The Green O: Mother Nature’s Posh Playground

June, 2022
tree haus at green o

Guests can stay in this Tree Haus at the Green O in Montana. Pam LeBlanc photo

In my world, a summer trip to the mountains usually means sleeping in a tent and eating freeze-dried pasta.

Last month I traded that down-and-dirty style of travel for a much more luxurious experience. I spent four days at the Green O, the newest corner of the already posh Resort at Paws Up near Missoula, Montana. A driver picked me up at the airport and delivered me to the 37,000-acre property, where someone walked me to a structure straight out of Architectural Digest and said, “Welcome home.”

And what a home.

Green O

Pam LeBlanc hangs out in a swinging chair on the deck of her rental house at the Green O in Montana. Pam LeBlanc photo

The Green O features a dozen romantic hideaways, some of them elevated high above the ground and others – like the one I stayed in – with so many windows that the indoors felt like the outdoors. I felt like I’d landed at a very exclusive summer camp for adults, one where the “cabins” all had hot tubs, cushy beds, and a complimentary rhubarb and a chamomile ice cream sandwich tucked in the freezer, the dining hall served nine-course meals that looked like art, and a fishing guide untangled every line that got wrapped around a rock or bush.

It also ranked as the most expensive place I’ve ever stayed, although I didn’t foot the bill for this visit. Rates are about $3,500 per night, including three (extremely good) squares a day, beverages included, plus airport transfers. Some activities are an additional fee.

Green O

Guests at the Green O take meals at the Social Haus. Pam LeBlanc photo

What to know about the Green O

RELATED: A River Adventure to Reset Your Life: Rafting the Grand Canyon

Here are 12 things to know about the Green O before you go.

  1. It’s adults only. This section of Paws Up is reserved for fully grown kids. You won’t hear any children hollering or bump into any half pints scurrying through the underbrush, but you will find couples sipping wine on the deck of the Social Haus, where meals are served and guests check in. (If you want to bring the kids, consider the main part of Paws Up, which offers all kinds of activities just for them.)
  2. The food at the Green O is incredible. And by incredible, I mean the best you’ve ever eaten. During my stay, I ate everything from pork belly seared on hot river rocks to caviar, pheasant breast, venison and the most beautiful, tiny vegetables tucked in a “soil” made of crushed hazelnuts, chicory, and roasted onion ash. I felt like I was eating my way through the Louvre, nine paintings at a time. For those who don’t feel like making the 2-minute walk to the Social Haus for meals, the kitchen will deliver. I did this for breakfast, and the hot tea and pastries (a selection of savory and sweet each morning) were exquisite.
  3. Did I mention that everyone gets his or her own Lexus? It’s true. You can drive that Lexus anywhere on the Paws Up property – and there’s a lot to explore. But if you’d rather hitch a ride, a staff driver will pick you up and take you anywhere you want to go.

RELATED: Fort Collins: Rafting, Biking and Beer, Oh My!

Green O

A guests practices herding cattle at the Resort at Paws Up in Montana. Pam LeBlanc phot

  1. You can go on a cattle drive. Two guides spent about an hour teaching our crew of three how to keep a small herd of Corriente cattle in a bunch and guide them from one pasture to the river a few miles away. It wasn’t easy – and the trail bosses didn’t hold back when any of us cowhands underperformed. Come prepared to work. But if you love riding, beautiful countryside, and keeping track of mooing little steaks on the hoof, give it a try.

Green O

Guests at the Resort at Paws Up fly fish on the Clearwater River in Montana. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

5. The book “A River Runs Through It” was set along the Blackfoot River, which runs through the Paws Up property. I spent a morning fishing the nearby Clearwater River, which was equally beautiful, with cold – and yes, gin-clear – water that winds through open meadows and forests of thick trees. Besides learning the finer points of casting from a motorized raft, I loved the nature watching. We saw bald eagles and Canadian geese and interrupted a muskrat’s morning foraging. The fishing was great, too. I caught two fat, 16-inch brown trout. (Plus, my limit in sticks.) Fishing is catch and release.

Green O

Hanna Campbell takes in the view from Lookout Rock at Paws Up. Pam LeBlanc photo

6. If hiking’s your thing, step out of your deluxe accommodations and onto a trail. I spent a morning just walking and listening to the sounds of nature and didn’t see another soul. (They must have been out driving their Lexuses). Follow marked trail signs into the woods, or just stick to dirt roads and explore the other accommodations. You can go for miles.

7. In the main part of Paws Up, guests can stay in log homes or semi-permanent safari tents with real bathrooms. At the Green O, they can pick from four styles of homes – a modern Tree Haus, a curvy Round Haus, the Light Haus, or the Green Haus where I stayed. Everything is high-tech and sleekly modern yet blends into the woodsy surroundings. Press a button to lower all the blinds in your house, flip a switch to light a fire in the fireplace, soak in an indoor bathtub big enough to hold a pony, or swing in a globe-shaped chair hanging on the deck.

8. Every night, I soaked in the hot tub on the deck of my home. (I may or may not have been naked.) Each unit comes with an outdoor tub, and it’s always heated and ready to go. It’s the best way to cap off the evening. Or start the day.

Green O

Pam LeBlanc takes aim at sporting clays at Paws Up in Montana. Photo by Greg Jason

9. I signed up for a morning of shooting at sporting clays. Think of this as golf, only with shotguns instead of clubs. A guide walked me through the 10-station course, where he pulled a lever that launched neon-orange clay targets into the air. Each one came from a different angle – crossways, away from me, or in a perfect arc – and each one simulated the flight pattern of a game bird. At one station, you’ll stand on an elevated perch to take aim; at another you’ll get a perfect view of snow-capped mountains. It took many tries, but I finally shattered three of the clays, and to me that’s way better than hitting a real animal.

Green O

Hanna Campbell rides an ATV on a trail at Paws Up in Montana. Pam LeBlanc photo

10. Get the lay of the land by zipping around on an ATV. We buzzed past a herd of bison on our way to the Lookout Rock, where legend has it the Meriwether Lewis once stood.

11. If you need more to do, head to the Outpost. Visitors can sign up for everything from a bike tour of a historic ghost town to a hot-air balloon ride, a pontoon boat tour on a nearby lake, kayaking, rappelling, and more.

12. Check out the music lineup at the campfire, where nightly performances take place all summer long. An Austin-based singer-songwriter duo called Beth//James is scheduled to perform their blend of modern folk, pop, and Americana from July 19 until Aug. 1.

bald eagle

A bald eagle perches on a tree at the Resort at Paws Up in Montana. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

If You Go

Getting there:

Fly into Missoula. From there, a Paws Up driver will pick you up and deliver you to the Green O.

Stay:

Book one of 12 units at the Green O, where lodging costs about $3,500 a night, including meals and drinks.

Do:

Everything from a cattle drive ($415 per person) to fly fishing ($535 per boat for a half day), an ATV tour ($175 per person) or sporting clays ($225 per person.) Other activities include hot-air ballooning, horseback riding, a ropes course, go-carting, art workshops and more.

Food & Drink:

A night at the Green O includes all meals and drinks, including alcoholic ones. Green O guests can also eat at the main Paws Up dining hall, but who could pass on the Green O’s nine-course tasting menu?

Pro Tip:

Keep an eye out for the bald eagles, which nest on the property. Check with the folks at the Wilderness Outpost, where guests check in for activities, for details.

Follow Austin Travels


Austin Travels is a women-owned, Austin-based travel magazine committed to highlighting destinations in Texas and beyond through the lenses of diverse and talented writers.

Subscribe

@austintravelsmag

Dreaming of Disney World? 10 takeaways for a less daunting, more magical trip

Dreaming of Disney World? 10 takeaways for a less daunting, more magical trip

A rare retreat to mountainside luxury at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

A rare retreat to mountainside luxury at Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch

Discovering magical mermaids, memories at Weeki Wachee Springs

Discovering magical mermaids, memories at Weeki Wachee Springs

36 hours of family fun in New Orleans

36 hours of family fun in New Orleans

Recapturing Zen at Kripalu

Recapturing Zen at Kripalu

Soaking in family fun in Seattle

Soaking in family fun in Seattle

Scalloping, saltwater springs and seashell strolls on Florida’s Sports Coast

Scalloping, saltwater springs and seashell strolls on Florida’s Sports Coast

Slowing down by the sea in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Slowing down by the sea in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Frolicking in Finland: Contemporary design and Nordic adventures await

Frolicking in Finland: Contemporary design and Nordic adventures await

At Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a ‘Festivarian’ is born

At Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a ‘Festivarian’ is born

Summer in South Haven, Michigan

Summer in South Haven, Michigan

The Green O: Mother Nature’s Posh Playground

The Green O: Mother Nature’s Posh Playground

Walking in Memphis: History, soul music and good trouble in Tennessee

Walking in Memphis: History, soul music and good trouble in Tennessee

Fishing, golf and more in the Santee region of South Carolina

Fishing, golf and more in the Santee region of South Carolina

Family friendly fun during a quick trip to New York City

Family friendly fun during a quick trip to New York City

A Mother’s Day getaway to charming Charleston

A Mother’s Day getaway to charming Charleston

Playing in Portland, Austin’s Unofficial Sister City

Playing in Portland, Austin’s Unofficial Sister City

Spring and summer stops in Southern Colorado

Spring and summer stops in Southern Colorado

Skiing, snowshoeing and biking in breathtaking Banff

Skiing, snowshoeing and biking in breathtaking Banff

Sweet spots for family fun in Santa Barbara, California

Sweet spots for family fun in Santa Barbara, California

8 Tips for Skiing with Kids

8 Tips for Skiing with Kids

Chilling Out at Beaver Creek Resort

Chilling Out at Beaver Creek Resort

7 magical things to do in Door County, Wisconsin

7 magical things to do in Door County, Wisconsin

Family fun: 5 can’t-miss attractions when visiting St. Louis

Family fun: 5 can’t-miss attractions when visiting St. Louis

Family travel: Calm and cool in Los Angeles

Family travel: Calm and cool in Los Angeles

Mother-daughter getaway: Finding MGK, music and magic in Cleveland

Mother-daughter getaway: Finding MGK, music and magic in Cleveland

COVID Testing and Traveling Abroad: Know Before You Go

COVID Testing and Traveling Abroad: Know Before You Go

A rare glimpse at pearl farming in Tahiti

A rare glimpse at pearl farming in Tahiti

Family travel: Meandering through Montreal

Family travel: Meandering through Montreal

Five reasons Colorado’s Winter Park Resort should be on your family’s ski trip list

Five reasons Colorado’s Winter Park Resort should be on your family’s ski trip list

Squeezing in every snowy moment at Solitude Mountain Resort

Squeezing in every snowy moment at Solitude Mountain Resort

Here’s what’s new at resorts for the 2021-22 ski season

Here’s what’s new at resorts for the 2021-22 ski season

Big Easy delights: Food, fun and family in New Orleans

Big Easy delights: Food, fun and family in New Orleans

Uncovering the magic and mystery of Washington State

Uncovering the magic and mystery of Washington State

Red River is ripe with reasons to visit

Red River is ripe with reasons to visit

Must-Do’s in Denver

Must-Do’s in Denver

Falling for Cape Cod’s off-season charms

Falling for Cape Cod’s off-season charms

Heeding the call of Nashville’s siren song

Heeding the call of Nashville’s siren song

7 ideas for family fun in Panama City Beach, Florida

7 ideas for family fun in Panama City Beach, Florida

Reading Roxane Gay at the Mauna Lani in Hawaii

Reading Roxane Gay at the Mauna Lani in Hawaii

Keeping it cool in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Keeping it cool in Grand Teton and Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Summertime in Colorado: 4 spots ripe for family fun

Summertime in Colorado: 4 spots ripe for family fun

Conquering Austria’s Alpine Road

Conquering Austria’s Alpine Road

Fort Collins: Paddling, Hiking and Biking, Oh My

Fort Collins: Paddling, Hiking and Biking, Oh My

A new tour through the past at Oak Alley Plantation

A new tour through the past at Oak Alley Plantation

Explore the gravel roads around Fort Collins on the FoCo Fondo bike ride

Explore the gravel roads around Fort Collins on the FoCo Fondo bike ride

Fully vaccinated? Traveling to Puerto Rico just got breezier

Fully vaccinated? Traveling to Puerto Rico just got breezier

To date a matador: Seduced by Spain

To date a matador: Seduced by Spain

Cabin culture: Escape the crowds at these remote U.S. hideaways

Cabin culture: Escape the crowds at these remote U.S. hideaways

Essay: Can we really leave no trace when we travel?

Essay: Can we really leave no trace when we travel?

Mountain biking mecca Mesa Verde Country is a must-ride

Mountain biking mecca Mesa Verde Country is a must-ride

Bike to Bentonville for 150 miles of trails and much more

Bike to Bentonville for 150 miles of trails and much more

Colorado’s Calling –– Take a summer trip to this cool state now

Colorado’s Calling –– Take a summer trip to this cool state now

Set your sights on Steamboat Springs this summer

Set your sights on Steamboat Springs this summer

A foodie’s guide to eating (and foraging and making chocolate) in Costa Rica

A foodie’s guide to eating (and foraging and making chocolate) in Costa Rica

Discovering hints of home in Red River

Discovering hints of home in Red River

New Mexico road trip: 10 top experiences, from Albuquerque to White Sands

New Mexico road trip: 10 top experiences, from Albuquerque to White Sands

Diving into the history of falconry at The Broadmoor

Diving into the history of falconry at The Broadmoor

5 questions with influencer Jeff Jenkins, who helps ‘chubby people travel the world’

5 questions with influencer Jeff Jenkins, who helps ‘chubby people travel the world’

Finding a ranch to call home in Granby, Colorado

Finding a ranch to call home in Granby, Colorado

Oyster safaris and mystery solving along Sweden’s Bohuslan Coast

Oyster safaris and mystery solving along Sweden’s Bohuslan Coast

Escape to Los Angeles: 5 fun things to do in Southern California

Escape to Los Angeles: 5 fun things to do in Southern California

Adventures Await: Roaming the road in a campervan

Adventures Await: Roaming the road in a campervan

If you’re heading west, 5 reasons to visit the California gem of Terranea

If you’re heading west, 5 reasons to visit the California gem of Terranea

For every season: A house divided over Estes Park, Colorado

For every season: A house divided over Estes Park, Colorado

The soaking life: A baker’s dozen of the best historic spas across the world

The soaking life: A baker’s dozen of the best historic spas across the world

California escape: Peace, harmony and inspiration in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs

California escape: Peace, harmony and inspiration in Joshua Tree and Palm Springs

When the snow melts and winter crowds leave, these Colorado spots are the coolest

When the snow melts and winter crowds leave, these Colorado spots are the coolest

Dreaming of a Virgin Islands Vacation? Tips for traveling to St. John right now

Dreaming of a Virgin Islands Vacation? Tips for traveling to St. John right now

Dreaming of the RV life? Lessons learned from a 10-day national park road trip

Dreaming of the RV life? Lessons learned from a 10-day national park road trip

Colorado Ski Gems

Colorado Ski Gems

Escape crowds and capture memories in snowy Southwest Montana

Escape crowds and capture memories in snowy Southwest Montana

What to know before you book a ski trip during a pandemic

What to know before you book a ski trip during a pandemic