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Why stay at Downing Mountain Lodge... It is the most private location in the Bitterroot Mountains and home to the best views of the Bitterroot Valley, long considered an overlooked gem of the Northern Rocky Mountains due to its lack of having a National Park. Next you might ask when to visit... An often overlooked time is May and June when the skies are clear, the weather pleasant, the wildflowers blooming around the lodge, and there is little chance of forest fire smoke. Our most popular seasons are from June through October for summertime and fall vacationing and excursions and then January through April for backcountry skiing.
Delivering in house excursions and able to connect you with many others, we offer a backcountry skiing guide service, flyfishing trips and instruction, rafting trips both scenic and whitewater, hikes to high mountain lakes and peaks, rock climbing adventures, mountain biking trips, horse riding trips, power boat and sailing trips to Flathead Lake, wildlife and photographic safaris, and catered dinners. Visits to Downing Mountain Lodge are usually arranged including excursions. Come share an adventure with us in Western Montana.
On the mountain, close to town, near the rivers, and within an hour of a multitude of trailheads, the Downing Mountain Lodge is a three bedroom, two bathroom log chalet built in the round with sixteen sides. The cozy home has all the amenities and is hands down the most private and amazing location on 80 acres of open forest land and wildflower fields adjacent to the Bitterroot National Forest. Located near hiking, fishing, boating, skiing, biking, climbing, and at the end of a private mountain road, the lodge is as private as you can get while still being close to town. With panoramic vistas out of all windows from South, East to North, the mountain house is located two thousand feet above the Bitterroot Valley with amazing Mountain and Valley views and during May and June, the lands are covered in wildflowers. We are only a fifteen minute drive to the Bitterroot River and Hamilton, the Bitterroot Valley's largest town with plenty of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.
A massive central fireplace supports the log rafters and provides the authentic ambiance of a mountain lodge living room. The master bedroom faces east and catches the sunrise. With a queen bed and twin over full bunkbed, this room can accommodate up to five. The second bedroom contains another double bed and can accommodate up to two guests. The third bedroom contains a twin over twin bunkbed as well as a twin over double bunkbed in addition to a single bed and can accommodate up to six guests and is perfect for the kids or grandkids. There is also a pull out Queen couch in the living room and a child's crib. The lodge is a single story allowing handicap and elderly access to the entire lodge and entryway deck.
The two bathrooms are newly remodeled. There is a vanity entryway to the bathrooms with two sinks. There is a shower bath and two toilets. The living room has three couches by the fireplace, a piano, a guitar, a large dining table for up to twelve people, and a few smaller tables, a foosball table, a board games table, and a woodstove.
The kitchen is a full commercial setup with a gas range, four burner top and two ovens, a separate griddle top, and a charbroiler grill with a large venting hood. A double commercial sink, commercial dishwasher, and a freezer over fridge rounds out the essentials with plenty of room and tables for prep work and a sitting table for six. With plenty of tableware, silverware, and kitchen appliances including a toaster, microwave, crock pots and mixer, our guests or caterer is setup to prepare the most audacious of feasts. An access door to the outside and the hot tub deck is located in the west wall of the kitchen which is in the southwest quadrant of the building.
Outside, via the kitchen access, is a wood stove sauna and on the south deck is a 6 person hot tub. On the front lawn is another 5 person hot tub. On the spacious east deck is a large charcoal or wood fired barbecue with a picnic table. In the covered entryway there is room to park one car, a love seat swing adjacent to a small lawn. Up the mountain behind the lodge is a dirt road leading to the northwest and a spring creek, a ridge and the trail to Downing Mountain and the high mountain tarns 2,000 feet above, and to the south after a short climb a descending old two track roadway to Owings Creek where it springs from the Earth.
The Downing Mountain Lodge is located on 80 acres of open forested land and borders thousands of acres of National Forest land to the west. With two spring creeks within easy walking distance and private trails and two tracks roads leading up and down the mountain, private paradise is how its often aptly described. There are elk, deer, moose, black bear, mountain lion, wolf, marten, mountain goats, and a variety of birdlife with grouse often roosting in the trees surrounding the lodge.
Please visit our unique website at downing mountain lodge dot com.
Jenny and I, John Lehrman, purchased the property in July 2012 after managing the lodge as a destination backcountry ski lodge since 2008 and caretaking the facility since 1998. It has always been our dream to purchase the lodge and operate it as a year round, adventure lodging and events destination. In 2012 everything came together for us to purchase and move forward with our dream. We both studied at the University of Montana in the Forestry School for Wildlife Biology and Resource Conservation and decided to stay in Montana for the wealth of outdoor and entrepreneurial opportunities.
John or Jennifer Lehrman purchased this chalet in 2012
We chose to buy this property because it is the one-of-a-kind, unique mountain retreat in the Bitterroot Range. Located at 5,550 feet elevation it is the highest elevation home in the Bitterroot Mountains. Its proximity to great backcountry ski terrain, hiking, and to the town of Hamilton, where we live, make it the perfect year round private recreation/relaxation destination. Nowhere else nearby is there a private access road to high elevation that is adjacent to high quality, pristine, ski and hiking terrain on the Forest Service.
We fell in love with the property over the years caretaking for the owner during the winter and then opening and operating the Downing Mountain Lodge during the winter. After four successful years managing the winter lodge and meeting all the great people who come to us from all over the country for backcountry skiing, we knew we had a genuinely great lodge business that satisfied many different people and families and brought out the best in us as we bring to our guests the most authentic of backcountry experiences. With the lodge accessible to wheeled vehicles during the summer, and desirable to more than backcountry skiers, we know taking the leap into ownership and year round adventure lodging and consulting will be a great way to pursue our career goals and offer our guests the year round benefits of this unique log lodge in its unique location.
I make a point of finding unique and special vacation lodgings and the Downing Mountain Lodge may be the best my family has ever experienced. You won’t find another place that offers you the space, the view, and the serenity. Think about this: you check into a lodge, and you get the whole place to yourself, including the mountain. The restaurant kitchen and furnishings make it all the more easy. Do not let the drive up the mountain scare you off of this place. First, plan ahead and get what you need at the grocery, because you don’t want to have to run out for a cup of sugar. But up and down once or twice a day is a pleasant ride, particularly in the early morning or evening, even at night, because you are pretty much guaranteed to see some game along the road. The host is more than helpful and will provide you with what you need. Bedding, bathrooms etc are clean and fresh. Take lots of pics and video, because your friends will be impressed with how you scored this one.
My father-in-law and I got soaked as a storm rolled through the bitterroot while we were passing through on a motorcycle excursion.. John was incredibly nice and let us stay the night when we called last minute. We had never been here, and when we pulled up we were in awe. The lodge is beautiful and the view is breathtaking. The hot tub was clean and exactly what we needed being soaked and chilled to the core. It has everything one could want, and I realized that in the winter it has great access to backcountry skiing. This lodge will see us again. Thank you so much!
We searched long and hard for the right place to have our wedding. Many of the options were very nice but quite pricey and would not provide the view of this valley we call home. Once we realized that Downing Mountain Lodge was an option our decision was all but made. John let us visit the lodge and take measurements to see how many people we thought we could fit in the lodge as well as on the grounds. Our wedding was small (65 guests) and the weather was great. Everyone fit and we probably could have squeezed a few more in. Everything turned perfectly. I believe every guest went home with at least one photo on their phone showing the amazing view the lodge has from it's perch on the hill. We could have all squeezed inside if absolutely necessary but the ceremony on the deck, food in the lodge, and games outside felt ideal. I would highly recommend this lodge for any events you may have planned where you want to show your guests why this valley is so great. A little decorating was all it took for a beautiful wedding. The owners are great and very easy to work with. Since I don't plan to get married again, I need to find a new excuse to rent it again next summer or even in the winter!
This was our second time staying at downing mtn lodge and it's always so relaxing. The place is cozy and beautiful. It's a gorgeous get away from missoula with hot tubs, sauna, and endless hikes in the area. The owners took great care of us and plowed the roads before we arrived and they are quick to respond to emails or phone calls. I wish I lived at this place all year round. Ps. The new flooring looks great!
I take all reviews and photos with grain of salt, but believe me, this is as good as it looks! Highly recommend a summer or fall stay. We only had 3 people and 2 dogs, tho the lodge can host much larger parties, but it was Heaven on Earth with 180+ degree views out the windows if it's chilly; or barbecuing on the deck at 5500 ft.; gazing down on the valley and across to Sapphire Mts at sunrise/sunsets. Perfect place for a writers' retreat (there's a great library!), or cooking class with the commercial kitchen; music gathering with a piano and incredible sound system; or base camp for easy-to-hard hikes in the Bitterroots. John works really hard to make this place available--DO take advantage!
We were just there in August 2015 - nice lodge with a wonderful view. Very private, large kitchen and fireplace. Clean and enjoyable
Our group of 9 (5 teenagers) stayed at the Downing Mountain Lodge and absolutely loved it. The views are spectacular and at night the sleepy town of Hamilton twinkles beneath you. From the seventeen switch-backs that lead you up to the secluded lodge, to the wrought-iron anchor that holds the door, to the fireplace, piano, drums, comfy sofas, this place is loaded with rustic charm. We enjoyed the commercial kitchen, stocked with the essentials and every kind of pot, dish or utensil imaginable. My favorite was the large griddle which made it easy to feed our group quickly and the dishwasher did a load in 90 seconds! There were deer and rabbits and a fox who visited at dusk. Get away from the crowds that flock to Glacier. There are beautiful drives, horseback riding, and the serene Bitterroot River. John, the owner, was a pleasure and made us feel so welcome. We love this place!
Downing Mountain Lodge is privately located eight miles west of Hamilton, Montana at the end of a gated road that ascends three miles and 2,000 feet above the Bitterroot Valley. With Hamilton and the Bitterroot Valley a short fifteen minute drive away, our remote mountainside location appeals to solitude seekers, family gatherings, hikers, backcountry skiers, musicians, wedding planners, and events and retreat organizers. Adjacent to the Bitterroot National Forest with hiking trails, two creeks, and no public access, sojourners to the lodge are assured an intimate, private vacation experience three miles passed the nearest neighbors.
Within less than a half hour drive during the summer months, there is great hiking into various Bitterroot Canyons, shopping at the local farmers market on Wednesday evening and Saturday morning, multiple access points to the Bitterroot River, great rock climbing in Blodgett, Mill, Kootenai, and Lost Horse Canyons, a public golf course, small airport, local playhouse, movie theater, grocery stores, antique markets, the Performing Arts Center, playgrounds, a bike path, Lake Como, mountain biking trails, restaurants, health clubs, and a variety of shopping opportunities in Hamilton.
Located along the Lewis and Clark Trail, there is Traveler's Rest State Park in Lolo with an interpretive center. The Daly Mansion built by the Copper King from Butte, Marcus Daly, is five minutes east of Hamilton on the Eastside Highway. A must see for a tour, the Daly Mansion and grounds is a location that regularly hosts summertime events including music festivals, a Native American PowWow, and other social events.
Lake Como, half an hour south, is a great recreational site with hiking and mountain biking trails, a beach, a power boat launch, a kayaking creek, good fishing, and great views of the Como Peaks. The most popular destination in the Northern Region of the Forest Service, Lake Como and the surrounding area has much to offer the traveler. Lost Horse Canyon, adjacent to Lake Como, has a Forest Service road that accesses high mountain lakes and trailheads.
Close to home there are ranches with horse riding opportunities and I can recommend the best fishing guide on the Bitterroot River. Tubing the Bitterroot River is a popular family attraction on hot summer days with tubes available at the local tire shops on 1st street.
We can rent a couple canoes, paddles, and PFDs for Lake Como or the Bitterroot River. We also have a few bikes for rent.
The local playhouse, Hamilton Players, performs regular theatrical plays and musicals throughout the year, and Shakespeare in the Park travels through Hamilton on its summer sojourn throughout Montana.
From the Hamilton Airport scenic flights over and into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness are available and really fun on a clear day. Flying to a remote landing strip on the Selway River and fly-fishing for the day is one of the pinnacle experiences for the avid, wild trout fisherman. I can recommend the best commercial pilots for this opportunity.
Rock Creek, a blue ribbon fishery, is an hour and a half drive. The Nez Perce Pass allows vehicle access to the largest wilderness area in the Lower 48 states and the amazing catch and release fishery along the Selway River. Permitted rafting and Kayak trips are managed by the forest service during the permit season, but before May 15th and after August 1st anyone may launch on this world renowned 50 mile stretch of Class 4 whitewater. From the Selway River Road, the Magruder Corridor is accessible to those with four wheel drive, high clearance vehicles. From elevations as low as 4,000' to over 7,000', this rugged road is the epitome of a wilderness road experience and requires hours to complete and is generally snow-choked at higher elevations until sometime in July. The Salmon River is also within a day trip's distance, with whitewater rafting and kayaking, hotsprings and the best steelhead trout run in the area. Over Lolo Pass is the Lochsa Wild and Scenic River accessed by a good, paved road with beautiful cedar forests, awesome roadside whitewater, remote undeveloped hot springs, and good fishing opportunities.
Conveniently located halfway between Montana's premier National Parks of Glacier and Yellowstone, utilizing the Downing Mountain Lodge as a stop over destination on the way between these parks is popular.
Missoula is our closest city with a regional airport serviced by Delta, Alaska, United, and Allegiant. Many of our guests fly in from all over the country with air service from Seattle, Salt Lake City, Denver, Minneapolis, L.A., San Francisco, and Las Vegas. Private pilots will find Hamilton Airport convenient.
There are a couple communication towers 100 yards uphill from the lodge behind trees, with the benefit being great cell phone service and high speed wireless internet service at the lodge.
|Rate Period||Nightly||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly||Event|
My Standard Rate
1 night minimum stay
|Notes: Rates are based on 4 guests; add $50 per night, per additional guest|
|Refundable damage deposit||$250|
Rates are seasonal and may change. We host weddings. We take special considerations, last minute deals, and prices are negotiable depending on individual circumstances and group size or events. We offer additional services: shuttles, grocery shopping, adventure and travel consulting, fishing trips, hiking trips, whitewater rafting trips, rock climbing trips, sailing trips, and mountain biking and hiking trips.