As we all begin to return to travel, many of us are making plans for our first getaways in more than a year! Near the top of my list was our nation’s 41st state, Montana. I’d never been lucky enough to get there, and while I certainly know now why they call it Big Sky Country, I was also blown away by my accommodations.
I’ll be clear: I love nature, but I don’t like roughing it at all. But when an opportunity to stay at the incredible Resort at Paws Up presented itself, I jumped at the chance to glamp. Located about 45 miles outside of Missoula and situated between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, Paws Up has been wowing guests since it opened with its impeccable attention to detail that pairs flawlessly with a laid-back, charming feel.
Here are eight reasons why you might want to consider a glamping adventure here, too.
Note: I was hosted by the Resort at Paws Up. All opinions are my own.
1. The Setting Is Stunning
Hands down, the Resort at Paws Up — spread out over 37,000 acres of America’s most beautiful land — is the ultimate retreat. The famed Blackfoot River (made famous by the movie A River Runs Through It, starring Brad Pitt) flows through the resort, and the glamping sites have some of the best views of the iconic water. My wonderful safari-style tent was situated right on the riverbank, which resulted in incredible views and a wonderful soundtrack.
This is the spot Lewis and Clark and the rest of the Corps of Discovery raved about when they came upon it during their famous expedition in 1805. Beyond the beauty of the Blackfoot River and the big blue sky, this part of Montana also features mountains, crystal-clear spring-fed lakes, and vast prairies packed with wildflowers. You might spy bighorn sheep or bison at the resort, as well as feathered friends including gorgeous little mountain bluebirds and majestic bald eagles — one of which built a nest at my glampsite and routinely fished in the Blackfoot just outside my tent door. I watched her hunt from my deck while sipping coffee in the morning.
Keep in mind that you’re in an alpine climate, so the weather can and does surprise. During my visit in mid-May, I awoke to a chilly wonder: A fine dusting of snow made the pine trees look as if they had all been dipped in spun sugar. Just two weeks later, the forecasted high temps were in the 90s! Pack layers, and remember that the fickle weather is part of what makes this state so special.
2. Your Wish Is Their Command
The overall vibe at Paws Up is one of rustic but refined elegance, and it’s immediately apparent that the service is top-notch! Each of the glamping sites has a butler on duty, who may be reached via phone or app (yes, the resort has its own app!). Need an extra pillow or two? No problem! Forgot a toiletry or other essential? It’s covered. Prefer to take a meal in your tent or on your deck? That can also be easily arranged.
The butlers will schedule all of your transportation, especially if you’ve got activities in a different part of the resort. They make sure the campfires are lit at the pavilion, pour your favorite wine at happy hour, ensure your meals are adjusted for any dietary needs, and help serve said meals. They also show guests — young and old — how to make killer s’mores each night.
The service at Paws Up is attentive and friendly, without being stifling or stuffy. It’s a delicate balance that the staff pulls off effortlessly, and it’s one that will leave you with a lasting impression. It’s clear that the folks here love the land and want to do their very best to help you love it as well.
3. You’ll Never Go Hungry
My first morning at Paws Up, I strolled down to our campsite pavilion for an early breakfast. I’d had hours of travel the day before, and I was ready to eat! The fire was already blazing, and the camp butler greeted me by name. Imagine my surprise when I was told there wasn’t a menu; rather, the chef would be happy to prepare whatever I was in the mood for. From yogurt drizzled with local honey and huckleberries to French toast and bacon, I was fueled up well for the day’s adventures.
The resort has several restaurants in the main area (about a 10-minute drive from the campsites; transportation is included) where guests can have lunch. And at night, dining at the campsite pavilion is a true treat, with a multicourse dinner prepared by the camp chef and served family style by the camp butler.
Locally farmed meats and fresh-picked produce are all lovingly and expertly prepared; your meals are covered in the nightly camp rate. From bison to trout, and berry cobbler to those delicious aforementioned s’mores, the resort’s cuisine is delicious and delectable.
4. The Activities Are Amazing
While there are plenty of spaces at Paws Up to enjoy Mother Nature in a zen-like setting (namely, the deck right on the river!), there are also lots of opportunities to be active during your stay. From fly-fishing instruction and horseback rides to stunning hiking trails, mountain biking, kayaking, clay shooting, and even high-ropes courses, there are a myriad of activities that will help connect you to nature in adventurous ways. Many of them are covered in the cost of your glamping rate; others are add-ons. Prior to your arrival, a concierge will work with you to make sure you’re getting the exact experience you’re looking for while visiting.
There’s also a tented spa on-site offering services including massages and facials, if you need extra pampering after the day’s excitement!
My favorite experience at the resort was the traditional chuck-wagon dinner, cooked over an open flame and served at picnic tables overlooking the Blackfoot. A cowboy trio serenaded us as the sun set and the stars began to appear over the famed Montana Big Sky. It was a perfect, pinch-me moment!
5. There’s Incredible Attention To Detail
So many little conveniences and creature comforts add up to incredible overall attention to detail at Paws Up. From heated floors and terry cloth robes in the bathroom to locally made soaps stocked near the copper sinks, every little thing is designed for your ultimate comfort and enjoyment. The housekeeping — even in the tents — is daily and thorough. The butlers remember your favorite cocktail or glass of wine before dinner, and they will make sure you get to all of your scheduled activities on time and without fuss. Bottom line: The staff at Paws Up has thought of everything, and in the unlikely event that something is overlooked, they are at the ready to take care of it for you.
6. You’ll Sleep Easy
No awkward sleeping pads or air mattresses in the tents at Paws Up! The safari-style tents are enormous, with plenty of room to spread out and clearance for even the tallest guests. The beds are luxe, large, and fitted with incredibly soft sheets and blankets. Chilly out? No worries — ask your butler to turn on the electric blankets during dinner so that your Paws Up nest will be warm and welcoming when you’re ready to return after a day of adventure and an evening around the campfire. And there’s nothing like being lulled to sleep by the sounds of the river running right outside your tent door!
7. It’s The Perfect Multigenerational Destination
The glamping sites at Paws Up come in a variety of sizes and configurations (from one to three bedrooms), which means they are perfect for families. And when you consider that multiple glamping tents can be reserved at the same camp, you’ll see how the resort is ideal for multigenerational travel. Everyone can gather at breakfast to start the day, head out on different adventures, and then reunite at the campsite for cocktail hour, dinner, a campfire, and s’mores under the stars! And because the camp is so comfortable, it’s truly suitable for all ages.
8. You’ll Make Memories To Last A Lifetime
When you’re in a natural setting so pristine and unspoiled, yet have every need and want met, it’s truly something special. Whether you visit the Resort at Paws Up with your extended family, with your partner, or on your own, you’ll be incredibly moved to experience Montana in such an up-close, personal, and customized way. The sights and sounds of the Blackfoot, the bald eagles swooping overhead, trying my hand at fly-fishing — they are travel moments I will never forget.
Pro Tip: Dress code at the resort is “ranch casual,” which means comfortable and able to handle whatever the day throws your way. Think jeans, layers, and above all, a good pair of hiking boots. Leave your dresses and pearls at home for this bucket-list trip.