This Adults-Only Ranch in Montana Is One of the Most Relaxing Places I've Ever Stayed

The Green O in Montana opened this summer with 12 deluxe accommodations

The Green O Round Haus

Courtesy of The Green O

Horseback riding, cattle roundups, fly-fishing, and more steak than I could handle. That’s what I expected from a ranch resort vacation, having been to two different ones in Wyoming and Montana in previous years. This time, though, I was headed to a brand new, adults-only luxury ranch—and I was in for a few surprises.

My husband and I left our 5-year-old son with his grandparents and flew into Missoula for a three-night getaway this summer. A staff member from the Green O was waiting at baggage claim, and we loaded up inside his plush Lexus SUV for the 45-minute ride to the resort.

The Green O is actually an intimate, private hotel within the larger resort of Paws Up, in the small town of Greenough, Montana. And although Paws Up is plenty luxurious, it’s most definitely family-oriented, and sharing meals and activities with kids is a given. But as soon as you enter the gated entrance separating the Green O from the rest of the resort, a quiet calm seeps into the car. A dense forest of tall pines and tamaracks towers above, with just 12 remarkable architectural structures called “hauses” dotted among them.

The Green O bedroom

Courtesy of The Green O

The Green O living area

Courtesy of The Green O

The Green O bathroom

Devorah Lev-Tov

There are four one-bedroom haus models to choose from: Tree Haus, Green Haus, Round Haus, and Light Haus. We had reserved a curvilinear Round Haus, which boasts a spacious outdoor deck with a private hot tub and indoor/outdoor fireplace, a sleek eco-kitchenette, and a massive wet room with double showerheads and a deep soaking tub backed by soaring windows looking out onto the woods. The chic woodland-inspired design is modern and cozy, with luxury touches like plush linen bedding, Japanese Imabari waffle towels, custom artwork, and bespoke furnishings. 

As we settled into our haus, I relished the silence. We grabbed some of the gourmet snacks that were set up on our kitchen counter and went to our porch to test the wooden swing and dip our toes in the hot tub. A deer that was a few feet away stared at us; a chipmunk scurried by.

Mornings brought a glimpse of light filtering through the trees and fog, throwing beautiful shadows on the walls and bedspread. In robes and slippers, we headed to the deck with the day’s delivery of James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Krystle Swenson’s delectable creations and a thermos of coffee that was waiting on our porch.

While it was tempting to sequester ourselves in our haus, we did want to enjoy some of the ranch experiences on offer, which are done through the larger Paws Up resort. They have a huge list of activities offering everything from horseback cattle roundups to white-water rafting, but in an effort to keep the adults-only vibe going as much as possible, we opted for private excursions only (group ones are combined with Paws Up and children may be present).

Horseback riding at The Green O

Devorah Lev-Tov

One morning, we went on a private, guided horseback ride that took us across part of the 37,000 acres of Paws Up, with stunning vistas of open meadows and lush forest. It was blissfully quiet, save for a gentle breeze rustling the leaves.

I was most excited for our private fly-fishing trip along the Blackfoot River, though. I’d gone fly-fishing once before this, standing on a riverbank, and I loved the solitude. This time, we drove out a few miles, with a large inflatable fishing boat in tow. Our guide told us about his favorite spot to load in on the river, and he was thrilled to discover there were no other vehicles parked in the tiny lot.

Fly fishing on the Blackfoot River with Paws Up

Devorah Lev-Tov

Fly-fishing is one of the most relaxing pursuits I’ve ever experienced. You’re so focused on the task at hand—casting and recasting the line properly, staying attuned to any possible bites from fish, and reeling in at the precise moment—that everything else falls away. And the surrounding natural beauty and serenity of gliding down the river all combine to make the whole endeavor extremely peaceful. I thought about how my son would have been bored to tears after about 10 minutes, and I relished the experience even more.

We also indulged in a couples massage treatment at Spa Town, the resort’s gorgeous indoor/outdoor spa. Here, treatments are done inside private tents, with flaps opening out onto a dew-dropped field dotted with wildflowers.

Steak and Eggs at the Green O

Devorah Lev-Tov

Dessert at The Green O

Devorah Lev-Tov

Dinner at The Green O

Devorah Lev-Tov

At the heart of the Green O lies the Social Haus, and it’s where we indulged in some of the most exciting and delicious food in Montana. The small building has a porch with seating around some fire pits, while inside there’s a welcoming bar and floor-to-ceiling windows. In the center of the room is a massive circular fireplace surrounded by a smattering of tables with views of the trees outside and the open kitchen behind the bar. Because there are just 12 accommodations, the restaurant is never crowded, and everyone gets the best seat in the house—because they’re all excellent. Breakfast and lunch are à la carte, with options like foraged chamomile yogurt with honeycomb, berries, pistachio, and edible flowers; the most perfectly cooked steak and eggs you’ve ever seen; a root vegetable Reuben sandwich; and short rib tacos with salsa macha.

At night, we were treated to extravagant, 10-ish course dinners. Executive chef Brandon Cunningham uses the local bounty and live-fire cooking techniques to come up with eclectic and inventive dishes like Montana whitefish caviar with homemade potato chips; a Chinese spin on local Buffalo meat made with snow peas, Daikon radish, and XO sauce; and a show-stopping kohlrabi custard with pickled green apple and dill served inside a hollowed-out kohlrabi for a gorgeous presentation.

On our last night, we asked for our dessert on the patio, around one of the fire pits. We watched the sun slowly set as we dipped our spoons into a creamy brown-butter custard topped with crunchy hazelnuts and pieces of dark chocolate. We heard the gentle hoot of an owl, and saw a spotted fawn traipse through the trees, followed by its mother. It was the only child around for miles.

Hauses start at $2,069 a night.