Located in the northwest corner of Glacier National Park and 10 miles from the Canadian border, the Ranch is a private residence that sits at the edge of Big Prairie on the banks of the North Fork River, a designated wild and scenic river. Enjoy the comfort and convenience of your own cabin with spectacular mountain views in all directions and abundant wildlife. This section of Glacier is rustic and unspoiled as it is relatively undeveloped, meaning there are no paved roads or power lines for 35 miles. Due to our solar energy system, you can enjoy modern conveniences while getting far away from the hustle and bustle of city life. At the Ranch you can experience the true beauty and meaning of Big Sky country!
The North Fork is a designated Wild and Scenic River and from the cabin you can fish, wade, swim, hike and skip stones in the river. Hammocks are located in the trees overlooking the river, making it perfect for book reading and napping, and there is a fire pit and picnic table as well. Two horse-shoe pits invite evening competition.
The Ranch House, which is 1,500 square feet, has two bedrooms and one bath. One bedroom has a queen bed, while the bunk room has two bunk beds and sleeps four. The loft has an inflatable queen air bed which can be used if desired. The bathroom has two sinks, toilet, tub/shower and washer/dryer. The family room contains the kitchen, dining and living areas, which are open to the loft area above. Through the double french doors lies the covered deck, which is 1,000 square feet, with great views of Rainbow Mountain and the Livingston Range of the Continental Divide. The kitchen has a refrigerator, stove, microwave, double sink and pantry.
In addition to the Ranch House, we have a guest cabin which can be added to the Ranch House to accommodate larger groups. The guest cabin is 600 square feet, has a bathroom with shower/tub, a wood burning stove (WBS), couch, table and chairs and sleeps 4 in beds with a queen log bed downstairs and two twin beds in the loft. The covered porch offers sweeping views of the Livingston Range, looking north into Canada.
There are many activities to choose from while at the Ranch. In the summer, enjoy hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, fishing, swimming and sightseeing. In the winter time, you can cross country ski or snow-shoe in any direction or enjoy the local pastime such as burning firewood and reading books!
Two beautiful high mountain lakes are a short distance from the Ranch, they are Kintla Lake to the north and Bowman Lake to the south. No boat motors are allowed on Kintla, so it is the preferred choice for people wanting to canoe or kayak.
The Ranch caretaker has extensive knowledge of the river, lakes, Glacier Park and the Flathead Forest to the West and can help you plan excursions from the Ranch.
Three miles from the Ranch is the Polebridge Ranger Station and the western entrance to Glacier Park. Outside the Park, two miles further is the historic Polebridge Mercantile, which is listed in the register of National Historic Places. The Merc offers fresh baked bread and pastries, as well as coffee and sandwiches. You can purchase basic supplies you might have forgotten in town, as well as gas for the car. Next door, the Northern Lights Café offers great home cooked dinners and brunch on Sundays. Friday nights are pizza nights. Enjoy a micro-brewed beer, wine and cocktails and watch the sun set over the Whitefish Divide.
Of course, there is all of Glacier Park to enjoy including Going-To-The-Sun Road, Logan Pass, West Glacier, Many Glacier, St. Mary and Waterton Lake. There is whitewater rafting in West Glacier, along with horse stables and some shopping.
The Ranch is located approximately 50 miles (1.5 hours) from the Glacier Park Airport in Kalispell (FCA). Delta, Northwest and Horizon provide air service. Car rental service is available at the airport. A unique way to get to the cabin is by train. Amtrak offers the Empire Builder service from Portland, Seattle and Chicago to Whitefish. Please note that the gravel road that leads to Polebridge can be bouncy and dusty at certain times of the year.
Keywords: Cabin Homestead
We live in Portland, Oregon and travel extensively for work and pleasure. However, we sneak away to our cabin on the river whenever we can. It is a very special place and we look forward to sharing with you. Our guests tell us our descriptions of the cabin and the setting don't do it justice but they agree that words and even pictures can't convey the serenity, tranquility and beauty of the area. So we hope you will be able to come and experience it for yourself.
Jack and Sue McFarland
Jack & Sue McFarland purchased this cabin in 1936
Jack's grandparents spent their honeymoon in 1932 in a rustic homestead cabin in Big Prairie near where our cabin is today. They later moved to Whitefish where they started a veterinarian practice and their family. They purchased a number of the homesteads in Big Prairie and started a dude ranch in the 1950's known as the McFarland 'Quarter Circle MC' Ranch. After Jack's grandfather died his grandmother sold the dude ranch and other property to the NPS and built a small cabin nearby on the banks of the North Fork river. Jack spent his summers with his grandmother at the ranch. Several years ago we decided to share this wonderful place with others looking for a special connection with Glacier and the North Fork valley.
While there are endless activities and adventures to be had just by stepping off the front porch it is entirely possible that your favorite activity will be relaxing on the porch and taking in the view of the mountains. They are majestic, rugged, and breathtaking; extending to the north and the south as far as you can see. They change throughout the day and at night when the stars are out they stand silently and cast shadows. Sometimes the northern lights dance behind them.
But don't forget to get out and go hiking, fishing, canoeing, rafting, exploring, biking or whatever form of outdoor activity you enjoy - there is so much to see and enjoy. Just remember that when it is all over you can come back to the comfortable and cozy cabin by the river and relax with all the amenities you need to recover and plan the next day's adventure.
Boy, words can't describe how beautiful and tranquil the ranch was. Everything was perfect. George (the caretaker) was fantastic, I loved talking to him about photography. I was in heaven looking at all the photos in the ranch house and guest cabin.
Pretty much everything exceded our expectations. The kitchen had everything and then some. The library had everything I was looking for. The master bed was extremely comfortable. The views were beyond words. The front porch was my favorite place. I could hear the river and sometimes the breeze.
We also did see the Polbridge 4th of July which was a hoot!!
I most certainly would recommend the McFarland ranch to friends and family. Everything about the ranch was great. Again let George know how much we enjoyed him, he really enhanced our experience at the McFarland Ranch.
Thanks for sharing your ranch with us, we will be back.
Tonya and John
Incredible, panoramic views of the majestic Livingston range beyond the expansive natural prarie, The guest house is located within Glacier National Park in the midst of wildlife including deer, elk and moose (we heard wolves howl in the distance at nigh!) The North Fork River (a wild and scenic designated river) flows right behind the cabin....we floated down the river and were left breathless at every bend. The house has a huge covered porch which is perfect for morning coffe (or evening wine) while watching the sun rise over the mountains and sunsets that set the range ablaze in red hues. The stars at night were incredible. My husband was up at 6AM every morning to capture the.abundant photography opportunities; while I slept in enjoying the restful morning leisure. Hammocks provide a restful respite for reading books and afternoon siestas; and an amazingly genuine Montana pioneer and authentic caretaker (aka park historian and resident artist named George) is the host for your visit. Truly an amazing location that we will never forget; We can't wait for next year!!
It was the best place I have ever been. We had our family reunion there the second week in July. My dad and I road bikes up to kentla lake. We wish we had the money to buy it from them but it would ruin your chances of seeing something extraordinary. It was perfect for my uncle. He calnt walk so he had to lay there the hole time and he said it was cool because more animals come out at nite. That's why it's good for the handicap
June, 2010. My family had a great time at the ranch. We loved the privacy and mountains and river and wildlife. If you want quiet and wonderful scenery this is the place to go. George (the caretaker) is a great guy. We really enjoyed our chats with George, he really knows the area and Glacier Park.
Thank you to the McFarland's for an amazing vacation! We cannot say enough good things about the ranch, the accomodations and the delightful caretaker, George McFarland. Everything about the ranch is wonderful. The location is remote but breathtaking and the house is gorgeous, comfortable and has everything you can want for an amazing stay in this beautiful part of the world. George is a treat, a very knowlegable and entertaining man who is filled with smiles and fascinating stories. Him (and his dog Maya) were a fun suprise addition to our trip, we truly enjoyed the time we spent at the ranch and were sad to leave. We hope to return next year with kids and their grandparents in tow! We highly recommend staying at this incredible place.