Triple Threat

An outdoor paradise beckons at montana’s triple creek ranch, whether you’re riding, fishing or just enjoying nature.
Triple Threat 1

They come seeking peace, quiet and a little sporting action—Bill Gates and legions of other Fortune 500 executives who while away the hours at a wilderness retreat known as the Triple Creek Ranch in the Bitterroot Mountains about 75 miles south of Missoula, Montana. if you decide to stay here too, you’ll experience an outdoor paradise that’s perfect for whitewater rafting, horseback riding, fly-fishing—or simply taking in the scenery.

Don’t feel like fishing? Horseback riding and whitewater rafting are also among the many outdoor pleasures you’ll find at the Triple Creek Ranch in the Bitterroot Mountains of western Montana.

Triple Creek Ranch is an adults-only resort located among the pines on trapper peak, the highest mountain in western Montana. It’s owned by Craig Barrett, retired CEO and chairman of the board of Intel Corp., and his wife Barbara, a former U.S. ambassador to Finland.

You’ll sleep comfortably in the Big Sky, one of the ranch’s 24 distinctive log cabins, which are sprinkled throughout the property.

Barrett is so passionate about fly-fishing that he’s been known to give guests casting lessons. But fishing is far from the only lure in this magnificent outpost in the great outdoors. You can also perfect your backhand on the tennis court, swim laps in the heated outdoor pool, sharpen your stroke on the putting green or saddle up for a horseback ride. Then there are the whitewater rafting, bird watching and cattle drives.

Indoors, Triple Creek Ranch is equally addictive. It’s a cocoon of legendary luxury, a Relais & Châteaux property that last year was voted by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine as the finest hotel in the world.

Guests soon see why. Despite its sprawling 600 acres, the ranch maintains an intimate feeling. The all-inclusive resort appeals to so many corporate movers and shakers because it offers amenities and activities galore. The management will even pack a complimentary picnic lunch for your day of fishing, hiking, rafting or riding.

You’ll dine delightfully on gourmet entrees such as sea bass topped with garden micro cress, pictured.

There’s the main lodge, a large structure of lodgepole pine with a welcoming fire and a celebrated dining room. Just as outdoor pursuits are taken seriously, so too are gustatory delights. Buffalo rib eye steak, Pacific steelhead and Montana beef are likely to appear on the dinner menu, which changes every evening. If it’s a special night, book the chef’s table and get a behind the-scenes look at the kitchen in action along with your seven-course gourmet meal (paired with wines, of course). Oenophile? The award-winning wine cellar, featuring more than 700 selections from a dozen different countries, intrigues even guests with sizeable cellars of their own.

Don’t be too surprised if you see a moose half-immersed, or witness a fisherman’s moment of sweet triumph.

After finishing a meal with, perhaps, a glass of Sauternes, retire to one of the 24 recently renovated log cabins, nestled among the trees throughout the property to ensure privacy. (The newest, Osprey Cabin, debuted just this year.) These cabins are a far cry from the likes of anything a trapper might have lived in: king-size log-frame beds, complimentary wet bars, wood-burning fireplaces and double steam showers. There’s also original Western art from Barrett’s own collection. Think Frederic Remington and Charles Russell.

There are tasty trout on offer in the restaurant, but the ones you or someone in your party may catch in the Bitterroot River will be put back—just so you know.

Of course, it’s an art simply to create a well-designed resort that takes optimal advantage of breathtaking surroundings and lets you be as athletically active or as luxuriously at ease as you wish. And this Montana treasure may be that art’s masterpiece.

Triple Creek Ranch, 5551 West Fork rrd., Darby, MT, 406.821.4600 (toll-free 800.654.2943);

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