Outdoor recreation in Glacier National Park and The Bob Marshall Wilderness
We are a family-owned company providing a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities in Northwest Montana. Employment with Swan Mountain Outfitters provides a unique, educational, and gratifying work experience in a beautiful and rugged setting. We are looking for honest, hard-working, friendly individuals who are excited to spend their summer with great people in the great outdoors.
Swan Mountain Outfitters operates inside and outside of Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex in Northwest Montana
About Swan Mountain Outfitters, LLC
Swan Mountain Outfitters has been operating horseback trail rides, summer pack trips, fishing, and hunting for over 15 years. Over the years the company has expanded from the original location in Northwest Montana's Swan Valley to include even more activities. The "Swan Division" as we now call it, hosts a wilderness guide school and offers Llama trekking. The Swan Division also grew another branch in the past 5 years with the addition of Salmon Forks Outfitters, which allows us even more access to the Bob Marshall Wilderness on fishing and hunting trips.
Swan Mountain Outfitters "Glacier Division" is pleased to be the exclusive operator of horseback rides in Glacier National Park! Since 2007 our Glacier Division encompasses corrals in Apgar, Lake McDonald, and Many Glacier within the Park. We were pleased to be able to add a fourth corral in West Glacier, just 1.5 miles outside the Park's West entrance in 2013.
In conjunction with our West Glacier Corral, we own and operate the "Crown of the Continent Discovery Center" a geo-tourism focused center for our gift and gear shop, ice cream parlor, coffee, and spirits bar, moped rentals, and features La Casita Mexican restaurant (a separate business entity, but certainly our staff's favorite dinner spot!)
Although we do operate snowmobile tours in the wintertime, you'll find our open positions are all for summer seasonal employment.
The Employee Experience
Whether you are a trail guide, a barista, a reservationist, or a camp cook, employment with Swan Mountain Mountain Outfitters offers a gratifying work experience in a beautiful and rugged setting. Although the hours are long and the work can be demanding, employees always seem to have fun after work jumping in the river, attending a rodeo, or enjoying a campfire. On their days off, they can be found hiking the majestic peaks and rafting the rivers.
Although we are, overall, a fairly large company, our structure of having different divisions and locations allows you deeply connect to your location and coworkers. Our employees often feel like family and their bunkhouse feels like home! Veteran employees often stay in touch and return for visits years after their summers are over! The shared resource network among our locations allows our staff to access and explore quite a vast area and really get to know this corner of Montana well. Don't just visit Glacier, immerse yourself in it!
Our ideal applicants are extroverted and friendly. No matter your job description, you'll be interacting with trip guests or shop patrons in some manner. These guests and patrons arrive from all corners of the country (and world!) so our ideal candidates are able to help them feel welcome. Being outgoing and willing to share what you've learned about the area really helps! Having patience and understanding helps too, as travel can be stressful on some folks!
While we offer many types of recreation, the big one is horses, horses, HORSES! In some of our open positions (such as cooks and reservationists), riding horses really isn't part of the job description at all. But, having an interest in horses certainly will help you relate better to the guest's experience and get more enjoyment from your work!
Room and Board
The majority of our employees do take advantage of room and board. Traditionally, this has meant shared rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and living areas. Due to Covid-19 we are actively seeking applicants who have their own local housing option in an effort to reduce the sharing of spaces. But, in some locations, due to the remoteness, commuting is simply not reasonable and most employees in our employee housing should expect to have a roommate.
Corral staff (Wranglers, Corral Managers, and Packers) almost always utilize the available employee housing. This can vary from bunkhouses and cabins to canvas wall tents or even a camper trailer. Food is provided by Swan Mountain Outfitters as well. Meals are prepared and enjoyed family-style at each location, there is no central dining hall.
Retail and other supporting staff have the option for employee housing on-site in an apartment at our "Crown of the Continent Discovery Center" in West Glacier. Food is provided by Swan Mountain Outfitters at this location as well. Meals are prepared and enjoyed individually or family-style, there is no central dining hall.
Commuters: if you have your own housing in West Glacier, Coram, Hungry Horse, or Columbia Falls, then commuting to work is reasonable. You are still welcome to share meals with us. Commuters from Kalispell or Whitefish will likely be overwhelmed by the long drive combined with the long workdays and thus we do not recommend this.
Staff in our Swan and Salmon Forks locations can expect canvas wall tents with wood stoves in the front country, and either wall tents or pole tents in the backcountry. All meals are provided. A cook prepares staff and client meals in the cook tent and all meals are served family or buffet style. On some backcountry trips, the guides function as the cooks to prepare meals over portable stoves or campfires.
Commuters: given the remote locations, commuting daily is not very reasonable for most positions in this division. Local guides often stay in their wall tent (or, they'll be camping in the wilderness on a trip) during the workweek and return home only on their days off. However, the unique nature of the purchasing manager position would be conducive to commuting from Kalispell or its surrounding towns.
Our staff can receive discounts at several local retailers (i.e. Army Navy Store, Murdoch's Home, and Ranch supply, etc.). In our own "Crown of the Continent Discovery Center" staff will receive discounts on merchandise and food and drink.
Local rafting companies will often honor discounts for our employees to enjoy river rafting trips. Transportation and hospitality services in Glacier National Park (Xanterra, Pursuit, Glacier Park Boat Co) have also honored discounts for our staff using their services, however, due to Covid-19, we aren't sure what to expect.
Our employees will each receive vouchers to be able to have their friends/family participate in activities offered by Swan Mountain Outfitters at a free or discounted rate.
Staff are welcome to rent the mopeds for free too (as long as it doesn't conflict with other rentals and you replace the fuel).
Getting Here and Getting Around
Initial transportation to your worksite can be arranged from the Kalispell Airport (FCA) or the Whitefish or West Glacier Amtrak train stops.
Staff lacking vehicles can and do have FUN summers using creative ways to get around. But, overall, we do recommend a personal vehicle. Although there are over 740 miles of maintained hiking trails inside Glacier National Park, getting to the trailhead of your choice or exploring the area in general on your days off is much easier with a vehicle. Glacier National Park has featured shuttle services in the past, but it is not yet clear how these will operate in 2021 due to Covid-19. Additionally, not all of our employee housing locations feature laundry machines or cell phone service.
If you do not have a personal vehicle, please mention it in your interview or interview follow-up. Because we have multiple locations, knowing that you lack a vehicle can help us select a location that is going to be the best fit for you and allow you to get the most out of your summer.
What to do in your time off? Although we can't guarantee what will be open in 2021 due to Covid, here are some ways our staff has had fun in the past:
- Hike and camp! Hiking is extremely popular among our staff. Northwest Montana's mountainous terrain affords excellent hiking with hundreds and hundreds of miles of maintained trails.
- Ride the lifts at Big Mountain Ski Resort in Whitefish! In the summer you can mountain bike here.
- Try zip-lining or a high ropes course!
- Rafting! There are several river rafting outfitters to choose from.
- Fishing! Get a Montana fishing license for waters outside the Park. Inside the Park fishing is free!
- Jump in the river or lake! Our staff have a couple favorite swimming holes.
- Go paddleboarding or boating on Flathead Lake! And, visit Wild Horse Island.
- Use your passport? We aren't sure what 2021 holds for crossing the border, but employees have enjoyed visiting Waterton Park in Canada.
- Go to the Rodeo!
- Enjoy live music and food trucks at the weekly farmer's market
- Learn to two-step! Western dancing lessons at the Blue Moon Bar
- Have a campfire with your friends!
- Star Parties! These are stargazing events hosted by the NPS with telescopes and trained staff to help you enjoy the night's sky.
- Try axe throwing!
- See the Hungry Horse dam
How to Apply
Visit our website to submit your application.