Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to book a stay or a tour of the Chief Joseph Ranch?

The Chief Joseph Ranch is currently booked full between guests and filming of Paramount Network's original series "Yellowstone" for the summer and fall of 2020. Please feel free to contact us in January 2021 for reservations. Our reservation line is (406) 821-0894. We

will look forward to welcoming you in the future!


Where is the closest airport?

Missoula International Airport (MSO)


Air Travel

It has been our experience that flights through Denver late in the day sometimes have delays that potentially bump a connecting flight into Missoula to the next day. There are direct flights from Salt Lake and Minneapolis that we use from different parts of the country that usually arrive on time. Our suggestion is that you attempt to book the earliest flight possible into Missoula with the fewest connections. Due to the fact that we are fully booked, we cannot extend a stay or prorate a missed night due to travel delays. 


Travel Insurance

If you are booking a trip in the winter months or in our fire season (August/September) we suggest you consider travel insurance. 


Should we rent a car?



Can I fish on my own or must I go with a guide?

Although we recommend fishing with a guide/outfitter, you can fish on your own.  You may fish on one mile of ranch property bordering the Bitterroot River or we can direct you to nearby fishing accesses. If you want a guided float, we can put you in touch with the outfitters we use or you can hire your own. 


When is the best time to fish in western Montana?

Any day is a great day to fish in Montana!  Fishing starts in earnest mid to late March with the Skwala stonefly hatch providing first real dry fly action . There are 23 hatches from January through November. The Bitterroot is not fishable during the spring snow melt run off which usually begins around May and lasts through mid-June. Fishing ramps up again during late June and continues into the late fall. 


Below is a link to hatches in western Montana provided by the Missoulian Angler.


What are typical temperatures at Chief Joseph Ranch?

Springtime temperatures range between 45° and 75° with crisp mornings and cool evenings. Summer days are warm and sunny, anywhere from 65° to 103° and may cool down to 45° at night. Fall tends to be a bit warmer than spring, with temperatures between 50° and 80° during the day, and dropping as low as 30° after sunset. Winter days are typically 25° to 45° with overnight temperatures in the low 20s. Weather can be unpredictable; storms can occur with little warning and temperatures can drop quickly, so we recommend dressing in layers.  For current and monthly weather conditions click on the Accuweather link below:


Are pets allowed at Chief Joseph Ranch?

No.  Chief Joseph Ranch does not allow pets.


Are children allowed at Chief Joesph Ranch?



May I bring our horses?

Yes.  Horses may be pastured or corralled at your preference.  The minimum cost is $25 per day for two horses.


Do you rent the ranch for weddings?

We receive many requests each year for weddings. Unfortunately that is not a service we offer. 


Can I receive mail and overnight packages while I am vacationing at Chief Joseph Ranch?


Our mailing address is:

Chief Joseph Ranch

PO Box 490

Darby, Montana 59829


Our address for all deliveries is:

Chief Joseph Ranch

‪125 Appaloosa Trail, 

‪Darby, Montana 59829.


Please be sure the item is marked with your name and arrival date. UPS is the most reliable shipping provider for our remote area.

Can we book a stay in the Lodge?

The ranch was run as a B&B from 2004-2012 and guests could stay in the lodge. When we purchased the ranch, we closed the B&B and transitioned to a guest ranch with cabin rentals. The lodge is our family home. 


What do you offer for rentals?

We have two cabins for rent to guests. The Ben Cook Cabin (Rip's cabin in S1 and Casey's cabin in S2) and the Fisherman's Cabin (Lee's cabin in S1 and S2). Each cabin sleeps 8 guests and has a full kitchen and a grill.

Do you have laundry services on the ranch?

Each cabin is equipped with a new washer/dryer. Dry cleaning and professional laundry is available in Hamilton. 

Are you open all year?

We open our cabins March 1st and take reservations through the first week of the New Year. We are closed to guests for the remainder of January and the month of February.

Are there meals served on the ranch?

No. We do not serve meals on the ranch. Each cabin has a full kitchen as well as an outdoor grill. 


Is there a grocery store nearby?

Yes. People’s Market in Darby is 2 miles from the ranch. There are also several grocery stores in Hamilton which is a short 25 minute drive. If you have gluten restrictions or other dietary needs we would recommend The Good Food Store in Missoula. 


What about local restaurants?

There are three restaurants in Darby as well as several in Hamilton. We are happy to make suggestions regarding dining options. We can also suggest local caterers who can provide meals in your cabin.



 If you’re traveling south on Highway 93, Chief Joseph Ranch is located approximately 65 miles south of Missoula.  About one mile south of Darby, you’ll cross over Fern Creek and make your first right (to the west) at our entrance.  Our gates have a bronze Indian hunting a bison and sit between two big stone pillars with a sign above reading “Chief Joseph Ranch”. We are at mile marker 29.


Chief Joseph Ranch Policies and Rates are subject to change without notice.

Yellowstone FAQs


Can I take photos of the Dutton Ranch sign at the gate?

We welcome the large number of Yellowstone fans who stop at our gates to take photos of the Dutton Ranch sign. Please be courteous and not block the driveway. During filming there will be security at the gates. The Security company will not allow photos at that time due to the need to keep the drive open for cast and crew. 


How was your ranch chosen for the location of Yellowstone?  Did you use an agent or a broker?

The Readers Digest version of the story is that it was a cold call. We did not have the ranch listed as a film location. We are humbled and honored that Paramount chose our ranch as the setting of this amazing series. 


What locations are used for filming at the ranch?

The lodge great room, kitchen, back porch, front porch, helo pad, and yard. 


  • Armory 

  • Rip’s/Casey’s cabin

  • Lee’s cabin

  • Trapper cabin 

  • Barns, corrals, arena, round pen, bunkhouse, and fields. 

  • Woods, cemetery, and entrance. 

  • Rip’s boyhood home

  • Several locations on the Bitterroot River on the ranch





Cash, traveler’s checks, VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and wire transfer ($20 fee applies) are accepted. Credit/debit cards have a surcharge of an additional 3%. All rates are subject to change. Montana Bed Tax and Ravalli County Tourism tax not included in pricing. 



Check-in is 3:00pm, Check-out is at 11:00am



A deposit of 50% is required for all Ranch stays. The balance will be due at the time of departure. Deposits are non-refundable, unless your trip is cancelled 90 days PRIOR to arrival. Deposits will be refunded if the cancellation is made more than 90 days from the reservation date. In the above case a $150 cancellation fee will apply and will be subtracted from the deposit refund. There are no adjustments to the final bill for early departures, unforeseen departures, or changes in itinerary.



Our cabins are smoke free. There will be an additional $300 recovery fee charged to the guest if there is smoking in a cabin. 


Minimum Stay

For booking, we require a 3 night minimum stay. Many of our guests stay longer. We offer a 10% discounts for 5 nights or more.