Ponderosa Cabin

August 2019

You created such a wonderful paradise island in this busy world. It’s a place for physical and mental rebooting; helped us recover and gain our health from Mother Earth for the new life’s achievements.  May your ranch be blessed for years and filled with the joy of life.

July 2019

This is our third time in the Ponderosa and probably the 8th visit to Alta Ranch.  We came for the fishing and this year did not disappoint. The fish are very friendly here and combined with the peace and tranquility of the area, make this a very enjoyable place. We took a day and played golf in Hamilton which was a lot of fun. Even though we love the Ponderosa, next time we will go to the Cottonwood because it has a washer/dryer. No news, no advertising, no cell coverage—relief from the modern and subtly encroaching outside world. This is a relaxing and welcome place.  We will be back.

July 2019

1st time at Ponderosa.  We have stayed everywhere except Alta Vista. I like the Ponderosa, roomy, quiet, solitude.  Fished upstream from Deer Creek. Water is lower than last year. Much of the river has changed.  Beaver dam blowouts. Good fishing.  Caught a number of good fish each day…

August 2108

Enjoyed your accommodations! The cabin is lovely.  We especially enjoyed relaxing on the porch. We hiked, fished, used the canoe and paddle boat. The view from Alta Lookout was beautiful. We hope to return to this great wildlife and solitude.

The Ponderosa was the best cabin I stayed in! May just be the design of my future home. Thanks for the inspiration.

The Ponderosa was the perfect location for our annual Girl’s Ski Weekend. It had the perfect amount of rustic and secluded feel and so many great amenities. We found a fun steep sled hill by the Cottonwood cabin with a little bump at the bottom.  No major injuries, mainly laughs.  We had a ping pong tournament in the  Bunkhouse. We just had so much fun!

July 2013

This is a beautiful, serene place, which we really enjoyed.  We will be back for our next family gathering! We used three cabins and each one was lovely.  Time spent at the Bunkhouse playing pool, ping pong and darts followed by several games of “horse” brought so much fun for us all.  Fishing was fun too!  Fire pit and marshmallows was delightful. Just a great time.

We were part of the clan and spent two nights and three days in the Ponderosa cabin.  Loved every minute of watching hummingbirds fly in and out of our feeder. Also saw deer and a blue heron.  We were looking for a place where we could relax yet still have fun playing games with the kids.  We also enjoyed cooking family dinners and easily accommodated in our cabin. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay!  Thank you for providing us with such a well-appointed cabin.  

My daughter and I had a fabulous stay here at the Ponderosa cabin more than we expected in nature and hospitality. We take a girls’ trip every year and this is definitely a place we will remember.  

Thank you for sharing your little “piece of heaven,” and all the fun amenities you had to offer.  It was so comfortable, clean and relaxing. We look forward to coming back soon!

My third year attending the retreat in the fall.  Always spectacularly beautiful, peaceful and refreshing.  Would love to bring my family for a getaway.  Heard the elk bugling.  What a blessing to live in Montana!

Cottonwood Cabin

February 2013

Alta Ranch is a wonderful fit for us and we hope to return with our family.  It has been a peaceful overnight retreat for us mid winter.  The elk in the morning were wonderful to see.


June 2013

Thank you for paradise.  Our short weekend stay was perfect. This is our second visit to the Alta Ranch. Cannot wait to return. We enjoyed the fishing in the stream.  We saw only one elk running through the meadow. This is a perfect way t spend time with our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter.  We like not having any news.  We sat on the chairs on the porch to see how many sounds of nature we could recognize.


Cow elk (4 or 5) greeted us the first night.  Rain all the second day, so we took a trip to the Big Hole Battlefield and lunch in Wisdom.  Then the rain broke and we went on the wildflower hike—amazing! Then an afternoon of relaxing and fishing.  Thanks for a great stay and the beautiful quiet.  

Great fishing on and off the ranch. Big fish on our dry flies which made us happy.  Good meals, evening movies.  Thanks Katrin and Peter for sharing this piece of heaven with us.

What a fantastic Montana vacation! Great cabin, incredible fishing, and most of all unforgettable Montana hospitality.  We have to get back home to realities of big city life, but for one week we were in Montana heaven!  

August 2013

Beautiful, peaceful place to gather yourself and be in the wilderness while still having everything you could possibly need.  Not the traditional place to have a bachelorette party, but my very good friends chose this for me and I could not be happier and more well rested. We saw the largest herd of elk! I have lived in the Bitterroot Valley all my life and have not seen that many elk!  Great place.  We will be back. Thank you again!

January 2014

Wow!  What a beautiful gem to have found to stay to celebrate the beginning of a New Year! Skiing was awesome and the elk in the morning was a bonus! Hopefully we can come back and enjoy the Alta Ranch during the summer! Thanks!

Moose Crossing Cabin

May 2013

From the abundant hospitality to watching the mountain chickadees, our time here was simply superb!  Thank you very much for blessing us with this wonderful Moose Crossing cabin.  It was a real retreat for us.  

June 2013

My husband and I have come to Alta Ranch twice now; last year for our birthday/wedding anniversary, and this year we brought his folks.  The fishing is always great.  My husband managed to catch many fish each day and pulled the biggest fish he’s ever caught in his life out of the pond.  We spotted an elk and some whitetail this morning, along with plenty of swallows and red-winged blackbirds.  We will continue to come back to Alta Ranch for many years to come. The weather was spectacular for our stay (mid 70s, sunny), and we got to witness a spectacular sunset. Looking forward to our next stay—perhaps in the fall.  Thank you Peter & Katrin for this wonderful get-away!  

June 2013

What a peaceful and relaxing vacation spot.  We can’t wait to share the experience with family and friends in the hope they will return with us.

Thank you so much for the stay.  It has been amazing.  I will recommend this place to everyone.  

Our 4th stay here which says everything—we just love it!  Katrin and Peter are the ultimate hosts—nothing is too much for them. Fishing has been excellent.  Cutthroat mostly caught on hopper.  Best fish 16” Fished Overwhich and Castner Creek—both good. Seen moose, elk, whitetail, mule deer, a fox went across the meadow one day, many snipe in the marshy ground.  All on the ranch!  As usual, we are sorry to leave.  

August 2013

Despite the warm temps and smoky air conditions, we couldn’t have had a better time at Moose Crossing. The cabin was even nicer than the website.  Dan caught plenty of cutthroat trout on beadhead nymphs and a black flashback beetle/cricket/ant imitation.  A large rainbow was landed from the pond as well on a soft hackle wooly worm.  Jo enjoyed her reading and walking along with side trips to Hughes Creek area for panning gold.  We had a nice dinner at the West Fork Lodge as well.  Will we return to Alta Ranch? “You Betcha” (Minnesota speak)  Thank you Peter and Katrin for maintaining this beautiful mountain property.  

September 2013

It was very kind of you to put us up in Moose Crossing.  The pesky rain curtailed our outdoor activity but it was good to just relax, catch up on some reading and get some pool practice in!  As I write the snow has landed.  Next time we will make it a summer visit.

We are here to see our son who is a firefighter.  Moose Crossing is perfectly situated for us.  We had his fellow firefighters over for supper one night.  We enjoyed the cool weather, a pleasant break for 90 degree weather in Texas.  Also, first time to hear the bugle of elk!  We appreciate the hospitality.  

Alta Vista Cabin

January 2013

My husband and I travel quite a bit from tropical islands to snow covered mountains.  We have stayed in $600 a night hotels, but I don’t want to do that anymore.  I want to stay here at the Alta Vista summer and winter fall and spring. The people we have talked to are the nicest and friendliest—Montana has Aloha spirit.  I have impressed my in-laws tremendously.  I’m going to take the credit because I found Alta Ranch. This vacation was everything I wanted—snow, horseback riding, snowmobiling, sledding, a happy and well-rested husband.

March 2013

This has been a wonderful place to stay for our “homecoming” to the West Fork. We soaked in as much beauty and wildlife as we possibly could during our stay.  As we travel back to the Pacific Northwest we leave very grateful for the time we were able to spend here.  Thank you Peter and Katrin for your hospitality and graciousness.  Alta Ranch is a beautiful gem. The West Fork will always hold a special place in our hearts.

August 2013

2 years ago me and my family made our first trip to stay in the Alta Vista cabin and at first sight it took our breath away.  And to no surprise, 2 years later, our breath has been taken away yet again. I can honestly say, Alta Vista is a second home to me.  When I am here, I feel like it is my home, it’s just so cozy.  It is equipped with everything you need and more!  The kitchen has everything you would ever need for any meal.  And don’t even get me started on Peter’s paintings…Also the wildlife here is breathtakingly gorgeous, especially the many animals we saw, including two HUGE herds of elk, many, many MANY does with their fawns, including many fawns with spots still on them, 2 bald eagles, 3 snakes, a few frogs, and we heard the howling of coyotes and their pups! This is my favorite place on earth. I look forward to coming back next summer (hopefully sooner!)  This trip has become a family tradition. And whoever gets the most amazing opportunity to experience this little piece of heaven, please hike, fish, play, roast s’mores, laugh, enjoy the wildlife, look for animals, enjoy the quiet mornings, watch the sunsets, skip rocks, swim, and SO MUCH MORE!    

To make a reservation, call us at 406-349-2142 or e-mail info@altaranch.com

All contents © Alta Ranch, LLC 2011-2020

We have guest comment books in every cabin.  Here is a sampling of what our guests from around the world write:

Aspen Cabin

October 2018

My husband and I came here to relax, unplug, and fish.  What a perfect place to do all three. The Aspen is super cozy! I caught my first fish on a fly rod! My husband caught many more. This place is beautiful and we think it would be a great place to bring our family back to.

December 2018

We are visiting for a 2nd time for our 1 year wedding anniversary.  We got married by Painted Rocks by the Judge on 12/11/17 and stayed in the Aspen, so what better way to spend Christmas in 2018 for our anniversary.  We are in love with the atmosphere here, the stillness, and the ability to UN-WINE-D and unplug from the “real world.” It’s so majestic and unreal. Thank you for providing such an amazing getaway location for these Texans.

July 2019

Some people start their marriage here. However, we are celebrating our 50th! Of the many places we have stayed, God’s handiwork and creation is so visibly displayed here.  The facilities are outstanding! There was nothing we could think of that was not provided in the cabin. Our son and his family stayed in the Cottonwood. One of the highlights of the trip was teaching our oldest grandson how to fly fish.  On the first day he went from learning how to tie different fly fishing knots to the second day of catching 17 cutthroat fish. The other 4 grandkids tremendously enjoyed roaming the meadows and playing at the pond. Overall it was a fantastic vacation and or family will be back again.

February 2013

The simple life is good. The Aspen was equipped with everything we could possibly need, and in turn we had everything we could possibly want.  As with so many entries before, we leave wanting more, wanting to come back to this feeling of peace.  My memories will hold the Alta Ranch as a “Good Place.”  Thank you for maintaining this slice of heaven so perfectly.  

July 2013

We kayaked 2 mornings at Painted Rocks, while the lake surface was like glass, and the temp still moderate—it was beautiful! We stopped by to see the first ranger station and saw where the early Native Americans removed the outer bark of the Ponderosas to eat the pine cambium-Fascinating!  We enjoyed evening campfires , watching the full moon rise at 10:0 p.m.; ping pong in the game room, walks to the pond—got some beautiful sunset photos with the smoke filtering into the western sky; enjoyed the hummingbirds, who would zip in long enough to sip on the petunias, check us out from 3 feet away; and lot of reading, just breathing in Montana air.  We loved the cozy cute Aspen cabin immensely! It was the perfect “decompress” weekend to begin our Montana vacation. The Spinettas are kind, welcoming hosts! Thank you!   John and Pam, Virginia

Once again we were here.  Great fishing upstream and at the ranch. Bicycled, hiked. Dee, fawns, turkey, bald eagle, hummingbirds, good hot weather Wonderful time!!! Hope to return next year.  

September 2013

Oh! My! Gosh! We just arrived and there are 4 moose in the pond.  A family—a huge male with huge antlers, beard and hump.  When he brings his head out of the water and shakes, water goes everywhere.  Then we hear elk trumpets and look up and there is a herd of elk in the meadow—one huge male with a huge rack of antlers! There is one more young male bringing up the rear!  The two herds see each other and finally the moose got out of the pond and headed north!  AMAZING! Like being in a nature show! Fishing was good 12-13” and I caught “little ones.” We’ve seen the moose family a lot.  The first night with binoculars the male looked huge—I think he is a one-year old male still traveling with mom and twins. We’ve heard the elk bugling, seen deer, heard coyotes and wolves.  Bats zapping around the deck at night.  Watching the night sky—so many stars—so close.  Hiked the valley and overlook across the road.  So much wildlife, so relaxing and beautiful.  Town of Darby quaint and very friendly.  Peter and Katrin very wonderful host and hostess,  Hope to return.  Already friends are looking into next summer based on pics I’m sending from the Homestead. Yesterday at the Bunkhouse, the 4 moose came running up between the Bunkhouse and cabins to south.  Followed the driveway out to the road and crossed up the mountain.  Saw them in a.m. Amazing week and weather. Last morning awoke at 7 a.m. to elk bugling in front of cabin. They went across to the Homestead and back to meadow.  Treated to an hour of elk watching. in front of cabin!