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Top 20 Resorts & Hotels of 2021:

No.15: PAWS UP, Montana

· US and Canada,Travel News

Another delay but we are not stopping & back to it!  We left off in Kona, on Hawaii's Big Island, now we return to the continental US, where we fly to Montana.  Home to our absoutely incredible #15 on our countdown of the Top 20, PAWS UP.    Ever heard of it?  Many have not, what exactly is Paws Up?  Well I'll explore that in more detail below.

Again this countdown is based on overall clientele in 2021. 

Our Top 20

#15 - PAWS UP, Montana 

Four Seasons Hualalai Hawaii

My Preferred Partner Client Benefits Include:

Book Paws Up / Book The Green O:  (Preferred Status Benefits Included)

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily full breakfast (included in rates)
  • Complimentary round-trip private airport transfers  (Paws Up Only, not The Green O)
  • Bottle of wine in room on arrival
  • A $300 USD activity credit, to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Early check-in, late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Blackfoot River Lodge at Paws Up, Montana

Welcome to Big Sky, Montana home of The Resort at Paws Up.   The Dude Ranch of your Dreams.  A luxury wilderness experience unlike any other.  A place to do just about anything or nothing at all.  What is Paws Up?   Well, to sum it up to start.  If you were to take a US National Park of approximately 37,000 acres of land & wilderness, and now make that land (all of it, completely private to guests only).  Yes this is Paws Up!    There are 100 miles of private wilderness trails, and 10 miles of the Blackfoot River that are on the land of Paws Up.  So yeah if you are looking for privacy, well you found it.  It is open 365 days a year.  Paws Up is a luxury ranch/camp experience that is all inclusive.  Thats right all daily meals (two per day), non alcoholic beverages, along with a selection of beers, wines and well liquors are included in your stay.  Now let your adventure begin.

Glamping at Paws Up, montana
Wilderness Estate at Paws Up, Montana

Make no mistake about it, Paws Up is not just your run of mill dude ranch in Montana, it is a luxury premiere destination with so many different private accommodations types scattered throughout the grounds.  You can glamp it up at one of their luxury camping options of which they have 6 different locations all with similar style and design but in unique locations.  Then you also have the luxury homes to choose between, or the luxury estates.  Coming with a large family of up to 8, well you can stay in the private 4 bedroom Blackfoot River Lodge, which also has it's own glamping tent and it's right along the Blackfoot River of course!   Glamping options consist of riverside tents, creekside tents, cliffside tents, the northern bank camp tents, the Moonlight Camp, or the Pinnacle Camp.  In the cabin like luxury have Big Timber Homes, Meadow Homes, and the Wilderness Estates.  No there is not a main lodge or ranch house were you can stay.  When staying at Paws Up, you are staying at a private house or glamping camp.  There is even a small private island lodge that can be secured for private use of the entire little island in the middle of Salmon Lake.  

New to the grounds is the The Green O, located on the southern edge of Paws Up this is the new modern swanky luxurious escape option at Paws Up.  I can honestly write a whole article on The Green O (Adults Only), that will  perhaps come some other time for now I'll just say The Green O consists of four  different type of luxury private accommodations blended into the pine tree forest.  You can chose between the Green Haus, Light Haus, Tree Haus or Round Haus.  You can read more about The Green O by clicking my link above.  Prices at Paws Up tend to start around $1,500 per night and goes up from there, whereas The Green O starts around $2,000, and depending on the season and dates could be as high as $3,000 per night.

Paws Up, montana

The heart of Paws Up is its endless activities & wilderness workshops.  Some things are part of the all inclusive experience at Paws Up, others will cost you additional.  I honestly don't think you'll ever have to worry about being bored here, unless your idea of a vacation is relaxing by a luxurious pool and being served drinks....then I would not be looking at Paws Up for you.  What can you do at Paws Up?  Well the real question is what can't you do at Paws Up?  Horseback riding of course and Equestrian Experiences are the heart of the ranch itself, but endless options for Fly Fishing, Shooting Sports, Hiking Trails, Archery, Climbing, Water Activities on the river or lake, ATVs, Cattle Drives, Go Karts, Aerial Adventure Park, Kids Camp, Biking and so much more.  

Horseback Riding at Paws Up, Montana

No other resort or ranch in Montana offers more wilderness adventures and outdoor activities than Paws Up. Adventure enthusiasts rejoice! Their massive acres of resort property, miles of trails, & private access to the Blackfoot River and in addition 1.5 million acres of the nearby Bob Marshall Wilderness Area combine to make for the ultimate outdoor playground for adults and kids alike. Saddle up for a definitive Montana horseback riding adventure, take your best shot at a world-class sporting clays course or experience Montana fly-fishing with an expert guide. Or kick up some dust on an ATV tour. And, if that doesn’t satisfy your adventure appetite, there’s also boating, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, paintball, rafting, rappelling, swimming and more. When it comes to outdoor dude ranch activities in the Montana wilderness, Paws Up is an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The Resort at Paws Up features a pristine Rocky Mountain environment most kids will only see on TV. Supervised, age-appropriate activities include everything from hiking and horseback riding to fishing and mountain biking, as well as nature education, wildlife appreciation and wrangler activities.

Pomp at Paws Up

Dining is included throughout your stay at Paws Up or The Green O, with two fine dining restaurants to chose from, plus casual outdoor options, good cuisine is not hard to find.  If you are staying at the camps, each camp has it's own dining area, where guest of that camp can gather for meals, unless they want to drive to one of the other dining venues anywhere onsite. Pomp is the main fine dining option.  The cuisine at Pomp might be described as refined rustic ranch. Grounded in the fundamentals of classic cooking, the executive chef uses his background in luxury fine dining restaurants and his imagination to create culinary innovations. Local ingredients are featured, so offerings change just like the seasons.  Your other fine dining option is Trough which is more casual with a Western flair. Home-cooked flavors mingle with traditional offerings for a rustic, yet refined palette. You may find hand-cut meats combined with locally sourced vegetables, among many options, such as rice and grain bowls and paninis. Satisfaction is guaranteed. Breakfast and lunch are served daily. However, we must tell you that huckleberry pancakes are only served at breakfast—so make sure NOT to miss breakfast.

You can grab a more substantial meal, or if lighter fair is more your style, we have much available. Everything from healthy to home-cooked to make sure all our guests are satisfied. Trough also features a full espresso bar and smoothie options.  Over at the different Camps you have very nice covered dining where the whole camp is served at one time for each meal.  Which is nice in a way as you get to converse with others enjoying the same stay experience as you and talk about what you are going to do with your day, or how was your day over dinner. The dining experience at Paws Up is like nothing you’ll experience anywhere else in the world. Breakfast and dinner are served each day at your camp. (Lunch is served at a variety of stunning locations on the Ranch.) Each luxury camp has its own extraordinary, talented chef who caringly prepares camp cuisine in full view of guests in a large Dining Pavilion. Guests can choose to sit with their own groups or amongst the other campers. The Dining Pavilion typically becomes the communal heart of each luxury camp. Paws Up defines its cuisine as “refined rustic ranch.” Typical entrées include such gourmet dishes as chili-dusted Black Angus steaks, whole roasted rainbow trout, grilled bison steaks and savory salmon. Side dishes can include organic salads, grilled asparagus and summer vegetable succotash. Desserts include such perennial favorites as baked cobbler and s’mores, which can be enjoyed around the fire pit at night, occasionally while a cowboy poet recites verse inspired by Montana and the Western lifestyle or a Campfire Star gives a musical performance. Meals are prepared meticulously by the camp’s expert chef and are served by the camping butler.

Pinnacle Camp Dining - Paws Up, montana

If you are staying at private home or estate you can schedule a private chef to cook for your family & friends right in house or estate.  This of course is not part of the all inclusive program of Paws Up, but anything is possible to customize on request for an additional cost.  To wrap up the dining summary, you have more casual options available such as the Chuck Wagon Dude Ranch Experience or The Shed,  For a drink head over to Tank a full service luxury cocktail bar.

Private Dining at Paws Up

Now I can't wrap up without talking about Spa Town.  That's what Paws Up calls their luxury tented full service spa  which is discretely nestled on the edge of an expansive meadow, The welcome tents feature full baths and showers, while individual treatment tents are fashioned with a lovely sink, a heated massage table and a view of the meadows, spotted with horses. Paws Up is the finest of all Montana spa resorts with a full spa menu.  It also includes a fitness center, and holds yoga & wellness classes on a resort schedule.

Western Stories by Campfire at Paws Up

 Known as “The Last Best Place,” The Resort at Paws Up may be just that. A pristine escape in the Rocky Mountains, taking full advantage of the Big Sky countryside, this wilderness outpost offers something for all energy levels & for every season. Explore the land on horseback, cast a fly for trout, or simply indulge in spa treatments at Spa Town®. As for accommodations, you can choose from 28 luxurious vacation homes, or you can experience upscale camping in one of 36 luxury tents, with decadent furnishings, your own private bathroom, and even the services of a camping butler. It's nature served on a silver platter.

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Thank you for your interest & any potential reservation and I invite you to become a preferred client of mine with Avenue Two Travel!  Please contact me to discuss Paws Up in more detail and to secure your preferred status client reservations.

Other Honors for Paws Up in 2021:

#2 in Continental US, #3 in All of US 

All Images Courtesy of & used with permission by Paws Up Chief Business Development Office 


The Top 20 of 2021 so far:

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Avenue Two Travel

Luxury Travel Advisor