Triple Creek Ranch Montana Luxury!

Triple Creek Ranch is an award-winning Montana Luxury Ranch Resort hidden away in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. The valley was the ancestral home of the Salish tribe of the Flathead nation.

Sapphire cabin where I stayed.

In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition crossed the Lost Trail Pass from present-day Idaho in order to connect with the overland route through the Rocky Mountains. Western life and history is evident in Darby and the surrounding towns in driving distance of Triple Creek Ranch.

The luxury Ranch caters to families with children16 and older, but the majority of the clientele is adults. Cowboy chic décor abounds, the architecture provides the first hint, charming log cabin homes and cottages dotted amid the towering fragrant Ponderosa Pines. The air is fresh, the skies robin egg blue, all this punctuated by the gurgling creek running through the property; my comfortable cabin was enhanced by the sound of the rushing creek, guaranteeing deep sleep. The owners are serious Western fine art collectors and generously share their collection in each cabin and in all the public spaces, truly an added perk. Traditional western flavor art, vintage black and white photographs, contemporary Western art and outdoor bronzes dot the property.

Cozy bedroom Triple Creek Ranch

The cabins are mostly clustered near the main building, which consists of the spacious dining room, activities center, swimming pool and gym. There are 4 homes off property within a mile or so and a few have river front access. The furniture is very comfortable, cowboy chic, western in style and accented by the amazing curated art collection. Oversize bathrooms with massive steam showers melt away any aches and pains from horseback riding or mountain hiking. Reserved as an all-exclusive experience, all meals and activities are included in your stay. Triple Creek Ranch is a member of the Relais & Châteaux group of luxury properties.

Each cabin is equipped with a stocked kitchen, deck and a golf cart for getting around the property. However, if you indulge in the delicious gourmet dining, I heartily recommend parking the golf cart and hiking up to the main lodge! Staff is always around and can cart you home if you prefer. My cabin had a huge deck with lounge chairs and a hot tub under the stars. Do I sound like I need more time at Triple Creek? Yes, is the immediate answer.

Staff – beyond accommodating. When I checked into my room, I mentioned I never close the blinds or curtains; I like to wake up with the morning light. High above the bed, a couple of windows had closed blinds – asked if those should be open – I said oh no, that would require a tall ladder…they listened, when I returned from lunch, all the upper un-reachable blinds were open. Similar conversation at dinner, I requested a glass of Chablis – the young sommelier intern knew several wines similar in style, she was right; my second night at dinner, the same delicious wine appeared the moment I walked in the dining room. Everyone I encountered was extremely friendly and helpful. My recent shoulder surgery left me feeling incapable of managing a horse, once I was saddled up and ready to go – no worries – staff immediately called my in house team member and we drove around the property seeing more of the grounds. Accommodating and gracious – the middle name of each and every staff member of Triple Creek Ranch. The smallest details always add up to creating a seamless comfortable visit.

Triple Creek Ranch Cabin

Where the Buffalo Roam

Activities: Fill your day with on-ranch activities such as horseback riding, hiking or snowshoeing in winter, fly-casting clinic, archery, sapphire panning, a game of tennis, or simply relax by the pool, all of which is included in your nightly cabin rate. For additional fees, there is also an abundance of off-ranch Western adventures. If you prefer a view from the back of a horse, a helicopter, a fishing boat, or behind a spirited team of sled dogs, staff can organize a plethora of activities. Cattle drives, white water rafting, team penning. Team Penning? Cows and calves must be sorted and penned, it’s a fact of ranch life. It’s real life cowpoke fun too. Team penning on horseback is a fast-paced, hands-on, timed event, where a team of guests and cowhands separate individual calves from the herd and move those calves to their separate pens. Any level of horsemanship can do the job, but by the end of the event, horse, rider and calf will savor the rewarding glow of accomplishment. ATV activities, and also historic Lewis & Clark Adventures can be arranged, experience a trail ride with the local Rawhide Outfitters.

These leisurely horse rides traverse along a picturesque trail that was traveled by Lewis & Clark. With amazing views and wildlife, you will get a sense of what it must have been like for Lewis & Clark during their historic crossing. Reaching the summit, observe a panoramic view of the Continental Divide where a delicious picnic lunch is served. Authentic experiences… Triple Creek Ranch is authentic in every manner. Owned, designed and managed by people who clearly cherish the land and love sharing their vast enthusiasm for nature and its bounty.

Not so fond of the ponies? Then you might prefer a van trip, with Rawhide Outfitters as your guide, retrace the historic trails and the awe-inspiring journey of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The Lemhi and Salmon River Valleys, in present-day Idaho, were home to Sacajawea, the only female member of the Expedition. On top of the Lemhi Pass, Meriwether Lewis exclaimed, “The Continental Divide, at last!” Interpreter and Guide Elias Williams will take you on this amazing journey and historical tour. Relive August 1805 and Thomas Jefferson’s Corps of Discovery. The air-conditioned van tour starts at the Sacajawea Interpretive Center in Salmon, ID. The Center is just 1 ½ hour drive from Triple Creek Ranch.

Need riding gear, Cowboy?

Year round activities are available, interesting and appealing to a broad range of tastes. From wine and food tastings, helicopter tours to Glacier and Yellowstone, to long photography weekends, horsemanship clinics, wildlife safaris on adjacent Ranch properties. A herd of buffalo encircled our ranch vehicle, babies nursed while large bulls tussled for herd dominance.When I was offered a ranch safari, I wasn’t sure what to expect – it ended up being a lovely Ranch excursion with plenty of wildlife viewing and a full scope understanding of the owners interest in ranching and preserving nature from development. I made another attempt at an outing, fly-fishing with a guide from a boat down the Bitterroot River…my skills are admittedly rusty and my shoulder reminded me again of my recent surgery; Boomer, one of the top fishing guides, said no worry, just enjoy the float, as he gently paddled Ms. Lazy downstream.  It’s obvious the entire staff loves the environment and enthusiastically share their devotion to the Ranch and the stunning location.

The owners, Craig and Barbara Barrett are frequently on property and host weekly cocktail parties for Ranch guests in their private home – sharing more of their spectacular art collection which includes Russell and Remington and contemporary artists including Oleg Stavrowsky, Ed Mell, and William Matthews. Western culture exhibited in their art collection and an unselfish abundance of western manners.

Do make a stop at Double H Custom Hat Company in Darby or ask the Ranch to have him visit you on property. Owner Jimmy Harrison, is a famous hatter to Willie Brown, Emmylou Harris and a variety of cowboy hat aficionados. If you don’t need a custom hat, the Ranch shop has a great selection of attire including appropriate hats. Full post on my visit to Jimmy’s store:

The all-inclusive luxury ranch lies 75 miles south of Missoula in the dramatic mountains of western Montana and is renowned for its excellent service. The full property encompasses 26,000 private acres and 4 million National Forest acres. Spectacular scenery, friendly and helpful staff, delicious dining, Triple Creek Ranch is a marvelous couple escape, single escape or a great location for a long girl friend week.

Triple Creek Ranch made me realize I need more mountain time and I plan to escape again soon! Highly recommend!

Jimmy The Hat Man – Double H Hats

Growing up around horses, actually if you weren’t old enough to drive, riding horses was just about all there was to do in Ojai. Plus it usually provided an escape from the monthly Saturday Cotillion dance classes my parents felt important to my upbringing. If we were riding deep in the thick of the fragrant orange groves, we avoided the call to return home and bathe for dancing with the stinky public school boys. Not that the Catholic schoolboys were any nicer, but we were the few Catholic school girls in the monthly dance lessons, thus we didn’t know anyone and were always the last to be picked to dance. I’m certain I am scarred for life by having to attend Cotillion.

My ancient Cowhide Chaps and Vest…belonged to my dad and my Grandpa.

As a younger child, I played in a full cowhide leather chaps and vest outfit that I inherited from my dad and grandfather. Hats and cowboy hats are seemingly ingrained in my soul, perhaps my spirit animal is found on the wide-open dusty plains. I also spent every Friday night watching Rawhide with the young Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates…now, you really know my age!

When I met with the Triple Creek Ranch Marketing and Sales Director in Menlo Park, I immediately knew the tall woman in the fabulous cowboy hat couldn’t be a local at the Rosewood Hotel bar! I experienced instant hat envy, Jennifer O’Donohue, promised to take me to her hat maker in Darby, Montana if I visited Triple Creek Ranch. True to her promise, we made time for a stop to the Double H Hat Company. The shop is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Darby, Montana.

Known to the hat cognoscenti, Double H Hat Company, owner Jimmy Harrison, simply known as ‘Jimmy the hat man’, warmly welcomed us. I have a few straw cowboy hats that pack for travel, but not a fancy felt western hat. Cowboy hats have defined limitations for me, but I was headed to the Santa Fe Spanish Market. I knew exactly what I needed, a hat to shade me but in a distinctive Spanish style and a hat I can wear at home as well.

Oh my, so many temptations, logic and practicality almost flew right out the door. Double H Hat Company specializes in custom handmade felted fur hats in various styles including western, gentlemen and ladies hats. Quality handmade hats are customized to your specifications: color, style and details. Jimmy offers a variety of custom embellishments, including made to order inlays, for a unique hat custom designed for each customer. A hat can be built for any occasion including weddings, outdoor adventures, or just to match your new car! I’ve got boxes and boxes of hats, a room full to validate his point.

Jimmy adding a horse hair tassel to my hat

Jimmy started in the hat business after he apprenticed for a year and a half under a lady hat maker. He had always been shaping hats and cutting down hats since he was young and in rodeo with his friends. Not just any rodeo rider, he was a bull rider! He wasn’t happy in the insurance business with his father so when a local business came up for sale, he decided to take advantage of it and started Double H Custom Hat Company.

Jimmy also visits Triple Creek Ranch on Monday nights invited by the owner Craig Barrett, former Intel CEO, to design custom hats for their guests. Jimmy has designed hats for Emmylou Harris, former Mayor Willie Brown, Garth Brooks, and thousands of common folk!

The process begins with placing a metal device on the customer’s head, like a helmet with gaps, with small bolt adjustors; he takes an accurate measurement of your head. Note taking continues, followed by perusing the fabrics and trims from his workshop bench. Six weeks later, he ships your hat. He has shipped to Africa and the South Pole Station.

But hat travelers on a mission can purchase right out of his store. Mentioning that I already had two carry-ons and there might be wind in Santa Fe, Jimmy offered to make a beautiful ribbon tie with a horsetail tassel to keep my hat on in wind and for my trek through airports…there I went, beautiful hat bobbing on my back, dangling from a custom tassel. A perfect hat, a sunshade, and picture perfect for Spanish Market and for local outings.

My Fabulous Double H Hat!

Thank you Jennifer & Jimmy! You can find Jimmy and Double H Hats in the South Bitterroot Valley on Highway 93 in Darby Montana all summer but in winter he moves to his winter store in Wickenburg Arizona.

Giddy up, saddle up and hats off to Jimmy!