Looking for a bed and breakfast that is open year-round near Helena, Montana? Rocking Z Guest Ranch in Wolf Creek is one of those Montana moments that will give you a lifetime of memories. The family-owned ranch offers a snapshot of what life used to look like on a working ranch. The coffee pot is perking in the morning, dogs are pacing the grounds waiting for horses and riders to hit the trail, while bacon, eggs and pancakes slide hot off the griddle.
Rocking Z Guest Ranch is the real deal. Every ranch hand wears multiple hats and every horse has a job. While it’s true that the horses are good looking and well cared for, they aren’t afraid to get their hooves wet in rushing creeks or get down and dirty next to a stray cow in a muddy pasture. I’ve been to many trail ride operations where the horse in front of my horse will not veer off the path, and rightly so. They are trained to ride nose-to-tail. Rocking Z is not that place. You’ll be riding under the big skies of southwest Montana, a little north of Helena, off I-15.
Here you will learn to brush and saddle your horse, in addition to riding in the arena and out on the trail.
You don’t have to be a horse enthusiast to stay at the Rocking Z Guest Ranch, but it helps if your focus is riding. I see it fitting under the bed and breakfast category because the ranch is open winter, spring, summer and fall. Horses and cattle need looking after year-round, thus, there’s always multiple family members at the ranch tending to guests, as well as the animals.
My husband isn’t a horse rider, but he often accompanies me on dude ranch vacations. He found pleasure in a local golf course and a drive into nearby Helena, Montana. He even drove to Great Falls and Fort Benton to take advantage of the museums that made Lewis and Clark stories come to life.
If you like playing a game of pool, there’s a billiards table in the Rusty Horseshoe Saloon and plenty of board games to keep you entertained. During our visit, the children were fascinated with a newborn litter of kittens that were taking up residence in the barn.
Ranch stays are all-inclusive in that you’ll get breakfast, lunch and dinner during your multi-day vacation. Ranch stays are a minimum of three nights, up to 13 nights. Guests typically stay for a week to take advantage of the entire riding program.
All meals are served family style in the dining room with cooked to order breakfast, a casual lunch and authentic home cooked dinners in the evening. Depending on your trail ride, you may pack a lunch for yourself and eat it out on the trail under a clump of trees, surrounded by wild flowers.
The ranch offers 8 rooms in keeping with the intimate, friendly atmosphere. You will definitely become acquainted with other ranch guests by the end of your stay. In fact, the ranch has a lot of repeat customers. During our visit, two families with young children hit it off, as their kids were around the same ages. The children were able to go off on horseback rides with their peers on some days, while other days, they rode together as a family. By the end of the week, the children had put together a horse show for their parents, complete with bows on the horses manes and tails. It was quite a sight to behold with beaming smiles of accomplishment from the kids.
What’s the horseback riding like at Rocking Z Guest Ranch? I’d call it adventurous. In addition to the wranglers, Maria and Anna Wirth, both working cowgirls, we were joined by cowgirls involved in the children’s program. I loved the one-on-one equine instruction from the Wirth sisters, as they were both deeply involved in the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program.
The ranch is pet-friendly if you make arrangements ahead of time. Ranch rates start at $2,000 per person for a 6 night stay in May. Peak season rates are higher and off season rates are lower. Call direct to the ranch to check pricing.
Bed, Breakfast and Horses at Rocking Z Ranch review near Helena, Montana written by equestrian travel expert Nancy D. Brown. Nancy was a guest of Rocking Z Ranch for review purposes. As always, all opinions are her own. Thanks to Montana Dude Ranchers Association for arranging her stay.