Hot Springs Ranch

Property Map

Hot Springs Ranch - Recently Sold

Stanley, Idaho

Offering breathtaking views of multiple mountain ranges, the 360± acre Hot Springs Ranch lies in the heart of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area 45 miles north of Ketchum/Sun Valley and 15 miles south of the scenic mountain village of Stanley, Idaho. The ranch enjoys an extensive boundary with the Sawtooth National Forest and provides easy access to stunning alpine lakes, vast trail networks, and other natural wonders for which the SNRA is famous. The ranch is defined by a year-round, geothermal hot spring system that originates on the property and converges to form Warm Creek, a small stream that flows westward through the ranch toward the Salmon River for nearly three-quarters of a mile. The owner has the right to utilize the springs and diverts hot water into a small elevated pool that has been incorporated into a comfortable outdoor living area which includes changing rooms, outdoor shower, and two restored, heated, electrified sheep herder trailers. Additional improvements include a 2,000± sq. ft., 3-bedroom log cabin with garage, a restored one-room log guest cabin, and log storage buildings. The Salmon River meanders through a broad, willow-lined riparian corridor along the western edge of the ranch for a quarter of a mile. Wildlife found on the ranch include elk, mule deer, moose, antelope, sandhill cranes, and ocean going steelhead and Chinook salmon. According to Esther Yarber’s 1976 history of the Stanley area, Stanley-Sawtooth County, Hot Springs Ranch was homesteaded by Dave and Louise Clark, who filed their claim on the land in 1890, which made the ranch the first to be settled in the Sawtooth Valley.


Hot Springs Ranch is located in the upper Sawtooth Valley in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area. The ranch is conveniently situated near Alturas and Pettit Lakes approximately 45 minutes north of the resort community of Ketchum/Sun Valley and 15 miles south of the mountain town of Stanley. Access to the property is via Valley Road, a seasonal gravel road that traverses the east side of the Sawtooth Valley and links the ranch with State Highway 75. As snowfall begins to accumulate late in the year, Valley Road closes until spring and access to the property from Highway 75 involves an easy 3-mile snowmobile ride over a groomed track or cross-country ski trek.

Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in Hailey, 15 miles south of Ketchum/Sun Valley and approximately 60 miles south of the ranch, is the nearest commercial airport and offers regular air service on Skywest (Delta) and Horizon (Alaska) Airlines. Stanley offers a variety of lodging outfitting, and tourist services along with a state-owned grass airstrip capable of handling single engine aircraft. In addition to providing jaw-dropping views of the Sawtooth Mountains, Stanley is the principal jumping off point for central Idaho’s extensive backcountry and federally designated Wilderness areas. Boise, the state’s commercial and political center, is located 130 miles southwest of Stanley and offers a full suite of commercial air travel options.


All who have visited the stunning Sawtooth Valley agree that it is the “crown jewel” of Idaho’s high country. 

Four mountain ranges -- the Sawtooth, Boulders, Whiteclouds, and Smokeys -- converge here and provide scenic landscapes in every direction, with 40 peaks 10,000 feet or higher. More than 300 alpine lakes ring the valley, and the headwaters of four of Idaho’s major rivers -- the Salmon, Payette, Boise and Big Wood -- originate in the surrounding mountains. Heavy winter snowfall results in lush, abundant summer forage for wildlife and livestock that migrate to the Sawtooth Valley during summer months. Throughout the year, visitors take advantage of the valley’s plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities, from hiking, boating, biking, and fishing during spring and summer months to cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing through the winter.

The Sawtooth Valley is encompassed by the 756,000± acre Sawtooth National Recreation Area, one of the nation’s largest and most magnificent National Recreation Areas. Established by Congress in 1972, the Sawtooth NRA is managed by the US Forest Service to protect the area’s diverse natural features, historic values, and recreation opportunities. Through a unique scenic easement acquisition program, the Forest Service has protected nearly 90 percent of the private lands within the Sawtooth Valley from unchecked residential and commercial development, thereby ensuring the valley’s spectacular setting remains intact. At the heart of the Sawtooth NRA is the 217,000± acre Sawtooth Wilderness, a stunning high elevation area that provides shelter to native plants and wildlife as well as a refuge for visitors seeking solitude.

Hot Springs Ranch lies primarily within Custer County, one of the state’s largest counties at 4,925± square miles. Over 95 percent of Custer County’s land base is in federal and state ownership, and despite its size the county is one of Idaho’s least populated with approximately 4,250 current residents. The recorded history of Custer County begins with fur traders and pathfinders traveling through the region as early as 1824, with prospectors and miners arriving in the 1860s and 1870s. Named for the General Custer Mine, Custer County was established in 1881. According to Esther Yarber’s 1976 history of the Stanley area, Stanley-Sawtooth County, Dave and Louise Clark filed their homestead claim on Hot Springs Ranch in 1890 making the ranch the first property settled in the Sawtooth Valley.

The area’s principle industry is cattle ranching with operations often stretching back multiple generations. The mining and timber industries have also played crucial roles over time. More recently, tourism and outdoor recreation have emerged as important components of the local economy by capitalizing on the area’s abundant wildlife, crystalline rivers and lakes, outstanding scenery, diverse public lands, and high mountain peaks.

General Description: 

Hot Springs Ranch lies in the heart of the Sawtooth NRA and provides a base of operation for its owner to enjoy the natural wonders of the Sawtooth Valley. The ranch is defined by a year-round, geothermal hot spring system that originates on the property and converges to form Warm Creek, a small stream that flows westward through the ranch toward the Salmon River for nearly three-quarters of a mile. The owner has the right to utilize the springs and diverts hot water into a small elevated pool which is part of a comfortable outdoor living area that includes changing rooms, an outdoor shower, and two restored, heated, electrified sheep herder trailers. Reminiscent of the geothermal waters of Yellowstone National Park, these hot springs originate just east of the outdoor living area and continuously produce water at an average temperature of between 104 and 110 degrees. 

The ranch features a comfortable 2,000± sq. ft., 3-bedroom/3 bath log cabin built by Custom Log Homes of Stevensville, Montana in 2002. The cabin is serviced by underground utilities and features a large deck and an oversized single car garage (the garage is heated by radiant heat produced from the hot springs). The cabin is built into the hillside overlooking the outdoor living area and offers sweeping views across the ranch to the peaks of the Sawtooths. The owner constructed the cabin for the purpose of housing a year-round caretaker; however, the cabin is suitable as an owner’s residence or as a temporary home while a new main residence is built elsewhere on the ranch. Additional improvements include a one-room restored log guest cabin, two attached log cabins, and a log storage building.

The hot springs and existing buildings lie within a fenced 17±- acre ranch compound in the northeastern portion of the ranch. The balance of the ranch in unimproved and extends south and west from the compound toward the Salmon River. This part of the property is leased to a neighboring landowner on a year-to-year basis for summer cattle grazing. Valley Road crosses the northeastern corner of the ranch and separates approximately 40 acres from the main part of the property. This parcel represents the highest part of the ranch at just over 7,000 feet in elevation.


360± deeded acres, more or less

Wildlife Resources: 

The renown Salmon River, which originates from springs and snowmelt just 15 miles south of the ranch, meanders north through the western boundary of the property for a quarter of a mile and supports a lush, willow-lined riparian area. The Salmon River corridor is an important component to the lifecycle of many native wildlife species, including elk, mule deer, moose, antelope, and sandhill cranes. This reach of the upper Salmon also provides important spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead and Chinook salmon in addition to a home for westslope cutthroat, brook trout, bull trout and mountain whitefish. The adjoining Forest Service lands allow access to tens of thousands of acres of hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities in a variety of environments. 


Annual property taxes are approximately $2,200.

Water Rights: 

Along with two domestic wells, the ranch holds a domestic water right from the hot springs providing for a diversion rate of 0.04 cubic feet per second (cfs). The priority date for this right is June 1, 1888. The ranch also holds an irrigation right from Warm Creek to irrigate up to 52 acres with a diversion rate of 2.89 cfs and a priority date of September 11, 1949.

Additional Information: 

Scenic easements held by the US Forest Service cover the majority of private lands within the SNRA, and with the Hot Springs Ranch, a scenic easement granted to the Forest Service in 1980 covers 343± acres of the property. The 17± acre ranch compound, which encompasses the hot springs and existing improvements, is unencumbered by the easement and carries a commercial classification under the SNRA’s private lands standards allowing for greater building flexibility The scenic easement permits ranching activities and the construction of two new single family dwellings on the easement property, while prohibiting subdivision and industrial uses. Copies of the scenic easement and SNRA’s private lands standards are available upon request.

Broker Comments: 

Hot Springs Ranch is an unparalleled recreational ranch ideally situated in the Sawtooth Valley within easy driving distance of the unique mountain communities of Ketchum/Sun Valley and Stanley. The ranch offers immediate access to some of the most stunning lakes, rivers, and mountain backcountry in the western US and is ideal for someone seeking a remarkable natural setting coupled with year-round outdoor recreation. The ranch is being offered publicly for the first time and has been in the same ownership for over 40 years. A property of this size and quality rarely becomes available within the SNRA, which makes this an exceptional opportunity that is practically impossible to replicate.


Idaho brokerage disclosure

The law requires all real estate licensees to perform certain basic duties when dealing with any real estate buyer or seller.  You can expect any real estate licensee you deal with to provide the following “customer-level” services:

  • To perform necessary and customary acts to assist you in the purchase or sale of real estate;
  • To perform these acts in good faith and with reasonable care;
  • To properly account for money or other property you place in his or her care; an
  • To disclose “adverse material facts” which are, or should be, within that licensee’s knowledge.  These include facts that would significantly affect the desirability or value of the property to a reasonable person, and facts that would indicate to a reasonable person that one of the parties cannot, or will not, complete his obligations under the contract.  (Note:  Idaho law exempts “psychological” impacts from this disclosure requirement.  See Section 55-2701, Idaho Code)

Unless or until you enter a written agreement with the brokerage for agency representation, you are considered a “Customer” of the brokerage, and the brokerage will not act as your agent.  As a Customer, you should not expect the brokerage or its licensees to promote your best interest, or to keep your bargaining information confidential.

Whenever you speak to a licensee who represents a party on the other side of the transaction, (e.g., you are seeking to buy the property, and the licensee represents the seller), you should assume that any information you provide will be shared with the other party.  

If offered by the real estate brokerage, you may enter a written agreement for “Agency Representation,” requiring that the brokerage and its licensees act as an “Agent” on your behalf and promote your best interests as their “Client.”  Idaho law authorizes three types of Agency Representation. 

Single Agency:

If you enter a written agreement for Agency Representation, you, as a Client, can expect the real estate brokerage to provide the following services, in addition to the basic duties and obligations required of all licensees:

  • To perform the terms of your written agreement with skill and care;
  • To promote your best interest, in good faith, honest and fair dealing;
  • If you are the seller, this includes seeking a buyer to purchase your property at a price and under terms and conditions acceptable to you, and assisting in the negotiation thereof; and, upon your written request, asking for reasonable proof of a prospective buyer’s financial ability to purchase your property;
  • If you are the buyer, this includes seeking a property to purchase at an acceptable price, terms and conditions, and assisting in the negotiation thereof; and, when appropriate, advising you to obtain professional inspections of the property, or to seek appropriate tax, legal and other professional advice or counsel.
  • To maintain the confidentiality of specific client information, including bargaining information, even after the representation has ended.

Limited Dual Agency:

At a time you enter an agreement for Agency Representation, you may be asked to give written consent allowing the brokerage to represent both you and the other party in a transaction.  This “dual agency” situation can arise when, for example, the brokerage that represents you, the seller, also represents buyers who may be interested in purchasing your property.  When this occurs, it is necessary that the brokerage’s representation duties be “limited” because a buyer and seller have built-in conflicts of interest.  Most significantly, the buyer typically wants the property at the lowest price, while the seller wants top dollar.  As a “limited dual agent,” the brokerage and its licensees cannot advocate on behalf of one client over the other, and cannot disclose confidential client information concerning price negotiations, terms or factors motivation the client/buyer to buy or the client/seller to sell.  However, the brokerage must otherwise promote the best interests of both parties, perform the terms of the written representation agreement with skill and care, and perform all other duties required by law.

Buyers and sellers alike often find it desirable to consent to limited dual agency:  buyers do not want the brokerage to be restricted in the search for suitable properties, and sellers do not want the brokerage to be restricted in the search for suitable buyers.  Thus, when all parties agree in writing, a brokerage may legally represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, but only as a “limited dual agent.”

Limited Dual Agency with Assigned Agents:

In some situations, a brokerage that has obtained consent to represent both parties as a limited dual agent may assign individual licensees (“sales associates”) to act soley on behalf of each party.  (The brokerage must have an office policy that ensures client confidences are protected.)  Where this is the case, the sales associate, or “assigned agent,” is not limited by the brokerage’s agency relationship with the other party, but instead has a duty to promote the best interest of the client that he or she is assigned to represent, including negotiating a price.  The designated broker (the licensee who supervises the sales associates in the brokerage firm) remains a limited dual agent for both clients, and ensures the assigned agents fulfill their duties to their respective clients.  

What to Look For in Any Agreement for Agency Representation:

Whatever type of representation you choose, your written Agency Representation Agreement should answer these questions:

  • How will the brokerage be paid?
  • When will this Agreement expire?
  • What happens when a transaction is completed?
  • Can I cancel the Agreement, and if so, how?
  • Can I work with other brokerages during the time of the Agreement?  And what happens if I sell or buy on my own?
  • Am I willing to allow this brokerage to represent me and the other party in the same transaction? 

Real Estate Licensees Are Not Inspectors:

Even if you have a written agreement for agency representation, you should not expect the brokerage or its licensees to conduct an independent inspection of the property, or to independently verify any statement or representation made by any party to the transaction or other reasonably reliable sources (such as a licensed appraiser, home inspector, or the county assessor’s office).  Real estate licensees are entitled to reasonably rely on the statements of their clients and other third-party sources.  If the condition of the property is important to you, you should hire an appropriate professional, such as a home inspector, surveyor, or engineer.

Idaho Real Estate Brokerage Representation Act:

The specific duties owed by the real estate brokerage and its licensees to a customer or client are defined by the “Idaho Real Estate Brokerage Representation Act,” located at Idaho Code Section 54-2052, et seq.

When you sign a real estate Purchase and Sale Agreement as a buyer or seller, you will be asked to confirm:

  1. that this disclosure was given to you and that you have read and understand its contents; and
  2. the agency relationship, if any, between you and the brokerage working with you. 

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.