In the meantime, check out our Gay Dude Ranch Adventure in Colorado!
Grab your gay cowboy hat and boots and head to Montana for an activity-filled week on the Lazy E-L Ranch. Daily horseback rides are followed by exciting whitewater rafting and beautiful hikes, with time to relax and breathe under a big sky. Happy Trails!
HE Travel is proud to carry on the traditions of our new partner OutQuest Global Adventures (formerly OutWest Global Adventures) by offering our first gay ranch holiday in the American West. This tour was designed by Aaron Kampfe, founder of OutWest, to expose visitors to the joys of the open range where he grew up.
Early in the week we will get tips from real cowboys about how to ride safely and enjoyably across the meadows and along the creeks of the ranch, with the Beartooth Mountains always in the background. We will also follow the paths of early pioneers by rafting a white water river, and do some hiking in the nearby mountains.
Come join us for the magnificent exploration of the Great Outdoors, and if you have time, combine it with a week of Grand Canyon rafting or a hiking adventure in Glacier National Park!
Day 1: Welcome to Billings!
Upon arriving at the Billings airport, look for the shuttle to our modern downtown Billings hotel. We’ll gather tonight for a welcome dinner, and perhaps head over to The Loft, a rollicking gay bar you never expected to find in Montana!
Those arriving earlier may enjoy visiting the Bighorn Battlefield, the site of Custer’s Last Stand. Billings has museums, shopping, a performing arts center, and good restaurants to choose from!
Day 2: Head to the Ranch
We’ll have time to catch up on sleep after a fun night out. We’ll have a casual lunch together before beginning a 1.5-hour scenic drive to the ski resort town of Red Lodge.
Our destination is the Lazy E-L Ranch, at the foot of the Beartooth Mountains. The historic log-cabin-style lodge is not a hotel, but a family vacation home. The main lodge is called “The Summer Cabin” and each room is unique, decorated with original western art, old family photographs, and Navajo rugs. The ranch limits the number of guests to 12, and room and cabin preference is given to those who book first. Some bedrooms have private bathrooms and some share a bathroom with the room next door. Bed configurations vary, contact us for details.
From the lodge porch, you’ll have unobstructed views of the Beartooth Mountains which rise to over 12,500 feet. Throughout the week, keep your eyes open for wildlife. The ranch is home to deer, elk, coyotes, bears, eagles, and sometimes wolves from neighboring Yellowstone National Park. With 12,000 protected acres and 6 miles of private river access, wildlife on the ranch is plentiful.
In the late afternoon, we’ll take a short hike and take in the views. Before dinner, we’ll kick-back with a cocktail before having dinner at the ranch cookhouse or historic dining room.
Days 3-6: Saddle Up, Raft, Hike, and Visit an Historic Western Town
Each morning, we’ll have a different horseback ride. For those who are new to riding, basic instruction is provided before we head out over the hills and through the open pastures. Unlike a dude ranch, riding on trails is not standard at the Lazy EL Ranch. We don’t ride nose-to-tail, but spread out and learn to control our horse. Depending on the weather, the riding terrain varies. One day we may be riding through alpine forests near the mountains, another day through aspen meadows along a river, and another day in open hill country.
On one afternoon we’ll do a rafting trip on the Stillwater River. A tributary of the Yellowstone River, the Stillwater meanders through a one-sided canyon, which was once home of the Crow Indians and buffalo herds. The river offers class II & III rapids and is a great introduction to whitewater rafting
With 12,000 private acres adjacent to the Beartooth Wilderness Area, the ranch offers many private hiking trails in the West Rosebud Valley. One day we may head to the west side of the ranch where we walk along the river and head up country to an historic homesteader’s cabin. We’ll have a picnic lunch at the Shorey Cabin. If it’s a hot day you may want to take a dip in the river. Fishing is available to those who purchase a license ($25) and bring their own equipment. A private guide is also available for hire.
One afternoon, we’ll head up the Beartooth Highway for spectacular views from over 10,000 feet. The Beartooth Highway has been named one of the most beautiful byways in America. After our drive you’ll understand exactly why. We’ll stop at strategic pull-offs along the way for photo opportunities and look for wildlife. Afterward, we’ll head into the mountain ski town of Red Lodge where you’ll have time to stroll along the historic main street and stop in shops, museums, art galleries, and saloons. That evening we’ll have diner together in Red Lodge before heading back to the ranch.
Limited Wi-Fi is available, but may we suggest using your free time to swim in the river, strike out on an independent hike, search for dinosaur bones, play croquet or badminton, or just relax in a hammock.
Day 7: Departure
Today, you say good-bye to the ranch and head home or onto your next adventure.
Price includes: Accommodation at a modern hotel in Billings, plus 6 nights lodging at the ranch; All meals beginning with welcome dinner on Day 1 and ending after breakfast on departure day; Wine or cocktails at welcome and farewell meals; All ground transportation to included activities; Daily horseback riding with skilled and knowledgeable local guides; white water rafting on the Stillwater River, a half-day scenic drive along the Beartooth Highway; and a fun and experienced HE Travel guide. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to Billings, Montana; items of a personal nature such as alcoholic beverages and souvenirs; travel insurance; and gratuities for ranch guides, housekeeping, or HE Travel host.
Optional Tour Choices:
TBA Private Stand-Alone Cabin (for a couple or single traveler)
TBA Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom within a shared cabin)
TBA Fishing license. Ranch guests are welcome to cast a line in the West Rosebud River. A basic fishing rod is provided, but not fly-fishing equipment. The river is catch and release.
TBA Day of guided fly-fishing
A massage therapist comes to the ranch mid-week. Most people enjoy a relaxing massage after time in the saddle!
We strongly recommend the purchase of Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance to protect your vacation investment in case of unforeseen circumstances such as flight delay, illness, or injury. Click Here to learn more about our Insurance partner.
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts and ends in Billings, Montana. Plan to arrive in time for a 6 pm dinner and orientation on Day 1. You should schedule a flight out of Billings anytime after 12:00, noon, on Day 7.
To fully enjoy this tour, you should be comfortable riding (or learning to ride) horses. Non-riders are welcome to join the tour, but during some horse-related activities, they will be enjoying other ranch amenities while the rest of the group is riding the range.
The main lodge is called “The Summer Cabin” and each room is unique. The log lodge is not a hotel, but a family vacation home. Rooms are decorated with original western art, old family photographs, and Navaho rugs. The main room has a fireplace. Some bedrooms have private bathrooms and some share a bathroom with the room next door. Bed configurations vary. Rooms have two twins, a queen, or a king bed. Two other cabins are the Stokkee and the Russell cabins. Room and cabin preference is given to those who book first, so book early.
Because the ranch lodge and cabins are not run like a hotel, maid service isn’t provided every day. Self-service laundry is available throughout the week for your personal clothes. Clean towels can be found in the closets. Again, staying in the Summer Cabin is like staying with friends in a vacation home, not staying at a luxury resort. Most people find the lodge warm and comfortable.
The horses on the ranch are quarter horses and are accustomed to many different riders. The wrangler will try to match a horse with your experience. While the horses are well-trained and generally very gentle, they are animals and can be unpredictable. Like any outdoor activity, horseback riding has inherent risks and dangers. That said, most people are very happy with their horseback riding experience and injuries are rare.
The rides are not traditional trail rides, as you’d find on a typical dude ranch. We limit the guests to 12, so you really learn to control the horse and ride like a cowboy. The terrain varies. One day we may trot in open hay fields, the next day ride along an alpine ridge, and the next day ford a mountain river. With 12,000 acres, there is an endless variety of terrain.
Summer (June- August) is the warm and dryer time of year. Expect clear blue skies and sunny days. Daytime temperatures can be in the 70’s to 90’s. Being at 5,500 feet elevation, evenings are cool. In summer the rivers are great for swimming. Afternoons might be spent hiking to a swimming hole and lounging by the river. (White water rafting is included in these weeks).
Your wranglers, cooks, ranch host, and other staff work hard to make your Lazy EL Ranch experience top notch. Suggested total gratuities for the week is $180-$280 per person or 7-12% of the costs of your package. Your HE Travel tour director works hard behind the scenes to coordinate activities, smooth any glitches that can happen along the way, and ensure that all guests have a wonderful vacation. Gratuities are appreciated and are at your discretion.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174