Old Western and Cowboy Culture near Whitefish Montana | Vacay Whitefish

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Get some Old West adventure. Wild, or Mild.

It’s no secret that the hit Television Series Yellowstone has inspired the cowboy culture in many of us. You don’t have to be gung-ho about it, either, to add a little historical Montana flavor to your Montana vacation! From Rodeos, to Horseback Riding, Carriage Rides, Dude Ranches, Ghost Towns, or a trip to an old, operating Mercantile — there’s plenty of options to choose from.

 

Scroll Down to Explore Vacay Whitefish’s suggestions below!

Plan Your Old West Experience!
Discover the spirit of the Old West! Our guide offers insider tips on local cowboy culture, rodeos, ghost towns, horseback tours, and more.

Yeehaw 'n Giddy-up!

Step back in time and experience the vibrant spirit of the Old West with our comprehensive local area guide. We provide a deep dive into Montana’s rich cowboy culture, including intimate glimpses into traditional rodeos like the Bigfork Rodeo and the Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo. Explore fascinating ghost towns such as Garnet, Marysville, and Bannack State Park that paint vivid pictures of the state’s gold and silver mining past. Feel the thrill of horseback tours through Montana’s breathtaking landscapes with top outfitters like Swan Mountain and Bar W Guest Ranch. From cowboy heritage to rugged adventures, we have your journey into the Wild West covered!

2Near Whitefish Montana - Northwestern Montana Fair and Rodeo August old west activities horse riding bull riding barrel racing saloon ghost town Vacay Whitefish
Near Whitefish Montana - Northwestern Montana Fair and Rodeo August old west activities horse riding bull riding barrel racing saloon ghost town Vacay Whitefish
Near Whitefish Montana - Northwestern Montana Fair and Rodeo August old west activities horse riding bull riding barrel racing saloon ghost town Vacay Whitefish
Near Whitefish Montana - Northwestern Montana Fair and Rodeo August old west activities horse riding bull riding barrel racing saloon ghost town Vacay Whitefish

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https://vacaywhitefishguestrentals.com/ Wild West Old West Cowboy Culture Northwest Montana near Whitefish Montana
  1. Horseback Riding: Bar W Guest Ranch provides various horseback riding opportunities. Guests can enjoy trail rides through beautiful Montana scenery, and they even offer riding lessons for those looking to improve their skills.
  2. Cattle Drives: For a truly authentic western experience, guests can participate in cattle drives. This involves moving cattle around the property, a classic cowboy task.
  3. Fishing: The ranch has a private stocked fishing pond, and it’s situated near Spencer Lake and many local streams and rivers, providing ample opportunities for fishing.
  4. Archery: For those interested in archery, the ranch provides equipment and a range where guests can practice.
  5. Sporting Clays: The ranch offers a sporting clays course for those interested in improving their shooting skills.
  6. Winter Activities: During winter, the ranch offers snowshoeing, sleigh ride dinners, ice fishing, and more.
  7. Kids Program: The Bar W ranch offers a program for kids that includes a variety of activities such as horseback rides, nature walks, and fishing.
Bar W Guest Ranch

Trail Rides, Cattle Drives + Rodeo Games

Nestled in the heart of Whitefish, the Bar W Guest Ranch offers an authentic Montana ranch experience. Visitors can partake in a variety of outdoor activities, including horseback riding, archery, and fishing. Guided trail rides offer breathtaking views of Spencer Lake and the surrounding wilderness, making it a perfect choice for those seeking a taste of cowboy life.

Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo

Western Fair with a Modern Flair

An exhilarating spectacle of traditional rodeo sports unfolds every August at the Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo in Kalispell. This event showcases Montana’s rich cowboy heritage through thrilling contests such as bull riding, barrel racing, and calf roping. With attractions for all ages, it provides a festive atmosphere of Western entertainment, complete with country music performances and delicious fair food.

https://vacaywhitefishguestrentals.com/ Wild West Old West Cowboy Culture Northwest Montana near Whitefish Montana
https://vacaywhitefishguestrentals.com/ Wild West Old West Cowboy Culture Northwest Montana near Whitefish Montana
  1. Garnet, MT (Near Missoula): About a 3-hour drive from Whitefish lies Garnet, one of Montana’s most iconic ghost towns. Once a vibrant mining community during the gold rush era, Garnet now stands as a testament to Montana’s past. Wander through time-frozen structures, each one echoing stories of a bygone era. Visit the saloon, the hotel, and residential homes to get a feel for 19th-century life. Don’t forget to stop by the visitor center to deepen your understanding of Garnet’s historical context.
  2. Marysville, MT (Near Helena): Situated near Helena and roughly a 4-hour drive from Whitefish, Marysville is a well-preserved ghost town with a rich mining history. Once thriving during the gold rush, today Marysville offers a fascinating look into Montana’s past. With many original buildings still standing, including the landmark Drumlummon Mine, you can truly imagine the hustle and bustle of this old mining community. The journey to Marysville not only offers historical insights but also a scenic drive through Montana’s beautiful landscapes.
  3. Virginia City, MT: Approximately 4.5 hours away from Whitefish, Virginia City is a well-preserved former gold mining town. As the state’s second territorial capital, this historic town gives visitors an authentic taste of the 1860s, with many original structures intact. During the summer, enjoy live performances at the Opera House, and roam through the past on a walking tour.
  4. Nevada City, MT: A mere 5-minute drive from Virginia City and about 4.5 hours from Whitefish, Nevada City is an open-air museum featuring more than 100 historic buildings from the 19th-century gold rush era. Walking through this town is like stepping into a Western film set.
  5. Bannack State Park, MT: A 5-hour drive from Whitefish, Bannack State Park is home to Bannack, a ghost town that was once the site of a major gold discovery in 1862. Visitors can explore the well-preserved buildings and get a feel for Montana’s mining history.
  6. Elkhorn State Park, MT: Approximately 4 hours away from Whitefish, Elkhorn State Park offers two of the most well-preserved 19th-century structures, Fraternity Hall and Gillian Hall. As a former silver mining town, it’s a great spot to explore Montana’s past.
Ghost Towns in NW Montana

Explore a Fishing Adventure

Exploring Northwestern Montana’s ghost towns is like stepping back in time. These abandoned communities, like Garnet and Marysville, provide a fascinating glimpse into the state’s mining history. Wander among the well-preserved buildings and envision life during the late 19th-century gold rush. Each structure tells a story of past inhabitants, offering insights into their daily life, hardships, and hopes. Ghost towns are not only historical treasures, but they are also situated in picturesque locations, adding natural beauty to your visit. The peace and tranquility found in these relics of yesteryears create a unique, hauntingly beautiful experience.

Swan Mountain Outfitters

Horseback Rides + Overnight Trips

Situated near the Swan Range of Montana, Swan Mountain Outfitters provides an array of horseback riding experiences. Whether you’re embarking on a short trail ride or an overnight pack trip, Swan Mountain guides ensure an unforgettable journey through Montana’s stunning landscapes.

https://vacaywhitefishguestrentals.com/ Wild West Old West Cowboy Culture Northwest Montana near Whitefish Montana
  1. Horseback Trail Rides: Swan Mountain Outfitters provides guided trail rides ranging from one hour to all day. These rides are designed to provide guests with an intimate experience in Montana’s spectacular scenery, including Glacier National Park and the Swan Valley.
  2. Pack Trips: These are multi-day backcountry trips on horseback, providing visitors the opportunity to explore remote areas of Montana’s wilderness. Pack trips can be fishing-focused, hunting-focused, or simply for scenic and wildlife viewing.
  3. Hunting Trips: Swan Mountain Outfitters offers guided hunting trips during hunting season. They have access to various hunting districts and provide guides for big game hunting, including elk, deer, and mountain lion.
  4. Fishing Trips: Guided fishing trips are also provided. Anglers can explore the wilderness areas and cast for various species of trout and other fish.
  5. Winter Activities: During winter, they offer activities like snowmobiling and dog sledding, providing visitors with unique ways to experience Montana’s winter landscape.
  6. Youth Adventure Camps: These are outdoor adventure programs aimed at youth, providing education and experience in wilderness skills, horseback riding, and more.
Unique things to do near Whitefish Montana - Vacay Whitefish - tour guideA
Old Polebridge Mercantile

Explore Montana by Motor

Tucked away near the western entrance of Glacier National Park, Polebridge offers a rustic Montana experience. This remote hamlet is renowned for the Polebridge Mercantile – an historic outpost dating back to 1914. The Mercantile, fondly known as “the Merc,” is the heart of the community, offering freshly baked goods, sundries, and a glimpse of life off the grid. The surrounding area provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and wildlife spotting. Enjoy the tranquil beauty of Montana’s wilderness in Polebridge.

Bigfork Summer ProRodeo

Discover our Western Roots

Bigfork, a charming town located near Flathead County, hosts the Summer ProRodeo every July. This event immerses spectators in the thrilling world of professional rodeo, featuring intense competitions in bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping, and more. Beyond the rodeo arena, attendees can enjoy Western-themed vendors, local food and drink, and a lively community atmosphere that truly embodies the spirit of Montana.

https://vacaywhitefishguestrentals.com/ Wild West Old West Cowboy Culture Northwest Montana near Whitefish Montana