Cattle Drives & Pack Trips

Montana Cattle Drive

Montana Pack Trip

Montana High Country Overnight Camp


Our Montana Cattle Drive

Become a real cowboy or cowgirl and try a Laughing Water Ranch Cattle Drive. They are scheduled during selected weeks in May and September. You might ask, “What is involved in this adventure?”

For the first few days we will be trail riding to give you the opportunity to see some awesome scenery and countryside. This is also a great time to get acquainted with your horse and make any needed adjustments.

You'll get a fun and educational "Sorting Clinic" as part of the Cattle Drive Option.

Then it’s time to get to work. Depending on the week you come out to the ranch, we will be rounding up, sorting, branding and moving cattle from their winter pasture to summer range in May or from summer range to the home ranch in September. The horses really love it and you'll love it too. It gets you off the beaten path - chasing cows and calves that have their own ideas of when to stop, and where to go.

We will be working approximately 170 head of cattle. The cattle belong to our local Judge and rancher, Terry Utter. Terry will be joining us on the drives and he is as helpful as he is entertaining. After a day of working cows your appetite will be hearty and the camp cook will put out a spread like you can only get out west.

At Laughing Water we don’t believe in all work and no play, so when the workday is done we gather ‘round the campfire for some entertaining story telling and lots of laughter over the days events (instead of the fish that got away it’s the cow.) Try your hand at pitching horseshoes or maybe a game of cards or dominoes. On Friday night we will shake off the dust and head into town to meet up with the locals for some karaoke and dancing at the old saloon.

We will be camping overnight in spacious wall tents and Indian teepee’s; we’ll provide the cots. Bring your sleeping bags and slickers.

Rate Info

The Cattle Drive is an optional part of our selected “LWR Lite” vacation weeks in May and September. Although we do offer shorter stays, if you are interested in participating in a Cattle Drive we require a full week booking. Cattle Drive add  $250.00 per person to LWR Lite weekly rate. This is an unbeatable bargain. Age restriction 18 and older.

Airport pick up or drop off is $100/person one-way on Sunday, $150/person if on any other day. A special rate for 2011 of $45/person is available for pickup on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. (however it departs the airport precisely at 3:00 pm, and can't be held for delayed inbounds, i.e. you would be responsible for $100/person charge if missing this pickup). A special rate of $45/person is also available on Saturday for drop off to the airport departing at 5:00 a.m. This is a special accommodation and can't be rescheduled. Group rate is $225 per pickup or drop off for up to 7 persons.

Cattle Drives/Roundups

(Offer expires April 1, 2011)

Cattle Drive Schedule, 2011

Date Event Description Added Cost
May 11-13
Spring Roundup Kearney Lake & Slick Gulch CD 1st Half of herd
2-day, 2-night campout XXX
May 18-20

Spring Roundup Kearney Lake & Slick Gulch CD, 2nd Half

2-day, 2-night campout XXX
May 25-27

Roundup Slick Gulch to Phil's Lake CD, entire herd

2-day, 2-night campout

Sept. 21-23

 Phil's Lake to Kearney Lake CD

2-day, 2-night campout $250
Sept. 21-23

 Kearney Lake to Home Ranch CD

2-day, 2-night campout $250


REMOTE PACK TRIP (5 Day 4 Night wilderness Pack Trip)

August 7-13, 2011

This 7 day/6 night adventure consists of Sunday Orientation at the ranch and a five day pack trip exploring scenic wilderness areas (such as the Kootenai Forest and William's Creek/Krinklehorn basin) abounding with beautiful mountains, diverse wildlife and wildflowers. We'll pack food and gear into the upper country and camp in large canvas wall tents. There will be cooking over the campfire, story telling into the wee hours, and an absolutely breathtaking horseback rides during the day. The string leaves on Monday morning after horse instruction/orientation and returns back at the Ranch on Friday afternoon, in time for dinner! Don't forget your sleeping bag.

There is a maximum group size, so sign up on a first come first served basis when making your vacation reservation.

You must bring your own sleeping bag (rated at 10 degrees F more accurately describes a bag being comfortable at the expected low of 34 degs - DON'T bring a bag rated above 20 degrees!)

Adults only (15+ yrs.). Horseback riding experience must be advanced.

Currently scheduled for the week of August 07-13, 2011. Note: we reserve the right to cancel the Pack Trip for weather, fire danger, lack of interest, etc.

Pack Trip per person rate   $2340, 50% deposit required


August 21, 2011 & August 28, 2011

"High Country Overnight" trip. This 7 day program includes a 4-day/3-night excursion into Montana's high country.  It is similar to the pack trip except the destination is not as remote and riding not quite as difficult - but still a challenge and not for everyone, with intermediate horseback riding experience required. You will get to see incredible scenery not available during the main season rides. You will sleep on cots in large canvas wall tents. There will be cooking over the campfire and story telling into the wee hours.

You start Sunday with dinner and an orientation.  Then on Monday at 9 am you will spend time receiving horse orientation & instruction, followed by a ranch ride.  The outfit then departs on Tuesday morning and returns to the Ranch on Friday afternoon.      

Don't forget your sleeping bag (rated below 20 degrees) Adults only (15+ yrs.). Horseback riding experience must be intermediate to advanced. 

Seven day booking required to participate in the overnight.  50% deposit required.  Currently scheduled for weeks of August 21-26, 2011 and August 28 - Sep 3. Note: We reserve the right to cancel the Overnight Trip for weather, fire danger or lack of interest, etc.