http-equiv='refresh'/> Tin TeePee/Log Cabin: Silver Tip Ranch, Grizzlies, Fires

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Silver Tip Ranch, Grizzlies, Fires

Silver Tip Ranch fireplaceSlough Creek, Third MeadowApproach to Silver Tip Ranch

The above photos of Silver Tip Ranch were borrowed from the Yellowstone Park Foundation website. 

SILVERTIP RANCH AT THE END OF THE SLOUGH CREEK TRAILThis photo belongs to someone named Andy Davidson and I found it on a website called Panramio.  I’ve lived here nineteen years and have always heard about Silver Tip Ranch and Slough Creek.  Michael’s Uncle Bo, Nat’s twin brother had a hunting camp on Slough Creek, just outside the boundary of Yellowstone National Park.  Bo, Nat and Michael can tell some great stories about the hunters who came and the game they killed. 

Silver Tip Ranch which sits 43 miles from Gardiner, MT is reached by traveling through Yellowstone Park via foot, horseback or in one of the wagons belonging to the ranch.  Silver Tip isn’t your typical dude ranch, it is used by the owners and their invited guests—you can’t just call up and reserve a room, unfortunately!  A man named Milton Ames applied for a homestead in September, 1913, one hundred years ago—this piece of ground and other acreage purchased through the years became the Silver Tip Ranch. 


This is where we ate our lunch in Yellowstone the other day—this building  is called “Transfer” and houses the wagons belonging to Silver Tip Ranch—these wagons are used for transporting guests and supplies into the ranch—no motorized vehicles are allowed.  If you squint, you can see one of the wagons—I had to stick the camera inside a crack in the door! SmileHow in the world this ranch and its owners have managed to co-exist with a national park for 100 years is beyond me!  The Bliss family was one of the purchasers of the ranch from the original homesteader, Ames, and the Bliss heirs still own a 10% share in the ranch.

“The Yellowstone fires of 1988 seemed poised to devour the Silver Tip Ranch but a crew led by USFS ranger Larry Sears and the ranch hands at the ranch labored for days cutting, clearing and raking deadfall plus constructing sprinklers to water the wooden shake roofs.  The flames of the Storm Creek fire, shooting 300 feet high, burst through the trees on September 3, 1988.  There were 70 mph winds and thick smoke—the crew and animals raced to the meadow to huddle under tents of non-flammable material.  Not one animal, person or building was lost.”   Twice Told On The Upper Yellowstone.  We have a friend who was working in the kitchen of the ranch during this time, Sharon said when the fire roared overhead it felt as if every bit of oxygen in the world was being sucked right out of her non-flammable blanket. 

Slough Creek is grizzly bear country, the homesteader, Ames, killed eight grizzlies the first spring he owned the ranch.  Frenchy Duret whose land was purchased by the Silver Tip Ranch met his end in a fight with a grizzly bear.  The caretakers for the Silver Tip Ranch in 1964 were Margaret and Jack McDonald.  Margaret stayed home on April 30, 1964 when Jack rode out of the back country to town.  A grizzly visited her porch that night stealing a slab of bacon kept in a screened box on the porch.  Margaret knew the grizzly would probably be back; the next night she locked the dogs in the barn, got a 30-06 gun which she had never fired and retired to the bunkhouse—she could see the porch of her home from this structure. 

The grizzly returned, Margaret fired her gun, the grizzly ran toward her almost brushing her as he ran into the timber.  She got a flashlight and lit a lantern—NO way could I have done this—and went to find her bear.  He was dead and by the time her husband returned early the next morning (there is a telephone at Silver Tip) she had used a snowmobile to drag the grizzly to the cabin.   The bear was almost 8 feet long and his foot was 12 inches long!!  YIKES

OK—this post has gone on long enough but I find the history of this area fascinating!  Our family has its own grizzly story too.  Michael’s cousin Pete (Uncle Bo’s son) and his wife Margie were guiding hunters near Yellowstone Park when a grizzly attacked one of their hunters—the hunter was able to get one shot at the grizzly before it charged.  With the bear mauling the hunter, Pete could not get a shot for fear he would shoot the hunter.  The grizzly suddenly released the man and ran off into the timber.  The man was an emergency room physician and thought he was OK, bruised, some lacerations, but OK.   Once back at camp it quickly became apparent the hunter was not OK and would need medical attention.  Margie, an expert horsewoman rode a horse over five miles in the dark to reach the telephone at the Silver Tip Ranch.  The magazine, Outdoor Life, published an article about this grizzly attack in January, 1997. 

I’ve always longed to see Slough Creek—Michael and many of his friends say it’s one of the most special places on earth.  But to do it I either have to hike with the grizzlies or ride a horse—which would you pick???


  1. Well I guess you know what my answer would be. Sounds like it would the visit of a life time. We have an extra horse.

  2. Fascinating indeed. Thanks for sharing this story.

  3. hmm maybe next year. If you can stop it from snowing on or way down. Yep like JB said we have an extra horse so NO excuses.

  4. Easy decision for me - ain't going near that place by horse, wagon, hiking or even a tank!

    See, doctors ONLY PRACTICE, even on themselves... I'm sure his adrenaline was still pumping him up, when he made that decision.... Sure do hope Ms Emmi's bear isn't that big !!!!
    The mountains look pretty, with their 'winter' coats on and your pics are so good...
    Please, give everybody a hug for us and try to stay warm....


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