Activate Your Inner Cowboy or Cowgirl With Western Adventure

While Montana has all the modern conveniences of any urban area, there are still real cowboys who enjoy the slower pace of life and unique connection to their land and animals. Ranching, agriculture and working livestock is a way of life dwindling across most of the country; but in Montana it is still alive and well.  In Northwest Montana, Kalispell’s ropin’ and ranchin’ heritage is ever present, and visitors can harness their inner cowboy or cowgirl with local rodeos and on working guest ranches.

Every fall, about October, the sprawling Majestic Valley Arena, just outside of Kalispell, will be home to the World Class Bucking Horse Finals.  These events attract participants and spectators from Canada to Texas and everywhere in between, who are keen to check out the cowboys and bucking horse skills. The bucking horse event is a Western tradition with substantial prize money for the best breeder and the best cowboy.  If you can’t make it to that event, Kalispell hosts equestrian events year round at Majestic Valley Arena (http://www.majesticvalleyarena.com) and Rebecca Farm (http://www.rebeccafarm.org).

Montana is also well known for its ranching vacations. A short drive north of Kalispell deposits you at the Bar W Guest Ranch. Whether you are in town for the Bucking Horse event or choose to view the mountains and rivers of northwestern Montana on horseback yourself, the Bar W has the capacity to make your trip perfect. Boarding facilities, if you chose to bring your own steed; luxury accommodations in the main lodge or cabin; exquisite, authentic Montana cuisine and inspiring vistas are all just a tail twitch of what is in store. Visit the ranch online at thebarw.com.

Just on the other side of the Swan Mountains from Kalispell, Swan River Outfitters offers guided horseback adventures for whatever Wild West experience you’re seeking. From guided hunting and fishing trips to full wilderness pack trips, the outfitters will make sure you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you only have time for a short cowboy adventure, they also offer trail and wagon rides for the day or by the hour. The company is also the only outfitter that offers trail rides within Glacier National Park. (http://swanmountainoutfitters.com)

The vibrant Western city of Kalispell is the gateway to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, Whitefish and all of the recreation, art, shopping and adventure that northwestern Montana has to offer.  Plopped in the center of the Flathead Valley, it’s an easy drive to the park entrance, the art galleries of Bigfork or the water sports mecca of Flathead Lake and well-equipped with affordable, comfortable lodging, great dining and a range of shopping from one-off boutiques to price-conscious, large-format retailers. For more information, visit discoverkalispell.com 


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