Pryor Mountains Ranch
Wyoming USA: (WRWY02)
This ranch in the Pryor Mountains is an authentic working cattle and horse ranch South of Billings, Montana. It is not a dude ranch! Hard working cowboys have taken care of this ranch since 1889 and they will ride with you on 40,000 acres of their open grassland country while taking care of the 1,200 mother cows and their calves. Montana's "Big Sky Country" takes you away from swimming pools and golf courses to a remote, quiet setting where you can hear the babbling creek at night and see breathtaking scenery no matter what direction we decide to ride in that day. The ranch also raises their own herd of trusty quarter horses. Being a cowboy has always been a secret dream of many men and women. To a cowboy, the horse is not a pet but a companion and partner with whom he works and depends on to accomplish great tasks. That is what we offer at this ranch - a beautiful country setting to befriend a great cow horse who will help you turn your first errant cow back into the herd and help you to feel what it is like to be a real cowboy in Wyoming. The ranch is located in very picturesque, peaceful, and calm countryside at the border of Montana and Wyoming. It is rolling, native grasslands with areas of pines and canyons, laying along the Eastern slope of the majestic Pryor Mountains which run East and West. Very few people have ever invaded its serene and spacious lands. As you leave the paved highway and start up the canyon along the rutted road toward the mountain, you actually feel as if you are traveling back in time.
Ranch weeks are all about a cowboys life - caring for the land (25,000 acres) is a loving stewardship. Caring for the 800 head of cows and calves after a long winter and a well earned change of focus at the ranch. Each day will include riding, working cattle and returning strays to their pastures and gathering cattle. We have branding in the spring and gathering and weaning in the fall. Some weeks include a Mini Horse Drive as well.
Come ride with our cowboys, it will change your life perspective forever!
The sun rises at 4:30 right along with our cook and each morning the bell rings at 7:00 for breakfast (coffee is always on at 5:30). Do you want to share in the first best experience? The best place to experience this thrill is on the canyon rims at 6:30 each morning with your camera.
Our wranglers will take you with them (if you want to go) to bring in the horse rumuda on one of these peaceful mornings. If you want to ride, then ask Mike to put your name on the list early. This is one of the first most memorable experiences we share with our guest during their stay at the ranch.
Any ranch week may include: branding, vaccinating, roping, mini-veterinary needs, wrangling the cavvy, holding herd, salting, fencing, rotating pastures, bull gathering, weaning calves, pregnancy testing cows, weaning colts, working mare bands, occasional horse drives and rounding up strays. Each activity depends on the time of year you decide to join us. Generally, ranch weeks include several of the activities listed above. You can be sure that you will be able to push a lot of cattle!
Roping instruction and riding hints are part of our Cowboy School on Monday mornings. We want everyone to try their hand at roping and improve their riding skills.
During your stay you can choose between staying in the bunkhouse, in a room in the ranch house, or in one of our cabins.
In the restored bunkhouse there are six comfortable western style room for you to relax in. Five rooms have log style queen beds with western style quilts to accent the room in a true western atmosphere.
The bunkhouse has shared bathrooms attached to the end of the porch. The bunkhouse has an inviting front porch that cools in the summer and protects in the spring and fall. Many of our guests enjoy sitting on the porch in the evening and chatting with cowboys and guests or gazing at the Big Montana night sky.
The main ranch house has three private rooms with a shared bathroom. The ranch house has an inviting front porch which looks out over the front yard. This house was built in 1907 and was restored in 1990. Here are some pictures of the ranch house rooms. The small ranch house has a great room for the guests, where they have internet access. Our ranch store is also in this same building.
The cabins are arranged down the canyon from the bunkhouse giving our guests a quiet, restful view of the ranch setting. They are set close to Dryhead Creek and near where our young horses are out on pasture.
Our guests eat three meals a day with the family and our cowboys in the cookhouse. Our ranch home-style meals are served with hot homemade breads. Each week we serve tender angus beef steaks, top sirloin roast, healthy vegetables, fresh salads, homemade desserts and lots of chocolate chip cookies for the kid in all of us. We promote beef on our ranch from pasture to plate.
One of the meals we are famous for is our Indian Tacos, you can only eat one. Our cook does a great job dealing with special diets. Please let us know if you have special food needs. Our meals are served buffet-style and several times a week we pack a lunch when we ride out all day to move and work cattle.
No riding on ranch departure day - Saturday. Riding is instead increased during the week (5 riding days).
Ranch Week Schedule
During the winter the head wrangler stays at the ranch and cares for our mare band in the spring creek pasture and our guest horse cavvy and older colts in the south pasture. The creek has been frozen so he has had to pump water everyday as well as keep the ice out of the tanks. Riding in below zero temperatures creates special challenges for keeping horses on their feet and our riders safe also.
Winter also brings time to research stud and mare bloodlines so that we can put together our mare bands in the spring and create the kind of horses bloodlines that are most popular for ranch raised horses.
May and early June are the weeks we brand our calves. With 800 head of calves to brand this takes several weeks. Montana and Wyoming are branding states and it is federal law that each calf, as well as each cow, carries our )S( brand. We rope each calf from a well trained cow horse and drag them to the branding fire where we have calf holders (guests and cowboys) hold the calves and one of the cowboys brands the calf. Vaccinations and ear marks are given (by guests) and we start over with another calf. We brand about 100 calves each day.
May - In May we begin trailing the cattle north to the ranch. It takes four days to trail cows to the ranch which is located on the East slope of the Pryor Mountains in Montana. The trail follows the historic old Sioux Trail as we begin with bentonite hills, go single file through Horse Thief Canyon, trail by Lockhart Ranch and into the Dryhead country. Each morning begins as the cook heads for the cookhouse and our wranglers head with their horses out to gather in the cavvy. There will be several horses that each guest will ride during the week. Horses are picked by our head cowboy according to the riding abilities of each guest. They are carefully chosen to give you a challenging experience as well as a safe one. Your horse will be your favorite memory by Friday. .
June, July and August are the months that we ride each day, caring for cows and calves and making sure they stay within our fence boundaries. June also begins the choosing of mare bands and adding stallions for the breeding season. These babies give the cowboys the opportunity to break and train the horses. The mini horse drives give you the opportunity to gather and rotate the mare bands on the best grazing areas. Guests love moving these horses and the smaller band of mares make it easier to teach beginners how to trail and handle horses.
July and August gets us into our ranch rodeo activities. We bring in several animals to be able to practice sorting and working cattle out of a herd. At times the excitement level is keen but teamwork is the key. Every week we have a campfire, and you will prepare your tinfoil dinner to cook on the fire. We love the conversation and friendships that happen around the fire, as we eat marshmallows and brand your chinks or clothing with )S(. If you have dietary needs, just let us know, as our cook wants to make your eating enjoyable and healthy.
brings cooler temperatures during the day and the welcomed chance to
ride all day. The fall weeks mean longer days and lots of riding. All
our cowboys share in the gathering of 15,000 acre pastures and bringing
each cows and calves to the ranch to give pre-weaning shots and again
two weeks later to wean the calves.
After the calves are weaned
and hauled to Wyoming we pregnancy test our cows and hope for a 100%
pregnancy rate for the next year. These large gathers are a thrill few
get to experience.
This is an opportunity to ride in big country somewhat alone gathering
800 or better head of cattle and moving them 6 - 8 miles back to the
ranch to be worked in a large set of corrals.
97% of the USA's cow herds are in groups of less than 50 cows.
97% of the people who own cattle have a job in town and have the cow herd as a second income or a hobby.
Ranches who have 800 head of cows are rare and even more rare is the
privilege to ride a cow horse with real cowboys and gather cows on
thousands of acres of open, beautiful, grassland country that is
untouched by human influence.
September and October are full of gathering to wean calves and pregnancy
test cows. Gathering mares to do the registration papers on the weanling colts
and trailing the cows back to Wyoming.
The guest season ends in early November.
We always have something going on and whatever time of year you choose to
come and ride with us we always have a real ranch atmosphere for you to
This ranch is unique in that we share all of these skills with our guests to help them feel more confident in handling their horses at the ranch or at home. Our goal is to give them the feeling and achievement of a hands on horse experience.
Rates and Dates for Pryor Mountains Ranch
Accommodations with the last night at a hotel in Billings, all meals except last night dinner, 5 riding days, taxes
Minimum Deposit: ~$500.00 per person
Transfer and Other Options:
Transfer from Billings airport or Rimrock Inn at 4 PM
- to be paid locally
Rates do not include:
Last night in hotel- dinner not included, gratuities, transfer
Meeting: Billings airport or Dude Rancher Lodge
Airport: Billings MT
Transfer: Billings MT 4:00PM Sunday
Climate: As always, weather is unpredictable in the mountains. Be prepared for temperatures anywhere from the low 30's F(nights) to the high 70's F(days) during spring and fall. Temperatures sometimes reach the 90s, but the nights are cool, particularly in the mountains. Even in summer months, snow in the higher elevations is common. Wyoming has the second highest average elevation in the United States.
What To Bring:
During the summer weather is quite dependable, but in the mountain one needs to be prepared for all conditions, since conditions can change in a very short time. May, parts of June, and parts of September can have cool days. Warm jackets, spare riding pants and riding boots are essential. We also recommend a wind and rain breaker and hat. Rain slickers can be rented for $10 a week. Don't forget your sunscreen!
Linens and Towels are provided at the ranch. Bring some cash for gratuities or shopping in the store (they do accept credit cards as well!), but cash is needed if you choose to leave a tip.
Instead of saddle bags we recommend pommel bags which fit over the saddle horm. The ranch store stocks most items.
We suggest that you bring clothes that will layer easily: long sleeved shirts, vests, jackets, chinks or chaps, sweatshirts, cap or better still a wide brimmed hat, gloves, wildrag or scarf, spurs, and of course your camera. (we do rent a pommel packet with spurs, strap, scarf & water bottle for $5.)
Standard equipment for riding are boots with a heel and perhaps hiking boots when we are not riding. A rain slicker is a good idea or we also rent these. It not only protects from rain but it is great for breaking the wind, if we have some.
The ranch has a small ranch store with all sorts of items and gifts, so it's a good idea to wait and see if you need it. How about sunscreen, chapstick, gloves, slickers (no ponchos), pommel bags, chinks, cowboy hat, wildrags, stampede strings, belts, S belt buckles, and several gift items for your return home.
Because we are so remote it is impossible to return to town to pick up extra items. If you don't have some of the items mentioned above, we have a small ranch store, which carries most of these items. In addition, if you don't want to purchase the items listed above, we have rental items available for your convenience.
Bring your guitar, if you want, and share our campfire. Brush up on your storytelling and jokes --- getting to know each other is a #1 priority.
This list is only a guideline for you
- Travel documents and Voucher
- Flight tickets
- Visa (check with your consulate)
- Two Pairs of Riding Pants
- Riding Boots
- Riding helmet (recommended for all trips)- not available to rent, so please bring one if you choose to wear one.
- Riding gloves
- Sun Hat or Stetson
- Rain Coat, Windbreaker- available to rent
- Warm Sweater and Jacket
- Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
- Underwear and socks
- Bag for dirty clothes
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
- Personal Toiletries
- Moisturizing Cream
- Insect protection
- Personal medications
- Sore cream (for an emergency)
- Sewing kit
- Camera and enough extra film and batteries
- Belt pack
- Address book and pen (for postcards!)
- Sun glasses with strap
- Sun tan lotion and lip balm
- Flashlight, extra Batteries
- Pocket Knife (not essential)