Black Mountain Ranch

Property Map

Black Mountain Ranch - Recently Sold

Ennis, Montana

The Black Mountain Ranch is a 4,570± acre ranch (includes a 640± acre state lease) located in the Madison River Valley adjoining the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area just 15 miles south of Ennis. The ranch runs from Highway 287 in a contiguous block to the Wilderness boundary. The landscape consists of an alluvial bench that gives way to 200± acres of irrigated hay meadows and then ascends across rolling grass-covered hills which finally become covered with pine and aspen groves as the ranch reaches the Wilderness boundary. The views are awe-inspiring with Sphinx, Helmet, Black, and Three Sisters peaks towering over the ranch. The primary water feature on the ranch is the cottonwood-lined Indian Creek Ditch which is a seasonal stream providing irrigation and stock water to Black Mountain and other ranches further downstream. Excellent water rights allow for the sprinkler irrigation of 200± acres which provides a hay base for a 150 to 200 animal unit operation. Except for a set of corrals and fences, the ranch is unimproved. Protected by a conservation easement, the Black Mountain Ranch includes a road right to access the Big Sky Resort by way of Jack Creek.


Black Mountain Ranch is located 15 miles south of Ennis and 56 miles north of West Yellowstone on the east side of the Madison Valley at the base of the Madison Range. It lies in one contiguous block between Highway 287, the highway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area. Access is off of Highway 287 at Cameron onto the Bear Creek Road - a paved county road that changes to gravel for four miles before entering the ranch and eventually connects back to Highway 287.

A small airport and fixed base operation complete with jet fuel is located approximately 15 minutes to the north of the ranch between Cameron and Ennis. The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is located at Belgrade, approximately an hour and 15 minutes from the property. Delta, Horizon, and United offer multiple daily flights (jet and turbo prop operated) to and from their respective hubs of Salt Lake City/Minneapolis, Seattle, and Denver. Additionally, Frontier and Allegiant also service this airport. It should also be noted that during the summer and winter tourist seasons, there are many direct flights to other major US metropolitan areas too numerous to mention here. Recently the airport opened a customs station to accept international passengers. In 2012 the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport became the busiest airport in the state of Montana with almost 900,000 passenger enplanements and deplanements. It also has two fixed based operations providing a variety of services to those who utilize private aircraft.


The Black Mountain Ranch is in the enviable position of being located in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Rocky Mountain region. The Madison Valley is world famous for its superb fly-fishing and dramatic mountain scenery. The valley was created millions of years ago by glacial action leaving a broad river valley, expansive alluvial benches, deep canyons coming out of the surrounding mountain ranges and towering granite peaks. The Madison River starts at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbons Rivers in Yellowstone National Park and flows north to the headwaters of the Missouri River at Three Forks where it converges with the Gallatin and Jefferson Rivers to form the Missouri. The main part of the Madison Valley is encompassed by the Centennial Range to the south, the Madison Range to the east, the Gravelly Range to the west and the Tobacco Root Range to the north.

The ranch is situated in an area that is known for its large cattle ranches. The Sun Ranch and Carroll Ranch lie to the south, the Bar 7 Ranch to the west and Cedar Creek Ranch and the Jumping Horse Ranches lie to the north. In addition to its agricultural surroundings, as previously mentioned the ranch borders the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area which is an important component of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It is also contiguous to the State of Montana Bear Creek Game Management Area that is used primarily for elk winter range and calving. One of the major benefits of land ownership in the Madison Valley is that over 85,000 acres of privately held lands are protected from future development by conservation easements and the surrounding mountain ranges are federally owned, providing unimpeded views in perpetuity. The easements assure that these lands will be enjoyed by future generations as open space.

The Black Mountain Ranch is conveniently located to enjoy much that southwest Montana has to offer. Ennis, a very attractive small town of 800 and the headquarters for fly fisherman destined for the Madison River, is a 20-minute drive north of the ranch. It offers good restaurants, art galleries, fly shops and guide services in abundance. It is also a trade center for a geographic area, which includes the Madison Valley and the eastern slope of the Tobacco Roots to the north.

Bozeman is just over an hour’s drive from the ranch. With a population of roughly 40,000 residents, Bozeman is home to Montana State University and another 14,000 student residents. It boasts the Museum of the Rockies and an active community theater and arts group. A major opera production is offered each spring. The city is a commerce center, providing virtually every service one might require. It has been a leader amongst Montana cities in attracting preferred industry.

From the ranch one has easy access to all the recreational pursuits one might wish to enjoy. Fishing on the Madison is within 15 minutes, and the Yellowstone, Gallatin, Jefferson, Henry’s Fork, Beaverhead, Big Hole, Ruby and Missouri are all within a two-hour drive from the ranch. Hiking, horse pack trips, camping and wildlife watching are out the back door. The Bear Creek Trail is a major trailhead into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness and is within five minutes from the ranch boundary. One could ride quite easily off the ranch into the Wilderness. For the winter sports enthusiast, superb skiing is available at Bridger Bowl, Moonlight Basin and Big Sky Ski and Summer Resort.

General Description: 

The land lies in a contiguous block six miles in length and up to three miles in width from Highway 287 to the Lee Metcalf Wilderness boundary. Approaching the ranch from Highway 287 on the western boundary, one looks across the Cameron Bench east towards the Madison Range and the prominent Madison Valley landmark, Sphinx Mountain. The Cameron Bench is a large alluvial fan that stretches from the Madison River up to the base of the mountains. A long cottonwood-lined waterway, the Indian Creek Ditch, runs across the bench flowing north, providing irrigation water for adjoining ranches. The Indian Creek Ditch also provides the irrigation water (1,500 shares) for the irrigated land on the ranch as well as a lovely seasonal stream upon which to site one’s buildings. The owner states that he believes it is one of the most dependable sources of water in the valley. Crossing the Bear Creek county road, the topography changes to rolling grass-covered foothills and as one approaches the mountains, there are fingers of timber and aspen groves with year-round springs lined with willows traversing the open mountain meadows.


3,930± Deeded
640± State of Montana Lease (284 AUM’s)
4,570± Total

Acreage Breakdown: 

202± Sprinkler irrigated hay-land
One “Lockwood” 7-tower pivot irrigating 145± acres
One wheel-line; and two “Big Squirt” guns
4,368± grazing lands (including lease land)


In addition to being perimeter fenced and cross-fenced, the ranch has the irrigation equipment mentioned in the “Acreage” section of this brochure along with two pumps that move the irrigation water. Other than that and a set of livestock corrals, the ranch is unimproved. However, the conservation easement allows for three home sites that are reasonably well defined. Each represents a beautiful building site and each building envelope is situated to allow one the opportunity to build in the perfect setting.


Ennis, out in the middle of the Madison Valley, typically has 90 frost-free days and receives 11.5 inches of precipitation annually. The Black Mountain Ranch, with its location at the foot of the mountains, would normally have about 75 frost-free days and receive between 14 and 16 inches of precipitation. With the Continental Divide at the south end of the valley, the prevailing wind is from the south. In the winter months, this wind, commonly known as a Chinook, bears the snow off the benches and ridges allowing winter grazing for the livestock and wildlife. In the summer months, thunderstorms build over the mountains. One often enjoys the cooling effects of these rain showers during the afternoons and evenings in the valley.

The elevation at the ranch runs from 5,412 feet at Highway 287 up to 7,020 feet on the Wilderness boundary. As previously mentioned, the lower lands on the ranch consist of the relatively flat lands of the Cameron Bench, with the upper elevations consisting of steeper foothills leading into more alpine terrain.

General Operations: 

The Black Mountain Ranch has been operated as a cow/calf ranch and we estimate the carrying capacity to be around 200 animal units. This would consist of approximately 150 cows with the appropriate number of bulls, replacement heifers and horses necessary to carry the operation. To winter cattle in the Madison Valley, historically ranchers have fed two tons to two and one-half tons of hay between December first and May first. Aggressive utilization of the irrigated lands would provide enough hay production to carry 200 animal units. With the Cameron Bench native grazing lands, one would have adequate spring grazing and the fall grazing would take place as “aftermath” grazing on the hay fields. Summer grazing would be under the mountains. Clearly, this form of operation would require the construction of a full set of operating improvements.

The current owner runs arround 200 on the ranch during the grazing season and feeds the hay out before bringing the cows to another ranch for calving. The current owner would be interested in leasing back the ranch to run in conjunction with other cattle operations.

Wildlife Resources: 

As previously mentioned, the Black Mountain Ranch is ideally located to explore the fishing opportunities of southwest Montana and eastern Idaho. One of the most compelling features of the ranch is its proximity to the Lee Metcalf Wilderness and Bear Creek Game Management Area because of the big game animals that call this protected area home. In addition, southwest of the ranch located on the west side of the Madison River is the Wall Creek Game Management Area. Between these three substantial game reserves, the ranch is blessed with some of the best big game wildlife populations in the lower 48 States. Elk, mule deer and antelope are primarily seen on the ranch, but one can occasionally see grizzly and black bears along with grey wolves traversing below the timber along the Wilderness boundary.




Additional Information: 

Conservation Easement

Because of the unique nature of the Madison Valley, its world- class fishing and wildlife, the wilderness areas, and its significant impact on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, it became quite apparent 30 years ago to a number of conservation organizations that the Madison was quite worthy of saving from the impending development pressures of the 1980s. As a result, to date, over 85,000 acres in the valley have been protected in perpetuity from development. Previous owners of the Black Mountain Ranch recognized the significance of the ranch in the overall scheme of Madison Valley conservation efforts and placed the ranch in a conservation easement with the State of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Giving the easement to the State of Montana was a natural because of the State’s efforts on the adjoining Bear Creek Game Management Area. A copy of the recorded easement document is available for review at the offices of Hall and Hall. It essentially limits building to three designated home site areas and prohibits subdivision. It also requires the landowner to provide limited walk-in hunting opportunities to the public. This program is organized and controlled by the landowner.

Road Use Right: A Road Use Right on a private gated road between Ennis and Big Sky, commonly known as the Jack Creek Road, shall transfer with this ranch to the new owner. The right shall be appurtenant to and used in connection with the Black Mountain Ranch and non-transferrable outside of the ownership of this property. This road is considered one of the most beautiful in the state, traversing between the Spanish Peaks and Madison Range of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness in the Jack Creek drainage. It is fully maintained year around and the limited number of owners pays a relatively small amount annually for this maintenance. This right is truly a major benefit to whoever owns the ranch. Having easy convenient access to the Big Sky area and all of its recreational amenities makes this offering stand out in the market.

Broker Comments: 

The Black Mountain Ranch represents an opportunity to own a ranch that embodies all of the features most desired in a working Rocky Mountain ranch:

1. A manageable cattle operation.
2. An enviable location relative to attractive towns, airports, and important recreational outlets such as blue ribbon quality fishing, Yellowstone National Park, mountain resorts, etc.
3. High quality wildlife.
4. A mountain foothill setting next to a wilderness area.
5. Absolutely stunning views of craggy peaks, multiple mountain ranges, and a dramatic, expansive open valley.
6. The Road Use Right to the Jack Creek Road accessing Big Sky and Moonlight Basin is a benefit that makes this offering stand out amongst others.

These all combine to make Black Mountain Ranch worthy of serious consideration.

Additionally, the ability to design and build a residential and working compound in a choice of three wonderful settings without having to contend with a previous owner’s structures is an important feature of Black Mountain Ranch.

Additional Services: 

MANAGEMENT SERVICES – Hall and Hall’s Management Division has a very clear mission–to represent the owner and to ensure that his or her experience is a positive one. Services are customized to suit the owner’s needs. They often begin with the recruiting and hiring of a suitable ranch manager or caretaker and are followed by the development of a management or operating plan along with appropriate budgets. Ongoing services include bill paying, ranch oversight, and consulting services as needed. Even the most sophisticated and experienced ranch owners appreciate the value of a management firm representing them and providing advice on local area practices and costs. Wes Oja, Jerome Chvilicek, Dan Berstrom or Brant Marsh at (406) 656-7500 are available to describe and discuss these services in detail and welcome your call.

RESOURCE ENHANCEMENT SERVICES – Increasingly the value of a ranch is measured by the quality of each and every one of its resources. Coincidentally, the enhancement of a ranch’s resources also increases the pleasure that one derives from the ownership of a ranch. Our management services have included the assessment of everything from wildlife habitat to bird habitat to water resources and fisheries and the subsequent oversight of the process involved with the enhancement of these resources. Wes Oja, Jerome Chvilicek, Dan Bergstrom or Brant Marsh at (406) 656-7500 are available to describe and discuss these services in detail and welcome your call.

AUCTIONS - Hall and Hall Auctions offer “Another Solution” to create liquidity for the owners of Investment-Quality Rural Real Estate.  Our auction team has experience in marketing farmland, ranchland, timberland and recreational properties throughout the nation.  Extreme attention to detail and complete transparency coupled with Hall and Hall’s “Rolodex” of more than 40,000 targeted owners and buyers of rural real estate help assure that there are multiple bidders at each auction. In addition, the unique Hall and Hall partnership model creates a teamwork approach that helps to assure that we realize true market value on auction day.  For more information on our auction services contact Scott Shuman at (800) 829-8747.

APPRAISALS - Staying abreast of ancillary market influences in ever-changing economic conditions requires a broad professional network to tap into. Finding an appraiser who not only understands the numbers but also the differences in value from one area to another is a critical part of making an informed decision. The appraisal team at Hall and Hall, formed entirely of Accredited Members of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA), has that critical network of brokers and lending professionals. This professional network coupled with diverse experience across multiple regions and market segments allows our appraisal team to deliver a quality product in a reasonable timeframe.  For more information contact our appraisal team at (406) 656-7500.

SPECIALIZED LENDING - Since 1946 Hall and Hall has created a legacy by efficiently providing capital to landowners.  In addition to traditional farm and ranch loans, we specialize in understanding the unique aspects of placing loans on ranches where value may be influenced by recreational features, location and improvements and repayment may come from outside sources. Our extensive experience and efficient processing allows us to quickly tell you whether we can provide the required financing.

Competitive Pricing  |  Flexible Terms  |  Efficient Processing
Tina Hamm or Scott Moran • (406) 656-7500 
Mike Hall or Judy Chirila • (303) 861-8282
Monte Lyons • (806) 698-6882
J.T. Holt • (806) 698-6884


Following is a Montana law required disclosure.


Montana law requires that BUYER’s and SELLER’s be advised about the different types of agency relationships available to them (MCA § 37-51-102 & 37-51-321).  A real estate agent is qualified to advise only on real estate matters.  As the client or as the customer, please be advised that you have the option of hiring outside professional services on your own behalf (legal and tax counsel, home or building inspectors, accountant, environmental inspectors, range management or agricultural advisors, etc.) at any time during the course of a transaction to obtain additional information to make an informed decision.  Each and every agent has obligations to each other party to a transaction no matter whom the agent represents.  The various relationships are as follows:

SELLER's Agent:  exclusively represents the SELLER (or landlord).  This agency relationship is created when a listing is signed by a SELLER/owner and a real estate licensee.  The SELLER's agent represents the SELLER only, and works toward securing an offer in the best interest of the SELLER.  The SELLER agent still has obligations to the BUYER as enumerated herein.

BUYER's Agent:  exclusively represents the BUYER (or tenant).  This agency relationship is created when a BUYER signs a written BUYER-broker agreement with a real estate licensee.  The BUYER agent represents the BUYER only, and works towards securing a transaction under the terms and conditions established by the BUYER and in the best interest of the BUYER.  The BUYER agent has obligations to the SELLER as enumerated herein.

Dual Agent:  does not represent the interests of either the BUYER or SELLER exclusively.  This agency relationship is created when an agent is the SELLER's agent (or subagent) and enters into a BUYER-broker agreement with the BUYER.  This relationship must receive full informed consent by all parties before a "dual-agency" relationship can exist.  The "dual agent" does not work exclusively for the SELLER or the BUYER but works for both parties in securing a conclusion to the transaction.  If you want an agent to represent you exclusively, do not sign the "Dual Agency" Disclosure and Consent" form.

Statutory Broker:  is a licensee who assists one or more of the parties in a transaction, but does not represent any party as an agent.  A licensee is presumed to be acting as a “statutory broker” unless they have entered into a listing agreement with the SELLER, a BUYER-broker agreement with the BUYER, or a dual agency agreement with all parties.

In-House SELLER Agent Designate:   is a licensee designated by the broker- owner/manager (of the real estate brokerage) to be the exclusive agent for the SELLER for a specific transaction in which the brokerage has the property listed and the BUYER is working directly through the same brokerage also.  This agent may not act on behalf of any other member of the transaction and works for the benefit of the SELLER, but still is obligated to the BUYER as any SELLER's agent would be.

In-House BUYER Agent Designate:   is a licensee designated by the broker- owner/manager (of the real estate brokerage) to be the exclusive agent for the BUYER for a specific transaction in which the brokerage has the property listed and the BUYER is working directly through the same brokerage also.  This agent may not act on behalf of any other member of the transaction and works for the benefit of the BUYER, but still obligated to the SELLER as any BUYER's agent would be.

Subagent:   is an agent of the licensee already acting as an agent for either the SELLER or BUYER.  A "SELLER agent" can offer "subagency" to an agent to act on his behalf to show the property and solicit offers from BUYER’s.  A "BUYER agent can offer "subagency" to an agent to act on his behalf to locate and secure certain property meeting the BUYER's criteria. 

_____ of Hall and Hall is the exclusive agent of the Seller.

NOTICE: Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice, and approval of purchase by owner. Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been provided by sources deemed reliable, but whose accuracy we cannot guarantee. Prospective buyers should verify all information to their satisfaction. Prospective buyers should also be aware that the photographs in this brochure may have been digitally enhanced.