Tipi's in Montana

It’s funny how getting that perfect photo shot doesn’t seem quite as important as getting back to safety. Even if it means you push your Mother out of the way.

Some of you may be asking what in the world was Sherrie doing in Montana in the first place.  I had three very logical and valid reasons. One: a travel blog conference. Two: the exact place our daughter Alyssa has always wanted to go (she threaten to move here a few times). Three: over-due new Mother-Daughter trip with Mom.  All this combined brought us to the Big Sky State for some new and exciting travel.

Our little 3 woman traveling alone expedition started in Glacier Park. So I am going a little out of order in writing about our experiences in Montana.

Once all the plans were in place for Glacier Park, it was time to get going on the plans for Gardiner, Montana. Located right outside the North Yellowstone entrance. This little town is the main gateway for visitors to the National Park.  Feeling like something different needed to be on the itinerary, Montana camping? Umm…tried camping before, didn’t turn out so good. For us, a little touch of luxury accommodations was a necessity.  Unless, of course there is a rental luxury RV involved and is easy to drive that would have also worked.

For the one’s who know me, right about now you are thinking, Sherrie Camping or Glamping, no way!  Well, to be honest, I am right there with you.  As some say, to be a well rounded travel blogger one must try all different characteristics of travel.  It’s kind of part of the job.  What better place to have an “out of your comfort zone” experience in the United States than in Montana!

With help from Google, the perfect place popped up.  The Dreamcatcher Tipi Hotel.  The web site was intriguing. What better way to experience the old west than pretend you are living in a tipi as did the Indians from this region.   Based on their website, this was really doable.  Now to get everyone else on board.  Alyssa was no problem at all to convince, and surprisingly either was my Mom.  In fact, my Mom was all gung-ho to do it, even after explaining that it might be pretty cold.  Decision was made, 2 nights were set to spend in a Tipi.

Its Time to Go Glamping

Located a few miles outside of Gardiner, following the Yellowstone River, there is a turn on to a gravel road. Maiden Basin Road, be careful, it is easy to pass up. We did more than once. From here the climb up in the car was a short distance to the parking lot. The tipi grounds are surrounded by mountains on its flat plateau of land. Giving it the out on the plains feeling. We could still clearly hear the water rapids from the river located across the highway.

Unlocking a bright turquoise iron gate is the entrance to a magical land of Tipi’s. Two tents are set up that remind me of something in a Indiana Jones movie, with folded back canvas doors. Peaking in the first tent is a food and beverage set up. This must be where to help yourself to breakfast each morning . Entering the second tent, there is a display of all things Montana. Dreamcatchers, t-shirts, hand made flutes, incense, cowboy hats and more. A perfect shopping opportunity. My Mother actually bought a worn-looking black cowboy hat. This was only her 36th one she tried on this trip as Alyssa and I sighed a sound of relief.

Tent store with Montana items
Tent store with Montana items
Tent store with Montana items
Tent store with Montana items

Here in this tent is also where the check in occurs. Liam, friendly and polite, assisted us with the process. We read and studied the rules of the glamping grounds.  The main one to follow is no eating or even bringing food, whatsoever, into the Tipi’s.  You must also place all garbage in the designated trash cans before 10:00 pm, staff will then remove the trash.  There is a very important reason for this rule. BEARS.

Noted, one less bag to carry in, all road trip snacks stay in the car.  For a moment, the videos on facebook flashed before me. You know the ones with the bears breaking into cars and not leaving until the cars totaled. A good time to review rental insurance.

Tipi's in Montana
round wooden frame area with benches for fire pit
Fire pit area

To Our Glamorous Tipi

Pathways of small stones lead to each of the tipi’s. But first, there is a round wooden structure with benches and fire pit in the center. A perfect place to gather around with guests and drink some wine and/or beer. Compliments of the tipi hotel. There are also a few outdoor swings and benches, grills for cooking.
There are also a few outdoor swings, benches and grills for cooking. My mind immediately began ticking away. Would the smell of cooking on the grills bring wildlife to the glamping site?
There are 15 tipi’s, all a good distance away from each other for privacy, but not too far. Each tipi has a couple of Adirondack chairs outside them for enjoying the night stars or just reading a good  book. The tipi’s stand very tall, I am guessing at least 15 feet. To enter we were shown how to unzip two layers. The first being the heavy canvas and the second is more of a heavy tan screen. Bending down to enter our glamping tipi we are all surprised on the size of the inside. There is plenty of room for the king size bed (mine for two nights), the single bed with a second mattress below. Mom choose the single bed while Alyssa pulled out the 2nd mattress and placed it on the opposite side of the tipi. A fan, two heaters, two nightstands, a chest with guest towels rolled and a table with a coffee set up.
The rest room facility has 6 individual private bathrooms with showers. The floors are even heated for those cold Montana mornings. Private bathrooms could be a deciding factor for the ones unsure about glamping.
White Tipi for Glamping

There is Plenty of Nature while Glamping


Since we had been driving several hours..again…the rest of the day had relaxing was on the itinerary. We enjoyed just sitting outside, reading on our iPads and taking in the beautiful scenery.  Until it was time to run into to town and have some pizza. Returning to our tipi in time for the sunset.
It had been a cloudy day for the most part. Determined to get two photos that I was wanting, my Mom and I sat outside in the chairs waiting for the stars to come out. Some did and it was pretty night, even though my photo was not. The tipi’s lite up was the perfect photo opt. After, taking one I made my way over past our tipi towards the back of the grounds. Making it only a few feet, I heard a weird noise, like a loud but deep moan. Automatic turn using the trusty cell phone light…

On the ground was something large, dark in color and moving!!!  Moaning sounds.  I basically jumped back, told my Mom to get inside the tipi quick.  So this is where there is that “there are two sides of every story”.

My Mothers side: “I pushed her out of the way and jumped in the tipi”.  My side of story: I was trying to get her to go in the tipi quicker. Regardless, of whose story was more accurate; the moaning and huffing noise continued. We were a little scared, okay a lot scared. 10 minutes of Alyssa repeating all the steps she had learned about what to do if you encounter a bear. These were the longest 10 minutes of my life!
At least I got the shot!
Night time at the Tipi's
Night time at the Tipi's

Final thoughts

This article was more about the experience we had one of our nights.  But I wanted to write a little bit more on the whole experience.  We loved it!  Should I do it again, yes, but with my husband so I feel a little more protected.  Our hosts were wonderful and so helpful.  The location was perfect being so close to Yellowstone Park entrance.  I do want to point out, even though we were scared that first night, we were not in any real danger, at least thats what I kept telling myself the next night.  Other guests did gather around the fire the next night and seemed to be enjoying themselves.  We would have joined, but all of us were exhausted from our 9 hour tour of Yellowstone Park.  We managed to sleep soundly, and probably snored louder than a bear.

Want to get out of your comfort zone a little, but not too much?  Try Glamping!  One the best places to give it a try is in the beautiful state of Montana.  Enjoy luxury accommodations while feeling closer to nature. Tipi Glamping is what we chose to experience near Yellowstone Park entrance, come check it out!  #Glamping #Montana

Sherrie has been traveling for sometime now. Her husband Kevin and herself love to explore different destinations and adventures. She has always wanted to write, so writing about traveling just became the obvious combination. "I love, love, love to travel! Everything about it- views, sights, experiences, exploration, food, wine and of course meeting people!" Sherrie Fabrizi Allbritten

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