Hiking and History Tours

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Upper Canyon Outfitters is located in a hiker’s paradise. For many of our guests the back country is best experienced on foot. We are fortunate to be located in an area with a variety of terrain to choose from and many of our hikes begin right from the ranch.

Our experienced staff leads guests to high mountain peaks and meadows to see diverse species of wildlife and an array of colors with numerous wildflowers native to southwest Montana. The hikes range in distance and difficulty depending on the wishes of our guests.

The ranch is situated at an elevation of 6000 feet above sea level. One of our more challenging treks is up Black Butte which is at an elevation of 10,542 feet. Not an experienced hiker- Don’t worry. Many of our hikes can be a gentle stroll and you can work up to our more challenging hikes. Our hikes cover approximately 2 to 10 miles a day and we adjust speed and timing to your personal needs. On our longer trips we find the perfect spot for breaks and lunch, whether it be beside a rushing brook, a rocky lookout, or in a sheltered mountain cabin. Our trips are more than just a hike. We take time to view the birds, study wildlife tracks, and take photos. You can explore a pristine wilderness or a rippling stream, or simply sit and reflect on the magnificent beauty of southwest Montana.

*Even though we do offer choices of terrain, it is good to remember that many of our trails are neither flat nor smooth. Uphill sections, steep at times, as well as roots and rocks along the trails are all part of the wilderness experience. You do need to be in good physical condition to enjoy the trip. If you prefer to hike on your own, we will provide you with maps and information on area trails. For our guests who want to see the back country of Montana on foot, you will truly enjoy these hikes.

Our ranch is located in southwest Montana, an area with some of the most colorful western history. Our grandfather, Peck Tate, homesteaded this valley in 1910. He came to Montana to train horses, a tradition we continue today. My father, Bill Tate, is a great historian and helps us with history tours of the land, including my grandfather’s homestead. There are a number of old homesteads still creaking under the Montana Big Sky. Each year we always find additional history and stories to share.

Documented evidence shows that prior to European settlement in the west the Crow, Shoshone, Snake and Bannock peoples where the original discoverers of this area. Suitably located in a narrow canyon, the land served as a large Native American summer camp. Morning winds would sweep through the canyon, drying meat and leaving an affable amount of snow during winter.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy the mid-19th century gold had been discovered in Alder Gulch, thus Virginia City was virtually born overnight. This newly booming city thrived as a territorial capital and a means of justice for the surrounding areas. The self-proclaimed authority of the region, known as the Vigilantes, was formed in the mid-1860s. Today Virginia City guests can visit former mining camps and mining museums, plus an opportunity to even pan for gold. The excitement of visiting Virginia City lies in what has been left behind from its unique past, the many original buildings still standing, as it is the most authentic Western town left in America.

Dillon, Montana, a short distance from our ranch, was visited by Lewis and Clark in August 1805. Sacagawea recognized this part of Montana as her resident land. The Corps of Discovery Captains named this area Camp Fortunate because the Shoshones agreed to help them cross the Rocky Mountains.

With so much history and wonderful uniqueness of southwestern Montana, don’t you think it’s time to join us on a journey to the past?