Paintbrush Adventures

Wilderness Vacations

Horseback Trail Rides
Discover Montana like never before. Our family have been guiding adventurous guests into the Beartooth Mountains and the Custer Forest for over 20 years. We share our ranching heritage, love of ancient history, the sublime beauty of the wilderness, wild life viewing opportunities, and superb fishing. And it is possible sometimes, to share these things all in the same day!
Transfigured, looking over yet another vista, you’ll get the feeling that you are the first person to take in this unforgettable countryside. And yet, the Mountain Shoshoni, the Sheepeater, and the Crow Indian and long before them the Ancient Peoples were hunting, fishing, and vision-questing in the area for a longer time than you can wrap your brain around. Archaeologists tell us they have found remains along these trails carbon dating back 9,000 years.


When to go?

The trails traverse elevations between 5,000 and 10,000 feet and so the summer, late June thru early October, usually are the best time to enjoy the back country. It includes up to 5 days at a time of guided pack trips into the mountains. We also offer drop camp or partial guided for longer periods should you want. The trips below are just suggestions. You may go on any trip at any time.
Mountain Pack Trip

  • 7-day package departs the last week in July including two nights in a comfy bed on the ranch.
  • 10-day package departs mid-August, includes 5 days guided pack trip into the wilderness and 5 days on the ranch activities or combination of day rides.

Hosting small groups means we can tailor the pack trips to your interests, physical fitness, and riding ability. The 41 tallest named peaks in Montana are all in the Beartooth Range with a half dozen of them well over 12,000 feet.

Pack trip camp fireThere are a number of plateaus to explore: Silver Run, Line Creek, September Morn Lake and Lake Plateau. Some trails are more rigorous than others. Some plateaus are better known for their fishing than others. As your guide we can make sure we hit the spots that best fit the experience you are wanting.

Would you like to get back in the wilderness, but not able to ride a horse? We offer guided options where you can ride side-by-side recreational vehicles* to certain locations where allowed. Horses are still used to pack in supplies for your stay.

*We can refer you to those that rent side-by-sides in the area.

You may customize a trip to your perfect pack trip vacation. This is an example of the 7-day Lake Plateau Package.

Sample Itinerary

  • Day One: Saddle to Paddle. Arriving at the ranch in the morning gives you time to ride so you are comfortable with your horse before hitting the trail. (Optional raft trip down the Stillwater River in the afternoon.)
  • Day Two: Load up and head to the trail head which is an hour from the ranch near Nye, Montana. It is seven miles from the trail head to the first camp. The ride to “Midway Camp” will take 4-5 hours including a break for lunch.
  • Day Three: Ride eight miles on to base camp situated right at the tree line, sharing footsteps with people from the past.
  • Day Four and Day Five: There are twenty-eight lakes on top, some within a mile of each other. Each has its own beauty and its own place in Indian heritage. We can’t experience them all 28 in three days, but we’ll make sure you see several of them.
  • Day Six: Trail back to the “Midway Camp”
  • Day Seven: Head back to the ranch to enjoy a hot shower and an evening at the local steak house. Departing the following morning after breakfast.

Back country camping
Group Size

Horseback on Stillwater RiverWhether you are riding or hiking (with horse support) our packages are designed for small groups. While a minimum number of participants are required, the maximum number is 8 for each trip.


The first and last nights are spent in a comfortable bed and subsequent nights are spent camping in an outfitted camp with a back country cook tent. There is a water supply (but no showers.) We provide sleeping bags (or you can bring your own) and we offer mats or cots for your comfort. Fishing equipment is available for rent.



These high mountain trails tell a rich story—more than history, we are talking ancient history. There is no guarantee that artifacts will be evident, but if they are visible, please remember absolutely no artifacts may be removed. Everything must be left just as it is found.

“No place quite like this,”…

says Scott Anderson, host of the Backland Outdoors show beginning its tenth season on television. Last summer we hosted Scott and his family on the popular Lake Plateau Pack trip. While it is no secret that Scott is a seasoned traveler and has hunted with the best of them, he was simply awestruck on this trip in the Beartooth Mountains with Paintbrush Adventures Inc. Soon to air! Watch for Scott’s program: “Sharing Footsteps with People from the Past”.

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