The American West is a playground for travelers seeking unspoiled adventure, a reminder of the Wild West past, and a stunning ode to America the beautiful, but did you know that you can do it all in luxury? We enjoyed exploring Yellowstone Country, which comprises the southern half of the state in Paradise Valley, Montana.
This blog post will share how families can spend four days immersed in western adventure and luxury simultaneously in Paradise Valley, Montana.
Yellowstone Country Tourism sponsors this blog post. However, all thoughts and photography are my own.
What is Paradise Valley, Montana?
Paradise Valley, Montana, is the partial home of the world’s first National Park – Yellowstone National Park. This valley comprises rivers and national forests, And the area features majestic mountain ranges from The east and the west.
What makes paradise valley and perhaps the state of Montana most unique is its dedication to preserving the rustic charm and the culture of the old west. Steady reminders are present throughout the valley, from the art to the barns, vastly open cultivated lands, and free-roaming animals.
However, the region has worked hard to elevate the experience of travelers who visit by curating experiences that invite travel lovers to forge their memories and experiences with what they have to offer.
Where to stay in Paradise Valley, Montana| Sage Lodge
We stayed at a luxury lodge called sage lodge during our stay in Paradise Valley. This reasonably new property opened just a couple of months earlier than the pandemic but has since recovered as the shining star of the luxury travel experience within the valley.
Sage Lodge is a 50-room lodge that offers luxury guest suites and ranch houses for multi-generational vacationers. Sage Lodge offers high-quality fine dining on-site restaurants, classes, and excursions that authentically showcase the valley. We loved their thoughtful amenities and much more.
During our stay at Sage Lodge, we stayed in a king guest room that came complete with a sitting area both indoor and outdoor, a desk and coffee bar, a spacious bathroom, and a fireplace which was a comforting touch for cold Montana nights. The cost of the room varies depending on the type of room or weekday vs. weekends.
Guests of the property have access to an array of amenities, including a full-service laundry room that provides all essentials, a fitness facility, hot tubs, and multiple fire pits placed around the property. Free s’more kits are available at the front desk each day. In addition, the grand lodge lobby offers books in their many private reading nooks and board games for guest enjoyment.
One of the best amenities of the Sage lodge is its excursion coordination team. Sage offers a variety of excursions for a range of budgets and interests. Tours include but are not limited to:
- Yellowstone Guided Tours
- On-Site Guided Hiking
- Fly Fishing
- Art Classes
- Wellness Classes
- Wine Tasting
For more information on Sage Lodge, visit their website at https://www.sagelodge.com.
Day 1: Arrival at Paradise Valley
Yellowstone Country, Montana, is located in Southern Montana and encompasses Paradise Valley and cities such as Bozeman, Pray, and Livingston, around 30 mins to an hour from the airport.
Depending on the time of the year that you travel and your familiarity with driving in the snow, you must determine if you prefer to hire a driver/shuttle or take some time to explore yourself.
If you’re traveling during the winter or early spring months and prefer not to drive yourself, Miller Mountain Transport is a great option. We used his inexpensive transportation services to travel the hour from the airport to Sage Lodge. At $175 one way for our family of 3, we found that we were very comfortable choosing a driver who was familiar with the terrain and happy to cut the cost of a rental vehicle.
In addition, we found our driver to be very knowledgeable regarding the area, and he was able to tell us a lot about Montana and the location of Paradise Valley.
Where to Eat Lunch in Paradise Valley, Montana | The Fireside Room at Sage Lodge
Once we arrived at the hotel, we checked in with the front desk staff and grabbed lunch at the Fireside Room while waiting for our room.
The Fireside room offered us various dishes, from light and shareable charcuterie boards to chef-curated sandwiches. We settled on the Flathead Lake Whitefish Chowder and the Fireside Club Wrap. Both were delicious and gave us a taste of fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
The Grill also offers an amazing weekend brunch. Be sure to visit on the weekend for a special menu. The Fireside lounge offers amazing items such as biscuits and gravy and their famously delicious chicken and waffles.
Take photos with a Paradise Valley Montana Photographer.
After lunch, we decided to meet with the in-house photographer to capture our Montana adventure. The Photographer, Heather, was able to take us around the beautiful grounds of Sage Lodge. She captured some stunning images of our family around the lodge and the mountains.
I always highly recommend hiring a local photographer when traveling. It allows you to have great keepsakes without the fuss of a tripod. Also, guarantees that the entire family is captured together. Packages vary based on the hours and locations of the shoot. Photography information can be found at the activities desk at Sage Lodge.
Day one was light for us. We headed to dinner and then bed to prepare for an early morning adventure.
Day 2: Yellowstone Guided Tours from Sage Lodge
On the morning of Day 2, we started our adventure at 6 am by booking the Winter Combination Tour from Sage Lodge to Yellowstone National Park.
Did you know that Yellowstone National Park is the world’s first national park?
On March 1st, 1872, President Grant established it and signed more than 2 million acres into protection.
While the north entrance is in Montana, most of the acreage is technically in Wyoming, making it entirely possible to explore two or even three states at once during your Yellowstone experience.
We spent the day on a Yellowstone Guided Tour luxury excursion scheduled via our lodge called the Winter Combination Tour. This tour was made up of two unique parts include Morning Breakfast, Wildlife Watching from the comfort of an upgraded GMC Denali, and a snowshoeing experience.
The morning wildlife viewing was exceptional. We were able to see big horned sheep, Bison, and more animals up close and personal from the comfort of our truck. The Bison frequently walked next to the vehicle, and made for a spectacular experience.
Our tour guide, Jodi, was super knowledgeable, passionate, and had an all-around great time. We truly enjoyed our experience and would HIGHLY recommend anyone who wants to visit the park to book a guided tour experience vs. trying to explore on your own.
The park is massive! At 2 million acres, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start discovering the park. However, guided tours ( especially Luxury tours) give you the chance to take a backseat, take in the wildlife and learn from passionate guides knowledgeable regarding the park and its nature.
Snowshoeing Tours in Yellowstone National Park
The tour is an all-day experience from 6 am to 4 pm. We finished our Yellowstone day by snowshoeing over a frozen river in the park. It was our first time snowshoeing, and we had a fantastic time trying something new while taking in the snowy views of Yellowstone. The cost of this tour varies based on the size of your party. It includes breakfast or lunch, the tour, and your house vehicle with the guide as your driver.
Where to Eat Dinner in Paradise Valley, Montana | The Grill at Sage Lodge
Once back at the lodge, we completed our day with dinner at The Grill at Sage Lodge. The Grill is a fine dining restaurant on the property at Sage Lodge that offers high-quality locally sourced meats and ingredients. Menu items are sourced in partnership with local vendors and provide an authentic Montana vibe that is echoed throughout the lodge as a whole.
Here, we had some of the best meals of our life. Each course was fresh and flavorful. In addition, the team at the Grill makes every visit worthwhile.
I highly recommend some menu items: The Prime Cut Ribeye, Bison, or Elk. The Glacier Salad and off-menu Lobster mac and cheese gave mouth-watering flavors.
Day 3:Explore Paradise Valley Montana by Air, Sea, and Art
On day 3, We embarked on a helicopter ride with Rocky Mountain Rotors for an afternoon flight to explore the valley, mountains, and wildlife viewing from a bird’s eye perspective.
They offer a variety of tours, but ours was an hour flight experience.
From above, the pilot can offer more insight about mountain ranges, some visible wildlife like the bighorn sheep, and the history of the Yellowstone River.
Plein Air Painting Sage Lodge
Back at the lodge, A local artist teaches Plein air landscape painting classes for all ages at the lodge.
The art instructor encourages us to pull from the landscape inspiration around us while creating something unique to our experience. The cost of the class varies based on your group size and includes art supplies.
We completed day three by playing board games and trying our hand at Montana’s unique method of fly fishing. Fly fishing classes are also offered in the mornings at the lodge.
Day 4: Explore Chico Hot Springs
Did you know that Montana is home to over 61 known natural hot springs?
A natural hot spring is created when groundwater is heated geothermally by the earth’s crust.
Because Yellowstone is a supervolcano, the magmatic activity causes water to heat. Water is funneled into hot spring pools like one of Montana’s most historical attractions, Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa, founded in 1900.
The resort lodge remains true to its Victorian architecture and has embraced its paranormal history. However, if you’re not into that experience, many locals and tourists choose to visit the Hot Springs Pools and farms on a day pass.
Chico Hot Springs Ranch
There is a horse ranch on the property where guests can enjoy guided horseback riding tours. Our son enjoyed spending the day learning about equestrian life and what it takes to care for the horses from the ranchers.
The Ranch is a great learning experience for anyone, especially children with a love and interest for animals.
I HIGHLY recommend visiting Chico Hot Springs for a half-day while in the valley to learn more and experience a piece of long-standing Montana history!
We visited Chico Hot Springs just before heading to the airport to leave. It was a great way to relax and enjoy our last day in Montana.
Montana greeted us with insane mountain views and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. It was by far one of our top 5 favorite states within the United States and made for a fantastic vacation experience throughout the entire year. If you’re planning your trip to Paradise Valley, Montana, you’re in for a treat!
While you’re here, check out complete guides to other luxury family travel destinations both Domestic and Internationally by clicking HERE.