Visit to Historic Encampment, Wyoming and Half Diamond Horseshoe Ranch

By: Mike Fraley

This summer my family rode along with me to Encampment, Wyoming on the slopes of the Sierra Madre Mountains where the beautiful Half Diamond Horseshoe Ranch is located.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in the Saratoga and Encampment area where we visited Saratoga’s Hot Springs, had several great meals and drove through beautiful country.  Being a family of history buffs, one of the best highlights was discovering the rich history of the town that was once known as “Grand Encampment”.


This area was first discovered by French-Canadian trappers and traders who held rendezvous in the 1830’s at a place they named “Camp le Grand”.  Tribes of Ute, Shoshone, Crow, Arapaho, Cheyenne and Sioux Indians regularly traveled through and hunted the Sierra Madres.  Later, around the 1840’s, a portion of the Cherokee Trail was used by gold-seekers looking for fortune in California.  Lumbering, the Union Pacific Railroad and cattle ranching began bringing settlers to the town of Encampment in the 1860’s and 1870’s. Then thousand head of cattle were reported in the area by the mid-1880’s, utilizing the Cherokee Trail as they trailed into this part of the Wyoming Territory.


It was copper discovered in the mountains above this quiet settlement that put Encampment on the map and showed promise that the town had the potential of becoming a western industrial stronghold.  Copper was first discovered by George Doane near Battle Lake in the Sierra Madres in the late 1880’s, and sheepherder Ed Haggarty found a vein in 1897 that created a decade-long boom in the area.  Later the Boston & Wyoming Smelter, Power and Light Company began mining in Encampment and created a 16-mile-long aerial tramway to transport ore from the mountains to the smelter.  This tramway was the longest in the world at the time and was considered an engineering marvel as it carried 840 buckets of ore that held as much as 700 pounds each.  In August of 1908, the Saratoga and Encampment Railway reached Encampment from the main Union Pacific line.  This would have been very advantageous as it was the “Only Line to the Great Wyoming Copper Mining District”; however it came too late as copper prices had taken a drastic hit and a series of fires at the smelter caused many of the reported 2,000 residents of Encampment to pack up and leave.  The boom that the mines brought to the area was large enough to “somewhat damage” the state’s entire economy when things went bust.


In the decades that have followed the area has been sustained by agriculture, mainly cattle and hay production. The John E. Rouse Beef Improvement Center is run by Colorado State University as a research facility to study and improve genetics in cattle that are raised in high elevations.    Saratoga and Encampment are also known for beautiful guest ranches and excellent fishing along the Platte River.  Logging continues to have a strong presence in Encampment as well.  Two of the town’s sources of pride are the Grand Encampment Museum, which was named by Wyoming Travel and Tourism in 2011 as its “Attraction of the Year”, and the renovated Grand Encampment Opera House which has hosted over one hundred years of melodramas that are still enjoyed at least twice a year in Encampment.


Discovering hidden treasures like the town of Encampment with its rich history and the beauty of the Sierra Madres is one of the many perks that I enjoy as I look at ranch property from one end of the state to the other.

Paintbrush Ranch, Luxist Estate of the Day

Paintbrush Ranch borders Grand Teton national park in Wyoming and has some of the best views of the Tetons anywhere in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The property includes a 9,100 square foot five-bedroom custom home; two-bedroom guest home; a one-bedroom caretakers home and a pair of shop buildings which can store all the toys you might need. Like many ranches, this one has a bit of taxidermy decor such as a half a stuffed deer jutting out of the fireplace.

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Fire Creek Canyon Ranch in Glenrock, Wyoming

Wyoming Ranches for Sale: Fire Creek Canyon Ranch – Glenrock, WY

Situated in the Laramie Mountains of southeast Wyoming, this 400± acre retreat offers trout fishing and exceptional big game hunting in one of the top elk areas in the state. Area 7 is known for trophy bulls and bucks and the ranch has the habitat to attract the wildlife to qualify it for two landowner elk tags and two mule deer tags each year. The ranch also enjoys private entry to a large block of adjacent National Forest that is difficult for the public to access. In addition, Box Elder Creek and numerous ponds along Fire Creek offer great fishing and a three bedroom log cabin provides comfortable accommodations. Fire Creek Canyon Ranch is nestled in a picturesque mountain valley approximately 30 miles south of Glenrock and 55 miles southeast of Casper.

Wyoming Ranches for Sale View Listing Details: Fire Creek Canyon Ranch

Fire Creek Canyon Ranch

Paintbrush Ranch Jackson Hole

Ranches for Sale in Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Paintbrush Ranch

Ranches for Sale - Jackson Hole

Bordering Grand Teton National Park with the most dramatic views of the Tetons found anywhere in Jackson Hole this custom 9,100± square foot home is just a fifteen minute drive from town and ten minutes from the Jackson airport. The five bedroom main residence is complimented by a guest house, caretakers house, three car garage and two large very well appointed shops that are capable of storing and maintaining all the toys one would ever need to enjoy this spectacular location. Breathtaking direct views of the Teton Range looking out across the Park are framed from the many oversized windows throughout the home. The layout is casual and comfortable while the finish work is exceptional at every turn.

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SOLD EA Ranch in Dubois, Wyoming

Wyoming Ranch Real Estate

Nestled in its own exceptionally private setting in the valley just below where Horse Creek flows out of a dramatic canyon and flows through the ranch for 4.5 miles through meadows, range and cottonwood bottoms providing an outstanding fishery, the EA operates on approximately 6,500± acres with a combination of livestock and guests. The 3-bedroom lodge and 2 guest cabins are situated along the creek with big down-valley views of the Wind River Range. Part of the ranch lies inside the National Forest giving access to a huge wilderness which is considered the most remote in the lower 48, yet the ranch is only 8 miles north of Dubois and is home to virtually every big-game species to be found in Wyoming. View Listing

Price Reduced – Rapid Canyon Ranch in Sheridan, Wyoming

Wyoming Ranches for Sale: Rapid Canyon Ranch – Sheridan, Wyoming

Located just 15 miles from Sheridan, the Rapid Canyon Ranch is the only significant ranch property currently available that joins the National Forest on the face of the Bighorn Mountains. Offering complete privacy, the 1,100± acre ranch features a private mountain valley with a dramatic canyon setting, lush grassy hills, timbered mountainsides and a rushing stream. It also has a main residence, stone shed, stone bunkhouse, manager’s house and a large horse barn. Price recently reduced.

Ranches for Sale in Wyoming