Our Top 5 Wintery Hiking Trails

We’re going to let you in on one of our best-kept secrets . . . There isn’t a more serene or breathtakingly beautiful time to visit Paws Up than the magical snow-filled months of winter. Our lucky cold-weather guests have access to mile after mile of pristine trails to snowshoe, hike or take romantic walks on while enjoying the glittering scenery.

We’ve turned to Nadine Lipson, part owner, part trail guru at The Resort, for her top-five seasonal hikes. Her recommendations span from the heart-pumping one-mile Sacagawea Trail to the Sunset Loop, a 13-mile hike offering incredible views of the Blackfoot River and Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Pick up a trail map and get pointed in the right direction at the Wilderness Outpost. And when you’re through taking in the gorgeous vistas on your wintery wanderings, come inside for a warming cocktail beside the roaring fireplace in Tank as a reward for a job well done. We’ll see you there.

1) The Canine Classic (5 miles)

2) The Anaconda (4 miles)

3) The Trail to Jones’ Pond (5 miles)

4) Sunset Loop (13 miles)

5) Sacagawea Trail (1 mile)

Five Epic Winter Adventures at Paws Up

The Resort at Paws Up offers over a hundred miles of wilderness trails for a diversity of unique Montana winter vacation excursions. For those who yearn to explore the great outdoors of Big Sky Country this winter, check out five of our best Paws Up Winter Adventures.

1. SLEIGH RIDES—MAKE EVERY DAY A HOLIDAY

“Dashing through the snow, in a two-horse open sleigh.” Glide

across the snow with your family as you dream joyful holiday

dreams. All while listening to riveting stories of local lore well

told by your Paws Up sleigh driver. (45 magical minutes)

2. DOGSLEDDING—PAW-POWERED FAMILY FUN

This iconic Montana winter activity shows up on numerous

bucket lists. Guests marvel at the excitement and power of these

dogs. One musher, 10–12 dogs, infinite amounts of family fun.

(Roughly one hour for a three- to four-mile course. Also this year: check out our 10-mile course.)

2. SNOWMOBILE TOURS—VROOM WITH A VIEW

Ladies and gentlemen, start your winter engines. There’s

nothing like full-throttle runs over beautifully groomed trails

to get the ol’ blood really pumping. Stunning scenery abounds.

(1.5-hour tours. One option: a longer off-property tour to Garnet Ghost Town—ghosts not included.)

4. FIVE-STAND SHOOTING—CLAY PIGEONS BEWARE!

Get your shooting fix with our twist on trapshooting: fivestand.

The stations present different flights for our sporting clays.

(Guests shoot from a covered position. Heaters provided, naturally.

Approximately 2 hours.)

5. TRAIL RIDES—THE CRUNCH OF SNOW BENEATH YOUR…HOOVES

Experience the eerily quiet Paws Up winter landscape from a

perspective unlike any other: from the back of a horse.

This equestrian excursion takes you through snow-covered trees

and past ever-changing scenery. (60 mystical minutes)

Have You Heard of Cow Croquet?

If you’re coming to visit Paws Up this winter, we have a new winter challenge. Show your mastery of wrangling cattle by taking part in our new equestrian adventure, Cow Croquet. You and three of your cowboy/cowgirl friends will mount horses in the Saddle Club’s indoor arena and try to guide cows through one of five gates—just as if you were knocking croquet balls through metal hoops in the back yard. You will compete against another team of four players, and each team takes turns to try to “push” the cows through the selected gate. The leader/referee of the match yells out the selected gate (1–5) at the beginning of each round, and each team is timed on how long it takes to get the cows through the gate. The team with the best results and times wins! The idea to offer this new activity came from The Resort’s own Equestrian Manager Jackie Kecskes. We sat down with Kecskes to find out more about this creative idea and to get her thoughts on wintertime at Paws Up.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA

FOR COW CROQUET?

I bought a border collie last October and was watching a lot of training videos online. I knew if he’s going to live on a ranch he should be handy. I kept coming across videos of sheepdog trials (where the border collie must herd sheep through a series of gates, independent of the human, who is a long distance away whistling directional commands). This got me thinking. We already offer team penning during wintertime, but we were still lacking the cattle drive element that people love so much in the summer—the act of moving a large group of cows as a unit. I set up some gates in the arena, substituted cows for sheep and people on horseback for a border collie, and that is how cow croquet was born.

HOW LONG IS THIS ACTIVITY?

It takes two hours from start to finish.

WILL THIS ACTIVITY ONLY BE OFFERED IN THE WINTER MONTHS?

Yes. It is a winter exclusive!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WINTERTIME AT PAWS UP?

The atmosphere—everything seems to get very quiet,

despite all the hustle and bustle of our guests doing activities

and enjoying the snow. There’s something about the ranch

getting blanketed in fresh snow that makes it magical.

WHAT OTHER EQUESTRIAN ACTIVITIES DO YOU OFFER IN THE WINTER?

What don’t we offer would be the better question; with the

addition of skijoring last winter we now offer everything

from trail rides to indoor team penning and Cow Croquet

to picturesque sleigh rides through the homes.

10 Winter Favorites at The Resort at Paws Up

We are counting down to the holidays and wintertime at The Resort at Paws Up. Read below for our top pics of winter favorites on our 37,000-acre Montana luxury ranch.

10 A WINTER COCKTAIL ENJOYED IN TANK. Special wintery drinks include the Basil Martini with black lava salt and vodka; the Swan Lake with coffee liqueur, vodka and a candy cane rim and the white-rum Whitefish Cocoa with orange, cinnamon and clove.

9 TWO WORDS: HUCKLEBERRY PANCAKES. Our executive chef often turns to locally sourced, fresh ingredients, and there’s not a more tantalizing example than this breakfast favorite, served with real Montana huckleberry syrup.

8 COW CROQUET. It doesn’t get more Montana than Cow Croquet, a brand-new Paws Up activity. You and three teammates mount horses in our indoor arena and guide cows through one of five gates—just as if you were knocking croquet balls through hoops in the back yard.

7 WINTER TRIATHLON. The Paws Up triathlon combines the precision of target shooting and archery with the thrill of cross-country skiing through our glorious winter wonderland. We’ll set you up with everything you need—skis, boots, poles and your own .22-caliber rifle.

6 SLEIGH RIDES. Join our wranglers and their majestic draft horses as they ring in the winter with an enchanting horse-drawn sleigh ride through frosted forests and over powdery hills. Even Kris Kringle would be jealous.

5 DOGSLEDDING. Go ahead, yell “mush!” and off you’ll go into the wild white yonder. Imagine being pulled by Iditarod champion Alaskan huskies through the wilds of Montana—all at the foot of the majestic Garnet Mountains.

4 SNOWMOBILE TRIPS TO GARNET GHOST TOWN. A hundred years ago, Garnet was a thriving town, filled with gold miners. In the winter, Garnet is only accessible by snowmobile, so the only tracks you’re likely to see (other than your own) belong to the resident wildlife.

3 MINDY’S HOTCHOCOLATE. James Beard Award winner Chef Mindy Segal of Chicago’s HotChocolate restaurant will be Paws Up’s resident rock star pastry chef December 26–30. Segal will lead cooking-making classes and serve up her famous velvety hot chocolate.

2. CONOR’S S’MORES. Conor Dannis is Paws Up’s official s’moreologist. His process is a thrill to witness, and Dannis mixes it up by using gourmet ingredients, such as bourbon-flavored marshmallows, dark chocolate and sea salt caramel squares.

1. NEW YEAR’S EVE. Ring in the new year with a dazzling night that begins with an elegant, five-course dinner and ends with live music by American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox, a dance performance by Missoula’s MASC Artisans, “presenting acrobatic air and fire” and (boom) . . . fireworks!