Where are you located?
We are 7 miles west of the west gate of Yellowstone National Park in West Yellowstone Montana, on Highway 20, 6 miles northeast of Island Park, Idaho on Highway 20. Our closest neighbor to the east is the KOA of West Yellowstone. We have a big log gate at the entrance of the ranch and you will turn onto a ¼ mile driveway that leads you right to our barn.
Where will we be riding?
You will be riding into the Gallatin National Forest overlooking Yellowstone National Park and the Continental Divide. All of our guided tours leave from our ranch and venture into the mountains.We are the only horseback riding facility West of West Yellowstone on US Highway 20 that has a Forest Service Permit to ride in the Gallatin National Forest. Other riding facilities on Highway 20 ride in a 50-acre pasture.
What about the weather?
West Yellowstone is known for its suddenly changing weather. It may be bright and sunny when you get here but have a sudden rain shower, or in early June could be a snow flurry, so always come prepared with a jacket or warmer gear early in the season. We suggest layering your clothing, so if you get too hot you can just take it off. If you get cold, put some more layers on, we want you to be comfortable, whatever the weather. We do have some rain slickers at the ranch for unplanned showers. They are on a first come, first serve basis, so try to remember your rain gear. And, don’t forget your mosquito spray, any season.
Is there a weight limit?
We have big horses and smaller horses and can accommodate most weights. Anyone over 300 pounds we will not be able to accommodate for the safety of the horse can be at risk. Don’t be afraid of not being able to get on or off your horse. You will have assistance getting on and off the horse, so come have fun.
Is there an age limit?
In our 62 years of operating horseback rides we have found that 1, 2, and 3 year olds do not do well on the trail ride. Mostly because they fall asleep. The gentle rhythm of the horse walking rocks them to sleep. So they’re having a pretty good time because they’re getting a nap. It’s the rider who has the child in the saddle that doesn’t, because your arm goes numb, you try to move the child to the other arm and he/she wakes up crying, and now no one is having a good time. For that reason, *we do not allow double riders. 4 year olds do well as long as their legs are long enough to reach past the saddle pad to kick the horse to make it go. Most 4 year olds do very well on their own horse, we will put them right behind the Guide horse so our Guide can be assured of their safety. The child’s attitude is important to the success of their ride as well. If you have concerns about how your child will react to being on a horse, bring them by the ranch and we’ll put them on a horse and see. Please be sure to call us first. We also have an arena where your child can ride in a controlled area and has 6 inches of sand. Please call for pricing and special reservations for this service.
What should we wear?
Our guests show up to ride in just about anything, so don’t worry if you don’t have the proper western attire, but here are our suggestions: Long pants are preferred, don’t wear the baggy ones, if you can help it. There’s a reason why Wranglers are tight, as there’s less room for your legs to move around and get chafed while riding. A cotton long sleeved shirt is best, with a sleeveless or short sleeved shirt underneath. If you have a hat, wear it, doesn’t matter what kind, but make sure it stays on your head. The wind blows every day in West Yellowstone and you are not going to be able to jump off and get it when it blows off. If you would like to wear a helmet we have a variety of helmets in adult and children’s sizes. It is your personal preference to wear or not wear a helmet, our insurance says we must have them available for you. We have a selection of Better than New Boots (previously owned) for sale at the ranch. We will also have a selection of totally amazing NEW BOOTS for sale in our gift shop as well. If your children have boots that they have outgrown, bring them in to our Children’s Boot Exchange and exchange them for a new or better than new pair that will fit them. Our Diamond in the Rough Gift Shop carries the coolest Cowboy and Cowgirl hats in the entire city. We carry adult and children’s sizes. We also have jewelry, belts, beautiful western purses, stuffed animals (horses of course), and all sorts of memorabilia to remember your visit to our ranch, all at exceptionally affordable prices, so come check out our gift shop before buying anywhere else. The worst things you can wear are flip flops or sandals. Remember to just put the toes of your shoes in the stirrups, not your whole foot, for safety reasons.
Will we need sunscreen?
DON’T FORGET TO PUT ON YOUR SUNSCREEN. If it’s cloudy when you get to the ranch, it most likely will be something different by the end of your ride. The elevation is almost 7000 feet and it’s real easy to get sunburned in this beautiful Montana sunshine.
Can we bring a camera?
Absolutely. We encourage you to take photos of your experience. Please remember that the long lenses will not fit into our saddle horn bags and will be very inconvenient to carry with you as you will need both hands to ride. We will stop for photo opportunities along the way, so please don’t stop to take a picture without the guide knowing what you are doing. We will provide saddle horn bags to keep your cameras and other belongings. We also have a Professional Photographer on site who will take professional photos of you and your families’ ride. These photos will be available to purchase after your ride.
Can we bring snacks and drinks?
Yes! Unlike horse riding inside Yellowstone National Park we want you to have water to hydrate yourself on your ride. We have water for sale at the ranch, or bring your own. We provide saddle horn bags for your water, camera and other personal items. Anything we take into the mountain we must bring back with us.
Can we bring our own back packs for the ride?
No! Please do not bring back packs on your ride. Tree branches can catch on them and then you are hanging in the tree, scaring your horse and other horses behind and in front of you. We care about everyone’s safety. We provide saddle horn bags to put your items in.
Can we run the horses?
We ask that you do not run the horses, even if you know how. There may be other people in your group that do not know how to run a horse and don’t feel safe running. There is a good chance if one horse starts running the other horses in the group may start running as well. We ride in mountain terrain and running up the mountain can be very hard on horses as well as the inexperienced riders, and running down hill will injure the horse’s knees. However we do have a riding arena. You can schedule a time to ride in the arena and practice loping or cantering, and trotting in the arena. This is a controlled area and will be safer for the rider and horse.
Do you accept checks?
We do not accept checks. We accept cash, Travelers Checks, and any card BUT American Express. You will also need a credit card number to secure your reservation if you reserve by phone. We will not charge your card unless you are a “no call”, “no show” for your ride time. We ask that you be on the honor system if you reserve online as we don’t want to transmit your card number over the internet. Note: You can pay with any card but American Express AFTER you ride, as we want to insure you are satisfied with your experience.
Can we bring a group?
For sure. We love family reunions or any large group. We consider a large group anything over 10 riders. If you have, for example, 23 in your group, we ask that you decide amongst yourselves which people will be riding in which group as we will need to split you in to two groups for insurance purposes.
What time do we need to be there?
We ask that you show up at least 10-15 minutes before your ride time. You will check in, sign your Release Forms, get instructions, listen to a short but interesting history of The Diamond P Ranch, mount your horse, enjoy your ride, then pay for the ride when you return to the ranch.
What about gratuities?
Gratuities are not included in the price of your ride. However if you wish to show your guide appreciation for a job well done, gratuities are gladly accepted. Our guides are all Independent Contractors. Each of them work 12-13 hours a day. They do receive a base wage, but your tip will be like icing on the cake, that they’ve done a good job keeping everyone safe and happy. Keep in mind that gratuities are similar to the restaurant industry, and your tip will mean a lot to our guides that go out of their way to help you have a great experience.
When are you open?
Our first weekend every year is Memorial Day weekend. We will be open 7 days a week until September 30th, weather permitting. We load up the horses and head south to a warmer climate late October and return in May of the following year. Winters in West Yellowstone are harsh and typically see temperatures 20-30 degrees below zero, so we don’t ask our horses to endure that climate.
What about reservations?
We take reservations all year long, so if you’re planning your vacation now you can reserve online. We have a 48 hour cancellation policy, so if you can’t make your reservation, please call 48 hours before your ride time to cancel. NOTE: If you do not get a confirmation from us for your reservation, you do not have a reservation. This happens some times during peak season as we book out weeks in advance. Please be informed that cell service inside the Park is spotty at best. You will only have service at the gas stations or the Lodge sites. So if you’re planning to make a last minute reservation you may not have the cell service to do so.
What information do you need when we make the reservations?
We will need to know what day you want to ride and what time of day. We also request the age of the rider and the weight. This helps us match up which horse we will need for the rider. Don’t worry, we won’t tell your wife what you think her weight is!!