What are your thoughts on camping? How about gathering around a crackling fire, connecting with friends/loved ones thru good conversation under the starlit sky…sounds of the flowing river soothing your soul? Imagine adding a little juxtaposition to your camping adventure with luxurious comforts that feature a big canvas tent with a private wooden deck overlooking the Black Foot River. Inside your large tent awaits a plush king bed, cozy sitting area and a full private bathroom with heated floors, spacious shower and two sinks. Electricity to offer light and connectivity with your mobile devices (if you choose) seals the deal. Then falling asleep listening to Mother Nature’s lullabies and awaken to the sun illuminating your tent with a soft glow and warmth. No need to grocery shop and load up a cooler, in this juxtaposed camping journey your meals are prepared by your private camp chef using organic and locally sourced produce. How does all this sound? Too good to be true? This experience does exist and has a name, it’s called…Glamping! The first luxury ranch resort to actually create and offer this rustic yet luxurious glamping experience is called The Resort at Paws UP… The Last Best Place.
I am a big fan of camping in the wild wilderness, yet really enjoy luxurious comforts of good bedding, flowing water for bathing, brushing your teeth, etc. So the word “Glamping” caught my attention. My husband and I had planned on visiting Montana and exploring Glacier National Park; this would be our first time in the Big Sky State. I went on the internet and googled “lux lodges” and “glamping”, The Resort at Paws Up pulled up. I knew once I started to navigate their site that this is a place that I want to experience and write about for OnWord Journeys. I did reach out to the resort and asked if they were interested in having their “glamping” shared on my travel/lifestyle blog. They kindly said yes. In the spirit of full disclosure, I received a discounted rate so I could experience and write about my journeys at Paws Up. Please note these are 100% my personal opinions.
Glamping – A fusion of glamour and camping – emerged internationally and came across the Atlantic over the last decade. – glamping.com
There really is so much to share about Paws Up… I am wondering where to begin and how to not bombard this post with too much info. So I’ve decided to share piece by piece, in a list format. Honestly I think the photos will say more than what I can even articulate. So here we go!
The Resort at Paws Up: This majestic piece of property is a whopping 37,000-acre luxury ranch resort nestled in the foothills of Montana’s Garnet Mountains. 10 miles of the legendary Blackfoot River meander thru the center of the property. When arriving to the ranch I was amazed at how spread out everything was. I think they had close to 230 guests staying, almost full capacity. Paws Up has cabins spread throughout the property and there are 5 different “glamping” camp site locations, none of which you could see. Not only is there vast room to take in the scenery, also there are iconic natural formations. Lookout Rock on the property is the most notable, drenched with American History of the Lewis & Clark variety. There are also many species of wild life, one of which resided up in a large spruce tree at our campsite, a family of bald eagles. All of this wonder is encompassed with a friendly staff and the heartbeat of togetherness. Paws Up is where families create tighter bonds and priceless memories.
River Camp Glamping: We booked our stay for three nights in the River Camp, located right on the banks of Blackfoot River. This location was perfect for our taste. Our tent was called Bitterroot, literally located just above the River. Also notable, our Bitterroot tent had the perfect swimming hole in the River right in front of our tent. Upon arrival at River Camp we were given a tour of the amenities within our tent. We were shown how to turn on the heated bathroom floors and towel rack, how to reach our camp butler – “I’m personally not a fan of the name, little too fancy” but, you do have access to someone at any time if needed. During the introduction to our tent, my husband was busy outside on the deck chatting to RJ, a Paws Up team member about fly-fishing and what the trout were biting on. He was already in heaven and so was I. I went over to our “camp pavilion”, an outdoor covered space, also located right on the river. This is where you go for breakfast, dinner and to for drinks. I grabbed a glass of wine and went back to our tent porch, sat in my Adirondack chair, plopped my feet up and soaked up the Montana air.
Tent: Yes, you do sleep in a tent but it’s a large canvas tent with real log beams supporting the structure. Also an amazing heavenly bed and bedding with heated blankets, you feel like your wrapped in a warm cocoon when you go to sleep. There is an enormous bathroom with heated floors, big shower with rainfall water head, toilet and 2 sinks. Yep, that is not something you would ever find in the middle of the woods.
Food: Three daily meals are included in your nightly rate. The food at Paws Up was honestly a culinary treat!!! The camp chefs are so talented… each chef put love into their food. Two meals are in the open air pavilion on your direct campsite where you are staying. You are given a generous time frame to eat, morning was 7-10am and dinner was 6-10pm. You can arrive super casual and even right from hiking, fishing, horseback riding etc. The outdoor pavilion was so beautiful; the kitchen is open so you can watch the chefs grill and cook. Once you’ve seated yourself, one of the camp staff will serve you breakfast or dinner… all with a morning and evening fire cracking away.Lunch is not in the camp area, it is offered at one of the ranch’s restaurants called Trough, you do have to get a ride to the ranch’s main area. Again super yummy food with a great menu selection and new “Ranch to Table” grab-and-go dining. The ranch table is a showcase for local farms, fisheries and other local incredible culinary purveyors. To kick off lunch, my husband and I ordered 2 fresh “local cherry” muddled cocktails… so yummy!!! I can tell you this; you will not go hungry while staying at Paws Up!
Transportation: with 37,000 acres and all lodging spread vastly out to provide privacy and expansive views, how do you get from A to B? Paws Up has an app that you sign into and book all your transportation needs. You can pre-arrange the night before or if you decide last minute, use the app. This offers ease to navigate the ranch. Pretty efficient, sometimes there was a delay in scheduled pick up time but have patience, they are picking up other guest from other camp sites. Honestly, I loved not being on a schedule so if there was a wait; I would just embrace the quiet time.
Activities: Get ready…if you are looking for some adventure, Paws Up offers you so many awesome options and most are great for kids too! Some of the activities include archery, ATV Tours, equestrian lessons, fly-fishing, geocaching, go-karts, Grizzly man Fitness Trail, horseback riding, hot air ballooning… you can even do a real cattle drive on their working cattle ranch. There are too many activates to mention but trust me you will not get bored. Most of the activates are not included in your rate, you may have to pay separately. They do offer some inclusive actives like hiking, outdoor games, mountain bikes and fishing equipment. Fly-Fishing: My husband and I chose to just book one activity and that was 6 hour fly-fishing, rafting on Blackfoot River with a guide. Our guide’s name was Jason, super nice guy and informative, he worked on refining our fly-fishing skills. My husband was there to fish the Blackfoot waters. My part was to take it all in. I didn’t catch anything but my goal was not to catch fish. I was there to connect, breathe in the fresh air and disconnect from the business of day to day life…and after all I have the best catch, my husband, Ben. Ben did catch some trout and caught a really nice size guy, his biggest yet. After the catch, he released the trout back in the river. Highly recommend the guided rafting fly-fishing. Spa Town: Yes you are reading correctly, Paws Up has a Spa Town, the treatment rooms are tents looking on to the Montana Mountains and meadows. I have never experienced this type of spa before. Both Ben and I mentioned that having treatments outside in the tents with the fresh air blowing thru and listening to the birds sing transports you to another place, a place deep within your subconscious. Truly so peaceful and tranquil. I would like to note, Spa Town does not have a steam room, sauna or hot tub. I do think they should consider adding these amenities to the spa area to sooth the muscles. That would be my only recommendation to Paws Up. I do know every year they are incorporating new additions to the ranch; they’re always evolving and expanding. Spa Town is certainly something to be experienced when staying at Paws UP.
I had the pleasure to tour the ranch with Resort Manager, Charles Daenen. Charles drove us around the Paws Up property. I was beyond impressed with the multiple venue options that Paws has available to book for private events such as corporate incentives, family reunions, retreats, weddings etc.
The Saddle Club at Paws Up is the largest private equestrian center in Montana, featuring a 23,000-square-foot riding arena, seating for 150 spectators, a VIP skybox suite with full bar, 52 stalls and more than 100 miles of glorious riding trails.
Bull Barn at Paws UP is an authentic Montana cattle barn has been newly renovated into a world-class conference center and special event hall. It’s a place to gather. To work. To dream. Located in the Village at Paws Up, this inspiring venue is perfect for corporate retreats, unforgettable weddings, or meetings of any kind.
Paws Up offering Thanksgiving for the first time: November 23–27, 2016. Glamping tents are not available during the winter months but they have beautiful rustic cabins that can suit small or large families. They will even deliver Thanksgiving dinner to your cabin and come back in a few hours to clean up. I think this would be a wonderful way to get the family together and give thanks. Plus no cooking or dish duty…just time to connect.
Thank you for taking the time to read about the amazing Paws Up in majestic Montana. I hope this might ignite some thoughts in treating oneself, family and loved ones. Paws up Ranch offers an authentic immersion into the American West with dirt roads, roaming cattle and the mighty Blackfoot River. Paws Up states, “While you’re here, we ask that you leave no trace on the land. But we can’t promise we’ll do the same with your memories”. www.pawsup.com
Travel inward and onward my friends…