Cayuse Creek Ranch

Property Map

Cayuse Creek Ranch

  • Cayuse Creek Ranch

Cayuse Creek Ranch - Recently Sold

Big Timber, Montana

Cayuse Creek Ranch is located 20 miles north of Big Timber and consists of 4,137± deeded acres in one contiguous block.  The ranch features stunning views of the Crazy and Absaroka mountains, five+ miles of Cayuse Spring Creek fishery, and over three miles of Sweet Grass Creek. A well-balanced 300± animal unit operating ranch with 1,382± acres under irrigation of which almost 1000 acres are under six pivots.    With impressive riparian corridors and strong upland pastures, the Cayuse Creek Ranch offers an interactive balance of recreation and production. Wildlife on the ranch covers a broad spectrum and includes whitetail and mule deer, sharptail and sage grouse, pheasant, Hungarian partridge, antelope, turkey, sandhill cranes and raptors – not to mention the extensive waterfowl populations that grace the ponds and streams. Two houses for guests, family and staff, as well as comprehensive livestock and ranch buildings, complete the picture. In summary, Cayuse Creek Ranch is a very rare and unique culmination of exceptional private fishing, supreme recreational opportunities and productive irrigation pivot ground, all just over  an hour  from Bozeman. 


The Cayuse Creek Ranch is located within Sweet Grass County in south-central Montana.  The property is accessed from Big Timber by driving north on State Highway 191 for approximately 17.5 miles, then east 4± miles on the Cremer Road to the ranch. The town of Big Timber (population 2,500) provides all the necessities needed to operate the ranch.  Major commercial air service is available within a one-and-one-half hour’s drive from the ranch, in both Billings and Bozeman.  Big Timber, 30 miles, and Livingston, 50 miles to the west, have jet-capable community airports with 5,280 ft. and 5,700 ft. lighted, paved runways, respectively. 


The Big Timber area is characterized by a rare combination of multi-generational family ranches (some over 100 years in the same family), and wealthy individuals and families who have chosen this area for its western culture and rural community spirit. Even the newcomers take pride in maintaining the ranching traditions of the area. Big Timber is a self-sustaining community with galleries, banks, churches, a golf course and a world-class restaurant at the Grand Hotel, which is a lovingly restored historic hotel on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The Pioneer Medical Center in Big Timber provides medical services to the surrounding area. One of the great benefits of Big Timber is that it sits almost equidistant between Billings and Bozeman. It is just far enough away to require that the town be self-sustaining, but close enough that one can take advantage of all of the services these two important and vibrant Montana cities offer.

If one should decide to explore the scenic backdrop of the ranch, the Crazy Mountains are one of the more impressive mountain ranges in Montana. With more than 20 peaks over 10,000 feet above sea level, the Crazy Mountains bear a resemblance to an island in the vast Montana prairie. Rock Lake, for example, which sits at the base of Conical Peak (elevation 10,748), is an easy hike for someone looking to spend the day catching golden, brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout. Bridger Bowl, an absolutely outstanding ski area that offers very challenging terrain, is just over an hour’s drive from the ranch. Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, is approximately one-and-one-half hours from Big Timber. For those searching for the excitement of a destination ski resort, Big Sky and Red Lodge Ski resorts provide year-round recreational activities and an abundance of full-service amenities.

The Cayuse Creek Ranch itself is a good-sized ranch and neighbors several other much larger ranches. It is in an area that seems relatively immune to the development pressures that afflict many other areas that are closer to the mountains. In short, this is a part of the state that has the benefit of dramatic mountain views in two directions and easy access to a more sophisticated lifestyle, but one is far enough out that one is still in ranching country — very good ranching country as evidenced by the 100-year-old family ranches in the neighborhood. One is also far enough from the mountains that these ranches are blessed with a quite tolerable year-round climate.

General Description: 

The Cayuse Creek Ranch is a resource rich and diversified property offering a spring creek fishery, cottonwood-lined river bottom, and six pivots. The main home is ideally situated on a bluff above Sweet Grass Creek, taking in expansive views of the snowcapped granite peaks of the Crazy and Absaroka mountains. Gentle rolling topography and a good interior road system provides easy access to the cottonwood bottoms, sage benches, irrigated crop-land and improvements.

One enters the ranch along irrigated fields and a healthy riparian corridor. Large pivots lie to the north and south, providing a mosaic of cropland giving way to the mountainous landscape in the distance. Lined with mature cottonwoods, Sweet Grass Creek carves through the ranch for over three miles and includes the confluence of the six+ mile combination of Cayuse and Spring Creek fisheries. There is a lot of potential to lengthen and enhance the two spring creek resources on the ranch and proposals are available for review.

While the history of the ranch remains evident in its productive lands and working facilities, the recent recreation enhancements really complete the ranch, providing an abundance of wildlife, an exclusive fishery and a host of recreational pursuits. Offering such versatility, beauty and production make the Cayuse Creek Ranch offering both unique and highly desirable in today’s marketplace.


The Cayuse Creek Ranch is comprised of 4,137± deeded acres, including 1,382± acres of irrigated lands, with the remaining acres consisting of healthy riparian river bottom and productive prairie and native rangeland.

Irrigated Land
There are a total of 1,382± acres under irrigation, of which almost 1,000 acres are under six pivots.


Cleveland House:
Built between 1994 and 1995, this approximately 2,182± sq. ft. “ranch-style” home has an attached two-car garage as well as a nice deck. The home has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and stunning views of the creek and mountains.

Older home:
The two-story house measuring just under 2,000 SF, originally built in the late 1880s and recently remodeled, has a concrete foundation, wood-frame construction with lap siding and a metal roof. There is also an attached 420± sq. ft. single-car garage.

Ranch structures:

  • Machine storage shed/shop- Built in 1950, the wood-frame structure with metal roof and metal exterior siding contains a 16’x28’± shop with concrete floors as well as a 44’x28’± dirt floor machine shed. 
  • Machine storage shed- Built in 1960, the wood-frame structure with a tin roof has painted wood siding and dirt floors, which measure 22’x52’±. 
  • Calving shed- Measuring approximately 36’x48’, this squared-timber construction building was built in 1950 on a dirt and sill foundation and has exposed timber walls. 
  • Open-front stock shed- Measuring approximately 48’x136’and built in 1976 of post and pole construction with wood and tin siding, tin roof and dirt floors. 
  • Horse barn- This log construction barn built around 1910 on a rock and mud sill foundation has exposed log walls, wood shingle roof and dirt floors measuring 28’x36’± with a second-story loft. 
  • Milking barn- This approximately 16’x20’ wood-frame construction barn was built around 1950 on wood skid foundation with wood siding, wood shingle roof, and wood floors. 
  • Open-front stock shed- Measuring approximately 30’x48’ with an additional 12’x14’ enclosed wooden shed; built in 1940 of post and pole construction with wood siding, tin roof and dirt floors. 
  • Stone house storage shed- This stone structure with dirt floors and wood shingle roof was built around 1900 and measures approximately 12’x12’. 
  • Log cabin office- This log structure was built on dirt foundation with log walls, tin roof and wood floors built around 1900 and measures 16’x18’. 
  • Corrals- Recently rebuilt with wooden plank and pole construction.

The elevation of the Cayuse Creek Ranch headquarters ranges from 4,640 to 4,950 feet above sea level.  The climate is typically mild with the average low in January being 16.5 degrees, while the average high in July is 87.3 degrees.  The ranch lies in an area that is estimated to receive between 14 to 18 inches of precipitation, with two-thirds of that expected to fall during the growing season.  Early June is often the wettest time of the growing season, which on average is frost-free for 123 days.

General Operations: 

The Cayuse Creek Ranch is a highly diverse operation from both a farming and ranching perspective. Six pivots irrigate just under 1,000 acres, with roughly 100 acres of flood irrigated lands and over 200 acres of sub irrigated lands. Two of the pivots were seeded to Roundup Ready alfalfa in 2015, two-and-one-half pivots were seeded to a perennial grassland mix in 2016, and the other one-and-one-half pivots are in a grass/alfalfa mix. This cropping strategy allows all pivots to be hayed, with hay being sold as a cash crop, and then the pivots may be grazed in autumn and winter. As the new seedings establish, production is estimated to be between 1,400 and 1,700 tons annually, depending on water and fertilizer. Such a combination offers high flexibility to a joint haying and livestock operation with cash flows from hay sales.

At over 4,000 acres that can be grazed with 26 fenced pastures, Cayuse Creek Ranch offers a highly flexible grazing operation. Cattle may graze rangeland pastures during the growing season, spend spring and fall on the perennial grass pivots, winter on pivots’ grass/alfalfa aftermath, and calve in the wooded bottoms of Sweetgrass Creek in the springtime. The ranch’s corrals and infrastructure are conveniently located to enable processing of cattle in proximity to the ranch’s grazing lands. The ranch is owner-rated at 225 animal units for the optimal grazing use and the balance of the carrying capacity would come from the hay production. Because of the dependable sources of irrigation water and land that can be used for multiple purposes, from grain and hay production to intensive grazing, the ranch offers an uncommonly high level of flexibility allowing one to take advantage of a variety of markets at different times of the year.

Water Resources: 

Sweet Grass, Cayuse, and Spring Creek provide both stock and irrigation water on the ranch.

Wildlife Resources: 

The diverse habitat of the Cayuse Creek Ranch offers exceptional cover and is complemented by an abundance of irrigated crop land that provides ample feed for a variety of wildlife species.

Big Game:
The whitetail hunting is respectable on the ranch with bucks in the 120-140 Boone and Crockett class with an occasional buck pushing 150 B&C class. With some specific management, greater numbers of bigger bucks could be developed because the ranch provides ideal habitat and genetics for trophy deer. Antelope run in large herds through the native range and periodically feed in the improved pasture and hay fields. It is estimated that there are at times over 200 head on the ranch. A large number of these are bucks, with several in the 13”-15” size.

The ranch attracts an assortment of waterfowl including Canadian geese, mallards, teal and divers. The six+ miles of spring creeks remain partially open during colder months, creating areas for waterfowl utilization later in the season. Mallard and gadwall are the most common species found on the ranch, followed by blue-winged teal. Northern shoveler, pintail, green-winged teal, common mergansers, lesser scaup and Canada geese are all present. Goldeneye, bufflehead and an occasional wood duck are attracted to many cavity nesting sites found in large cottonwoods along Sweet Grass Creek. A small breeding population of harlequin ducks has remained in the area for several years. Crop plantings in the six pivots can greatly influence the waterfowl populations.

Upland Birds:
The habitat for upland birds extends out of the creek bottom into the native range and pivot ground creating the desirable habitat needed to support both pheasant and prairie grouse. The primary beneficiaries of this environment are the Hungarian partridge (“Huns”) and sharp-tailed grouse. Numbers of Huns and sharp-tails could be increased considerably with specific management. Additionally, there is a large population of turkeys which reside on the ranch.

Along with all the species of game animals, the ranch is also home to predators, raptors and a large variety of non-game species including breeding pairs of cranes using the ranch. Spring and fall numbers can reach up to 500 plus birds. Bald eagles are frequently seen hunting and roosting along Sweet Grass Creek. Peregrine falcons have also been observed in the county. Long-billed curlew, black tern and white-faced ibis have been observed as well as sightings of the swift fox.

Fishery Resources: 

The ranch has over five miles of Cayuse Creek, a spring creek system with fish ranging between 14 and 18 inches with trophy browns measuring more than 20 inches. In addition to its natural flow of spring water, Cayuse Creek is used for the conveyance of irrigation waters taken from the upper Sweet Grass which, when it increases its flow, helps keep the creek cooler during key summer months. As a fishery, Cayuse Creek is almost exclusively a brown trout stream. Due to its size and relatively cooler summer temperatures it also serves as a refuge for fish from the upper Sweet Grass during peak irrigation months. Cayuse is a meandering stream that traverses back and forth as it heads south towards its eventual confluence with Sweet Grass. Cayuse Creek provides fishable hatches of mayflies (PMD’s, BWO’s, Green Drakes and Tricos), Caddis and terrestrials. During the summer months trout will be found resting in the slow shady currents along undercuts, feasting on hoppers, ants and beetles. The hopper fishing can be tremendous and offers the best chance of landing that “Monster Brown” on a dry fly.

Adjacent to, and eventually flowing into Cayuse Creek, runs Spring Creek. Spring Creek does hold a smaller population of fish with the largest taped in recent years at 23 inches. There is a good opportunity to restore and improve Spring Creek allowing for its full potential.
In addition to the Spring Creek Fisheries, the ranch contains three+ miles of beautiful cottonwood bottoms along Sweet Grass Creek, where anglers can expect to have both brown and rainbow trout rise to flies. Wade-fishing is productive, resulting in trout ranging in size from 10-14 inches with opportunities for 16-plus-inch fish.

On top of the many miles of fisheries within the ranch, the surrounding area includes a host of renowned waters including the Yellowstone, Stillwater and Boulder Rivers - all within an hour’s drive.


Property taxes are estimated at $11,903 annually.

Water Rights: 

There are extensive water rights appurtenant to the Cayuse Creek Ranch.  The water rights are broken down into stock water right claims, domestic water right claims (wells), and irrigation water right claims which adequately handle the current irrigation operation. Complete information provided by DNRC for all filed water rights is available at the offices of Hall and Hall.

Mineral Rights: 

All mineral rights owned by the Sellers are included with the property sale.

Additional Information: 

The Cayuse Creek Ranch is preserved by a conservation easement for the protection of the ecological, scenic, open space and aesthetic values of the property. There are two approved homes inside the conservation easement and the current homes are allowed to be expanded or replaced. The easement is with Wetlands America Trust, Inc. (Ducks Unlimited) and was donated in 1995. A copy of the entire easement is available through Hall and Hall upon request.

Broker Comments: 

Cayuse Creek Ranch combines spectacular views of the Crazy and Absaroka Mountains, and is a self-contained agricultural operation with first-rate hunting and private blue ribbon quality fishing. This rare offering, with all of its attributes, is ideally located within easy striking distance of Bozeman, and is the most requested, yet seldom available, offering in today’s Montana ranch market. 

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.