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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.”

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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.

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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

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: http://www.skirunbikemt.com/ski.html

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: http://stateparks.mt.gov/lewis-and-clark-caverns/

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: http://montanaballet.org/performances/the-nutcracker/

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: https://bozemanwintermarket.wordpress.com/market-dates/

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: https://downtownbozeman.org/event/christmas-stroll1

christmas gingerbread


-Brianna Dudek, Reservations

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.

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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.

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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

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:

Hiking
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!

Golf
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!

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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!

Rodeo

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

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.

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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.

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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


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