The Ranch Earns its 11th Consecutive Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award

It’s our privilege to share that The Ranch at Rock Creek has once again earned the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award, based on over 900 standards of excellence in hospitality. Only 340 hotels across the world are able to achieve this distinction and it’s an honor to celebrate their achievements today as well as our own.

Earning this accolade year after year is clear proof of our team’s unmatched commitment and tireless effort to deliver an exceptional experience for every guest. Each role, visible or not, plays a pivotal part in our collective success. It’s the relentless pursuit of excellence and our shared determination that sets us apart. I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved together, proving that teamwork and dedication are the keys to our enduring success. ~ General Manager Chance Gibson

Good things take time

The staff is the foundation of The Ranch’s success, and the inspiration is Owner Jim Manley’s vision to be the first truly fully inclusive resort in America and best guest ranch in the world. From the moment The Ranch opened in 2010, nearly everything was included – from airport transfers to dining and activities. With a customized itinerary planned in advance, guests arrive in the pristine Rock Creek Valley with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture, landscape and relaxed pace of life in Montana.

This vision led him to build an all-inclusive activities program with 35 year-round adventures, guides and gear. Under the leadership of Activities Director, Patrick Little, each of those activities is part of Montana’s rich culture of recreation and backcountry exploration. Over the next four years, all departments refined their services and in 2014 The Ranch succeeded not only in pushing the boundaries of all-inclusive travel, but also the distinction of the world’s first Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star ranch.

Go with the slow

The 90-minute drive from the airport to our secluded location immediately resets the mind to a gentle but steady rhythm. After 45 minutes guests leave the interstate behind and turn into Montana Highway 1, the first scenic highway in Montana. As our driver coasts through rolling valleys parallel to beautiful rivers and creeks, they soon turn onto the dirt road that leads to The Ranch. The cadence of life slows with the speed limit, until 15 miles per hour is the maximum pace.

After luggage is deposited in one of our luxury cabins, Historic Barn, Granite Lodge, or glamping tents, guests walk or bike across dirt roads and boarded walkways to get to meals or activities. Vehicles are only uses to access hidden shooting ranges or access fishing holes along our 10-mile stretch of land.

This has an incredible sense of place. It is luxury but retains a certain authenticity. There is a lovely attention to detail and intentional design. You do need to slow down to the pace of Montana, but this is an asset, not a negative, as we all need to have a few more slow moments in this fast-paced life. I see a lot of properties in my line of work. This is on my personal bucket list to return to with my family! ~ Anna, TripAdvisor, October 2023

With the 24-hour news cycle and busy work and school schedules, this has never been so important. A recent study by Hilton found that across all generations, the number one travel goal in 2024 is to rest and recharge.

Itineraries are crafted with both adventure and relaxation in mind. Our Ranch Ambassadors structure daily itineraries with fully guided activities, like fly fishing, pistol shooting or cross-country skiing. Alternatively, tap into a feeling of calm with activities like hiking one of our five peaks, sapphire mining or Respite on Rock Creek – where you enjoy a secluded haven on Rock Creek with family or friends. These scheduled moments of relaxation allow travelers to decompress from hectic schedules, spot wildlife and feel the power of the great outdoors to find deep mental relaxation.

Refueling with slow food

An itinerary rich in recreation requires an equally robust dining program. Executive Chef Josh Drage has been the mastermind behind The Ranch’s culinary approach since we first opened. He’s spoken at Relais & Châteaux events on the importance of slow food, a movement focuses on food that is produced or prepared in accordance with local culinary traditions, typically using high-quality locally sourced ingredients.

We’ve created a dining program that is seven days a week, seven different dining experiences based on historical context to how people fed themselves in Western Montana. On a ranch, the cuisine was rooted in the landscape – both in your own ranch and the community that surrounded you. We let the food and the flavors speak for what they are, and that helps create this sense of place for our guests. ~ Executive Chef Drage

Every evening, guests reconvene after a day of horseback riding, downhill skiing or photography classes for Social Hour by the fire in the Great Room or on the Aspen Deck. This can be a social time to meet like-minded travelers or a chance to relax in a leather armchair with a favorite cocktail or local beer before the night’s dining experience.

These experiences vary from the Alpenglow Supper where nourishing meals are paired with wines from alpine regions of the world to a Chef’s Tasting Menu, a multi-course pairing dinner, based on what’s currently in season. The wine program led by Sommelier Craig Osborne is also fully included, and features wineries from around the world with a similar focus on process and excellence.

Steadfast commitment to sustainability

Time in nature is an important feature of every ranch vacation, no matter the season. According to Jo Barton and Mike Rogerson in their research on the importance of greenspace for mental health, “Simple exposure to nature environments is psychologically restorative and has beneficial influences on individuals’ emotions and ability to reflect on life problems.” Walking, biking and staying in accommodations surrounded with natural beauty allow guests to tap into a recuperative headspace while on The Ranch.

I think there’s a yearning, particularly for people in the cities to get fresh air and wide open spaces. They tend to decouple from the stresses of everyday life. ~ Jim Manley

Our Owner and Executive Committee have ensured a steadfast commitment to keeping The Ranch’s ecosystem as healthy as possible for the benefit of wildlife, staff, guests and future generations. This means sustainability initiatives happen over years and decades. For 10 years we’ve had annual clean-ups that have removed tons of trash from waterways; we’ve invested in sustainable forestry project that support insects, small animals and elk populations; and we’ve worked with Trout Unlimited to install fish screens and plant cottonwoods along the creek to stop erosion and protect fish habitats.

The Ranch carefully balances Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star standards and a commitment to protecting the environment. Whether we call it a “slowcation,” a “calmcation” or simply a trip to the legendary West, we look forward to offering more guests a chance to restore their mental and physical health on vacation as we head into our second decade of five-star travel.

THANK YOU for more memories. One request for next time: Please slow down time. If anyone can do it, you guys can. ~ccctlc, TripAdvisor, September 2022


If you want to fall asleep tonight dreaming of a day on horseback in this beautiful landscape, we suggest listening to our Sleep Story, entitled The Ranch at Rock Creek, available on the Calm app.