Wide Open Spaces

by Rona Berg

Flying into Missoula, the big exhale begins on the plane, with a glimpse of Glacier National Park. The mountains are astoundingly beautiful—and humbling. Nature’s grandeur is a great healer. Suddenly, everything clicks into place and a weight lifts. And so the Montana adventure begins.

Montana is home to more cows than people, and that wide open space is evident at The Ranch at Rock Creek, a Relais & Chateaux property accommodating 125 guests over 7000 sprawling acres outside Philipsburg. A stay here is inherently a wellness retreat, simply because it feels so good to be out in the vast expanse of nature, hiking in the wilderness or riding horse trails; fly-fishing or mountain-biking; immersing in survival skills, ropes course, archery; enjoying the fresh clean air and stunning backdrop, or a healing massage at the gem-like Granite Spa.

Sustainability is front and center here: The rustic but refined 19th- century Western decor–by Santa Fe-based Los Griegos Studio–strikes

an authentic chord, with reclaimed materials and antiques sourced from Bozeman to Missoula. Josh Drage, the talented Alaska-born chef, embraces the bounty of local ranchers and growers whose families are rooted here for generations. And The Ranch implements a host of environmental initiatives that benefit both the local community and the planet at large.

It’s impossible not to feel a profound connection to the land, the people you meet, and the nature that surrounds you here. As guests enjoy signature craft cocktails, wine, beer, spirits, and champagne every night before dinner, in front of a roaring fire, they make new friends who become keepers. That’s because The Ranch, though magnificent in every detail, also manages to feel like home, and the people you meet become family.

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