The Mission Ranch was purchased in 1948 by our grandparents, Florence and Almon Walborn. It has remained in the family ever since.

The ranch was taken over by their daughter, Zena, in 1990. Having been raised on the ranch, she instilled in her three children — Rob Stephens, Darcy LaBeau, and Zena Dell Lowe — a deep and profound appreciation of the rich legacy they had inherited. It had always been their mother’s dream to have the ranch continue in the family. Realizing that her children were not going to become ranchers, Zena came up with the idea of building a lodge to supplement ranch income and open up their vast heritage to the public. Sadly, Zena passed away from colon cancer way too early, and the task of running the ranch fell to the three siblings.

With busy, independent careers of their own, they were fortunate to have an excellent ranch manager, Rich Phillips, already handling the beef side of the operations. However, to help financially support their cattle business, the siblings decided to pursue completing the lodge their mother had built prior to her illness and subsequent death. Their endeavors have resulted in the Mission Ranch Lodge becoming one of the best vacation destinations in the greater Yellowstone area.

We hope you will come and enjoy our lodge and experience life around  a working ranch.

Rob, Darcy and Zena


Lewis and Clark

On their return trip to the east over two centuries ago, Lewis and Clark separated to cover more ground. While Captain Lewis fought for his life elsewhere, Captain Clark allegedly built canoes out of the cottonwoods on the Yellowstone River right here on our property.

Fort Parker

The Mission Ranch was the site of the first Crow Indian Agency (Fort Parker) in 1869. The first building of the agency burned in 1872 and was rebuilt in adobe on the current site.

There is speculation that two other buildings from Fort Parker still exist on our place. One of them is a dilapidated old red log cabin, moved by the highway to its current location when I-90 was being constructed. This would have been one of two living spaces for the men assigned to Fort Parker. The other red log cabin is rumored to have been moved from the ranch shortly after the agency closed in 1875.

The Hicks Cellar

When Fort Parker closed in 1875, the agency simply left its buildings behind. The Hicks family took advantage of the abandoned structures and “squatted” here in the 1880’s. Apparently, the Hicks family enjoyed throwing festive parties on the place. They also built a cellar into the side of the hill next to Mission Creek, the remains of which have never been touched.

The Kennelly Ruins

The ruins of Kennelly Castle are also on ranch property. As legend has it, Mr. Kennelly wanted to build a castle for his young bride-to-be. Unfortunately, he got into a water rights “dispute” with a neighbor, and was forced to abandon his castle circa the 1890’s.

The Mission Ranch Dairy Barn

In the late 1890’s, the Mission Ranch became a dairy farm, and the Mission Ranch Barn was erected. This original dairy barn was the site of all the milk produced for Yellowstone National Park. A train would stop right here on the place to collect the milk on its way into the park.


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