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 in two parcels, 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. The 45 Ranch features 240± acres with over a mile of the South Fork of the Owyhee River. Improvements on the “45” include 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 240± acre Star Valley Ranch is located 10 miles south of the 45 at the confluence of two seasonal streams, Tent Creek and the Little Owyhee River. Structures include a shop/storage building and a rustic, unused ranch house. Access is either from the air, utilizing the 45’s private 2,000± foot grass airstrip, or by vehicle from State Highway 225 and the small community of Owyhee, Nevada, located approximately two hours southeast of the property over BLM roads.
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 $3,700
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 by its owners as a four-season wilderness retreat with an emphasis on wildlife, conservation, and backcountry recreation. The 45 is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of the Owyhee River Wilderness Area, a large swath of specially designated BLM lands that, since 2009, have been managed solely for wildlife and non-motorized recreational uses.
The 45 lies at the confluence of the South Fork of the Owyhee River and the seasonal Little Owyhee River at a point where the South Fork canyon briefly expands into an open valley. The South Fork makes a sweep through the western boundary of the ranch for over a mile and provides water to irrigate the ranch’s 2,200± foot, grass runway. Water from the river is also used to sustain wetland areas that are part of an award-winning habitat restoration project completed in 2009. The main access road drops hundreds of feet into the canyon from the plateau above and offers amazing views across the ranch and the Owyhee Wilderness Area beyond.
The ranch headquarters sits at the entrance to the property next to a row of mature poplar trees planted by an early owner of the 45. The headquarters consists of 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. Next to the buildings is a half-acre, year-round pond fed by the river. A gazebo sits next to the pond and features an Argentinean-style outdoor grilling and dining area ideal for entertaining family and guests after a full day of exploring the surrounding wilderness.
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 crosses BLM lands high above the Little Owyhee canyon. An historic ranch in its own right, Star Valley is an aggregation of two original homesteads that became the headquarters for a now defunct, year-round ranching operation. Structures include a shop/storage building and an unused ranch house along with other remnant ranch structures that represent a bygone era. Star Valley joins the south end of the Owyhee River Wilderness Area and also borders lands owned by the State of Idaho.
Literally at the end of the road in the rugged, remote backcountry of southwest Idaho, the secluded 45 and Star Valley Ranches represent the best in wilderness properties. In addition to being surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of high-quality federal lands managed for recreation and non-motorized uses, the 45 Ranch controls access to miles of the South Fork of the Owyhee River with its trout and bass fishery and seasonal floating opportunities. The lush bottomlands of the 45 are home to an array of wildlife and stand in dramatic contrast to the red rock cliffs towering hundreds of feet above. The ranch features a well-appointed owner’s cabin that allows for comfortable, off-the-grid living and hosting family and guests for extended stays, while a private runway affords quick, easy access from around the region.
The 45 and Star Valley Ranches are located in the remote high desert country of southwestern Idaho midway between Boise, Idaho and Elko, Nevada. Boise (100 air miles north of the property) is Idaho’s capital city and features the state’s largest commercial airport with daily connections to numerous major cities on multiple airlines. Elko (110 air miles to the south) offers daily flights to Salt Lake City via Delta as well as a fixed-based operation, Mountain West Aviation. Mountain Home, Idaho is located 90 air miles north of the ranch and home to a general aviation airport capable of handling all sizes of private aircraft. The community of Owyhee, Nevada, 40 air miles southeast of the ranch and headquarters for the Duck Valley Indian Reservation and Shoshone-Paiute Tribes, offers a lighted, 4,700-foot runway at an elevation of 5,375 feet. The 45 Ranch also features its own 2,000± foot grass airstrip allowing for convenient fly-in access. By vehicle, the drive from Owyhee to the 45 is approximately 50 miles over a series of unpaved roads crossing the Duck Valley Reservation and lands managed by the BLM. Access to Star Valley, located 10 miles south of the 45, is over a gravel road that crosses BLM lands and traverses a plateau above the Little Owyhee. Although road conditions change with the weather, it is typical to be able to drive to the ranch year-round.
The Owyhees is a remote region of southwestern Idaho, northern Nevada, and southeastern Oregon that is home to an undeveloped labyrinth of high desert plateaus and juniper-covered mountains incised by spectacular, sheer-walled river canyons. Often referred to as “America’s Outback,” the Owyhees encompass an area twice the size of Yellowstone National Park and are considered to be one of the most biologically rich desert ecosystems in the country. The area is home to an array of important wildlife, including California bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, antelope, mountain lion, sage grouse, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, and redband trout (a desert-tolerant strain of rainbow trout). There are few remaining places in the American West where native sagebrush and bunchgrass ecosystems have escaped development and fragmentation, and the Owyhees is one of them.
In addition to sustaining critical wildlife habitat, the complex geology of the Owyhees is unique and nationally significant. Carving through the heart of the region, the Owyhee, Bruneau, and Jarbidge Rivers and their various forks and tributaries twist northward toward the Snake River through steep and often vertical canyons typically composed of volcanic tuff and rhyolite extending from 400 to more than 1,000 feet deep. Geologists site the area as one of the largest concentration of sheer-walled, volcanic-origin canyons in the western US.
From a cultural perspective, the Owhyees 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.
The 45 and Star Valley Ranches range in elevation from approximately 4,300 feet to 5,100 feet. The area experiences approximately 14 inches of precipitation per year with nearly 70 inches of snowfall. Snow depths can range from several inches on the canyon floor to a foot or more on the canyon rim and adjoining plateaus. Summers are warm with temperatures regularly reaching the 90s in July and August. Winters are generally cold with an average high temperature from November through March of 42 degrees Farenheit and an average low temperature during the same period of 21 degrees Farenheit.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
The 45 Ranch and Star Valley Ranches encompass two separate 240± acre ranch parcels comprising a total of 480± deeded acres.
Conservation easements held by The Nature Conservancy and BLM are in place on the 45 Ranch to preserve the property’s unique wilderness attributes. Copies of the easements and supporting documentation are available from Hall and Hall upon request. Star Valley Ranch is not covered by a conservation easement.
Building improvements on the 45 Ranch consist of a comfortable three-bedroom/two-bath owner’s cabin with a large back deck, a one-bedroom/one-bath caretaker’s home with an adjacent spare bunkroom, and several older ranch structures, including a shop building, a small barn, and a stone house that dates back to the homestead era. In addition, a gazebo sits next to the pond and features an Argentinean-style outdoor grilling and dining area. Structures on the Star Valley Ranch are more rustic and include a shop/storage building, an unused ranch house, and several remnant, unused ranch structures.
The ranch holds multiple water rights of record from the South Fork of the Owyhee River and Tent Creek for irrigation, stock water, and wildlife uses on the property. A complete list of associated water rights is available from Hall and Hall upon request.
All mineral and subsurface rights owned by the Seller will transfer to the new owner at closing.
Approximate Owyhee County property taxes are $2,205 for the 45 Ranch and $1,610 for the Star Valley Ranch for a combined annual total of $3,815.
The South Fork of the Owyhee River flows north through the ranch for over a mile, supporting native redband trout and smallmouth bass along the way, before joining the East Fork of the Owyhee River approximately 12 miles downstream. The upper Owyhee River, including its primary tributaries, the South Fork and East Fork, is regarded as one of the west’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. A network of gravel roads crossing BLM lands outside of the designated wilderness area beckoned to be explored by cyclists and ATV riders. The Owyhees are rich in wildlife, and the ranch (located in Idaho hunt unit 42 and the Owyhee elk zone) is home to California bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, chukar, California quail, and sage grouse. With the nearest neighbor over 40 miles away, night skies at the ranch are among the darkest in the nation offering stargazers unimpeded views of the galaxy.
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