Stone Temple Ranch

Property Map

Stone Temple Ranch - Recently Sold

White Sulphur Springs, Montana

Located immediately south and east of White Sulphur Springs, the Stone Temple Ranch embodies everything one searches for in a Montana mountain ranch. It encompasses nearly 10,000± completely private deeded acres in a contiguous block adjoining the Lewis and Clark National Forest for over 4 miles. Over 2,000± acres of productive meadows, cropland and irrigated lands anchor thousands of acres of open and timbered rangeland in an aesthetically pleasing package. Improvements include two comfortable ranch homes, excellent livestock and agricultural facilities and an historic and tastefully refurbished two-story log ranch house. Excellent big game populations and two prolific trout ponds round out the ranch’s considerable recreational amenities which also include a remnant population of westslope cutthroat trout. Stone Temple is estimated to accommodate 750 animal units. 


Immediately adjacent to the town of White Sulphur Springs and just across the road from a paved and lighted 6,100’ X 75’ jet capable airstrip, the Stone Temple Ranch lies approximately 1.5 hours’ drive from commercial air service in Bozeman and just over an hour’s drive from Helena. The ranch is accessed from paved State Highways 12 and 89 and there are no public roads through the ranch. The city does have administrative access to facilities on the ranch that house the water supply for the town of White Sulphur Springs. Most services are available in “White Sulphur,” which is the county seat for Meagher County, with a population estimated just shy of 1,000. These services include banks, grocery stores, restaurants, motels, a movie theater, a small hospital as well as a variety of shops and services that one might expect in a small Montana community. Major services are available in Bozeman and Helena. 


White Sulphur Springs lies close to the headwaters of the Smith River. It has historically been primarily a ranching community but, in recent years with the increasing popularity of fly fishing and river floating, it has become something of a recreational mecca for people embarking on the 5-day float through the Smith River Canyon which begins a short drive north of town. The area also offers both fly fishing and big game hunting and has begun to attract nonresident landowners as well as a growing interest from tourists passing through the area as they look for the most scenic route between Yellowstone and Glacier Parks.

There is a strong sense of community in White Sulphur. The town and surrounding ranch owners support a variety of local enterprises like the local hospital, which is critical in a community of this size that is relatively far removed from other major towns. The Red Ants Pants Festival held every summer in a “cow pasture” just outside of town has featured such notable musicians as Lyle Lovett, Taj Mahal, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris. It is a fun-filled, family-style gathering complete with food, camping, and nonstop dancing. It draws people from all over the United States. The proceeds go to support the community.

Skiing is easily accessible from the ranch at Showdown Ski Area about 30 minutes drive to the north. To the south one can also access Bridger Bowl Ski Area in about an hour’s drive.

It is fair to say that White Sulphur Springs is generally considered to be an area of large ranches that tend to remain in stable hands over generations. A few have passed into nonresident hands but they have tended to increase in size and are operated seriously. One of the great benefits of the area is that it is “off the beaten path” but is rapidly growing in popularity as witnessed by a number of notable ranch sales over the last 10 years. Certainly its considerable amenities are fast being recognized.

General Description: 

Stone Temple lies against the northwest corner of the Castle Mountains and is virtually adjacent to the town of White Sulphur Springs on its northwest corner. Essentially two significant drainages flow out of the Castles and their valleys frame the ranch. Lone Willow Creek flows in a westerly direction with its valley forming the south boundary of the ranch and Willow Creek flows northerly out of the Castles and its valley forms the eastern boundary. The ranch consists of nearly 10,000± acres that lies between these valleys. The lower reaches are more open country where most of the farming and irrigation is located and this land gives way to moderate to steep foothills leading up to the Castle Mountains themselves. There are some heavily timbered areas but most of the higher country is characterized by scattered trees and some aspen groves. The Willow Creek Valley is the most beautiful part of the ranch. The lower reaches of Lone Willow stretch out to the Headquarters area which is considered to be the operating end of the ranch. 


9,676± deeded acres. There are no leases. 

Acreage Breakdown: 

The following represents an approximate breakdown of the deeded acreage:

Irrigated Crop and Hay Land 800± acres
Sub-irrigated 250± acres
Improved Pasture 1,000± acres
Dry Cropland 466± acres*
Mountain Foothills Rangeland 6,603± acres
Timber Lands 532± acres
Building Sites 25± acres
TOTAL DEEDED 9,676± acres

*It should be noted that approximately 400± acres of this total has been recently broken from sod and has been seeded to winter wheat to be harvested in 2014.


There are two sets of improvements on the ranch – the “Headquarters” located in Section 19 and the “Owner’s Compound” located in Section 10 on Willow Creek.

Located on the west side of the ranch, the residence is an older and very comfortable 1,554 sq. ft. home remodeled in 1970. The outbuildings consist of a 6,668 sq. ft. pole barn utilized primarily for calving, a 3,520 sq. ft. pole barn utilized as a shop and equipment storage facility, and an additional 2,816 sq. ft. implement shed. The headquarters also includes an excellent set of livestock working corrals.

The Owner’s Compound
Located on the east end of the ranch on Willow Creek, this set of improvements is highlighted by a 2,833 sq. ft. two-story log home built in the early 1900s that was completely refurbished in 2006 for occasional use by the current owners and their guests. It contains 3 bedrooms upstairs with a bathroom and a master bedroom and bathroom on the main floor. There is also a large living room with a welcoming fireplace, as well as a formal dining room. There is a big, completely equipped modern kitchen which is great for cooks of all levels. The second home at this location is a newer 2,142 sq. ft. ranch style house. This location also includes a detached 864 sq. ft. garage, a 3,456 sq. ft. storage building, a small barn and three additional pole frame buildings.

Additional improvements
There are two 11,000 bushel metal grain bins, one 14,000 bushel bin and a smaller 3,500 bushel bin located on Section 30.

General comment
The improvements on the Stone Temple Ranch are totally appropriate and in excellent condition for a ranch of this type without being “over the top” in any way. A new owner will be taken with the charm of the historic remodeled ranch home, which can easily be expanded or can become a comfortable guest house.

General Operations: 

The current owner runs a simple livestock operation that involves taking in about 500 pairs that arrive in early May and stay through November. Stone Temple is grazed very conservatively with consideration given to wildlife and fisheries. The current manager has a strong program of sage brush and weed management that goes along with an enlightened grazing regime that has brought the range into top condition.

The intensively irrigated lands are used for cash crops – either grain or hay. There are currently approximately 700± acres under 3 pivot sprinklers. Two of these sprinklers operate under gravity power. Good stands of alfalfa hay will normally produce 2 cuttings usually yielding 4 to 5 tons per acre, and grain yields for barley will run over 80 bushels per acre. The ranch currently raises hay and malting barley. Historically, Stone Temple has produced around 2,000 tons of hay but is moving somewhat more aggressively into malt barley under the pivots. However, winter wheat will become a significant cash crop for the ranch in 2014 with 466± acres currently seeded to this crop. One of the significant attributes of Stone Temple is that it offers a diversity of income sources from cash crops to livestock.

However, if the ranch were to be run as a traditional cow/calf operation, the current manager, who has been on the ranch since the 1950s, is very comfortable with a rating of 750 animal units. The ranch is essentially well balanced with potential to produce cash crops or carry additional animals through the winter in addition to the number of cows it will run during the grazing season. Stone Temple benefits by having over 1,000± acres dedicated to Russian wild rye and crested wheatgrass pastures allowing cattle to begin grazing early in the season and then move up to the higher mountain pastures in the summer and early fall, returning to sub-irrigated bottoms on Willow Creek to finish out the grazing season. There are another 466± acres recently broken from sod that can be put into improved pastures as well in the years to come should a new owner decide to maximize livestock numbers.

One cannot discount the benefits of running entirely on deeded lands that are completely contiguous. Very few ranches in Montana can make this claim. In addition Stone Temple has the ability to adjust for dry range conditions because of the flexibility afforded by its substantial irrigated base.

Water Resources: 

Stone Temple is graced by two live streams – Willow Creek and Lone Willow Creek - which enter the ranch from the national forest and flow through the property for many miles.

The current owners have built two prolific, approximately 2.5 acre trout ponds on the Willow Creek drainage which harbor the fast-growing Kamloops strain of rainbow trout in the 20 inch plus class.

There are numerous other springs and small streams on the ranch which provide good livestock and wildlife water sources. Even the higher pastures have good springs for livestock watering.

The ranch has very early water rights on Willow Creek dating back to 1878 that are currently undergoing the re-adjudication process. The ranch also owns 1,200 acre-feet of stored water in Lake Sutherland that is delivered through a canal that crosses the ranch. In addition, the ranch has filings on five wells and seven springs. Most wells on the lower end of the ranch tend to be in the 300-foot range and deliver in excess of 20 GPM. There are a number of pipelines that deliver water to different pastures. Water for livestock would be considered excellent.

Wildlife Resources: 

Stone Temple is rich in wildlife resources. Big game includes elk, both species of deer, moose, black bear, mountain lion and antelope along with excellent upland bird populations. The hunting is currently leased to an outfitter who maintains a hunting camp on the ranch. This has been a long term relationship that has been of mutual benefit.

In addition to the ranch itself, there is relatively private access to the Lewis and Clark National Forest behind the ranch’s 4 miles of common boundary. This access is significant because the drainage behind the ranch provides water for the town of White Sulphur Springs. For this reason the town has worked with the national forest to limit public access to these drainages. This means that the ranch essentially has its own private herd of elk in addition to the considerable resident herds of antelope and mule deer.

Stone Temple is large enough to be able to manage its big game populations to some degree, and as a result the hunting has improved over the years through careful management of the resource.

Fishery Resources: 

There is an isolated and ecologically significant remnant population of westslope cutthroat trout found in Lone Willow Creek. The ranch has voluntarily reduced grazing on this drainage to protect this fishery. In addition a fisheries consultant working for the owner has embarked on a program under the auspices of the State Fish Wildlife and Parks Department to remove eggs from the stream and incubate them in a facility on the ranch to reproduce this pure strain of trout for transplanting into other streams.

Willow Creek has a population of smaller wild trout. There is excellent potential to enhance this stream. The primary sport fishing in the Willow Creek area is in the two ponds that were built in 2006. These ponds hold trophy-quality Kamloops that will test the mettle of the most experienced angler. Guests of the owner and the owner himself, who have fished all over the world, never cease to be intrigued by these small lakes. Famed Montana guide Tom Travis has put together a detailed guide to fishing these waters. Accomplished – or lucky – anglers have also netted brook trout out of these ponds in the 24-inch class.

When it comes to trout fishing, this area of Montana is not as well known as the southwestern quadrant of the state. Perhaps this is because many of the streams are privately controlled. Nevertheless, between the upper Musselshell River, the Smith River, Canyon Ferry Reservoir and 16 Mile Creek, to name a few, a local does not have to go far to find great fly fishing away from the crowds and a short drive from Stone Temple. Of course it is only an hour’s drive south to the Yellowstone River and one of its most prolific stretches below Livingston.


Approximately $15,000 per annum based on recent data. 

Additional Information: 

Stone Temple, with the exception of 106± acres, is encumbered by two conservation easements that were donated to the Montana Land Reliance. The easements allow the right to divide the property under easement into no more than 4 parcels and to construct 3 additional residential compounds. Commercial hunting and guest ranching are allowed as well as further improvement of existing structures. In addition there are a number of outstanding home sites available on the 106 unencumbered acres. The main conservation easement is considered to be a sensible one that was intended to maintain the ranch as a ranch and basically prohibit small tract subdivision. 

Broker Comments: 

Stone Temple is an exceptionally complete Montana mountain cattle ranch that lies in a solid, contiguous deeded block adjacent to one of Montana’s well regarded ranching and recreational communities and also shares four miles of common boundary with the Lewis and Clark National Forest in an area not easily accessed by the public. In short, it is both productive and scenic with sensible and comfortable improvements. 

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.