event will run every Friday and Saturday from Oct. 21 to Oct. 19, 2016.

Fall 2012 28 300mm 597
#1 Spookiest Event:
 The grand prize winner is Field of Screams in Hamilton, MT. Established in 1998, Field of Screams is considered Montana’s scariest Halloween attraction. Featuring live haunters, this attraction is sure to scare your pants off! Their website advertises Depends for sale at their concession stand. Not to be upstaged by the live haunters, the Children of the Candy Corn section is sure to be a hit with the younger enthusiast. Admission for all ages is $6.00. Open October 1- October 31. Those of you checking out the Big Sky Bigfoot Convention should make the time to swing on by the Field of Screams!
Let us know how our Spooky Event winners do by posting your pictures to our Facebook  page and tagging #spookyeventGRL

July 28 Fly Fishing Report

It's mid-summer, and that means hopper fishing! Hoppers, nocturnal stoneflies, and other small terrestrials that is. We have been doing very well lately with small hopper patterns, as well as, ants and beetles. Fish are also coming up to small trico imitations and mayfly patterns that imitate some larger drakes. Nymphing a small streamer or stonefly followed by beadhead nymph is always an option and can be very productive when fished deep through pools after a riffle. We are all waiting for the next dark days when the streamer bite will really take off again. We had a few of these days during early July when the surrounding mountains received snow which is always great to see here in the summer.

IMG 2551
The rivers have dropped since runoff and are all running clear as of now. There is always a chance for the Yellowstone River to get a little muddy from an afternoon rain shower in the Park, and there is potential for rain all this week. This is not a bad thing, fishing after a plug of mud can be great and seems to recharge the river. Luckily we are close to the Upper Madison tailwater which is not effected by these events.

There are closures around the state but we have been fortunate not to have any restrictions on the Upper Madison or Yellowstone River. These fisheries are usually a couple of the most resilient rivers in the state. We have been getting out early, and with our overnight temperatures being quite cool, we have been starting the day with an extra layer.

The days are getting a little shorter now, about 2 minutes a day, and you can feel that fall is just around the corner. We are all looking forward to fall fishing as the browns get ready for spawn and the leaves start to change. Then, we will see the fish get a bit more aggressive, and it will be one of our favorite hatches of the year, Baetis! 

Summer 2016 in Full Swing

We are in full summer mode at the Lodge with guests coming and going, off to explore Montana and all of its incredible beauty. Each morning, we serve 20-30 guests a hearty, chef prepared, cooked to order breakfast, and then it's onto an exciting and breathtaking adventure. Many guests enjoy a float down one of our rivers, casting a line for hungry trout, or taking a trip into Yellowstone Park, hoping to spot a herd of bison, or maybe catch a glimpse of one of the Park's wolf packs.

IMG 6342
At the Lodge, we have been busy taking care of all of our guests, and helping them to make the most of their Montana vacation. We have also been working on the Lodge's new Pavilion, set to be completed in the next couple of weeks. The Pavilion is the latest in our effort to create a place for guests and visitors alike to immerse themselves in this beautiful setting, while enjoying great food, delightful beverages, and good conversation. The space will be ideal for a large family gathering, special outdoor event, or simply a place for guests to relax after a day out of doors.

Edible Flowers B
In Garden news, our Garden Manager Bri has been harvesting delicate flowers, lettuce, basil, and crisp radishes, among other crops! Her favorite part has been the interest, and interaction with guests. She loves sharing garden techniques and how the crops are used by our Chefs in the restaurant. It is exciting to watch the progress throughout the summer. She looks forward to bringing the Gallatin River Lodge closer than ever to the Farm to Table movement here in Bozeman, and we look forward in sharing our harvests with you as the season continues.

We hope you will come join us this summer, and see what this Big Sky Country is all about!
-PJ Wirchansky
Lodge Manager

IMG 6345

Best Picnic Spots in Bozeman

Summer in Bozeman is an incredible time to get outside and enjoy all that SW Montana has to offer. Many visitors and locals alike enjoy getting out on one of the hundreds of trails in the area for horseback riding, hiking, or mountain biking. Or, maybe it’s enjoying the rivers by tying on a fly, or in a raft, kayak or boat. Some like to go rock climbing, or explore the 2.2 million acres of Yellowstone National Park. For many people, it is the time of year to get in as much as possible before the snow begins to fly again. With the high expectations of an epic adventure with each outing, one may forget that Bozeman also offers more relaxing activities, such as visiting one of the local museums, strolling down Main Street, or finding the perfect picnic spot.

Bozeman Beach blog

For those who enjoy a nice picnic with the family, or that special someone, we have compiled a list of 5 of our favorite, local spots for an enjoyable picnic. All of these are in the Bozeman area (within a half hour), and are sure to provide a beautiful backdrop for an unforgettable Montana picnic!

In no particular order, the Bozeman Beach is located at Glen Lake Park, and is great spot for the family, with swimming, boating, or walking with beautiful open views of the Bridger Mountain Range. Kirk Park is in the middle of Bozeman, off of 19th Avenue, with basketball courts, a skate park, swings, and a bbq area, along with several picnic spots. This has been a locals favorite for many years. There are also baseball fields, and areas to walk. The Dinosaur Park is located within the 100 acre Gallatin County Regional Park, and features an incredible play area for kids. In the rest of the park, there are two ponds, a dog park, walking and running trails, and the Bozeman mound, which offers a great view of the surrounding mountains, and would be a great spot to watch the sunset on a summer evening. There are bbq areas, picnic tables, and plenty of room to spread out. Greycliffs Campground on the Madison River is a wonderful spot to cool off on a hot summer day. Bring your bathing suit, and some great food to enjoy at this picnic area, approximately 6.8 miles down the gravel road off Highway 84. Finally, anyone looking for a beautiful lake with incredible mountains all around should take the drive down Hyalite Canyon, to one of the many picnic areas throughout the canyon. There is Hyalite Reservoir and Hood Creek Campground, or stroll up to Palisade Falls to the picnic area up there overlooking the falls.

palisades falls

There are several more options throughout the Valley that offer some great locations to relax, let the kids play, or just take in the beautiful Montana scenery. For guests staying at the Lodge, just let us know the night before, and we can pack you a chef prepared picnic lunch to take along with you. There are also many local eateries that are perfect for an outside dining experience. So, if you decide to opt out for a hike up Mount Blackmore, or the all day epic adventure, rest assured that there are other ways to enjoy this beautiful location. Besides, close to 85% of all visitors that visit Montana return for a second trip, so you know you will most likely have another opportunity!

GRL Smoked Trout Crepe Recipe

Chef Scott and his culinary team have created a delectable summer menu for all of the guests here at the Lodge. One of the immediate favorites has been the Smoked Trout Crepes, as they are the perfect start to a memorable dinner at the Lodge. Chef Scott is happy to share this recipe for those who would like to enjoy them at home.


The Recipe
Crepes -
2 cups AP Flour
2 Eggs
1.5 cups Milk
.5 cup of water
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp melted butter

Mix Flour and salt together.  Mix Eggs, Milk and Water together.

Add wet to dry and mix until smooth and no lumps.  Once smooth add melted butter.  Let set over night.

8oz smoked Trout
5 ramp bulbs halved
.5tsp minced garlic
2 tsp Pernod
1 cup heavy cream
6 sea beans
2 tsp chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Sweat garlic and ramps for 1 min, add trout, add cream.  Reduce by half, finish with Pernod, basil, sea beans and season. Enjoy!

2016 Summer Fly Fishing Outlook

Our winter provided a good snowpack this year and this spring has been cool and wet. We expect a typical Montana summer with excellent conditions through July and early August. The past few years, we've had cooler weather in August than July, which has kept our river water temperatures in the comfortable range for trout. We've seen improvement in trout populations the past few years, especially on the Madison River. See this recent article on the Madison that appeared in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

IMG 3761Late August through early September is the "hopper fishing" timeframe and angling guests enjoy catching large fish on big hopper patterns on the Gallatin and Yellowstone. Late September and early October offers great angling as our fall mayfly hatches can be very prolific. Streamer fishing for large aggressive Brown Trout improves into October. Give us a call to schedule your fishing trip to southwest Montana!



Introducing Executive Chef, Scott Myers

Just a few weeks ago, we welcomed Scott Meyers as our new Executive Chef at the Lodge. We feel very fortunate to have Scott on the GRL team to offer classic and modernly plated cuisine for all those who dine at the Grill. Scott specializes in Farm to Table, and loves working with local growers and purveyors.

IMG 0011Scott grew up in South Hero, Vermont, and graduated from the 1996/1997 class of the New England Culinary Institute. He traveled for about 10 years around the US, and comes to GRL most recently from Hotel Fauchere, a Relais and Chateaux property in Milford, Pennsylvania. Scott also spent time at Inn at Willow Grove, a Forbes 4 Star Rated hotel in Orange, Virginia, as well as L’auberge Provencale, a AAA 4 Star French Country Inn in White Post, Virginia.

During his free time, he enjoys fitness, gardening, spending time with his partner, Derry & his two dogs, raising his chickens, traditional archery and bowhunting, and enjoys anything outdoor related.

Chef Scott and GRL Garden Manager, Bri, have some amazing plans for the garden this summer. Stay tuned for updates via Facebook, as well as our monthly newsletter. Better yet, come stay with us this summer, and taste the fresh, hand-picked ingredients grown and served right here at the Lodge.

Message from Lodge Manager, PJ Wirchansky

The past month at the Lodge has been incredibly exciting, as we have begun several new projects, along with the celebration of our 17th IMG 4906Anniversary. In addition to the outdoor projects, we welcomed new Executive Chef, Scott Myers to the GRL team. Scott loves to support local farmers and ranchers, and brings over 20 years of culunary experience to the Lodge. You can read about Scott Myers here.

We are also bringing back the GRL Chef’s Garden this summer, with recent MSU graduate, Brianna Dudek as our Garden and Landscaping Manager. She promises a delectable garden full of fresh herbs, edible flowers, and specialty vegetables. Learn more about the GRL Garden here.

Also outside, we are in the process of building a brand new deck/ event pavilion just east of the trout pond, which we plan to complete early summer. We have created a water feature that flows into the pond, aiding in the necessary water inflow.

IMG 5086The summer season is looking very busy, and we are all very excited to welcome our GRL friends back again, and to meet many new ones this year. Let us know when you are ready to return, or join us for your first GRL experience. We promise to do everything we can to make it a memorable stay!





Meet GRL Chef's Garden Manager, Brianna Dudek

The Gallatin River Lodge is excited to announce our new Chef’s Garden. Our garden focuses on herbs, edible flowers, and specialty vegetables and items that may be hard to find in our local market. Our goal is to provide the freshest possible ingredients, hand-picked only hours before service.  Our garden manager, Brianna Dudek, is a recent graduate from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems. 

GRL Garden 02 sm

She is excited to bring her knowledge to the Gallatin River Lodge, and provide high quality culinary ingredients for our guests, so they can GRL Garden 01 smexperience much of what Montana has to offer. The Chef’s Garden is located only 50 feet away from the Main Lodge, so guests can enjoy a stroll amongst the beautiful organic vegetables, flowers, and herbs with the stunning Spanish Peaks as a back drop. It is the perfect place to take a leisurely walk with a handcrafted cocktail before dinner.

Huckleberry Elderflower Martini Recipe

Summertime is almost upon us here in Montana, which means 18-hour days, lots of sunshine, and plenty of outdoor recreation. With almost endless activities to enjoy, some of which include fly fishing (of course!), horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, white water rafting, hot air balloon rides, rock climbing, and paddleboarding, one can certainly take advantage of Montana's offerings. At the end of the Drink special blogday, we believe that everyone deserves some time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some great food, and a refreshment with friends and family. One of our most popular summertime beverages at GRL is the Huckleberry Elderflower Martini, a light and refreshing cocktail made with local huckleberry vodka, and either house-made huckleberry syrup, or locally picked huckleberries (late summer).

Cold Springs Huckleberry Vodka comes from Bozeman Spirits, located in downtown Bozeman, Montana, using local water from the Gallatin Range.

Saint Germaine Liqueur is a liqueur made from the elderflower, a small and white starry flower that blooms in the spring and summer months. It is produced in an artisinal manner, where flowers are gathered from the French Alps and bicycled (yes, bicycled!) to a collection area where they are immediately macerated to preserve flavor. There are hints of peach, pear, and grapefruit. Saint Germaine bottles the taste of these warm floral and fruity notes, and has over 100 years of experience with this process.

Drink special 2 blog smHuckleberries are a sweet, tart wild berry that grows in moist mountain areas, and cannot be grown commerically. No chemicals are used, and the berries are hand-picked when ripe. Huckleberries are generally picked during the late summer, and into early fall in the higher elevations.

GRL Elderflower Huckleberry Martini
1.5 oz. Bozeman Cold Springs Huckleberry Vodka
1 oz. Saint Germaine Liqueur
Wedge fresh lemon
Splash huckleberry syrup or fresh huckleberries (if available)
garnish with a lemon twist or fresh lemon wedge


GRL awarded 2017

Top 25 Small Hotels in the USA

Sign Up for our Newsletter


Please let us know your name.

Please let us know your email address.

Invalid Input