1.20.2016

The Cinnamon Lodge: An Under-Rated Gem in the Gallatin Canyon


Big Sky, MTNumerous commercial properties dot Highway 191 between Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park. Some of them, like the Corral and Rainbow Ranch, have stellar reputations and are local institutions that we are drawn back to again and again. Other establishments, such as the Cinnamon Lodge, have been around forever and are an under-rated gem.

I recall eating at the Cinnamon Lodge exactly once when I lived in Big Sky in the mid 90s, but don't remember much about the food, the atmosphere or the reputation. Since moving back to Montana in 2005, I seldom hear folks talking about it and never considered visiting again until until recently.

Yellowstone National Park
Mike and I first took notice of the Cinnamon Lodge when driving back from a backpacking trip in Yellowstone in 2014. We noticed their sign advertising $50 cabins, which seemed too good to be true, but we stopped in anyway to take a look. After being shown a cabin and taking in the ambiance of their riverside location, it seemed like a great place and certainly a good value for the money. While we didn't get around to staying there last year, we were sure to put Cinnamon Lodge high on our list for this winter.

We had the chance to spend the night there this past weekend, and while we weren't sure what to expect, our expectations were exceed in every realm. The location, 11 miles south of Big Sky and seven miles north of Yellowstone, make it an ideal spot for a quick trip out of town for any skiing enthusiast. Once again, we took advantage of the chance to ski in the Powder Belt for two consecutive days without having to drive each day.

We opted for a $50 cabin and invited Shana and Ted along for the adventure. The cabin had a 'frig and microwave, two beds and a small table and sitting area.  The decor was a bit dated but the cabin was in good shape and was warm. While it would have been nice to have a bit more room, it was far from being crammed. 

One nice thing about sharing a $50 cabin is that you don't feel overindulgent when you head out for dinner. Cinnamon Lodge has a restaurant they bill as a "Mexican Steak House." I am usually a bit suspect when a dining establishment tries to combine cuisines and given their remote location we weren't expecting much, but we were all in agreement that it was great. The four of us opted for Mexican food, which was tasty, decently portioned and reasonably priced. The Margaretta's, both on the rocks and blended, were as good as they are anywhere, and our only regret is that we had no room left to try the sopapilla cheesecake, which I have since learned has quite a reputation.

Overall, it was a quiet and cozy destination. Only two of the ten cabins are available to rent in the winter (The rest are long-term rentals for seasons employees at the ski resort.) so we were the only overnight guests. We saw one other party in the dining room and no locals frequented the bar in the evening. Fortunately, the restaurant isn't huge so if felt very comfortable despite being empty. The waitstaff was friendly and the service was great.

I would strongly recommend the Cinnamon Lodge to everyone from to Bozemanites looking for a quick night out town to visitors to Montana. It has everything you need without the fuss or the hype of other local destinations. You can't go wrong.
Shana rocks the yellow mirrored glasses

Some photos from our weekend...
It was a sepia kind of day
Cabin life