There’s A New Ranch in Town!

The Montana Dude Ranchers’ Association is excited to welcome our new member, the Circle Bar Ranch, located in Hobson, MT. It is a historic guest ranch that dates back to the 1800’s in Central Montana.

First, let’s explore the area and the ranch’s history.

You may have heard of Meriweather Lewis and William Clark who were directed by President Jefferson to form an expedition to explore the newly acquired western portion of the United States and to survey the Missouri and Columbia rivers, locating routes that would connect the continental interior to the Pacific Ocean.

On the morning of May 29, 1805, the expedition made their way up the Missouri River and passed through the mouth of what was called “handsome” river. Clark named the river Judith in honor of his future bride. The Circle Bar ranch rests at its headwaters.

Many years later, in 1880, a sixteen-year-old Charlie Marion Russell came to the area from St. Louis to learn how to be a cowboy. He fell in love with Montana and wanted to capture his passion for the state and his experiences in paint. Charlie became an American artist of the Old West. He created more than 2,000 paintings of cowboys, Native Americans and landscapes set in the western United States and in Alberta, Canada, in addition to his renowned bronze sculptures. Visit the Circle Bar website for more details on the ranch as well as where Charlie Russell once rode and lived where the Circle Bar Ranch is located today.

As you travel through the state you can view Charlie’s works at the CM Russell Museum in Great Falls, visit their website, or at the Montana Historical Society in Helena.

Now that we know the history of the Circle Bar, let’s visit its current status.

The ranch was purchased earlier this year by Russell True with Ranch Preservation Holdings LLC and reopened on May 26th. I visited the ranch in June and it looks great! The setting at the base of the Little Belt Mountains is beautiful and the ranch sits at 5000 feet in elevation. As mentioned above, the Judith River runs through the property and their accommodations include lodge rooms as well as cabins. In addition to offering a dude ranch vacation, they also run specials and packages throughout their season which runs late May through September.

Let’s hear more about the ranch from the owner himself, Russell True:

“Our family is so fortunate to have the opportunity to bring back one of America’s historic Dude Ranches. Sarah Stevenson, the first woman president of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, turned Circle Bar Ranch into one of the best in the West and later her son Peter Hollatz and wife Sabine restored it to its former condition. They handed over a beautiful ranch in a great location with virtually unlimited and varied riding. It is such a great feeling to see horses tied in front of the 1898 barn, guests heading out on their next adventure on horses, e-bikes and UTVs, fly fishing on the Judith River, the dining room full of guests, and crew and guests swapping stories around the bonfire. The ranch is alive again and doing what it was made to do, showing people the beauty of central Montana. Our entire family, Russell, Laura, Steven and Alice True and everyone at True Ranch Hospitality are looking forward to being a part of this for years to come.”

Thanks Russell and family for purchasing this gem of a ranch and for joining the MT Dude Ranchers’ Association. Welcome to the herd and we wish you all the best!

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  • Elizabeth Prehm October 24, 2021   Reply →

    We are so glad to hear that Circle Bar Ranch is back in business! We visited years ago and absolutely loved our stay there. We were very sorry to see it go unsold for years. Someday we would love to go back.

  • Lindsay (Richards) Abel September 23, 2023   Reply →

    I worked at the Circle Bar as a wrangler in the summer of 1997. Such a wonderful place and I miss it terribly. So many great memories from taking rides out to the Middle Fork cabin to sitting with the guests during the family style meals. I’m glad the ranch has been restored and brought back as a guest ranch once againz

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