Special Projects in History, Collections, and Building Preservation
Crail Ranch Homestead Museum is a project of the Big Sky Community Organization, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit entity that connects people with recreational opportunities by acquiring, preserving and promoting sustainable places and programs for all. The Big Sky Community Organization envisions a community connected by world class recreation and enrichment opportunities that embrace a vibrant quality of life. Contact the Crail Ranch Conservators organization at email@example.com.
Crail Ranch Buildings
Open to visitors
July - August
Saturdays & Sundays
12 noon - 3:00 PM
Although the Crail Ranch buildings are open for guided tours only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons during July and August, the Ranch grounds are open for self-guided tours at any time, weather permitting.
A self-guided tour brochure is available in a box on the porch of the greeter's cabin on the west side of the Crail Ranch parking area.
MOBILE USERS - Click here to go to a scrollable guide to the Crail Ranch!
The rustic log buildings of the Historic Crail Ranch sit in a quiet meadow in Montana's famous Big Sky Resort. They serve as a reminder of the history of the region during the homestead era of the early 1900s. The Ranch is open during the summer months each year, free to all to visit and enjoy....
Just a few years after Frank Crail migrated to Montana from Indiana, he started a homestead in the Bridger Mountains, under the majestic sentinel of Sacajawea Peak. Five buildings from that homestead remain.
Original 1870s Crail Homestead "Discovered" in Bridgers
On Saturday, August 1, 2015, the current ranch owner, David Coffin, visited "our" Crail Ranch and told the story of his purchase of the 1870s ranch and his discovery of the connection to Augustus Franklin Crail. Download story
Cool off in the Montana High Country with a Summer 2016 Visit to Big Sky and Historic Crail Ranch!
New History Video from BSOA
Chet Huntley's Big Sky, Big Dream provides an interesting summary of the development of Big Sky Resort from the perspective of J. David Penwell, who was responsible for incorporating the Big Sky Owners' Association. The Historic Crail Ranch Conservators provided primary assistance in the design of the video. View the Video
Historic Crail Ranch
Big Sky, Montana
The Crail Ranch Buildings are open for guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays during July and August from Noon til 3PM. Here tour guide Carol McGuire (left) discusses homestead housework with visitor Matt Weinberg
History Annex Open All Year
Located in the Big Sky Chamber of Commerce Visitors' Center, opposite the Conoco station at the stoplight at Big Sky, you will find a year round display on the history of Big Sky and the Gallatin Basin.
Many thanks to our generous donors!
Review the 2015-2016
Augustus Franklin Crail
- Friends and relatives of Buck and Helen Knight visit Crail Ranch More...
- Recent publications on area history available for free download in pdf format:
- Mountain Shoshone
- Crail Ranch North
- First US Census in Big Sky
- Descendants of Mary Alice Crail, wife of Eugene Crail, visit the Crail Ranch More...
- Camp Big Sky Kids learn homesteading skills and more at Crail Ranch in 2015. More...
Slingshot Video online from Crail Ranch Shoot
In July 2015, Crail Ranch provided a rustic backdrop for Slingshot Productions of Bozeman. Story of the Shoot
Slingshot has produced a 3-minute trailer entitled "Reclamation," with echoes of Legends of the Fall. View the video
Many visitors come to Crail Ranch when the buildings are not open for tours. Interpretive signs provide basic information about the long history of the Ranch from the early 1900s to the coming of Big Sky.
This spring, two new signs have been put in place showing dramatic views of the Ranch grounds to the North and East from the 1920s and 1930s.
Take a self-guided tour of Crail Ranch!
New Articles by Crail Ranch Conservator Highlight
Big Sky Outdoors in the Early 1900s
The Original Spanish Peak SUPers
Loggers practicing on Jack Creek Lake (now Ulrey's Lake) shared skills with folks engaged in stand-up paddleboarding, known as SUP, on Lake Levinsky in Big Sky today. View on the Explore Big Sky website
Recent additions to the Crail Ranch collection are on display for the first time this summer
Women's authentic western riding chaps are on display with other western tack and ranching parphenalia in the small cabin. The chaps were donated by Gail Walma, who lived for several years at the 320 Ranch. Gail recalls staying at Crail Ranch as a young girl in the 1950s.
All of these items were donated this spring by some of our faithful and generous donors
See Donor List
Free Guided Tours of Historic Crail Ranch
Noon - 3 PM Every Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day Weekend!
Randy and Beth Van Horn donated a Singer sewing machine with patent marks from the 1890s. It belonged to Beth's grandmother. The kerosene lamp, shown in the picture with the sewing machine, was donated by Dale and Kristin Lucas.
A steamer trunk from the early 1900s was donated by the Mistretta family. It is on display on the second floor landing of the main cabin.
Anne Marie Mistretta, chair of the Historic Crail Ranch Conservators, has prepared two articles on outdoor activities in the early 1900s, featuring photos from the
Crail Ranch collections.
A Century of Outdoor Pursuits in Big Sky
Big Sky's natural resoources and unique geological features have lured visitors to the area since the early 20th Century -- and they still do today! View on the Explore Big Sky website
2016 Season marked by important preservation to Crail Ranch structures
In June the Conservators initiated a project to replace the porch on the main cabin, and in August work was completed to replace the roof on the historic small cabin.
Both projects helped the Conservators fulfill their mission to preserve these important historic structures. Read more...