Papoose Creek Lodge
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ROGER ANS CINDY LANG became legends to environmentalists when they exchanged their Silicon Valley lives for a 25,000-acre Montana ranch, then leased the water rights to a trout-conservation group. A few years later, the Langs built their new friends an exclusive retreat: Papoose Creek Lodge. Set near Montana’s Madison River and surrounded by the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area, the upscale lodge is only in its third season, but its list of repeat clientele is already strong.
ROOM AND BOARD Up to 16 guests can stay at the five lodge rooms and three reclaimed-lumber cabins. Most rooms have private decks surrounded by shimmering aspens, and all have cushy down comforters, overstuffed armchairs, and a sound system with a CD collection. Spruce- and fir-shaded paths lead to the creekside hot tub and the lodge’s back deck, where you’ll sip chardonnay at cocktail hour in anticipation of a five-course gourmet dinner.
THE SPORTS Fly-fish on the peaceful Madison River, or go with a guide to the Yellowstone River, 40 minutes away ($350 to $500 per day). Hikers can set out on the eight-mile Papoose Creek Trail, which starts behind the stables and runs through steep rock canyons and wildflower-filled meadows to the cutthroat-rich Crater Lakes. With hundreds of horse trails to choose from, guided rides and instruction can be tailored to any skill level ($115 per person for half a day, $175 for a full day). Paddlers can navigate Quake Lake, which was formed by a 1959 earthquake. All activities and gear rentals can be arranged through the lodge, as can the apres-sport in-room massage ($125 per hour).
Closest major airport: Bozeman (75 miles)
Season: Mid-May through October
Rates: $3,100 for two people for three nights (meals and some activities included)
From Bozeman, head west on Montana 84 to Norris. Turn south onto U.S. 287. Look for the Papoose Creek Lodge sign on the left, 32 miles past Ennis.