Long ago and far away in Montana, it was possible to operate a business in the summer with the hard-working folks from right here in the Madison Valley.  There were fewer businesses, fewer tourists and fewer jobs off the ranches, so finding enough help was not the challenge it is today.  To keep El Western operating up to the standards you, our guests, have come to expect, requires creative hiring solutions.  

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One of the first things most folks pack when they get ready to come to Montana is a camera - wisely so!  There are so many photo ops it is hard not to spend all your time snapping away.  If you combine this urge with the chance to learn more about your camera and composing great photos, then we have a perfect opportunity for you.  Ken Hall of Bearfeather Studios in Ennis is offering photography lessons at El Western this summer.  On vacation, with no other cares and plenty of incredible subjects, is the perfect time to improve your inner shutterbug.  


Seems I can’t always focus on my inside work when I am sitting by a window, looking out.  I have a weakness for wildlife of all kinds, but especially birds.  Flitting, feeding, fighting with all those shapes and sizes - they are a constant, but welcome, distraction.  I come by it honestly.  Growing up, I can remember my mother getting us to rush to the window with shouts of, “Come and look!!  There’s a rose-breasted grosebeak!!”  She even took to naming some of her favorites…like the surprisingly large pileated woodpecker she named “Big George”.


Observing nature is a favorite passtime here at El Western.  The constant tide of weather changes and animal sightings is educational and entertaining (okay - so we're easily entertained!).  Even Tippet, our golden retriever, gets involved. We taught her not to chase deer, as that is dangerous for the deer moving to the highway and for her.  Instead, we call them her "friends".  The deer have adapted to her non-aggression and will follow her activities - even watching when we throw balls in their direction and she retrieves them.  Sometimes, it looks like they might be interested in playing themselves.


Swans and ducks share Bear CreekPeaceful, quiet, secluded, relaxing…words we think of to describe winter in Montana.  And they are mostly appropriate for the humans.  But for the critters awake in our winter world, life is active.  Take a walk on Bear Creek Meadow and see the chips of wood and fresh cut branches left by those ever-busy beavers.  Or encounter the very skittish Great Blue Herons on take-off or catch a family of swans or ducks swimming where the water still flows.  Millie moose and her calf are here from time to time – the herd of deer are here all the time.  The owls hoot us awake in the morning and again as they sent out on their evening hunt. 


 New Year's Greetings! It always suprises folks when I tell them January is one of our busiest months.  With only the Moose Lodge and Eagle's Loft open for the winter, how can we be so busy???  


The Madison River has gorged! Gorging is caused when extremely cold temps freeze the water into ice that clumps together on the bottom of the river, forms bigger clumps and floats to the top causing the river to slow and more ice to form. Eventually, the river stops flowing as the ice jams it up. The river doesn't always gorge, but this year has been extreme - starting early and continuing for over a month with just a short break. You can look at other gorge photos in our FB album at 



Come spend some quiet time with us this winter.  The Moose Lodge and Eagle's Loft lodge stay open all year and a crackling fire is really welcome after a day snowshoeing in the nearby forests.  Rates and information for a winter stay are just a click away on our winter page.



This is a great time to plan for your vacation to El Western next summer.  Our availability is still good and we still have space on the 4th of July weekend.  Look around the site and click on one of the "Book It Now" links or give us a call!  



Welcome to the updated El Western website!  Time to try to catch up with the trends so that the site can work on all those new snazzy phones and I-pads.  We appreciate any comments or noting of any glitches that you run across - send them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Thanks!