Discovering, Hotels + Resorts, Montana

Montana Bucket List- Plan Your Epic Stay at a Working Scenic Horse Ranch

Looking for an epic, “true west” experience to put on your Montana bucket list? The Mahlstedt Ranch Airbnb and experiences give guests a ranch life adventure. Guests can sleep and explore, work, or relax on this working horse and cattle ranch in eastern Montana. Stay and play year-round at the Mahlstedt Ranch in Circle, MT for an unforgettable Montana bucket list adventure.

A Montana Bucket List Adventure- Sleep at a Working Horse Ranch

At Mahlstedt Ranch, guests will soak in complete peacefulness and remoteness with no neighbors within miles of the ranch. If you are traveling from the east to Yellowstone for a family vacation, we recommend adding time to stay at this Airbnb to elevate your trip out west. You undoubtedly will create a lifetime of memories of your Montana Moments of unforgettable true Western ranch life adventure for your family.

Mahlstedt Ranch is located at the foot of the Divide between the Missouri & Yellowstone drainages. They have “mild” badlands on the property. It’s secluded in eastern Montana and stunning.

montana bucket list adventure- horses at mahlstedt ranch montana

Thank you to Southeast Montana for hosting our stay at Mahlstedt Ranch. All opinions are our own.

This article contains affiliate links. We may receive a small commission at no cost if you use any of our links. We appreciate the support that you give our website. – Kelly & Dusty

How to Book Your Montana Bucket List Adventure

Read to the end to find out how to book your “ranch life” adventure for your Montana Bucket List Trip.

First, we’ll start with agritourism at Mahlstedt Ranch.

Then we’ll share our Montana Bucket List trip at Mahlstedt Ranch involving horses. It was an unforgettable western adventure in Montana, indeed.

Finally, we’ll provide links for more information to plan your customized western adventure in Montana.

scenery at Mahlstedt Ranch

Agritourism Experiences Available at Mahlstedt Ranch

The Mahlstedt Ranch homesteaded in 1912 and has raised and sold registered Quarter Horses since 1965 with buyers nationwide. They also raise and sell quality Angus cattle and crops to feed them. In 2022, the Mahlstedt Ranch has joined the growing trend of offering guests agritourism and “ranch life” experiences.

Agritourism connects agricultural production and processing with tourism. It allows visitors hands-on experiences they might not get otherwise. The goal of agritourism is to provide an understanding of where our food comes from.

Mahlsted Ranch has opened its doors for others to experience and enjoy ranch life; they also share with visitors what it takes to be good stewards of the land, if only for a night or an extended period.

Echinacea in the Wild

While at the Mahlstedt Ranch, we noticed echinacea and silver sage growing abundantly.

The concentration on this ranch is horses and cattle, but it may not dawn on visitors (like us) that other things would be growing on the land and require harvesting or handling.

For instance, someone picks their echinacea for homemade cough syrup. We were exposed to this idea because of agritourism, and we enjoyed this resourcefulness; we prefer natural remedies whenever possible.

Good Stewards of the Land

By allowing guests to stay on the property to experience a ranch life adventure, guests see up close the importance of being good stewards and what it takes to properly manage a ranch of this size.

Who are the Stewards of Mahlstdet Ranch?

The 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations are running Mahlstedt Ranch. As we mentioned, they have been operating since the 1900’s. Tana, 4th generation and who you’ll meet by reading about our experience below, and her three daughters are 5th generation.

Tana’s father oversees the ranch (3rd generation). Tana’s husband also helps on the ranch when he isn’t working full-time. They also have various ranch hands and interns.

Our Unforgettable Montana Moments at Mahlstdetd Ranch

Let’s get into our western adventure at Mahlstedt Ranch. Tana would meet us at Jord’s House, the Airbnb lodging on her ranch where we’d stay that night. We were outside waiting and admiring the stunning views of mild badlands in the near distance when she pulled up to greet us. She exited her vehicle, and as she walked toward us she said, “Welcome to God’s Country”.

Indeed, this must be God’s Country. 

Tana provided two options for the afternoon. We could tour the ranch in her air-conditioned vehicle or hop in her dad’s side-by-side ATV to get a closer look at the ranch.

The temperatures were in the low 90s, apparently slightly cooler than typical July Montana weather.

We opted for the side-by-side. We climbed onto the bench seat and took off for our ranch tour.

We spent the next three hours exploring her property in awe. The ATV side-by-side was the right choice!

Tana drove us all over her ranch giving us an overview, and we made various stops that caught our interest. She explained some of the day-to-day of western ranching and how something always needs attention.

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The Ultimate Experience with Horses at Mahlsted Ranch

We had no idea the treat we were in for when Tana picked us up. Before taking off on the ATV, she loaded several large bags while explaining ranch things to us.

Later on our tour, she looked across the valley and called to her favorite horse that she spotted. They were roaming the land and were in the distance far away, at least a couple hundred yards but within earshot of Tana.

A little time went on as we continued looking around at things she was pointing out when suddenly she told us to look to our right.

As instructed, we look to our right, and a herd of horses are lined up and galloping down the hill with her favorite in the front leading toward Tana. It was one of the most incredible moments we have ever experienced with dirt from the mild badlands being kicked into the hot, July Montana breeze.

Is This Real Life?

Tana told us to stay close to the ATV, not to startle the horses. The horses circled us, ate the treats Tana packed earlier, and frolicked in their “backyard” for the next half hour or more. It was incredible.

Our Night at Jord’s House

After our ranch tour with Tana, she dropped us off, where she picked us up at Jord’s House. Before parting ways, she told us we were invited to roam, hike, or drive around the property. We opted to stay put and made dinner to enjoy on the deck.

It was time for laundry as we were on night 7 of our 14-night trip. We took advantage of their washer and clothesline (instead of the dryer). We used the grill, made dinner, and walked near our house while waiting for the sun to set.

This is the view from the living room of Jord’s House. Imagine this being your backyard!

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Bucket List: Sunset on a Horse Ranch in Montana

Watching the mild badlands change color with the sunset and then watching the sunset off into the distance was incredible. We hoped to see stars in Big Sky Montana but storm clouds rolled in.

sunset lighting on the badlands in circle mt

sunset at Mahlstedt Ranch, MT

We slept so well in the comfortable queen bed. We could hear the storm roll in and enjoyed the cool summer breeze through the bedroom windows. We woke up to horses in the barn next to the house.

We enjoyed the coffee that is specially made for Mahlstedt Ranch. We Facetimed with Kelly’s parents so they could experience this incredible place with us.

The Most Scenic Spot for Coffee

After some coffee on the deck, we packed our things so we could continue our trip through southeast Montana.

coffee at Mahlstedt Ranch

Accommodations at Mahlstedt Ranch

Mahlstedt Ranch offers two houses for rent on the ranch available as Airbnb rentals. 

Guests can stay at one of two houses on the ranch, Jord’s House or Hannah’s House. Each house has a full kitchen, washer & dryer, TV, and AC. They’re both equipped with everything you would need during your stay. They’re each located on different parts of the ranch.

Jord’s House (pictured above) sleeps up to 10 guests with three bedrooms, six beds, and one bath. The internet connection is not great here, which enhances your stay. Honestly, it’s nice to be offline!

Hanna’s House is the original ranch house. It’s been fully remodeled and equipped with everything you would need. Hannah’s House sleeps up to 7 guests with three bedrooms, five beds, and one bath. Enjoy a cozy living room with books, games, TV, and wifi.

Guests can also bring their campers, which is convenient if you’re traveling to Yellowstone or another national park to continue your Montana Bucket List.

Customize Your Ideal Vacation or Day on a Working Horse Ranch in Montana.

If you enjoy nature and want a peaceful retreat, Mahlstdet Ranch is your place! Whatever activities you choose for your stay at Mahlstedt Ranch, we can guarantee it will be an unforgettable experience.

The best part is that guests can customize their Montana Moment at the Mahlstedt Ranch.

Click here to book a ranch experience. Stay the night or book a package.

Enjoy your favorite outdoor activity on a private working ranch without a neighbor or another person for miles. Want to milk a cow, help with chores, or do other ranch jobs? Perhaps you want a quiet getaway for star gazing and peacefulness.

Plan your Very Own Western Adventure in Montana at Mahlstedt Ranch

Experiences guests can enjoy include big game hunting, birding, ranch tours, hiking, biking, stargazing, or camping. Enjoy roaming around on foot, or bring your horse to ride throughout the property. Try cross-country skiing with views of their badlands in the winter.

We repeatedly reminded ourselves that our tour was all part of ONE ranch! Mahlstedt Ranch is very large so you will enjoy so many breathtaking views to capture and enjoy. Imagine the peacefulness that it provides! The seclusion makes the Mahlstedt Ranch perfect for a peaceful and secluded getaway.

Click here and here for packages or activities that can be booked. You don’t have to stay; you can book your ranch life adventure, but sleeping at a working ranch is so cool!

Things to Know Before Staying at Mahlstedt Ranch

  • Tana will provide exact directions to the ranch. Screenshot them because you will lose internet coverage driving up to the ranch.
  • Bring a sweatshirt; even in the hot summer, the Montana evenings get cool!
  • Bring your food! This location is remote, and you will not go anywhere for dinner within an hour.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped. There are even common condiments in the refrigerator.
  • A grill is available for use on the deck.
  • Bring hiking boots or your preferred footwear for rugged terrain.
  • Bring a hat and sunscreen for the hot Montana weather
  • If you’re into photography, bring that equipment. There are endless photo opportunities.
  • Bring binoculars.
  • Bring laundry detergent if you need to do laundry during your stay.

Where is Mahlstedt Ranch?

Mahlstedt Ranch is 21 miles from the small town of Circle, Montana, and is 50 minutes northwest of Glendive, MT.

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The Time We Stayed in a Caboose Airbnb at a Horse Farm in Iowa

Looking for another unique Airbnb stay? Please read about when we slept in a caboose on a horse farm in Decorah, Iowa.

Pin for your Ranch Life Adventure at Mahlstedt Ranch Airbnb


  1. Sarah

    October 3, 2023 at 1:49 am

    Ah wow, this looks like such an incredible place to stay. The landscape and the horses are just like a dream. What an amazing experience and looks like a great way to get away from it all for a while.

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      October 3, 2023 at 10:49 am

      Thank you, Sarah! It was very much like a dream. It was such an amazing experience. One we will never forget!

  2. Linda (LD Holland)

    September 24, 2023 at 12:40 am

    This truly looks like an epic Wild West adventure in Montana. We have not yet done an agrisfourism stay and Mahlstedt Ranch looks like a great spot to experience ranch life and I would love to ride the horses. Sadly I would have to stay away from the echinacea since this is related to ragweed and I am really allergic!

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      September 24, 2023 at 11:02 am

      Linda, Mahlstedt Ranch would be up your alley, when it’s not echinacea season of course 🙂

  3. Karen

    September 23, 2023 at 11:01 pm

    I would absolutely love staying at Mahlstedt Ranch. I would love the horses and the pace of things that slows down in that kind of environment. I’m glad they also focus on Agro tourism.

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      September 24, 2023 at 11:03 am

      Karen, it was so wonderful to relax and enjoy the scenery and the horses. You would love it!

  4. beyonderlusttravel

    September 23, 2023 at 2:08 pm

    Looks like Montana is going on my bucket list! What a beautiful experience!

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      September 24, 2023 at 11:04 am

      Bucket list- yes! It was an unforgettable experience.

  5. Michelle

    September 21, 2023 at 8:32 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your experience at the Mahlstedt Ranch Airbnb. What a fun way to experience Montana. I love seeing how the horses responded to your guide’s call, even from a distance. What a unique experience.

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      September 23, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! It was an amazing experience, for sure!

  6. Kelly

    September 20, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    I’ve never heard of Montana before reading this! It sounds like this area is a great way to try a ‘true west’ experience in America. I’ll be saving this for a future trip on my travel bucket list. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

  7. Sharyn

    September 20, 2023 at 4:18 pm

    I’ve never been to this part of the US – it looks amazing, what a fabulous experience – I think you have convinced me to visit.

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      September 20, 2023 at 7:26 pm

      Thank you, Sharyn. Montana is beautiful and we hope you make it there to see with your own eyes.

  8. brokenbootstravel

    September 20, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    That photo of the coffee with the view was all the convincing I needed to take this trip! This place looks extraordinary, and what a wonderful way to disconnect for a few days. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    1. Kelly & Dusty Ratcliff

      September 20, 2023 at 7:26 pm

      Thank you, that coffee view was amazing! It was absolutely wonderful to disconnect and we need to do it more often.

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