Montana Tours

Welcome to Erik’s Ranch! By simply staying with us, you are providing meaningful employment and social opportunities for young adults with autism. And what better way to interact with this deserving population of young adults AND have fun than on one of our exhilarating tours! From hikes to trail rides to fly fishing, we have something for everyone. The best part? All tours are led by young adults with autism. Thank you for believing in all that those with autism can do. Where vision knows no bounds. 


Meet Your Tour Guides

Carolyn: Don’t know what a cephalopod is? Neither did we, until we met Carolyn.
Equipped with an innate thirst for continual learning and knowledge advanced beyond her years, Carolyn loves to visit zoos and aquariums, where she is quick to point out intriguing facts about various species and animals. A St. Paul native, Carolyn has had the opportunity to live and work at Erik's Ranch in Montana for the past three summers. She assists guests with trail rides, helped rehab camels at the nearby Camel Discovery where she now leads a tour, and is the lead of the Sundowner Grizzly Excursion she helped create with Casey Anderson. When not in the saddle or at the zoo, Carolyn loves to snuggle with her cat, Leia. She enjoys reading books by her favorite author, Terry Pratchett. She also manages the guest breakfast program at Erik's Retreat as its primary baker. The rest of the time, Carolyn spends time with her family and visits America’s beautiful national parks. Her favorites include the Everglades, Yellowstone, and Death Valley.
Sam: Sam brings smiles to guests as a veteran member and long-time concierge.
A friend to all, Sam enjoys meeting and learning about guests. He also loves the outdoors and has volunteered with Wilderness Inquiry on float trips down the Mississippi River, and successfully completed a summer internship with Three Rivers Park District in Minnesota. In Montana he enjoys assisting with maintenance at Erik’s Ranch, and operates the lawn mower like no one’s business. He is also an expert tour guide, leading several tours in Montana and Minnesota. Sam is a history buff who earned a degree in history from Normandale Community College.

Tours marked by an *asterisk are included in your stay.

Blue Flower Trail Ride

Saddle up for a true Western adventure!

Perfect for beginners and pros alike, experience the spectacular scenery of Paradise Valley on this guided horseback trek along the Blue Flower Trail. No worries about directions or navigation; simply follow your guide and you can focus on capturing photos of the striking vistas.

Each of our members has a passion for the outdoors, animals, and wildlife. They will entertain you with facts about the ranch and the surrounding area. With the majestic Absaroka Mountains as your backdrop, learn about the land’s original inhabitants, the Crow tribe, and the local ecosystem. Be sure to bring your binoculars – and camera! – as you may have the unique opportunity to view some of Montana’s natural inhabitants, including mule deer, golden eagles, fox, elk, and more!

We ask that you meet at the Lodge 15 minutes prior to the start of the ride so that you can be given safety instructions. Please wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. Also bring a water bottle and your sense of adventure!

Trail rides are weather dependent and run during the spring, summer, and fall. The minimum age required to ride is 8 years old. Also, for younger riders, we require them to be at least 4’2 and 60 pounds.

Please note it is the Certified Horsemanship Association’s recommendation that the weight of the rider does not exceed 20% of the weight of the horse. We can accommodate only two people over 170 pounds and a maximum weight of 190 pounds.

Please note that if there is a rider with special needs, we will gladly accommodate you with a horseback ride in the safety and quiet of our barn.

  • Cost: $75.00 per rider
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Days offered: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Start Time: 9:00 a.m. please arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time for safety instructions
  • Available April to October
  • A minimum of two guests, maximum of four
  • What is provided: Horse, Saddle, Stir Ups, etc.
  • Guests should bring: Water & a snack, long pants, closed-toe shoes, sunblock/sunglasses/hat, camera (optional)
  • Meeting Location: The Lodge at Erik’s Ranch, 273 Trail Creek Road, Livingston MT

Erik’s Ranch Property Trail Ride

For a truly authentic western experience, nothing beats touring Erik’s Ranch from atop a horse. From early settlers to John Wayne himself, people have found there’s no better way to see, smell, and experience the Wild West!

Enjoy time away from life’s stress as you meander the beautiful grounds of Erik’s Ranch. Our trail rides offer a truly exhilarating experience, as you are surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside that Montana has to offer.

You will also enjoy riding happy, well-cared-for horses that are chosen for their health, beauty, disposition, and friendliness.  Trail rides are weather dependent and run during the spring, summer, and fall. The minimum age required to ride is 8 years old. Also, for younger riders, we require them to be at least 4’2 and 60 pounds.

Please note it is the Certified Horsemanship Association’s recommendation that the weight of the rider does not exceed 20% of the weight of the horse. We can accommodate only two people over 170 pounds and a maximum weight of 190 pounds.

Please note that if there is a rider with special needs, we will gladly accommodate you with a horseback ride in the safety and quiet of our barn.

  • $50.00 per rider
  • Length: 1 hour
  • Days offered: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Start time: 9:00 a.m. Please arrive 15 minutes early for safety instructions
  • Available April to October
  • A minimum of two guests, maximum of four
  • What is provided: Horse, Saddle, Stir Ups, etc.
  • Guest should bring: Water & a snack, long pants, closed-toe shoes, sunblock/sunglasses/hat, camera (optional)
  • Meeting location: The Lodge at Erik’s Ranch, 273 Trail Creek Rd, Livingston, MT

Keep Calm and Brush On

Spend an hour in our rustic barn with a guide and one of our beautiful horses in what can best be described as an equine spa day.

You will get to groom and pet the horses—then tack one up (place saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, and harnesses), for a ride in our indoor arena.

You can bask in the serene energy of these gentle giants, and in turn they will benefit from kind touch and some extra TLC. Horses are known to mirror their rider’s emotions, which means they can easily establish connection with humans. This hands-on experience is designed to be an hour of immersive collaboration between man and beast.

Please note this tour is designed for 1-2 participants, so come alone or bring a friend. When registering please provide rider’s heights and weights, as our horses can hold various sizes—with one able to hold someone up to 6’3” and 190 pounds. Too tall or heavy? No worries, you can still participate.

  • $50.00 per person
  • Length: 1 hr
  • Days offered: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Start time: 1 p.m.
  • Available all year round
  • A maximum of 2 guests
  • What is provided: Everything you need to groom and ride your horse
  • Guests should bring: We don’t have treats on site, but you are welcome to bring an apple or a few carrots to share with your new friend when the tour is over!
  • Location: The Barn at Erik’s Ranch

Pony Lead

Looking for something for the younger members of your family? We also offer pony rides at Erik’s Ranch.

Show the kids a sweet and memorable time on our pony or one of the gentler horses. A staff member will guide your child around at a gentle walk as you click away at the camera to forever document their adventure. This is a fun experience that allows a young child the opportunity to ride in a safe and controlled setting.

Also remember that when you schedule a pony ride at Erik’s, you not only create memories to last a lifetime for your child, but you contribute to our mission.

  • Cost: $30.00 per rider
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Days offered: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Start time: 9:00 a.m.
  • Available all year round

So make your child’s day and call now to book a ride!

Please note that for the health of our horses and the safety of your children, the rides begin at age three and a maximum weight up to 100lbs. However, everyone is welcome to pet, feed, braid, and love on them!


Antelope Butte Hike*

Pull on your hiking boots and join us on a trek to Antelope Butte!

This magnificent land was formed of volcanic rock 60 million years ago. It’s a combination of rolling range interspersed by grassy meadows, pine-covered hills, seasonal creeks, springs, and steep coulees. As we make our journey upwards, you will be treated to a statuesque, snow-capped view of Emigrant Peak towering in the distance.

At the summit, the views are even more spectacular. To the north we’ll see Sheep Mountain and the towering Crazy Mountains, a stark contrast against an abyss of prairie that seems to extend infinitely to the east. You will also see a cairn standing in reverence, which is a homage to the Crow Native Americans’ presence on the Butte dating back to the 1880s.

The members of Erik’s Ranch love to show people the awe-inspiring aspects of our home. So come out, experience Montana’s wild beauty for yourself, and make their day!

Please be aware that this is a hike, not a walk, and the difficulty level is moderate. Guests must be a minimum age of 6.

  • Included in your stay (please call 612-401-3080 to book) $25 for non-guests
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Days offered: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Start time: 9 a.m.
  • Available April to October
  • A minimum of two guests, maximum of ten
  • Guests should bring: Hiking shoes, water & a snack, camera (optional)
  • Meeting location: The Lodge at Erik’s Ranch, 273 Trail Creek Road, Livingston MT

Hike to Chimney Rock*

Attention photographers, nature lovers, and explorers!

Looking for a beautiful guided hike on private land where you can enjoy the beauty, peace and quiet of Big Sky country with minimal distractions and maximum views? Then you are in luck.

Our enthusiastic tour guides are members of Erik’s Ranch, which provides young adults on the autism spectrum with first-of-its-kind living, working, and social environments. They will lead you on this gorgeous trek to Chimney Rock and back. What is Chimney Rock? A distinctive giant piece of rock on a hill visible from the ranch peeking out of the landscape, Chimney Rock is almost calling for visitors.

Along the way, your ears will be treated to birdsong and trickling water in a Along the way, your ears will be treated to birdsong with the possibility of deer or elk sightings, too. This is their yard, after all. Our members enjoy pointing out the best scenery to capture with a camera, including a few beautiful panoramas of mountain ranges worthy of space in your travel scrapbook, so be sure to have your phone ready. You’ll also hike through some beautiful forested acres, and work on your quads as you hike at a slight incline the way there. It is the perfect mix of peaceful walk and exercise you have been craving from the couch.

So, come meet us and see for yourself why iconic movies such as “A River Runs Through It” and “The Horse Whisperer” were filmed in Paradise Valley. Many thanks for supporting our mission of providing limitless opportunities for young adults with autism!

Please be aware that this is a hike, not a walk, and the difficulty level is moderate. Guests must be a minimum age of 6.

  • Cost: Included with stay (please call 612-401-3080 to book) $25 for non-guests
  • Length: 2.5 hours
  • Days offered: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Time: 1:30 p.m.
  • Available June through September
  • A minimum of two guests, maximum of ten
  • Guests should bring: Hiking shoes, water & a snack, camera (optional)
  • Meeting location: The Lodge at Erik’s Ranch, 273 Trail Creek Road, Livingston MT

Sundowner Grizzly Excursion

Grab your binoculars and get ready to head to Tom Miner Basin!

Did you know grizzly bears once roamed throughout the entire western United States, through the Great Plains, into Mexico, and along rivers in desert habitats? Sadly, control actions and habitat loss has eliminated them from 98 percent of their original domain in the U.S.

But you can still find them in Montana!

These awe-inspiring giants tend to be solitary animals, so while there is no guarantee that every tour group will see one, there are usually a wide range of creatures to be spotted! From grizzly bears, to black bears, to mule deer, to elk, to raptors, and more. To view our furry friends from a safe distance, we have a spotting scope and binoculars. If you have a pair of your own, bring them along!

Book now for your chance to glimpse these majestic symbols of the wild.

  • $40.00 per person
  • Length: 2 hours
  • Days Offered: Tuesday to Sunday
  • Start time: 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
  • Available August and September
  • Minimum of two guests, maximum of ten
  • What is provided: Wine & snacks, spotting scope to share
  • Guests should bring: Binoculars, water, camera (optional)
  • Meeting location: Tom Miner Basin Turnoff

Rafting on the Yellowstone River

Kick off from the riverbank and dive into a world of swirling eddies, standing waves, and rippling white water.  

While adrenaline junkies can certainly get their fix, white water rafting is safe and fun for people of nearly all ages and abilities. Enjoy unparalleled views of the Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains, Yankee Jim Canyon, and Big Sky Country. Gain an entirely new perspective with the chance to spot wildlife and gorgeous scenery far from any road. It’s a taste of the country at its most pristine. 

Each raft has its own guide and personal photographer (photos available for purchase after). They are state-certified and have all the expertise needed to lead you safely down these eight miles of the Yellowstone River, which is the longest free-flowing river in America. They are accustomed to guiding trips for seasoned rafters and those who’ve never dipped a paddle in the water. Please note that every trip also includes gear. 

Lose track of time. Leave emails, text messages, and Facebook at home. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life and let yourself sink into the simple rhythm and joy of life on the river. Please call us at 612-401-3080 to book. 

  • Cost: $52.00 per adult and $42.00 per child (ages 6-12)  
  • Length: 2.5 hours  
  • Times: 4:30 p.m. Please arrive 30 minutes early  
  • Days offered: Tuesday to Sunday 
  • Available May to September 
  • A minimum of four guests needed 

Let’s Go Fly Fishing

Watch dragonflies dart over the water. Witness a bald eagle soar overhead. See fish jump. Gaze at the sun creeping across the land. Montana is world-renowned for its pristine rivers, spring creeks, mountain streams, and lakes. Whether you’re sharpening your skills or are just beginning, choose one of our fly-fishing packages and experience it for yourself!

We proudly partner with Yellowstone Angler. Full and half-day options on the Yellowstone River are at your fingertips, which is home of one of the greatest trout streams in the world. For the more seasoned, enjoy a trip down the Yellowstone on a McKenzie-style drift boat as you float past some of the most iconic scenery in the West.

If conditions are right, your personal guide will allow you to wade for the perfect cast. For the more adventurous, consider a day trip into Yellowstone National Park. Those willing to “hike and strike” will experience some of the most remote and beautiful streams in the country.

Don’t worry, we have all the gear you’ll need. Flies, leaders, tippet, boots, and waders (if needed) are included. A gourmet streamside lunch will be prepared by your guide. Beverages and shuttle are included. Please call us at 612-401-3080 to book!

  • Half-day float/wade trip: $425.00 (1-2 guests) or $575.00 (3 guests)
  • Full-day float/wade trip: $525.00 (1-2 guests) or $675.00 (3 guests)
  • Yellowstone National Park full day float/wade trip: $600.00 (1-2 guests) or $700.00 (3 guests)
  • Available March to November
  • Half-day trips will not be available July-September

Please note that the Yellowstone National Park entry fee and a $150.00 refundable deposit is not included in above pricing. A fishing license for the state of MT may be obtained online or purchased in the shop.


Camel and Bear Meet-and-Greet

You don’t have to travel to the Sahara Desert under the hot Moroccan sun for this adventure! You probably thought the only chance you’d get to meet a camel is in the desert. Well, think again!

This is a once-in-a-lifetime interactive experience and yet another chance to admire breathtaking views of the Gallatin and Absaroka mountain ranges. Camel Discovery is less than twenty minutes away from Erik’s Ranch. You won’t want to miss this interactive experience with at least two camels, which also includes petting, education on the species, and photo opportunities! But a word of caution… don’t make them mad. They just might spit at you.

Oh, one more thing. During your visit, you might get the chance to meet a couple bears, too. We’ve heard a rumor that Ami and Ernie just moved in…

2020 schedule coming soon!

  • Cost: $50.00 per group
  • Length: 30 to 45 minutes
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Days offered: Tuesdays and Thursdays
  • Available June to September
  • A minimum of two guests, maximum of four
  • Guests should bring: Water, closed-toe shoes
  • Meeting Location: Camel Discovery, 37 Meridian Road, Livingston, MT

Trail Ride Disclaimer

  • Riders are not allowed to ride or come near the horses if they aren’t wearing proper footwear.
  • For trail rides, we can accommodate only two people over 170 pounds and a maximum weight of 240 pounds.
  • Riders over the age of 18 are given the choice to wear a helmet or not. Riders under 18 are required to wear one.
  • If it’s raining at the time of the scheduled trail ride, we will try to accommodate guests and ride in the afternoon if nothing else is scheduled.
  • Before the tour, we ask participants to ride in the arena to get accustomed to their horses and also give our staff member a chance to assess skill and willingness to cooperate.