Hobble Diamond Ranch

Property Map

Hobble Diamond Ranch

  • Hobble Diamond Ranch

Hobble Diamond Ranch - Recently Sold

Big Timber, Montana

Located 12 miles east of Big Timber, running along 6 miles of the Yellowstone River and north into the foothills, the Hobble Diamond Ranch is a fully improved 1000-plus animal unit ranch.  Operating on over 30,000± deeded and leased acres, the ranch boasts exceptional working improvements, 1,250± acres of irrigated cropland, extensive riparian areas along the river and thousands of acres of scenic foothill rangeland.  This diversified self-contained operation also produces excess hay and grain to sell as cash crops when market conditions warrant.  The owner’s compound is located in the cottonwoods along the river in a very private setting.  It is exquisite with a magnificent owner’s home, guest cabins and bunkhouse.  This offering is the complete package - balanced cattle operation, fishing, wildlife, the finest of working improvements and a tasteful owner’s compound.


Hobble Diamond Ranch is located 12 miles east of Big Timber and is accessed off Interstate 90 by exiting at Greycliff.  Access to the property is superb.  From the interstate exit, one travels approximately three miles on the Lower Sweet Grass Road, a paved county road that crosses the Yellowstone River.  One takes the second right after the bridge and enters the ranch under the Hobble Diamond overhead gate, traveling on Shanks Basin West Road (a private gravel road) for approximately five miles to the headquarters of the ranch.  Continuing on the same road, one travels another two miles to the owner’s compound on the east end of the ranch.  The main home is strategically sited between the foothills and river bottom. The seven-mile drive to the owner’s compound is along the edge of the foothills and above the irrigated fields.  The road overlooks the Yellowstone River bottom to the south, where it is common to see hundreds of mule and whitetail deer, elk and other wildlife, as well as waterfowl. 

Big Timber is the county seat for Sweet Grass County and provides most of the services for the area including a paved and lighted jet strip.  Daily commercial air service is available in Bozeman and in Billings. These two cities offer the most extensive air service in Montana.  Greycliff is equidistance from Bozeman and Billings, both about 73 miles. 



One of the most appealing aspects of the ranch is the location which affords easy access in all directions…however, with total privacy.  The locale itself is also a very desirable part of the Big Sky Country.  Big Timber is a unique community situated on the Yellowstone River. Its character has been formed in part by Easterners who were early guests of dude ranches in the area and then came back to live and ranch there. In more recent years the popularity of fly-fishing and people looking for a place to which to escape, in or near the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, has brought a new wave of non-resident land owners who swell the population during the summer and fall months and have certainly contributed in many ways to forming the character of the community. Naturally, its early history as a center for cattle and sheep ranching is an important part of its heritage. The tradition of ranching and making good use of the land is deeply ingrained in the local community and carries over to newcomers as well.  By Montana standards, Big Timber is a relatively sophisticated community with good schools, a hospital, churches, bars, excellent cafes and restaurants, galleries, specialty shops, banks, lawyers, car dealers - basically everything one would want in a small, comfortable package. Billings and Bozeman provide a broader range of social, cultural and service options. 

General Description: 

The Hobble Diamond Ranch is a wonderful working/recreational ranch ideally improved and located in a terrific setting.  Easy access too many of Montana’s finest communities, but tucked into in its own world north of the river, this ranch enjoys spectacular views, a viable cattle operation and great recreation. The property is comprised of a pleasing mix of open and tree-covered river-bottom, foothill country and productive irrigated hay fields in the bottom to provide sufficient feed for the livestock with the ability to sell excess forage on the open market.  The views, as mentioned earlier, are spectacular and ever-changing throughout the course of the day.  From morning’s first light all the way through sundown, the mountains and cliffs surrounding the property change with the light and the angle of the sun during the seasons, providing a different view and feel each time one looks.  Approximately half of the river frontage is open and dramatic while the other half is more intimate as it is timbered with the large cottonwoods that are so typical along the world-renowned Yellowstone River. 


The Hobble Diamond Ranch is comprised of 28,273± deeded acres that stretch along approximately six miles of the north bank of the famed Yellowstone River.  The ranch includes 1,262± acres of irrigated fields. These fields include six pivots irrigating 777± acres, 175± acres under wheel lines, and 310± acres of flood irrigation utilizing canvas dams and gated pipe to spread the water.  The balance is partially timbered foothill range plus open and timbered river bottom lands.  There are also 1,600± acres of grazing land leased from the BLM and 1,335± acres leased for grazing from the State of Montana.

Acreage Breakdown: 

31,208± acres (28,273± deeded, 1,335± State of Montana, 1,600± BLM)


The owner’s compound is very tastefully improved with a main house, guest quarters above a detached garage, bunkhouse, three rustic cabins built from recycled logs and one clapboard guest cabin.  The main house, guest quarters and bunkhouse were designed by regionally recognized architect, Kirk Michels, who is based in Livingston, Montana and the interiors were done by London-based designers Phillip Hooper of Colefax and Fowler and Sally Metcalf of George Spencer Design.  Kirk’s architectural work is prominently displayed on a number of Montana and Wyoming ranches and retreats.  Pictures of the home and surrounding buildings are proudly featured on his website. http://www.kirkmichelsarchitects.com.

At just over 10,000 square feet on three levels, the main home consists of six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and two half baths.  Harkening back to the early days of the finest of Western lodges, the main level is replete with a grand entrance opening into a magnificent great room with the “classic” lodge fireplaces on either end of the room. In the entry, an ornate log staircase climbs upstairs to four bedrooms with private baths including the master bedroom suite.  The main guest bedroom suite is on the first floor at the opposite end from the kitchen, breakfast nook and screened-in porch. 

A beautiful spiral staircase flows down to the lower floor where a wine cellar/tasting room, sauna, massage room and billiards/game room offer a variety of fun and relaxation.  The attention to detail, elegant design and construction of the home are exceptional and completely appropriate for the setting, evoking a Western lodge flavor.  The use of stone and wood inside and out creates a rugged warmth that one expects in a Western ranch home.  The private setting is ideal and the views are spectacular looking out across the verdant meadows to the Yellowstone River.  The compound is tucked in a protected treed setting providing a sense of “place” although allowing incredible views of the magnificent Absaroka Mountains to the south and the rugged foothills to the north.  Finally, within walking distance from the lodge and surrounding buildings, nestled in a meadow amongst cottonwoods and overlooking the Yellowstone River, are the four cabins perfectly situated to take in similar views of the river, mountains and foothills.  The owner’s compound is extremely well maintained, ready for a new owner to move in and begin enjoying the ranch immediately.  It should be noted the personal household furnishings in the owner’s home and guest cabins are not available for purchase and shall be retained by seller.

The working improvements are truly too numerous to mention individually and all best-in-class.  Three hired men’s homes and a bunkhouse provide plenty of housing for employees necessary to run the cattle and farming operations.  The ranch manager’s house is separate from the main ranch compound and is beautifully situated on a bluff overlooking the Yellowstone River.  It is extremely well appointed and once served as the owner’s home. The machine sheds, shops, horse barn, open-sided sheds for machinery storage, corrals, scale and a 520-foot feedlot would be the envy of any producer.  These improvements are, as well, carefully maintained and clearly indicate that this ranch is a “showplace” of working cattle ranches.


Big Timber and Sweet Grass County enjoy the diversity of each season with a variety of weather phenomenon. The average annual precipitation is approximately 15 inches and comes in any form, from winter snowstorms to spring cloudbursts, and summer and fall rain showers.  The April through September precipitation amounts average 10.5 inches and the maximum temperature average is 75.   Average minimum temperature for April through September is 44 degrees.  July and August are the warmest months with temperatures averaging in the high 80s and 90s. The yearly average maximum temperature is 61 degrees and the average minimum temperature is 34. The coldest recorded temperature was -47 in February 1936, and the hottest recorded temperature was 107 in July 2002. Big Timber boasts an average of 286 days of sunshine each year.

General Operations: 

Currently the ranch is running approximately 650 running-age cows, 150 bred heifers and 150 replacement heifers.  The attendant bulls (one per 20 cows) and ranch horses make up the balance of the livestock on the premises.  Therefore, conservatively one could make a strong case that the ranch’s stocking capacity is well over 1,000 animal units with the opportunity to sell and/or graze excess forage produced on the irrigated lands.  The operation is completely self-contained with enough spring/summer/fall grazing and winter feed to support the existing livestock.

Current management is in the process of re-farming many of the irrigated and dryland fields in the bottom to get them producing at maximum levels.  This clearly is to the benefit of the next owner who will be able to reap the rewards of the farming for years to come.

With the diversity of the lands and operation, there are a variety of scenarios that one may implement to run the ranch in a manner that is consistent with an owner’s goals and objectives.  The current owners have stressed a balance between the cattle, farming and wildlife.  As an example, one could run fewer cows and keep weaned calves in the feedlot through the fall, turning out in the winter on the frozen irrigated fields feeding long hay and run ranch-raised yearlings on grass the following summer.  Or, as mentioned earlier, sell excess forage produced from the irrigated cropland.  Or, graze some of the pivots for first-calf heifers or yearlings. The point is, clearly the Hobble Diamond Ranch offers some management options that are not available on many Northern Rockies ranches.  We would enjoy the opportunity to further share our thoughts regarding the operating scenarios that might be available depending on your goals. 

Recreational Considerations: 

Whether it is fishing the pond, complete with a gazebo for barbequing and entertaining, or the Yellowstone River, any angler will be delighted with the variety of fishing opportunities.  The fly fishing on the Yellowstone River is, in a word, excellent!  It is no accident that the Yellowstone is internationally known as one of the finest trout fisheries in the United States.  Brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout are all found in abundant numbers and the wide variety of habitat provided offers great dry-fly fishing as well as sub-surface fishing with streamers and nymphs.  As a testament to the health of the ecosystem small, medium, large and enormous fish can all be caught here.  The stretch from Big Timber to Billings is known as the quiet section of the Yellowstone, as many of the guide services focus on the Paradise Valley stretch or the Livingston to Big Timber stretch.  Therefore, it is not uncommon to have long periods with almost no boat traffic.  For the wildlife enthusiast the property and the region surrounding it are home to the broad diversity of wildlife that southcentral Montana is famous for.  Whitetail and mule deer, antelope, black bear, mountain lion and many other smaller mammals reside on the ranch, with a resident herd of elk roaming in the foothills.  A variety of waterfowl, upland birds, raptors, cranes, songbirds and herons also call the ranch home.  A portion of the ranch along the river is currently licensed as a State of Montana Shooting Preserve for one to enhance and enjoy the upland bird hunting characteristics of the property. Hunting, hiking, safari rides, horseback riding, bird watching and mountain biking can all be enjoyed on the property.


The real estate taxes for 2015 were $23,005.  The personal property taxes will be set based upon the amount of personal property a new owner will have on the premises.

Mineral Rights: 

All mineral rights currently owned by the seller will transfer to a buyer.  The extent of the mineral ownership of the current owner is not known.  Therefore, Hall and Hall suggests that a buyer prospect might wish to conduct a mineral search.

The current owner has had on-going discussions with a wind power developer to place eight towers on the extreme north end of the ranch.  There are currently two met towers gauging the velocity and duration of the wind speed as of this writing.  The turbine towers would be installed on a long-term lease basis with the lease revenue going directly to the bottom line of the ranch’s net operating income.  Further information is available upon request from the offices of Hall and Hall.

Additional Information: 

Additional Purchase Options
South Unit (14,050± deeded, 559± BLM and 55± State acres) - $20,000,000
North Unit (14,133± deeded, 1,051± BLM and 1,263± State acres) - $12,000,000

Broker Comments: 

The Hobble Diamond Ranch is a unique offering that is both complete and attractively priced.  While the offering price is for the real estate only, some personal property may be available by private treaty.  Hall and Hall is pleased to have the opportunity to bring this investment-quality property to the marketplace, as it represents what so many people seek in a Rocky Mountain ranch - a viable and productive agricultural operation, a strong sporting component, and an exceptional and tasteful owner’s compound. Great working improvements, easy access, privacy, terrific recreational opportunities, possible alternative-energy income, and tremendous views complete the package for this large working cattle ranch.  

The Facts: 
  • Twelve miles to Big Timber, and seventy-five miles to Billings and Bozeman via Interstate 90
  • 31,208± acres (28,273± deeded, 1,335± State of Montana, 1,600± BLM)
  • Over 1,260 irrigated acres with six pivots and the balance wheel-lines and flood
  • Over 1,000 animal unit estimated capacity
  • State-of- the-art working facilities, hired mens’ residences and feed lot
  • Exquisite owner’s residence with five guest cabins and bunkhouse
  • Over six miles of frontage on the Yellowstone River
  • Exceptional whitetail deer, upland and waterfowl populations on the river bottom (State licensed wildlife preserve)
  • Excellent mule deer and pronghorn antelope hunting in the foothills
  • Extensive and valuable water rights and water resources for recreation and agriculture
  • SUMMARY – This ranch is the complete package in the perfect Montana location

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.