The Sentinel Pine is a private estate in Bigfork, MT available for personal and professional gatherings. These accommodations are near Glacier National Park.

Sentinel Pine Home




Paddle Boarding


Paddle Boarding


Wedding Couple


Wedding Shot


Wedding Chairs


Family Walk


Paddle Boarding


Paddle Boarding


Dock on lake


Dock on lake


Baby in wagon




Sunset on lake


Sunset on lake




















Guest Reviews and Montana Memories


We have the privilege of making memories and dreams come true since we began selectively renting our summer home a few years ago. We believe that our guest pictures speak for themselves.


Three generations of our family — from 6 to 76 — from California, Texas and Washington, DC — spent an action-packed, perfect week at Sentinel Pine. Each homey cabin seemed to be an ideal fit for one of our 6 families. Inside and outside, there were convenient places to gather together or in small and large groups -- overlooking beautiful Swan Lake or cuddled on the couch on the screened porch. Although the waterfront with paddle boards, kayaks, a canoe and high-diving board was our principal hangout, our teen grandchildren also organized kickball and tennis tournaments for our “field day”. On a cloudy day, inside the spacious, comfortable and well-stocked lodge, two granddaughters organized a cookie bakeoff. There was “Scattergories” competition, too. From start to finish, we had everything we needed. Jim and Tom helped out at every turn — from advanced planning to finding extra cookie sheets at the last minute. A hike at Cold Lake near Sentinel Pine, a day at Glacier and an afternoon on a white water raft trip on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, plus an evening at the fantastic Summer Playhouse gave us opportunities to explore the neighborhood. We all fell in love with Montana, especially Sentinel Pine. We didn’t want to leave. It was our best family vacation ever!

  • Tyrrell, July 2019


Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful Sentinel Pine with our group. It was even better than I expected from the description and reviews -it is hard to do it justice in photos and words. The setting was spectacular, morning, noon and night, and the nearness to Glacier and other wonderful places to hike and visit added to the charms. The main lodge was so attractive and designed to maximize both comfort and views. The lake was lovely for swimming. The kitchen was also great for our group, and we were easily able to cook together - this may also be the first site we have ever had where we did not need to push tables together to all eat as one! We gathered many times on the huge dock and on the lawn, both thoughtfully outfitted with comfy chairs. We also greatly appreciated your many special touches: the paddle boards, kayaks and canoe, the computer and printer, the spices and appliances in the kitchen, the walk-in cooler, the puzzles, beach towels, etc. etc. etc. Tom was always ready to help out and always helpful, and the group enjoyed chatting with him and getting to know him a bit. It was also great for Jodie and me to be able to arrive a day early to get the lay of the land and assign rooms.

I thought you might like to see comments about Sentinel from some of our crew, below:

DB: We deeply enjoyed the peace and beauty of the property. I was surprised how much this lodge on a northern lake recalled the feel of the much smaller cabins four generations in our family, on a northern lake half a continent away. It was a tough choice deciding whether to stay "at home" or venture afield for each day's activities. Tom was wonderful to talk with and a great asset.
DE: Loved the place, it was both beautiful and comfortable as well as convenient to sites and activities. It was also well equipped, and Tom did a terrific job of keeping the place up and was very helpful and nice.
KF: I appreciated how helpful Tom was. Also having two grills and a walk-in refrigerator was great. It has egregiously raised the bar on my definition of a perfect summer home!
RR: What a great place!
MG: It was such a beautiful place and so perfect for our annual gathering!
LM: What a fabulous find!

  • Elizabeth, August 2019


Dear Jim,
Wanted to personally thank you again for the extraordinary week our group spent at your Sentinel Pine property. We get together every year, are very close and are not easily impressed. But we met our match this time. We have people of all kinds - single, married with kids, married without kids - you name it. We never had our get together out West, let alone in a place as evocative, accommodating and impressive as yours. Everyone was overwhelmed and had an amazing time, including the young kids, who will have unforgettable memories of that week for the rest of their lives. From the gorgeous main lodge, to the charming cabins, to the extraordinary lake, to the attention to detail in every field, nook and cranny, to the amazing environs (Glacier, Jewel Basin, Bigfork and much, much more) we couldn't have asked for a more unique and special experience. Your caretaker Tom, who has been in the hospitality business for years, was incredibly attentive to all of us and wonderfully sensitive to the needs and nature education of the kids. A vacation like this is not inexpensive, but the joy and camaraderie that your remarkable property brought to each and every one us will stay with us for a very long time - it is a remarkable value. Thank you again for enabling us to share this magical place, which is so clearly infused with the love of the family that has nurtured it for generations and which stands today as the sentinel that it is: an indelible and majestic part of the history of its spectacular surroundings.

  • Alan, July 2017


We had a fabulous time at Sentinel Pine! It was truly a dream come true. We wanted it to be special because we were celebrating our 50th anniversary and in every way it could not have been better!! Our group consisted of 5 families, with 10 adults and 15 cousins from 9 to 21 years old. The accommodations really worked out well and gave the children a chance to sleep over with a different family when they wanted. The children and the adults were not on their cell phones and we didn't even think about TV. We felt like we had our own private camp...the kayaks, row boat, paddle boards, fishing poles, diving board and all the sports equipment were used. They had a wonderful time playing and exploring, skipping rocks, catching crawfish, fishing, playing tennis, looking for arrowheads, swimming and then staying up in the main lodge until the wee hours of the morning playing poker. We also had a great time going into Glacier National Park, rafting and horseback riding. Going to the Big Fork Summer Playhouse was a real treat and both children were really impressed with the quality of the production. Tom (the onsite caretaker) was very attentive to our needs! He could not have been more helpful in his suggestions for hiking trails and just answering any questions we had. He took Bob and I out to pick huckleberries so the next morning we made huckleberry pancakes for everyone. That was truly a Montana treat!! We hated to leave this beautiful property. It was so nice to just sit on the dock or in a lawn chair in the evening and soak in the beauty we were surrounded by. Our whole family also enjoyed the ball field in a competitive game of kick ball and we loved seeing the deer grazing on it in the mornings or evenings. Our week at Sentinel Pine is something we will always cherish!!!

  • Elaine, July 2017


We left our hearts in Sentinel Pine. Our trip was spectacular. Everyone felt right at home from the moment we arrived. I can only remember a handful of times when things turned out this much better than expected. Not only that, this group was as varied as they come, both in age ( 2 1/2 years to 75 years) and backgrounds ( Professional outdoor guide to New York City slicker) and everyone was in agreement that this was the best family trip ever.

On the first day, some of us went fishing. We caught some pretty big fish that day and Tom helped us fry them up for lunch. Whether you spent your day on the dock, on a paddleboard till sunset or touring Glacier National Park, there was something for everyone. My personal favorite activities were the watercolor class and yoga in the mornings in the meadow. The classes we scheduled with some locals turned out fabulous.

David, my 2 1/2-year-old grandson, found Sentinel Pine to be a magical place. He arrived at night asleep and didn't see the property until the next morning. The view from his window in New York City is quite different. When he went to the window to pull the drapes aside, he couldn't believe his eyes, "Mommy, Mommy", he shouted, "come see, there's trees outside our window!" It took David 2 days before he could allow himself to nap.

Our nephew Dunham, 5 years old, told Tom he wanted to live there forever and after 35 years I was actually coerced into doing a backflip off your dock diving board. I got props for that!

We filled our evenings with campfire chats and game times in the lodge till the wee hours of the morning. Local events, Tom, Cindy from Elk Horn Deli and the Local Farmer's Market put the finishing touches on our historical "Camp Chamberlain" surprise birthday adventure. It was particularly nice that each family had their own cabin and yet we were all still together. Economically, this was a great value when you do the math for a large party on a per person basis. We had full use of the property with the privacy we needed for such an event. If I would have tried to manage this same opportunity at a hotel, it would have cost us three times the price for anywhere near the same quality. Thank you for making it available to us. I'll be calling for another trip soon. Please feel free to use my name for any references and offer my contact information if people have any questions about renting Sentinel Pine!

  • Karyn & Mike, August 2016


Bucket List trip! If you're looking for a Montana adventure that includes Glacier National Park, Fishing, hiking, wildlife, etc. or just want to disconnect and get away from it all then Sentinel Pine is the place to stay. We started our days with coffee on the huge porch overlooking the pristine Swan Lake and ended our days with dinner on the huge 20 foot long handmade dining room table. Deserts consisted of a glass of Red on the dock while watching the fish jumping during incredible Montana sunsets, or a good book, a toasty fire in the huge main lodge fireplace and a cocktail. (You'll sleep like a baby every night!) In between we experienced the all the beauty western Montana has to offer including Glacier National Park, fantastic fishing and kayaking on the Swan and Montana wildlife of just about every kind.

While en-route to Montana I was offered advice by 2 different people at 2 different airports to fish with the same guide (Eric Bjorge). How could I go wrong! During our full day float trip down the Swan River I boated 15 fish from 5 different trout species. This was definitely a bucket list trip!

Sentinel Pine is a cozy and well maintained private home on the shores of Swan Lake which is surrounded by snow caped (thru Mid- June) mountains. The two main buildings are beautifully handcrafted traditional log cabins and decorated in a manner that bring you back to a simpler time. The décor, especially the wide wrap around porch of the main lodge brought back memories of my grandparents and growing up in the 60's and 70's.

Thanks to the McGraths who own the place and their caretaker Tom, we had the best vacation in years. What a special place.

  • Steve, Joanne, Marcia & Dennis, July 2016


In July 2016, 22 old friends met at Sentinel Pine for a reunion. We were looking for a place with outdoor activities, comfortable accommodations for a large group,and a place to cook and eat together. Sentinel Pine was perfect! It was the ideal place to hang out and visit, play games, or sit on the dock and enjoy the view. The lake provided kayakers and paddle boarders hours of fun. The brave ones dove from the diving board on the dock into the lake for evening swims. Hiking and Glacier National Park were near by, the city of Big Fork provided dining and theatre opportunities. But the best times were hanging out enjoying the view and the rustic charm of Sentinel Pine. We shared many meals at the big dining table that comfortably sat us all. There was room for us all to gather together and room for quiet retreat. The onsite caretaker was friendly and helpful.

Sentinel Pine is not inexpensive, but divided by 22, the value was well worth it on a per person/per night basis and Sentinel Pine was an exceptional place to stay. The owner Jim McGrath was very responsive to my many questions and so helpful working with us on details and logistics. I highly recommend Sentinel Pine for a large group looking for a place to enjoy the mountains and old Montana charm.

  • Ellen, June 2016


The Sentinel Pine property is a treasure, a beautiful private setting full of history. The old style lodge is idyllic, especially when viewed at twilight with lights on and Swan Lake in the background. That view is one of our favorite memories! The views looking south from the Point House are stunning. It's just an amazing property well-suited for a large group needing a little elbow room. Everyone in my family had a blast, from 5-year old nephew to 88-year old grandmother. Having the swim/boat dock and various sports equipment was icing on the cake. And Tom the new caretaker is a gem! He was very responsive to everything we asked, and he works hard to make sure every detail gets handled. We never would have known he was brand new to the job. Our experience was worth every penny.

  • Debra, July 2015


We were so happy to rent the Sentinel Pine for our extended family from North Carolina and Georgia during the week of our wedding festivities. The baseball field was perfect for our family and friends softball game. There was even plenty of room for a local Bigfork hot dog vendor to pull up to entertain our guests. The opportunity for 25 family members to have individual family accommodation while being on one property was absolutely perfect. The views of Swan Lake are unparalleled. I am convinced that the main lodge back patio has the best view of Swan Peak of any other property on the lake. The canoes, kayaks and paddle boards were the perfect way to take On the sun, sunsets and even midnight stars. The main lodge was perfect for groups to convene early in the morning or late at night for games and guitar around the beautiful fireplace. We highly recommend Sentinel Pine for other active families.

  • Lexi and Preston, August 2014


As a point of reference our family holds a family reunion every three years and recent excursions have included an Alberta lake property, a fishing lodge in the Ontario Muskoka area and Mayan Riviera. The property on Swan Lake was a huge hit and in comparison financially was a great deal and matched our family.s character to a tee.

Jim McGrath was excellent to deal with and answered any questions promptly, encouraging us to stop in prior to the actual booking of Aug 1-8 to check things out and plan the sleeping arrangements for our large family. This step was critical in helping us make the proper decisions as many guests arrival was staggered over two days.

We were all enthralled by the rustic nature of the property and enjoyed examining all the nuances of the wall decorations. We held an anniversary dinner in the main lodge and easily sat all 30 of us around the table, a bit tight but that is what family is all about.

During the day we would pretty much all be down at the boat dock using a ski boat we had rented privately or lounging around the water. My five year old daughter got up skiing on her first attempt and we all cheered like crazy as she skied by the boat dock.

During the evening we congregated at the lodge having fantastic family time, which is the key to the gatherings as the majority are scattered across Canada and even as far as Asia. There were cards games galore and Robert the caretaker was a magician at having fire wood there to burn and removed the garbage as if he was invisible.

All in all this was a fantastic location and facility and we would recommend it to anyone looking for quality private time as a family who don.t mind cooking your own meals and spending time outdoors.

  • Christine, August 2013


We just got home last night, reluctantly; we were so sad to leave! It was absolutely wonderful! The layout was perfect for our family - and all 30 of us had an excellent, excellent, excellent time! Morning walks around the property, peaceful mid-morning kayak rides, lazy lunches on the dock, afternoon crafts on the lawn, delicious dinners in the lodge, post-dinner kickball games on the field and lively card games into the wee hours. It was so memorable; I hope that my 5-year-old is able to recall it, because he had an absolute blast! It was the perfect balance of comfort and nature, and the daily activities could be molded to fit any age.from my 15-month-old daughter to my 86-year-old grandmother.

My husband, Matt, and I spent the ride home trying to figure out a way to get back there with a group of our friends next summer! Just have to find a group large enough . . . And the entire family agreed that we need to make it a destination for one of our future biennial reunions!

Robert and Carol were wonderfully helpful and accommodating. What a lovely couple you have taking care of things! It was nice to know that they were always around in case we needed anything.

I was particularly intrigued by the main lodge. That building is so rich with history! I wanted to know every little thing about every wall-hanging and piece of furniture. I could nearly immerse myself into a 1950s cocktail hour in the sun room! And the Point House is an amazing addition, I can see why you spend a lot of your time there; the view is amazing. On the last night Matt and I sat on your patio and watched for shooting stars. (Saw one!)

I wish I could relive last week over and over again. It was such a fantastic and complete escape from day-to-day life. You and your family are so fortunate to have that place - I hope you use it often! It is my goal to rent it again sooner rather than later!

  • Amanda, August 2012


Our daughters have fond memories of their enchanted life growing up on Swan Lake, which included special times at Sentinel Pine. Swan Lake is as romantic and beautiful as it sounds, so when they both were planning their weddings (just 20 days apart) it was natural that they would want to stage their events on their beloved Swan Lake.

During the first wedding my five sisters and their families and my father stayed at Sentinel Pine, which provided a perfect setting for our first family reunion in four years, with lots of fun on-site with volleyball, baseball, tennis, croquet, swimming, diving, and kayaking along with long laughter-filled meals and lively cribbage games capped off by musical performances by family members at the Main Lodge. Unlike other resorts where previous reunions were held, our family had the place to themselves, so it truly felt like one big happy family.

Our second daughter.s wedding was held at Sentinel Pine on a perfect summer day . 70s and sunny . a typical August day on Swan Lake. Family and close friends were seated lakeside during the ceremony held against Nature.s stage - beneath towering pines, next to a sheet of emerald water that slid into rugged mountains topped by endless blue skies. Afterwards guests enjoyed a casual yet beautiful reception in the shade of scented pine trees. A tent served as a bar and sitting area and tables perched above the lakeshore as an outdoor dining room. Family and close friends stayed at Sentinel Pine, which extended the fun of the wedding into a fun-filled vacation week.

At the end of summer we had new family members and a boatload of new memories. All made in a place where dreams really do come true.

  • Kay, July 2012


My family and friends rented The Sentinel Pine in August 2011 and we had the best vacation experience possible. Simply stated, this is a very beautiful and incredible property. The location was easy to get to being directly on Swan Lake and just 15 minutes from downtown Bigfork. The grounds at Sentinal Pine were awesome because there was something for everyone to do. Myself and my 7 year old stepson took advantage of many of the amenities available including the tennis courts, baseball equipment, fishing, kayaking, swimming and boating, and our favorite, diving off the 6 foot diving board into beautiful Swan Lake. On the property there are plenty of open areas to peacefully relax, play some Frisbee, or have a game of croquet. The accommodations were great as they were typical Montana and blended in perfectly with the property. I had a beautiful view of the rolling lawn and the water just outside my bedroom window in the Sentinel House. The Main Lodge was awesome as well. It is tastefully decorated and is a great gathering place for meals, chatting on the large front porch, or for some evening cocktails. The owner, Jim, had left a great informational package for all the guests with suggestions on the surrounding areas activities as well as his personal reviews of many local restaurants. I took his recommendations and visited some local establishments and I was never disappointed. Someday I hope to return to the Sentinel Pine for another visit. I would give this my absolute highest recommendation--what a great time we all had!

  • Dave, July 2012


Our group of 7 couples had a wonderful time at Sentinel Pine Estates in August 2011 and wished we could've stayed longer. We loved the setting, the deer roaming around, the dock, the kayaks, the canoe...everything was lovely. The location is perfect; close enough to Bigfork (a couple people rode their bikes into town) but with a feeling of seclusion. The large kitchen and pantry were great for our group and we had most of our meals there. We all enjoyed the piano and the porch, especially in the evening. Robert graciously gave us a boat ride and helped with parking the RVs and getting supplies to the houses. We also appreciated the history and photos in the lodge and the Point House. Your home, the Point House, is very comfortable and we spent lots of time on the terrace watching the skiers and boaters.

I highly recommend Sentinel Pine Estates for families and groups of good friends. There is enough space for privacy, yet you are all together.

  • Connie, August 2011


Jim, let me thank you again for the use of your place on Swan Lake. All 20 of us, from young to old, had a wonderful vacation. You really have a little piece of heaven there. Sentinel Pine is both beautiful and relaxing. If you recall it was a bit chilly in the mornings that week and so we began each day drinking our coffee in front of the fire in the main lodge as we planned the day's events. Most of us came from the record breaking heat wave on the east coast so it was a wonderful way to start our day. Each day though it soon warmed up and we loved spending our afternoons hanging out on the dock and boating on the lake. Some of us went horseback riding, others drove up to Glacier, or did a bit of fly fishing and hiking while others simply curled up with a good book and took in the great vistas. Of course tubing down the river was a thrill we won't soon forget. I also have to say I loved the kitchen in the lodge. With food from the nearby grocery stores you had everything else we needed to easily put together good meals for our gang. The accommodations were more than comfortable and having multiple homes gave every family the space they needed. The highlight of our week was the family baseball game on your ball field where "The Jacks" bested "The Joes" by 4 runs. Please give my best to Robert and Carol. They had the place in pristine condition when we arrived and took care of our every need. They couldn't have been more hospitable. Thanks again -- we truly love Sentinel Pine.

  • Sally, July 2011


Our experience at Sentinel Pine was absolutely wonderful. The property provided all the activities we wanted, such as tennis, basketball, baseball, volleyball, swimming, and just about anything anyone could have wanted including rest and relaxation. While the website sold us on the facility, the reality is Sentinel Pine was absolutely perfect for a group such as we were with varying tastes and requirements. The dining room was first class, yet casual and comfortable. We thought the views of the lake and mountains made our food tastier and our meals and conversations longer and more relaxing. The dock area was perfect for all our needs. Kayaking and canoeing on this smooth lake was a pleasure. The dock area was perfect for swimmers, sunbathers, and for those who us who preferred shade. As a night-time bonus, we all thought the dock was an ideal spot to view the beautiful Montana sky, complete with shooting stars and occasional orbiting satellites. Absolutely awesome!

Of course the area outside of the property was very interesting and lots of fun too. We visited Bigfork, Whitefish, Kalispell, and, of course, the spectacular Glacier National Park. We were delighted with your recommended dining guide and points of interest. Your spending so much time with us before the trip (hours) planning our activities took all the guesswork out of exploration and made it easy to personalize our daily itineraries.

The property caretakers Robert and Carol were friendly, helpful, and available for any questions or assistance.

Regarding the cost of our trip: we all agreed that the cost for staying at Sentinel Pine was well worth its price and is an experience we would repeat without hesitation as it totally exceeded our already high expectations. Thanks for the opportunity to share such a beautiful place in the world with us.

  • Jack, June 2011


I rented The Sentinel Pine this summer with several friends as a group of 16. It was an exceptional vacation experience, wonderful in so many ways, and I would give it a "10" on a 1-to-10 scale for sure, and recommend it to anyone! The houses and cabins were everything featured in the website, and more, by a lot. The beds were new and immensely comfortable. We swam just about every day, cold but invigorating and fun! The dining room and cocktail area were stunning with their views, and the kitchen could have easily handled a group much larger than ours. The caretaker Robert and his wife Carol were there to help in every way, always with a big Montana smile. Financially, an incredible deal when we look at everything we got. This is a one-of-a-kind place in an amazing location. My only regret is that my wife of 45 years, who passed away a year ago, couldn't enjoy this incredible place with me.

  • Ralph, August 2010


Dear Jim,
I wanted to let you know what an incredible time our wedding party of 25 guests had at the Sentinel Pine in early August, it exceeded even our already very high expectations. There is no place like NW Montana, no place like Swan Lake and there is simply no place like the Sentinel Pine on Swan Lake. We felt so very special to be able to stay there. We had guests in virtually every bed and there were arguments in the evening trying to decide who had the best accommodations as they were all terrific. Special thanks to Robert and Carol who had the place looking great when we arrived and who were there to answer all our questions and provide assistance. The kids and adults loved hanging out on the dock and we were all shocked when my young nephews figured out that a simple, well-placed night crawler over the side would raise a number of fairly large trout. We would recommend the Sentinel Pine to anyone, and I must say that it was an outstanding value, well worth every penny for sure. We look forward to a return stay in future summers, and wish you the best.

  • Ken, July 2010


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