The 45 and Star Valley Ranches are wilderness inholdings that lie in the heart of the magnificent Owyhee Canyonlands of southwestern Idaho. Simply known as the “Owyhees,” this is an immense, sparsely populated region spanning portions of Idaho, Nevada and Oregon where sheer canyon walls swell to broad sagebrush plateaus that roll across one of the largest intact and undeveloped expanses of public land remaining in the Lower 48. Consisting of 480± total deeded acres, the property is encompassed by the Owyhee River Wilderness Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and represents the only developed private land for over 40 miles in any direction. Access is either from the air, utilizing the property’s private 2,000± foot grass airstrip, or by vehicle from highway 225 and the small community of Owyhee, Nevada, located approximately two hours southeast of the ranch over BLM roads.
For over a century, the 240± acre 45 Ranch served as the headquarters for a remote ranching operation that spread across the southwestern corner of the state. Today, the ranch is used and managed as a four-season wilderness retreat with an emphasis on wildlife and backcountry recreation. The property features a comfortable three-bedroom owner’s cabin, caretaker’s home, and several ranch buildings, including a stone house that dates back to the homestead era. The buildings are serviced by a reliable, easy-to-operate, solar-powered electrical system with back-up generators. A satellite internet system ensures ease of communication with the outside world. A row of poplar trees planted by an early owner of the 45 overlooks the ranch compound and an adjacent half-acre, year-round pond fed by river water. A gazebo sits next to the pond and features an Argentinean-style outdoor grilling and dining area.
The 240± acre Star Valley Ranch is located in its own canyon matrix approximately 10 miles south of the “45” at the confluence of Tent Creek and the Little Owyhee River. Both of these streams are seasonal, although springs in Tent Creek Canyon provide a year-round source of water. Access to Star Valley from the 45 is over a gravel road that traverses a plateau above the Little Owyhee. An historic ranch in its own right, Star Valley is an aggregation of two original homesteads that became the base of operation for a year-round ranching operation. Structures include a shop/storage building and an unused ranch house. Star Valley joins the south end of the Owyhee River Wilderness Area and also borders lands owned by the State of Idaho.
The South Fork of the Owyhee River flows north through the 45 Ranch for nearly a mile, supporting native redband trout and smallmouth bass along the way, before joining the East Fork of the Owyhee River 12 miles downstream. The upper Owyhee River, including its primary tributaries, the South Fork and East Fork, is regarded as one of the region’s great wilderness river systems. For a couple of months each spring when river flows are optimal, the upper Owyhee becomes a destination for hearty, self-sufficient kayakers, canoeists, and rafting parties seeking solitude and adventure in a secluded canyon environment.
The surrounding Owyhee River Wilderness offers miles of hiking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and other non-motorized pursuits in a landscape where it is the rare exception to come across another human. Blessed with abundant wildlife, the ranch is home to California bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and numerous coveys of chukar and quail. An extensive wetland restoration effort involving the ranch’s original hayfield has resulted in an even greater concentration of wildlife on the property.
From a cultural perspective, the Owyhees hold a profound significance for Native Americans who have called the area home for thousands of years. Evidence of their existence can be found in the many pictographs, petroglyphs, and artifacts that these original inhabitants left behind. Cattle ranching has a long history in the region as well, and remnant structures from the early days of the Idaho cowboy dot the side canyons and river bottoms. As a bonus, night skies at the ranch are among the darkest in the nation offering stargazers unimpeded views of the galaxy.
Just the Facts
- 480± total deeded acres located in a unique canyon setting
- Owyhee River Wilderness Area and other public lands surround the ranch
- Only private holdings within a 500± square mile area
- South Fork of the Owyhee River flows through the property for nearly a mile
- Furnished owner’s cabin with easy-to-operate, off-grid power and communications systems plus other ranch buildings
- 2,000± foot private, grass airstrip provides ease of access
- Water rights for irrigation and wildlife use
- Excellent big game and upland bird hunting and fishing for redband trout and smallmouth
- Located in Idaho hunt unit 42 and the Owyhee-South Hills elk zone
- Conservation easements in place on the 45 Ranch to preserve the property’s unique wilderness attributes. Star Valley is not covered by an easement.
- Elevation is approximately 4,300 feet
- Annual property taxes are approximately $2,000
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I had been looking for the right property for several years and Elliott Davenport’s insight into the quail plantation market and his ability to think strategically was instrumental in helping me find our new place. Elliott was helpful on all technical aspects of contracting and due diligence. His post closing help with hiring and contractors made the process much easier as well.
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