Montana’s 320 Guest Ranch offers winter thrills, chills

The 320 Guest Ranch in Big Sky, Mont., is a land for all seasons – but if you have to pick one, choose winter.

Deriving its name from the merger of two 160-acre homesteads, 320 Ranch offers a smorgasbord of things for travelers to do.

Just north of the west entrance to Yellowstone Park, 320 Ranch is easily accessible from Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN). U.S. 191 roughly parallels the pristine Gallatin River meandering beneath towering pines and the majestic Bridger Mountains.

The 320 Guest Ranch is an Old West experience with all the comforts of home, featuring rustic log cabin-style facilities that preserve their “Montana ambiance.”

Dr. Caroline McGill, who bought the property in 1936, was an avid outdoors enthusiast which made the ranch a perfect location for her nature-loving lifestyle.

In 1987, when David Brask expanded the ranch into a full-fledged resort, he incorporated many items from McGill’s junk collection into the facilities in honor of her vibrant spirit.

For locals, the only thing better than a cloudless “bluebird sky day” is when falling snow adds a new layer of “cold smoke” to the ski slopes.

Skiing is the dominant attraction at Big Sky Resort just 12 miles away. But 320 also offers a full range of winter activities including snowmobiling, snowboarding, dog sledding, snow-coach tours of Yellowstone National Park and even big-game hunting.

Also popular are one-hour sleigh rides three times each night during winter. There is a stop en route at a warming tent for appetizers or desserts, depending upon the time.

From 7 to 9 each morning, guests enjoy a breakfast buffet that just may be the best in Montana.

Lunch and dinner menus feature wild game specialties, such as meatloaf made with elk, bison or beef. Frequently fishermen bring in their catch of the day for the chef to prepare it just for them.

Summer months are equally festive with horseback riding, hiking, hayrides, outdoor barbecues and nightly bonfires as well as golf and whitewater rafting.

Big Sky’s 320 Guest Ranch is a perfect place for travelers seeking Mother Nature’s personal nourishment for the soul. It’s a chef’s salad of meaty activities complete with ranch dressing.