Valley of the Moon Ranch

Property Map

Valley of the Moon Ranch

  • Valley of the Moon Ranch

Valley of the Moon Ranch

Missoula, Montana

You’d never know it’s there. The Valley of the Moon Ranch is indeed its own private valley surrounded by U.S. Forest Service lands at the end of a highly discreet road. With extensive frontage on Rock Creek, one of Montana’s most famous blue ribbon trout fisheries, and total seclusion a mere 40-minute drive to an international airport, this property has no equal. The improvements at Valley of the Moon Ranch are a unique departure from the norm blending modern architecture with a pristine, rocky mountain landscape. Gilbert Creek, a trout spawning tributary to Rock Creek, flows through the length of this valley. In short, this property is a Rocky Mountain utopia. 








Valley of the Moon Ranch is located in Missoula County (population 100,000±) approximately 30 miles east of Missoula, the county seat. Delta and United Airlines service the Missoula International Airport from their respective hubs in Salt Lake City/Minneapolis and Denver with several arrivals and departures each day. Delta also now offers direct flights to Atlanta on a seasonal basis. Additionally, Missoula is served by Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, providing nonstop service to Seattle and Allegiant Air with weekly and bi-weekly direct flights to Las Vegas, Oakland, Los Angeles and Phoenix. 


Valley of the Moon Ranch is located west of the Continental Divide in a mountainous region of rivers and timber. The property lies along one of the major tributaries to the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, between the John Long and Sapphire Mountain ranges. Vast expanses of mountainous public lands comprise the majority of the region. The Lolo, Beaverhead and Deer Lodge National Forests converge in this area.


The cultural history of the area was established by mountain men, followed by miners, with loggers and cattlemen on their heels. In addition, an emergency-grade hospital serves the region with a short helicopter ride to the major medical center in Missoula.

General Description: 

On a basic level the majority of the property, as shown on a map, is shaped like a barbell with a small square above the “grip”. Rock Creek Road runs south from Interstate 90 about 25 miles east of Missoula. This road is approximately 50 miles long and parallels the whole of Rock Creek itself. Approximately 2.2 miles upstream (south) from Interstate 90 there is a turnoff to the west with a bridge crossing that serves as the access road to the Valley of the Moon Ranch. This road is a public road traversing mostly forest service lands across a grassy meadow for about ¾ mile before entering the forest and up a timbered slope for just over a mile before entering the property’s east boundary. The public has no access beyond this point. After another mile of travel through a mature forest, the road opens to a long hay meadow through which Gilbert Creek flows. From this point, the road follows the north edge of the meadows with heavy timber on the right hand side for approximately 7/10s of a mile before passing the manager’s home. Continuing along the edge of the meadow for another ¾, mile the road arrives at the owner’s residence on the right hand side with a large pond on the left fed by Gilbert Creek. The road forks a short distance beyond the house. The left fork drops down through the meadow and crosses the creek before arriving at the art gallery. The right fork re-enters the forest traveling about 4/10s of a mile before arriving at a meadow where the Turrell (a magnificent in-ground sculpture) and guest home are located alongside a small pond. The hills and mountains surrounding this valley are timbered with a mix of ponderosa, douglas fir and western larch. There is a sense of privacy on this property that simply cannot be found elsewhere. 


1,396± deeded acres

Acreage Breakdown: 

Forest: 1,216± acres
Grazing: 150± acres
Farmsite (improvements): 6± acres


With the use of words there is no suitable description for the improvements at Valley of the Moon Ranch. Photographs only help somewhat. There is no substitute for being there. Suffice it to say that the Valley of the Moon Ranch is home to a collection of structures that represent an architectural masterpiece. The owner’s residence, guest home and art gallery were designed by Emilio Ambasz in 1993, a renowned and enigmatic architect that has been described as the “spiritual father of the sustainability movement”. An in-ground sculpture by James Turrell punctuates the landscape in front of the guest home. A comfortable manager’s home is stationed as a “gatekeeping” structure along the drive to the owner’s compound.

Owner’s Residence:
The 10,300± sq. ft. home, constructed in 1994, is built into a south-facing hillside and includes 5 bedrooms (3 of which have sitting rooms), 7 full baths, 1 half bath, kitchen, dining room with fireplace, living room, a library with a fireplace, recreation room, office with fireplace, and an exercise room with an indoor endless swimming pool. The foyer is magnificent with cathedral ceilings and twin staircases that create an immediate sense of symmetry upon entering the home. A 1,428± square foot attached garage provides plenty of room for vehicles.

Art Gallery:
This structure is also ideal for hosting parties and it has an acoustic quality that would serve it well as a musician’s performance and/or recording studio. The building contains a storage area, meeting room and a bathroom and could easily be converted to additional living space if desired. A circular outdoor sculpture court with high, white walls serves as the entry point.

Guest Home:
Though built almost ten years following the construction of the owner’s residence and art gallery, this 1,787± sq. ft. home maintains the architectural theme. It includes a kitchen, living room with fireplace, a master bedroom and guest bedroom each with a full bath, a storage room, utility room and a mechanical room. There is also a 936 square foot detached garage.

“The Turrell”:
This sculpture is essentially a huge aperture aimed at the sky and buried in the earth. It is situated at the edge of a trout-filled pond alongside Gilbert Creek. One can enter this interactive sculpture from a concrete walkway at pond level, take a seat on a circular built-in bench and observe the magnificence of Montana’s firmament. The upward view is embellished by the slow and subtle transitions of a colorful light show orchestrated by a hidden computer system.

Manager’s Home:
The manager’s home is a more conventional Lindal Cedar home on the north side of the hay meadows against the timberline. It includes 1,444 sq. ft. of living space and features a wrap-around deck that overlooks the irrigated meadows that flank Gilbert Creek.


By mountain property standards, the Valley of the Moon Ranch boasts a relatively temperate climate on average, although occasional extremes can reach into the 90s in the summer and below zero at times in the winter. At the closest National Weather Service station in Philipsburg, annual precipitation is reported to average between 14 and 15 inches. Snow accumulations may average as much as 18 to 20 inches on the property, with the predominate snowfall occurring between November and March.

General Operations: 

Currently, Valley of the Moon Ranch serves as a year-round residence for the owners. It is equally well suited to use as a year-round residence or as a retreat from an urban center. The current owners do not keep horses but there is certainly room to graze a number of horses or other livestock.

Timber Resources: 

Timber species include a mix of ponderosa, fir and western larch. The current management plan is one that focuses on forest health and aesthetics rather than It is interesting to note that the property and the surrounding mountains have a strong population of western larch, the only deciduous conifer in the world. These trees throw off a yellowish glow in September and October transforming the landscape into a festival of color that precedes winter’s more “pensive” scenes.

Wildlife Resources: 

A wide variety of wildlife resides in the Rock Creek drainage and the surrounding mountains. Whitetail and mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain lions, eagles, ospreys, grouse, coyotes, wolves and black bears are some of the more familiar animal species found here.

Of the seven “blue ribbon” trout streams located in Montana, Rock Creek is the only stream so designated found west of the Continental Divide. This property provides direct access to the creek. Its waters are home to brown, rainbow, cutthroat, bull and brook trout. The average adult size of these trout range up to and above 18 inches. Bull trout, known to reach over 35 inches in some areas of Montana, are also found in Rock Creek. The year-round fishing season allows artificial flies and lures only. The salmonfly hatch is legendary and one of the most famous in the country.

Fishery Resources: 

Of the seven “blue ribbon” trout streams located in Montana, Rock Creek is the only stream so designated found west of the Continental Divide. This property provides direct access to the creek. Its waters are home to brown, rainbow, cutthroat, bull and brook trout. The average adult size of these trout range up to and above 18 inches. Bull trout, known to reach over 35 inches in some areas of Montana, are also found in Rock Creek. The year-round fishing season allows artificial flies and lures only. The salmonfly hatch is legendary and one of the most famous in the country.

Gilbert Creek, a small but healthy stream, provides vital spawning habitat for rearing trout. The creek flows through the Valley of the Moon Ranch property for over 3 miles. There are a series of three ponds alongside Gilbert Creek, the largest of which is located in between the owner’s residence and the art gallery.

Recreational Considerations: 

Opportunities for fishing, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling and hunting are prevalent at Valley of the Moon Ranch and on countless acres of adjacent national forest. Cross-country skiing can be enjoyed on the ranch from Christmas through early March. There are also plenty of nearby opportunities for downhill skiing, water skiing and lake fishing. 


While written reports of the Rock Creek Valley are as old as the Lewis & Clark expedition, the valley remained generally uninhabited until the 1860’s when homesteading began in earnest. Even with homesteading, however, the predominant landowner in the valley has remained the U.S. Forest Service, which currently owns and manages approximately 80% of the lands in the watershed. Private holdings in the valley are currently apportioned among approximately 330+ ownerships.

The earliest recorded history on Gilbert Creek, the creek that flows through Valley of the Moon Ranch, dates back to only 1909 when William Gould, a 60-year old bachelor from Georgia, applied for a patent on his homestead where he had been living for the previous 16 years. Recorded history of Valley of the Moon Ranch specifically is even more recent. Historical documents that James Finlen, Sr., a mining financier from Butte, Montana, bought Valley of the Moon Ranch from the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1921 some years after the railroad had received a large congressional land grant. A politician by the name of McDowell bought the property from Finlen, Sr. only to later sell it to Finlen’s son, James Finlen, Jr. in the 1930s. Finlen, Jr. sold the ranch in 1959 and since then it has only had a couple of owners. 


Property taxes are estimated to be $100,508 annually.

Water Rights: 

There are three active water wells on the property with flow rates of 85 gpm, 73 gpm and 35 gpm at depths of 76.6 feet, 79.1 feet and 78 feet respectively.

There are also 13 water rights on file with the DNRC. These water rights include domestic, recreation, irrigation and stock rights with priority dates ranging from 1886 through 1994. Details available upon request.

Mineral Rights: 

Seller will transfer all mineral rights owned by Seller.

Additional Information: 


Rock Creek is situated in the Northern Rocky Mountain Range. To the east lie the John Long and Flint Creek Mountains. To the west lies the Sapphire Mountains. Approximately 200 million years ago, central Idaho began to rise under the pressure of the giant up-welling of granite. Some of the granite rocks sitting atop this bulging batholith slid off toward the east, not coming to rest until they had traveled almost 50 miles. During the course of their movement, this proto-Sapphire range folded together with the upper belt, Precambrian sedimentary rocks into which it was moving. Among these folds is the present Rock Creek Valley. Subsequent extrusions of magma from the Idaho Batholiths through and around the Sapphires, together with the more recent effects of glaciation in the nearby Flit Creek and Anaconda-Pintlar ranges, have added to the complexity of the Rock Creek landscape.


The following personal property shall be included in this transaction and shall be conveyed “AS IS and with all faults, without any warranty, express or implied”:

  • Seller’s interest in the registration with the Montana Secretary of State of the name “Valley of the Moon Ranch”
  • All window coverings in all residences and garage door openers
  • All propane tanks owned by Seller
  • Seller will convey to the Buyer the license to the Turrell structure and the computer equipment and software used in conjunction with it
  • All irrigation equipment, three irrigation pumps and the red tractor

Any and all personal property not mentioned above, including without limitation the Richard Serra sculpture, sheep wagon, portable sawmill, maintenance equipment and vehicles, shall be retained by Seller unless specifically negotiated for purchase in a separate agreement.

The property is perpetually protected via a conservation easement executed in 1996 between the current owner and the Montana Land Reliance. The stated purpose of the easement is to preserve the property’s ecological, scenic, aesthetic, and open space values. The landowner’s rights to use the property for farming, ranching and other agricultural uses and hunting, fishing and other recreational uses are specifically protected. In addition to current structures on the property, the easement allows for the construction of two new residences each with an associated garage, a meditation pavilion, a play area and tennis court (clustered in the existing development area), a sculpture garden and non-residential structures as needed for agricultural purposes. Finally, the easement allows the landowner to maintain, repair, replace, and make limited additions (25% increase in size) to all existing structures.

Broker Comments: 

Valley of the Moon Ranch is unquestionably one of the most unique properties this listing broker has encountered throughout a 20-year career of marketing high-end properties. I have seen properties that included tenfold the acreage while offering only one-tenth the privacy found here. The improvements make this a quintessential enclave that can be accessed only a hop from a small but highly sophisticated small city in a beautiful mountain setting. 


Cash at closing


* The outstanding photography herein was provided by Heidi Long of Longviews Studios, Inc. (Contact information available upon request.)

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 and Jerome Chvilicek at (406) 656-7500 or Randy Clavel at (308) 534-9000 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 or Jerome Chvilicek at (406) 656-7500 are available to describe and discuss these services in detail and welcome your call.

AUCTIONS - Hall and Hall Auctions offers “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 over 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.
SPECIALIZED LENDING - Since 1946 Hall and Hall has created a legacy by efficiently providing capital to the intermountain west. 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 strong relationships with our lenders allows us to quickly tell you whether we can provide the required financing.

Competitive Pricing • Flexible Terms • Efficient Processing 
In-House Appraisals • Common Sense Underwriting
Dave Roddy • (406) 656-7500 
Mike Hall or Judy Chirila • (303) 861-8282
Randy Clavel • (308) 534-9000
Monte Lyons • (806) 698-6882


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.