Take a wild guess at the three most requested activities at The Resort at Paws Up. If you picked fly-fishing, horseback riding, and ATV trail rides, then you are correct—and you should reward yourself with one of the above! These three activities in particular are extremely popular due to the multiple offerings, times, and uniqueness that come from the setting of the resort. Activities Director Mark Houseman says, “Their popularity stems from the fact that these three activities offer a great representation of the Montana way of life. From the world-class fishing to the wide-open exploration of our state, they allow our guests a way to escape busy city life and marvel at the beauty of the Montana landscape. Personally, my favorite is the three-hour ATV tour, as you get to drive deep into the back part of the property, enjoy the thrill of two hill climbs, snap a photo at the best picture spot at Lookout Rock and experience the ever-changing landscape that you experience along the route.”
For our ATV trail rides, guests can choose from a one and a half-, three-, or five-hour excursion. For the first two options, guests explore the woods, tackle hill climbs, take in the picturesque scenery from Lookout Rock and view the beautiful Blackfoot river. On the five-hour ride, guests will explore the woods, and then take the ATVs off-property to Elevation Peak (about 7,000 feet). Once they have completed this climb on the ATVs, guests will hop off for a hike to the top. From there, views are breathtaking, and guests will experience the grandeur that earned Montana its Big Sky State nickname. Post-hike, adventurers head to Garnet, an abandoned-but-intact ghost town where guests will travel back to the 1800s as they check out the saloon, hotel, general store and so much more. Lunch is provided before driving back to the resort.
Horses are iconic to Montana, and riding is probably the first activity that crosses the mind when thinking of Montana. The Resort at Paw Up houses 40 horses on-property for all of our equestrian activities. Whether you are have never been in a saddle before or are a riding expert, Paws Up has something for every ability with one-, two- or three-hour trail rides, cattle drives, lessons and more. The Resort’s wrangler will pair guests with a four-legged friend that will be the perfect match for exploring more than 100 miles of wilderness trails. You will pass towering ponderosa pines, whose size and beauty are surpassed only by the views of the distant mountain ranges of the Bob Marshall Wilderness.
This year, there are several additions to the equestrian program, including a new evening ride that takes you past our quaint line shack (where you will enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer) to the top of Scout’s Point to take in a signature Montana sunset. Or enjoy a lunch ride to a gorgeous spot in the shade where guests indulge in a Paws Up-style picnic. Kids can participate in lessons at the Saddle Club arena, complete with games, obstacle courses and more, and adult beginners can join instructional group trail rides. For advanced riders, the all-new, three-hour trail ride allows equine enthusiasts to cover terrain that no Paws Up guests have ever traversed. For an authentic taste of Western ranch life, participate in a cattle drive where novice and advanced riders alike saddle up with seasoned ranch hands and drive a herd of cattle across the majestic rolling pastures of the Resort property.
Montana is known for fly-fishing, and Paws Up hosts 10 miles of the Blackfoot River—arguably one of the most famous rivers in which to fly-fish, thanks to the movie “A River Runs Through It.” This gorgeous river flows right through our property, where all of our guided excursions are strictly for fly-fishing. Our guides have fished the surrounding rivers for years and will help you find the best trout fishing holes. At Paws Up, we offer spin rods for guests who are more comfortable with these rods, but only for independent fishing.
Also near the resort is the Missouri River—one of the best hot spots for fly-fishing and a treasure trove for trout. This massive river travels approximately 700 miles along the entire state of Montana.
Other options include Bitterroot River—a dry-fly paradise that is famous for 95 percent dry flies and great hatches, which start in mid-March and extend well into October—and the Clark Fork River, the largest river by volume in the state and also one of the longest. The Clark Fork is approximately 310 miles long and is close to the resort. The best fishing on the Clark Fork is found between its origin and the confluence with the Flathead River near Paradise.
Alison Lewis is a freelance travel and food journalist who has worked with Travel & Leisure, Coastal Living, USA Today, Fitness, Southern Living, Islands Magazine, Cooking Light, Better Homes & Gardens, Clean Eating and Oxygen. She is also the Founder and Publisher of Healthy Travel magazine and author of three internationally published cookbooks.