Property Roundup: Great Decks

post_decksLiving in Big Sky country, we are spoiled with a slower paced Montana lifestyle among many other perks. And one of these perks that we never take for granted is the incredible views we are confronted with on a daily basis. Whether you’re driving to work, to play outdoors, or simply gazing out the window of your home, you are likely to see mountain peaks in the distance. If you’re lucky enough to have a deck, these views can be taken from the comforts of an outdoor living space. Here is a roundup of four very different Big Sky, Montana properties on the market right now, all with one thing in common: awesome decks.

2244 Beaver Creek Road, Big Sky, Montana

This 5,112 square foot classic-style log home is situated on a tree-filled lot that overlooks the Spanish Peaks. Here, residents can live out the fantasy of quintessential Montana log home living with all of the modern comforts, including 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a towering stone fireplace, lofted ceilings, a detailed main floor master suite, a bunkroom, and, of course, a spectacular deck. With access from a screened in porch, lay in the hammock with a good book, sit in a cozy chair for some wildlife watching, or dine al fresco with nothing but the sounds of birds chirping and the wind rustling through the trees.

Elk Peaks Ranch, Jack Creek Road, Big Sky, Montana

Located on 1,500 acres between Big Sky and Ennis, this nature-filled ranch is about as wild as it gets. At least in a wildlife and wilderness kind of way with the luxuries of a mountain home getaway and plenty of room to entertain friends and family. The 6,300 square foot, 3 bedroom log home has a Western feel with high-end touches throughout. There’s a party/horse barn, an historic remodeled schoolhouse for guest accommodations, and a luxury hunting cabin, perfect for wildlife watching, picnics, or a romantic getaway. The spectacular views of the surrounding mountain peaks and wildflower filled meadows can be enjoyed from the large deck off the backside of the house. Here, you can grill and dine outdoors, and soak in the scenery from the comfort of the hot tub.

5 Lone Camp Road, Big Sky, Montana 

With views in every direction, this 16,000+ square foot slope side estate in Moonlight Basin keeps the mountain charm intact while also offering spacious and luxurious living spaces. With 6 bedrooms, each with a full bath, the home also offers plenty of entertainment, with a state-of-the-art theatre room, a recreation room, spa area, and an exercise room. And for outdoor living at its finest, there are heated patios with outdoor dining options, a fire pit, and a grand hot tub, all with stellar mountain views. Choose which deck to enjoy, depending on the time of day or night.

Cowboy Heaven Luxury Suite 3-D, Big Sky, Montana 

Relax into this luxury penthouse-style suite after a day on the surrounding hiking trails in the Moonlight Basin area. This 4 bedroom, 4 bath, 3,000 square foot home has an open kitchen and great room, and plenty of space to retreat to within your own quarters. Take in the spectacular views from the large picture windows, or better yet, from the large covered deck, complete with an outdoor fireplace and a hot tub.

Big Sky: A Water Wonderland

whitewater_blogThough Montana is named for its mountains, it is also home to an abundance of clean, crystalline water in the form of wild and scenic rivers, meandering streams, and both sprawling and small alpine lakes. There’s no better time than midsummer to enjoy an assortment of water-centered recreational activities in Big Sky, Montana. In July, the water is warmer yet refreshing enough to keep you cool under the bright sun. Here are some ideas for summertime water-related recreation in the Big Sky region:

Whitewater & Scenic Rafting

The Gallatin River courses right through the breathtakingly beautiful Gallatin Canyon in and around the Big Sky area. Head to one of the area’s rafting outfitters, and head out with an experienced river guide for an exhilarating half- or full-day whitewater rafting adventure through the river’s liveliest sections. This section of the river ranges from Class II to IV, and features big, exhilarating rapids, including House Rock and the Mad Mile, one of the longest stretches of rapids in the region. For a smoother ride, opt for a scenic rafting trip through a calmer portion on the upper or lower Gallatin, and soak in the scenery without getting soaked. Raft trips are available through Montana Whitewater (the company also has zip line tours—try the Zip & Dip package!) and Geyser Whitewater Expeditions.


For an even more intimate experience on Big Sky’s Gallatin River, try kayaking. Lightweight, slender kayaks make it possible to explore nooks and crannies of the river you can’t reach as easily in a raft, and afford you more control. Sit-on-top kayaks are a great way to try out the sport, and learn to read the water and navigate through the rapids. Ride the waves front and center or explore the scenic stretches. Some dexterity is required by this sport, and lessons are strongly advised for the inexperienced kayaker. Gear rentals and kayak lessons geared towards beginners and families are provided by Montana Whitewater and Geyser Whitewater Expeditions.

Fly Fishing

Big Sky is known for its abundance of blue-ribbon fly fishing opportunities. The Gallatin and Madison Rivers teem with trout, while pristine Alpine lakes, streams, and spring creeks offer equally rewarding treasures in the way of both scenery and fish. Visit one of Big Sky’s many fly fishing shops to arrange for a guide who’ll lead you to prime fishing holes and, if you’re a novice, teach you everything you need to know about fly fishing, from tying knots to casting. Check out last week’s blog for a list of Big Sky fly-fishing outfitters.


What’s more romantic than a leisurely paddle over a glassy lake or a gently flowing river? Pack a picnic lunch, rent a canoe, and visit Lake Levinski at the Mountain Village in Big Sky or Hebgen Lake in nearby West Yellowstone. Alternatively, try a mellow stretch of the Gallatin River for a more dynamic ride. You can rent a canoe through Geyser Whitewater Expeditions or Yellowstone Alpen Guides in West Yellowstone.

Big Sky Fly Fishing Adventures


Fishing season is upon us my friends.

As the hot weather sets in and the water levels, well, level out, there’s nothing better than spending a day wading or floating the river. Fly fishing in Big Sky, Montana is almost too good to be true due to the combination of cooler mornings and evenings, and an abundance of trout in the area’s blue-ribbon fishing waters. Then there’s the variety of fishing in the area, with mountain lakes and the Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone Rivers within range.

The Gallatin River is Big Sky’s fishing hot spot (where the infamous fishing film “A River Runs Through It” was filmed), but where exactly to drop your line in is often the biggest questions to those who are newer to the area. This is where the seasoned local guides come in. With a number of fly fishing outfitters in Big Sky, many offering trips locally and to some of the more far reaching rivers and lakes, fishermen and women of all levels can explore the region’s best fishing holes. Many of the outfitters also offer beginning or introductory fly-fishing workshops, starting with casting lessons on land and in the area’s small ponds.

Here’s the lowdown on fly-fishing outfitters in the Big Sky area:

Big Sky Trout
Location: Grizzly Outfitters, Big Sky’s Town Center
Contact: (406) 579-7094

Guided walk wade and float trips on area rivers, including the Madison, Bighole, and Beaverhead, and by permit in Yellowstone National Park. Located in Grizzly Outfitters, which also sells outdoor clothing and equipment.

Cache Creek Outfitters
Location: 7850 Bridger Canyon Rd.
Contact: (406) 995-3888

Fishing and horseback riding adventures, with permits for the Madison and Gallatin Ranges, and the Spanish Creek and Hilgard Basin areas. Take a trail ride through the Gallatin National Forest and fish the high alpine lakes.

East Slope Outdoors
Location: 32B Town Center Ave., Big Sky
Contact: (406) 995-4369

A year-round outdoor equipment store, with fishing gear and guide services on the Gallatin, Madison, and Yellowstone Rivers.

Gallatin River Guides
Location: 47430 Gallatin Rd., Big Sky
Contact: (406) 995-2290

Located in the Canyon area of Big Sky, they provide guide services, flies, equipment, rentals, and instruction in the area, along with riverside accommodations for groups of up to six.

Lone Mountain Ranch
Location: 750 Lone Mountain Ranch Rd., Big Sky
Contact: (406) 995-4644

The historic Lone Mountain Ranch is an ORVIS endorsed fly-fishing lodge with year-round guided fly-fishing trips for their guests.

Lone Peak Outfitters
Location: 3603 Laredo Dr. Bozeman,
Contact: (406) 599-9158

Guided fly fishing adventures throughout the Greater Yellowstone area, also providing equipment, if needed, and lodging.

Wild Trout Outfitters
Location: Hwy 191, 1/2 Mile South of Stop Light, Big Sky
Contact: (406) 995-2975

A fly shop with equipment and guide services with trips on the Gallatin, Madison, Yellowstone, Missouri Rivers, Yellowstone National Park and area Spring Creeks.

Scenic Drives in Southwest Montana

scenicdrivesLiving in Big Sky, Montana, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, we are incredibly spoiled when it comes to awesome views. No matter where you are, in the Mountain Village or the Gallatin Canyon, we have stunning mountain ranges for a backdrop. Driving home from work or a day of play, we can watch pink alpenglow or the fiery red sun setting behind those peaks.

But aside from the every day scenery, there are some scenic driving adventures around the Big Sky area and beyond that leave everyone, residents and visitors alike, in awe of this amazing landscape. So, with summer in full swing, hop in the car and explore.

Here are some of the best in the West:

The Gallatin Canyon (U.S. Highway 191)
The very route that leads from Bozeman to Big Sky and on to West Yellowstone is one of the most scenic. Following the beautiful Gallatin River through a narrow, rocky canyon where scenes from “A River Runs Through It” were filmed. Watch whitewater rafters and kayakers take on the waves, and look for wildlife along the river’s edge throughout this 89-mile winding road from Bozeman to West Yellowstone.

Yellowstone National Park
You can’t go wrong when it comes to scenery in Yellowstone National Park, and there are a number of amazing loops to experience, depending on what sites you’re interested in checking out. From Big Sky, the boundary to Yellowstone is just 19 miles away, leading to the West Entrance of the park, 48 miles north. Once in the park, on a typical day, you will drive by steaming geysers and hot pots, grassy landscapes with glimpses of grazing wildlife, and through narrow canyons with views as far as the eye can see. Some great drives include the Grand Loop Road from Madison to Norris and the Northeast Entrance Road through the Lamar Valley, known for wolf sightings.

Paradise Valley (Highway 89 South)
Aptly named, this little slice of heaven is a 55-mile trip from Livingston to Gardiner, Montana, the North Entrance of Yellowstone National Park. The road follows the scenic Yellowstone River through lush green valleys with high mountain peaks in the background. Take Highway 89 South, or the longer, curvier and less populated East River Road. If you’re coming from the West Entrance of Yellowstone National Park, you can drive to the North Entrance and out of the park through Paradise Valley, and back on to Big Sky (a full-day trip).

The Beartooth Highway (U.S. 212)
Called “the most beautiful drive in America” by late CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, this is a 68-mile mountain pass that goes from Red Lodge to Cooke City, Montana. Traveling up as far as 10,947 feet in elevation, you literally feel like you are on top of the world, with incredible views of alpine lakes, alpine tundra landscapes, snowy peaks and a huge variety of wildflowers (when in season). Cooke City is near the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

From Rodeos to Wagon Rides: The Best of the Wild West

rodeosSummer is the perfect time to experience the traditional, cowboy-inspired activities for which Montana is famous, and there’s no shortage of them in the Treasure State between June and August. Whether you’re looking to be regaled by the fantastic flashiness and feats of bravery at a rodeo, or enjoy a leisurely wagon ride over a wildflower-speckled prairie, here are some ideas to get your summer started


The Big Sky PBR Rodeo was voted event of the year by bull riders during the 2013 season. It’s a two-day event, July 30 & 31, featuring professional bull riding and related activities, with talented riders coming from all over the country to compete. Enjoy the scenery from the outdoor arena, which looks out on the Spanish Peaks and Lone Mountain, and browse the offerings from local artisans and food & drink vendors. For more info about this year’s event, visit

The Ennis Rodeo is reputed to be the most thrilling and challenging rodeo in the state, drawing competitive cowboys and girls from all over. Winnings at this event count toward the state rodeo level. This year, the rodeo takes place July 3 and 4. Check out this page for more

The Livingston Roundup is perhaps the state’s liveliest rodeo, with a long tradition of entertaining generations of Montanans and their guests. Ranked as the tenth-highest purse in the nation during Independence Day, it draws over 10,000 spectators annually, and they fill the tiny, scenic town of Livingston, which is situated on the glorious Yellowstone River. There’s a parade and a fireworks show to go with the rodeo events, and the activity begins on July 2. Look here for more

Wagon, Horseback Rides, & Cookouts

320 Guest Ranch in scenic Big Sky, Montana hosts a pig roast every Monday evening starting June 9, and idyllic wagon rides every Wednesday evening beginning June 11. Wagon rides last two hours and end with a savory dinner of New York strip steak or barbecued chicken prepared just for you on the banks of the Gallatin River. Horseback rides are also available in lieu of wagon rides and they, too, end in a scrumptious dinner by the river. Check out the 320 website for prices and more details:

Lone Mountain Ranch, also located in majestic Big Sky, Montana, offers horseback rides for both kids and adults. All rides take place within the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem and traverse some of the most spectacular scenery in the west. Experienced wranglers lead small parties of riders as young as six years of age. Take a horseback ride to an Alpine lake or crystal-clear stream for some fishing, or into Yellowstone to do some rock climbing. Rides can last for as little as a half hour to an entire day. Visit the website for more info:

Cache Creek Outfitters of Big Sky will take you on an hour-long wagon ride through the Montana backcountry with a timber framed dining hall as your destination. There, you’ll enjoy an authentic western dining experience, featuring a near-century-old wood cook stove and a menu that includes such mouthwatering fare as a Dutch oven appetizer, veggies and potatoes, slow roasted prime rib, and pineapple upside down cake, among other delicacies. Check out their site to learn more about this unique Montana summertime experience: