Located 40 miles east of Sun Valley’s airport, this scenic mountain ranch is easily accessible to the amenities of a premier resort community yet instills a sense of being a world away. Consisting of 1,080± deeded acres, the property lies in the Fish Creek Valley, surrounded by the peaks and foothills of the Pioneer Mountains. High-quality federal lands and large operating ranches border the property. Fish Creek and its primary tributary, East Fork Fish Creek, course their way through the ranch for over two miles and support a small stream trout fishery. The Fish Creek area is well-known for its abundant wildlife, including elk, mule deer, antelope, moose, and upland game birds. Given its size, the ranch qualifies for landowner appreciation tags for controlled hunts in coveted hunt unit 49. Ranch and residential improvements are older but functional and include a two-bedroom/two-bath farmhouse, a one-bedroom casita with a sleeping loft, a garage/workshop building, a barn with tack and storage rooms, corrals, and covered hay storage. Fish Creek Road, a maintained county road, provides easy, year-round access to the ranch from US Highway 20. Irrigated pastures with adjudicated water rights, along with an adjacent Bureau of Land Management (BLM) grazing permit, support a seasonal grazing program. For those wondering, the number "20" included in the name of the ranch is a reference to the owner's longstanding livestock brand.
Just the Facts
- 1,080± deeded, contiguous acres in the foothills of the Pioneer Mountains
- 40 miles from Hailey and Sun Valley’s airport and 10 miles from Carey
- Over two miles of Fish Creek and East Fork Fish Creek
- Improvements include a functional two-bedroom farmhouse, sleeping cabin, garage/workshop, barn, corrals, and covered hay storage
- Leased for seasonal cattle and sheep grazing in conjunction with an associated BLM grazing permit
- 300± acres with surface and groundwater irrigation rights
- Secluded setting with year-round access and utilities
- Surrounded by high-quality federal and state lands and other private ranches
- Wildlife includes elk, mule deer, pronghorn, moose, sage grouse, chukar partridge, gray partridge
- Ranch qualifies for landowner appreciation permits for controlled hunts in unit 49
- No conservation easement
- Elevation ranges from 5,400 feet to 6,300 feet
- Annual property taxes are approximately $1,345
Fish Creek Ranch 20 consists of a contiguous tract of deeded land bordered by other operating ranches and lands managed by the BLM and State of Idaho. Fish Creek Road crosses the eastern portion of the property for approximately a half-mile and provides year-round access from US Highway 20. Approximately 180 acres of deeded land and 155 acres of the ranch’s BLM grazing allotment lie on the east side of Fish Creek Road, while the majority of the ranch, including all of the building improvements, an irrigation well, and the balance of the grazing allotment, is situated west of the road. Structures on the ranch include a ranch house, one-room guest cottage, separate garage/workshop, barn, corrals, and hay storage. Of the ranch’s total size, approximately 400 acres are located on the valley floor, with the remaining portions of the property extending into the adjoining foothills. Fish Creek courses south through the ranch for over a mile amidst stands of willows and groves of aspen and cottonwood trees. Fish Creek’s primary tributary, East Fork Fish Creek, flows southwest through the ranch for over a mile before joining Fish Creek at the south end of the property. The ranch holds multiple surface irrigation rights from Fish Creek and East Fork Fish Creek and a single groundwater irrigation right to irrigate up to approximately 300 acres. Elevations range from approximately 5,400 feet at the ranch house to over 6,200 feet in the foothills at the northern end of the property.
Fish Creek Ranch 20 combines privacy and seclusion with accessibility and proximity to all the amenities and services of a top-flight resort community. The ranch features a highly desirable combination of diverse topography, year-round creeks, and springs, irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows, stands of aspen and willows, seasonal grazing resources, and plentiful wildlife, including elk, mule deer, antelope, upland game birds, and numerous non-game species.
Fish Creek Ranch 20 is located in the foothills of the Pioneer Mountains, 15 miles northeast of the farming and ranching community of Carey and 50 miles southeast of Ketchum and the Sun Valley Resort. The town of Hailey, the county seat for Blaine County and 12 miles south of Ketchum, is approximately 45 minutes west of the ranch and offers a full range of services and amenities. Commercial air service and a private fixed-based operation, Atlantic Aviation, are located at Hailey’s Friedman Memorial Field. Delta, United, and Horizon Airlines service the airport and offer daily and seasonal flights to Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Atlantic Aviation offers a suite of personal aircraft services, and Friedman Field is capable of handling large private aircraft. The ranch is accessed year-round from Carey and US Highway 20 via Fish Creek Road, an all-season, unpaved county road. Estimated driving distances to the nearest urban centers are as follows: Boise, 160 miles to the west; Twin Falls, 80 miles to the south; Idaho Falls, 110 miles to the east; and Salt Lake City, 285 miles to the south.
Located on the southern edge of the vast central Idaho wilderness, Blaine County encompasses 2,655 square miles and supports a current population of approximately 25,000. Most of the county’s residents live in the Big Wood River Valley communities of Hailey, Bellevue, Ketchum, and Sun Valley. The community of Carey, with a population of 600, is the agricultural base for eastern Blaine County and home to numerous multi-generational farms and ranches. Of the nearly 1.7 million acres that comprise the county, over 75 percent of the landmass is state or federally-owned, assuring ample open space and public lands recreation opportunities.
With Fish Creek Ranch 20, one can take advantage of the amenities and activities typically found in a first-rate resort community while also enjoying the low-key lifestyle afforded by a rural setting. As part of the larger Sun Valley community, an owner has access to one of the nation’s most prestigious year-round resort areas. Top-rated golf courses and tennis facilities, fine dining and cultural opportunities, mountain biking and hiking trails, and world-class downhill and cross-country skiing are all available within an hour of the property.
Eastern Blaine County features a spectacular landscape that remains largely unspoiled. The 750,000-acre Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve lies a short distance southeast of the ranch and encompasses ancient lava flows and over 400 square miles of protected sagebrush steppe grasslands. This area is still home to large operating ranches and livestock companies, where sheep and cattle follow the seasons, grazing their way north from the Snake River Plain through the Great Rift in the spring to mountain grazing reserves in the summer and early fall. This is a diverse, unique ecosystem approximately 120 miles in length from north to south and ranging over 6,000 feet in elevation from the Snake River to the peaks of the Pioneer Mountains. Except for a few roads and ranch fences, the landscape looks much the same as it did a century ago.
The climate for the area is best described as semi-arid, with an average humidity of only 30 percent and annual precipitation of 14 inches per year. Summers are warm, with the temperatures occasionally reaching into the low 90s and cooling to the mid-40s at night. Winters are generally cold, with an average maximum temperature from November through February of 35 degrees and an average minimum temperature during the same period of 13 degrees.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
The deeded portion of the ranch consists of 1,080± contiguous acres. The ranch also encompasses 600± acres of adjacent federal land managed by the BLM for a combined total of 1,680± acres.
The ranch is not covered by a conservation easement at the present time. However, because of the property’s open space features, wildlife values, and agricultural resources, it is an excellent candidate for one offering the potential for significant income tax benefits. Two of the private ranches that join Fish Creek Ranch 20 are subject to conservation easements held by The Nature Conservancy.
Fish Creek Ranch 20 features an older but functional and practical set of building improvements. These include a 1,410± square-foot, two-bedroom/two-bath ranch house, a 252 square-foot, one-room casita with a sleeping loft, a 26’ X 24’ garage/workshop with double doors, a 30’ X 36’ barn with tack and storage rooms, corrals, and a 128’ X 28’ hay storage shed. The ranch house and casita are located in a private, treed setting on the west side of Fish Creek with wonderful views of the surrounding valley. The ranch has extensive interior fencing dividing the ranch into multiple pastures. Lost River Electric Co-Op, based in Mackay, Idaho, provides electricity to the ranch. The primary domestic water source is a developed spring located on the hillside adjacent to the ranch house. A well next to the barn serves as a secondary source for domestic water. The road to the ranch is maintained by Blaine County and plowed during winter months.
There are five surface irrigation rights associated with Fish Creek and East Fork Fish Creek and one groundwater irrigation right to irrigate a combined total of 300± acres. The two earliest rights have priority dates of June 1, 1884. There are also 150 shares of irrigation water associated with Fish Creek Reservoir that can be used on the property. In addition, the ranch holds a domestic water right from a spring which is located adjacent to the residence and serves as the primary domestic water source. There is also a domestic well located next to the barn that serves as a secondary domestic water source. A more detailed list of water rights is available from Hall and Hall upon request.
Regarding the delivery of irrigation water, pastures are flood irrigated through a series of gravity-fed ditches. Although currently inactive, a sprinkler system is in place to irrigate approximately 100 acres using gravity-fed water from East Fork Fish Creek and pressurized water from the irrigation well. This system includes three center pivots (two on the west side of Fish Creek Road and the third on the east side), wheel lines, and hand lines. Because the sprinkler system has not been utilized for a number of years, it will be the purchaser’s responsibility to evaluate its condition and usability.
All mineral and subsurface rights owned by the Seller will transfer to the new owner at closing. Based on a review of the original patents to the ranch, it is estimated that 640± acres within the higher elevations of the property are subject to a federal mineral reservation in accordance with the federal Stock Raising Act of 1916. In addition, it is thought that 40± acres located in section 16 are subject to a mineral reservation on behalf of the State of Idaho.
Annual Blaine County property taxes are approximately $1,345.
It is often said that the Sun Valley area offers Idaho’s best combination of trout fishing, big game hunting, and wing shooting, and Fish Creek Ranch 20 lies in the heart of it all.
Fish Creek is a small, year-round freestone stream that supports a habitat for rainbow and brook trout. The creek flows into Fish Creek Reservoir, which lies just a mile south of the property and has traditionally offered excellent trout fishing. Within an easy drive of the ranch are several of Idaho’s best-known fishing destinations, including Silver Creek, the Little Wood, and Big Wood Rivers, and the Big Lost River.
The area is rich with upland birds and waterfowl. Chukar partridge and forest grouse are plentiful on the hillsides, ridgelines, and rock outcroppings throughout the foothills and mountains around the ranch, while Hungarian partridge and sage grouse can be found in good numbers in adjacent sagebrush stands. Waterfowl hunters can find quality shooting at Carey Lake Wildlife Management Area and at Silver Creek Preserve. Doves are plentiful in the Carey area during the early fall until the first hard freezes occur.
The surrounding mountains, foothills, and high desert areas teem with elk, mule deer, and pronghorn. Moose are routinely found in the area as well. Because the property consists of at least 640 acres, the owner of Fish Creek Ranch 20 is eligible for a landowner preference tag from the Idaho Fish and Game Department for controlled big game hunts within hunt unit 49.
In addition to hunting and fishing, the Sun Valley area offers a variety of world-class, year-round outdoor recreational activities a short distance away from the ranch. Winter activities include downhill skiing on the famous Bald Mountain, and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling on the area’s extensive winter trail network. During the summer and fall, the area’s diverse topography offers unparalleled hiking, backpacking, and mountain bike riding. Blaine County is also blessed with tens of thousands of acres of BLM and national forest lands, which provide unlimited opportunities for one to experience the best of Idaho’s backcountry.
The current owners are retired from the cattle business and lease the ranch on an annual basis to a local livestock operator for cattle grazing. The typical stocking rate is approximately 70 pairs for the season. The ranch holds a small BLM grazing permit for the adjacent Balsamroot Allotment, which is managed in conjunction with the ranch’s deeded lands. The permit allows for 45 head from June 1 until September and a total of 48 animal unit months.
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