Western Montana is a place where cold mountain streams gently meander through lush green meadows, and the snow-capped peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains overlook fresh-cut hay fields in June. It’s the casual wave to a fellow rancher as you pass by each other on a long gravel road or a tip of the hat as you see an acquaintance at the cafe in town. It’s full days spent in the saddle, moving cattle to summer pasture. The cowboy culture is alive and well here - and at the heart of it all is Sula Peak Ranch.
Neatly situated at one of the most sought-after and undeveloped locations in the Bitterroot Valley, at the edge of the tiny mountain town of Sula, the Sula Peak Ranch lies on 2,848± deeded acres of agricultural and recreational lands. The East Fork of the Bitterroot River flows through the ranch, making this a prime location for fishing and river access. The hunting opportunities are boundless with a flourishing elk herd as well as deer, mountain lion and the occasional black bear on the property. Another 25,291± acres of adjacent Forest Service and Montana state land that are secured by grazing permits and leases, along with excellent water rights, make this one of the largest operating ranch properties available in the area. Make no mistake; this is a serious ranch in the midst of a recreational treasure.
Welcome to Sula Peak Ranch.
Sula Peak Ranch borders the tiny town of Sula, Montana, just off U.S. Highway 93. This postage stamp of a town is approximately 35 miles south of Hamilton and 90 miles from Missoula, the cultural hub of western Montana. To the south, approximately 58 miles over Lost Trail Pass lies the small mountain town of Salmon, Idaho.
Air access to western Montana is provided through Delta (including the former Northwest Airlines) and United Airlines which serve the Missoula International Airport from their respective hubs in Salt Lake City/Minneapolis and Denver with several arrivals and departures each day.
Missoula is also serviced by Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, providing nonstop service to Seattle. Allegiant Air offers direct flights to and from Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas.
Private air accommodations are available in Missoula as well as the Ravalli County Airport in Hamilton, the county seat, which provides a 4,200 ft. runway open to general aviation just 20 miles north of the ranch.
Sula Peak Ranch lies on the eastern side of one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the West and is watched over by Sula Peak, at an elevation of 6,800 feet. To the north is the sprawling Shining Mountain Ranch, which is covered by a conservation easement.
The Bitterroot Valley, often referred to as the “banana belt of Montana,” is recognized as having one of the mildest climates in the state. The valley is formed between the Sapphire Mountains to the east and Bitterroots to the west. The Bitterroot River flows to the north to join the Clark Fork River near Missoula. The ranch’s location provides access to an extraordinary variety of recreational activities. Within an hour’s drive one can be in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, the Big Hole Valley, the Main Fork of the Salmon River, the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness and many other desirable areas. The economy here is evolving away from extractive resources and moving toward tourism, high tech, and an increasing number of affluent retirees who enjoy the high quality of life this valley has to offer.
Missoula is home to the University of Montana with an undergraduate student body of over 10,000 students. Missoula offers multiple cultural opportunities such as live theater, concerts, museums, galleries, festivals and more. The ranch is approximately 12 miles north of the Lost Trail Power Mountain ski area, which has, in recent years, undergone a massive expansion of their facilities.
While the Bitterroot Valley has become more populated and modernized, the Sula Basin remains sparse in population and closer to historic Montana cowboy culture. The Sula Peak Ranch is truly a real ranch in an unreal location.
This property includes 2,848± deeded acres, with adjacent Forest Service and Montana state land on which the ranch holds grazing leases and permits covering roughly 19,000 acres. The land is mostly large areas of open pasture and range land with timber lining the draws and dotting the landscape. A forest fire in 2000 burned large areas of the adjoining state and Forest Service land and extended across the western border of the ranch. Today the regeneration of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine has taken hold, and along with other flourishing trees and shrubs they exemplify the natural cycle of fire and regrowth that keeps forest lands healthy.
You’ll see this regrowth on hillsides to the west as you enter the ranch near its southwest corner and follow the road past the manager’s residence, a ranch-style home with a garage. The road then crosses Cameron Creek, a winding trout stream, and passes the classic white barn, a historic structure built in 1920. Follow the road north to the main residence, a traditional two-story farm house flanked by a guest house and one-car garage. In another mile you’ll pass the calving barn, a large building with sturdy metal corrals. Finally, the horse barn, shop and equipment shed are clustered just up the road.
A number of private roads provide access to the ranch’s ridges, valleys and meadows, and a road along the eastern boundary is used to reach the Shining Mountain Ranch to the north. Entrance to the Sula Peak Ranch is via a public road that borders a small portion of its western boundary and then cuts across to the eastern boundary. On this road, a small log Community Center sits on a parcel of land approximately one-half acre in size, providing a link to the activities and people in the local Sula culture. The East Fork of the Bitterroot River runs through a portion of the property to the south for approxmately 1 mile. Cameron Creek traverses the ranch for over five miles, entering at the northeast boundary and flowing south, eventually exiting at the southwest corner.
State Lease 6,229±
Federal Permits 19,062±
Owners and visitors to Sula Peak Ranch enjoy modern comforts in traditional Montana surroundings. On the working side of the ranch, recently-built or updated barns, shops and machinery are in excellent condition. The overall character of the ranch combines efficiency with tradition in the following improvements:
This classic four-bedroom, three-bathroom farm house has modern updates that ensure comfort and ease. Built in 1930 and remodeled in 1994, it has a newer metal roof and is surrounded on three sides by a wide deck. With 1,404± sq. ft. of space on the basement and first floor, and another 1,053± sq. ft. on the second floor, this home has plenty of room for privacy or socializing. A detached one-car garage and a one-bedroom, one-bath guest cabin sit nearby, all within a large, well-tended yard bordered by a pole fence.
This is a three-bedroom, one-and-one-half-bathroom ranch-style house built in 1955. A deck on the house’s east side welcomes the morning sun. It has a full basement and a metal roof that was installed in 2015. The two-car garage also has a new metal roof which extends over a carport for extra vehicle storage.
In the early 1900s, this type of classic structure was the workhorse of the western ranch. The Sula Peak Ranch barn has been maintained over the years out of respect for the culture it represents. Tall and still sound, this 1,200± sq. ft. barn has white-painted wood siding and a new metal roof with a cupola.
Built in 1974, this 1,800± sq. ft. barn has been updated with newer siding and a metal roof. It includes steel fencing and a corral system from HiQual, a highly rated manufacturer. An array of valuable equipment facilitates the calving operation including a hydraulic chute, a certified electronic scale, and a loading ramp that is adjustable to both horse trailers or tractor trailers.
This elegant wooden barn was built about ten years ago. It has eight stalls and a tack room on the lower level, and an apartment upstairs with a kitchen and full bath.
This steel building, approximately ten years old, was manufactured by Morton Buildings, a leader in farm and ranch construction. At more than 9,000 sq. ft., it has a cement floor, and a portion is insulated which can be heated for comfortable winter work.
This is also a Morton steel building with nearly 5,000 sq. ft. of space. Built about ten years ago, it has a gravel floor and is used for storing ranch implements and equipment.
The geography of the Bitterroot Valley creates a moderate year-round climate that earns it the reputation of the “banana belt” of Montana. While low temperatures may drop into the teens during January, the coldest month, expect warm winter days as well. About 30 inches of snow falls over the winter, with more at the higher elevations — Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski resort reaches a base of 60 inches. Many winter days are sunny, and shirtsleeve ski days aren’t uncommon. About 14 inches of rain fall each year in the Sula area, putting it on the dry side. Still, spring rains fill the creeks and abundant wildflowers blanket the valleys and hillsides. Spring nights remain crisp, and even in mid-summer the nighttime temperatures can be in the 40s. July is the warmest month, with an average high temperature of 85 degrees. Cool summer nights, with clear skies and no light pollution, make Sula Peak Ranch optimal for watching the Persied meteor showers in August. As the aspen, cottonwoods and western larch trees turn gold in the fall, temperatures range from the low 30s to the high 50s — perfect weather for hiking, fishing, hunting or just watching the elk and deer from your front window.
A husband/wife team currently live in the caretaker home near the main house. They maintain the property and manage the ranching operations, which include harvesting between 750 and 1,200 six-foot bales of grass hay per year, depending on conditions. About 400 acres of hay meadows are irrigated along with 200 acres of pastureland with water from Cameron Creek and the East Fork of the Bitterroot River, where the ranch owns first water rights. At present, the owners are conservatively running 350 cow-calf pairs, with feeding operations running from November to April The barn, mechanical shop, hay storage and other support structures are in excellent condition, and the metal working corrals are new.
In the Bitterroot Valley, world-class recreation is never more than minutes away. At Sula Peak Ranch, the best opportunities may be out your back door. With the East Fork of the Bitterroot River running through the southern portion of the property, you’ll have direct access to one of the top-class trout streams in the region. You can also take your fly rod up Cameron Creek, which meanders along the property’s eastern border. Migrating ducks, geese, swans and other remarkable wildlife make the ranch a prime area for just watching the natural landscape.
The Bitterroot River is also great for rafting, and many hiking trails thread into the stunning Bitterroot Range. Hunters will find huntable populations of waterfowl and upland game birds, along with excellent numbers of deer and elk — many of them residents of Sula Peak Ranch. Bighorn sheep and moose sometimes visit the ranch as well. Ski at Lost Trail Powder Mountain, with a base elevation of 7,050 feet. Hike, bike or just soak at Lost Trail Hot Springs Resort. Both areas are within 15 minutes of the ranch.
Golfers can play 18 holes at the Hamilton Golf Club, one of the best public courses in the Northwest. The private 18-hole Stock Farm Club is also in Hamilton, which is about 35 miles north of Sula. Both courses provide spectacular views of the Bitterroots.
With its historic forts, missions and trails, the Bitterroot Valley figures prominently in Montana history — and one of the most important sites is on the Sula Peak Ranch. In 1804, the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery arrived in a small valley called Ross’ Hole, cold, wet and hungry. The Salish Indians, who were camped on this spot which is now part of the ranch, provided food and furs to the group, including Sacagawea and her baby. A painting of the event by Charles M. Russell hangs in the Montana State Capitol.
The Bitterroot Valley is named for the bitterroot plant, a food staple for the Salish tribes who were its first residents. The Hudson’s Bay Company established forts to trade with trappers and Indians, and St. Mary’s Mission was founded near present-day Stevensville. Logging and agriculture became the main industries in the region, evolving toward tourism, research facilities and high tech today.
Taxes for Sula Peak Ranch are approximately $12,552 per annum based on recent history.
The ranch holds extensive water rights for stock, domestic and irrigation. These rights are from a variety of sources including groundwater, Cameron Creek, springs, and the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. Priority dates stretch as far back as 1887.
All minerals owned by Seller will transfer to a new owner.
An inventory of ranch equipment and other personal property will be made available for purchase but is not included in the purchase price.
Sula Peak Ranch is authentic in every way. Its land mass comprises the majority of the entire ZIP code of Sula, Montana. Operating on a substantial base of deeded acreage with a solid and massive block of federal and state leases and permits, this ranch is a legitimate cattle operation situated amidst every recreational amenity the Northern Rockies have to offer.
- 2,848± acre ranch in Sula Basin
- East Fork of the Bitterroot flows through
- Owner’s home and garage
- Manager’s home
- 19,062± acre adjacent national forest grazing permit
- 6,229± acres State grazing lease
- Full set of agricultural facilities including barn, mechanical shop, hay storage and corrals
- Very large elk herd
- Cameron Creek flows through for over four miles
- Miles of boundary with public lands including state and federal
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 and Jerome Chvilicek at (406) 656-7500 or Justin Bryan at (325) 260-5883 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 or Dan Bergstrom at (406) 656-7500 or Justin Bryan in our Abilene office at (325) 260-5883 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
Dave Roddy • (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.
UNDERSTANDING WHOM REAL ESTATE AGENTS REPRESENT
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.