The history of big sky.
Established as a homestead by Augustus Franklin Crail in 1902, and occupied by Crail family members for nearly half a century, the Historic Crail Ranch remains as a tangible reminder of the life of the earliest settlers in the Big Sky area.
For nearly 50 years, the Crail family ranched on this land, raising sheep, cattle, hay and wheat, and eventually expanding their holdings to 960 acres.
When Chet Huntley and his group came to the area in the late 1960s, the Crail Ranch buildings and property were among the first that they purchased for their planned Big Sky Resort.
Today the Crail Ranch is preserved as a homestead museum, offering guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 – 3PM June through September. The Crail Ranch grounds are open during daylight hours for walking tours, picnicking or connecting onto our trail system via the Crail Ranch Trail.
Museum Improvements: Thanks to the generous support of individual donors, several improvement and preservation projects were completed on the Historic Crail Ranch grounds this year. The jack leg fence which surrounds the homestead grounds had deteriorated over time and become unstable. It was replaced this summer.In addition, the original vertical boards at the peaks of the main cabin house have shrunk significantly and needed preservation work to prevent rain/snow damage. Original boards were removed, backed with vapor barriers and then replaced. Work on the small cabin to restore logs that were burned in the 1970s has been delayed until spring 2018.The self-guided walking tour experience at the ranch was enhanced this summer with the installation of a final interpretive sign. Completion of this project helped us meet a key goal; accommodating visitors and residents during times when guided-tours are not offered. The Historic Crail Ranch now provides user friendly access to historic information in a park-like setting every day of the week – perfect for picnicking during the summer months.
Location – Crail Ranch is located in the Meadow Village in Big Sky, Montana. From Route 191, proceed west on Lone Mountain Trail (Hwy 64) 1.9 miles to the Meadow Village Center. Turn right onto Little Coyote Road, go past Chapel and ponds to Spotted Elk Rd. Turn left on Spotted Elk Rd and the ranch will be located on your left.
Restoration and maintenance of the Historic Crail Ranch buildings and grounds is a key part of the Crail Ranch Conservators mission made possible through the financial support received from donors each year and the efforts of many community volunteers.