Historic Susie Q Ranch, located in the heart of south central Idaho’s unique high desert spring-fed Silver Creek ecosystem, is one of the great ranch properties in the prestigious Sun Valley area. Silver Creek, world renowned for its blue ribbon trout fishery, abundant wildlife and magnificent scenery, is protected in perpetuity by the nearby 900-acre Silver Creek Preserve and an additional 10,000 acres in conservation easements.Although this exceptional ranch property is only a short distance from a commercial airport, large hospital, and the famous year-round Sun Valley resort area with its skiing, PGA golf courses, fine dining, art, concerts, and shopping, Susie Q Ranch stands apart. Offering complete privacy in a peaceful rural setting, this 537-acre classic western working and recreational ranch has retained its old west charm throughout.Attention to detail in design, construction and furnishings (many custom-made for the ranch) is evident everywhere in the elegant 5,800± sq. ft. owner’s lodge done in a classic western style.This rambling single-story log home has five bedrooms, four full baths, a gourmet kitchen featuring an antique stove, a large stone fireplace in the great room, a conference room, outdoor fire pit, and an adjoining outdoor heated swimming pool. Other houses on the property include a separate fully-equipped guest house, the original farm house built around 1900, a rustic river cottage for entertaining, and housing for a caretaker and ranch workers.Susie Q Ranch, a cultivated oasis nestled against spectacular, rugged rocky buttes, is one of the oldest ranches in the Silver Creek area and has had only two previous owners. The ranch features traditional wood fencing along its main drive, well maintained historic barns and equipment sheds, a 12,000± sq. ft. indoor riding arena and an outdoor arena. The barn and stable headquarters area were used as a scenic backdrop for the movies “Bus Stop” starring Marilyn Monroe and “The Dark Horse” with Mimi Rogers.Fenced and cross fenced with 37 individual horse paddocks, the ranch includes 222.5 acres of irrigated pasture land. The property can accommodate summer grazing for approximately 250 cow/calf pairs and 50 horses on a year-round basis, if desired. Susie Q Ranch has excellent water rights, covering irrigation of 222.5 acres of its own pastures plus an additional 177.5 acres of a nearby property, whose owner currently leases the excess water rights. When all is said and done, the defining feature of Susie Q Ranch is Silver Creek. One-and-three-quarter miles of this crown jewel of trout streams, with its clean gravel bottom, deep runs, and undercut banks, meander through the ranch in a corridor of mature river birch and cottonwood trees, some approaching 100 years in age. This shady, park-like setting provides both a relaxing riverside entertainment venue and exceptional rainbow and brown trout fly fishing, with brown trout reaching up to ten pounds.
Just the Facts
- 537± acres working and recreational ranch, 39 miles south of Sun Valley, Idaho.
- 1.8 miles of Silver Creek. Considered to be some of the best spring creek fishing in the U.S.
- Located in a protected valley focused on the protection of Silver Creek featuring The Nature Conservancy’s 900± acre preserve and attendant 10,000± acres of protective scenic easements on adjoining lands.
- Improvements include: 5,800± sq. ft. lodge, 3 residential buildings, creekside entertaining home, 12,000± sq. ft. indoor equestrian center and numerous agricultural buildings.
- Agriculture: consists of 225± irrigated acres that produce hay, grain and pasture. Summer grazing for 250 cow/calf pairs.
- Recreation: Superb private fly fishing, upland bird hunting, big game (mule deer & elk), and horseback riding. The ranch is adjacent to federal lands that provide access to thousands of acres of unspoiled open space. There is an equestrian facility that can handle up to 50 head of horses. The Sun Valley Resort complex is a 40 minute drive. Hailey, the Blaine County seat, is a 20 minute drive and also the location of the Sun Valley regional airport.
- Location & Climate: The elevation of the ranch ranges from 4,800 to 5,300 feet. This is high desert country merging into sub-alpine climate. The ranch receives approximately 9 – 10 inches of precipitation annually and enjoys over 300 sunny days a year.
- Personal property: All irrigation equipment, “on road” rolling stock from machinery and equipment are included in the sale.
Susie Q Ranch is a well-known, historic, classic western ranch with all of the modern amenities necessary to satisfy the most discriminating owner. This working and recreational property consists of 537± deeded acres and has had only two prior owners from the time of its original patent by the U.S. Government. Nestled against the base of spectacular rocky buttes to the east, the ranch is an ideal mixture of irrigated pastures, corridors of mature willow, cottonwood and river birch trees, and high desert rangeland.Susie Q Ranch is protected on its east side by federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, by established farms and ranches to the west, north and south, and by 10,000± acres in conservation easements designed to protect Silver Creek and prevent subdivision and unchecked property development around it. The 900± acre Silver Creek Preserve is only five miles from the Susie Q’s boundary.About one-and-three-quarter miles of this famous creek meander through the ranch property providing a shady venue for entertaining and world-class fly fishing. Silver Creek has one of the largest populations of brown and rainbow trout of any wild stream in the country, boasting approximately 5,000 trout per mile in The Nature Conservancy’s Silver Creek Preserve.The owner’s lodge is situated in a private cove against the buttes north of the main ranch compound with its four residences, rustic entertainment cottage on Silver Creek, and historic barns and equipment sheds with numerous decorative antique signs. This compound also includes 37 fully equipped equestrian paddocks, a 12,000± sq. ft. indoor riding arena, and an outdoor arena. Classic wood fencing borders the drive from the main gate. All utilities are underground.
A ranch of this quality and size with Silver Creek frontage rarely becomes available in this area, where established neighboring owners are committed to natural resource conservation in a context of working and recreational ranches. Ideally suited as a corporate retreat, family compound, and/or working horse and cattle ranch, there are few properties comparable to Susie Q Ranch on the market today anywhere in the West.
Learn about the locale
Susie Q Ranch is ideally located to take advantage of all of the amenities of the Sun Valley area while providing a peaceful rural setting with access to some of the best fly fishing in the world right out the front door.Susie Q Ranch is approximately 45 minutes south of the upscale, year-round Sun Valley Resort in south central Idaho. Founded in 1935 by Averill Harriman, then chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad, as the nation’s first destination ski resort, Sun Valley today is noted for its world-class skiing, PGA golf courses, ice skating, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, fine dining, art, concerts and quality shopping. A full service hospital, St. Luke’s, is located in Ketchum.Hailey, Idaho, the Blaine County seat, is only 25 minutes north of Susie Q Ranch and has services ranging from shopping, restaurants, and supermarkets to hardware stores, banks, pharmacies, and car dealerships. Friedman Airport, also in Hailey, is served by SkyWest (Delta) and Horizon (Alaska) with daily service to Boise, Seattle, Salt Lake and Portland. In addition, United Airlines has recently begun daily, nonstop winter and summer jet service between San Francisco and Sun Valley. Atlantic Aviation, also at Friedman, has a full range of services for private aircraft, including larger jets.Driving distances to nearby urban population centers are as follows: Twin Falls, 63 miles (Costco, Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and other major retailers); Boise, 134 miles (state capital, home of Boise State University, two major hospitals, headquarters of Micron, Simplot, and other large corporations, and the state’s largest commercial airport); Idaho Falls, 130 miles; and Salt Lake City, 270 miles.The ranch is located along Idaho State Highway 20, one mile southeast of the small ranching community of Picabo, which has a general store, coffee shop and gas station, a rancher’s supply outlet, a fire truck station, and a small airfield with a 3,000 x 100 foot grass runway and covered all-weather hangars for small propeller-driven aircraft.Although Susie Q’s main gate is on Highway 20, only the ranch’s pastures and some outbuildings are visible from the road. The 5,800± sq. ft. main lodge is sheltered by mature trees and surrounded by protected native landscape land.
Surrounded by bucolic prairie farmland and sage-covered hills, Susie Q Ranch nestles against the base of three mountain ranges in Blaine County, Idaho (2,661 square miles; population 21,376), on famous Silver Creek, home to one of the largest populations of brown and rainbow trout in the country and a prolific haven for wildlife.When Averill Harriman established the Sun Valley Resort in the mid-1930s, he also purchased a ranch along nearby Silver Creek to promote off-season recreation and invited legendary writer Ernest Hemingway and actor Gary Cooper to hunt and fish there. In 1975, Hemingway’s son, Jack, launched a fundraising campaign to help The Nature Conservancy (TNC) purchase this property. It is now the 900-acre Silver Creek Preserve, about five miles upstream from Susie Q Ranch.Since then, TNC has partnered with neighboring landowners to protect nearly 10,000 acres of the Silver Creek drainage through conservation easements, making it one of TNC’s most successful western projects. About 97 acres of the northwest portion of Susie Q Ranch are included in this protected acreage. Silver Creek meanders along this northwest border of the ranch before turning south and east through the heart of Susie Q for about 1.75 miles.There is no public access to Silver Creek through Susie Q Ranch on foot. Although Idaho law allows the public to float the creek, it’s rare to encounter a floater within ranch boundaries due to the property’s distance from the nearest public access, and the twisting nature of the water course.Silver Creek conservation set-asides around Susie Q are enhanced by the fact that 77 percent of the land in Blaine County is publicly owned, the majority by the federal government. Because the principal economic base of the county is tourism, policies governing this public land are strongly influenced by conservation groups and active private landowners dedicated to seeing that Blaine County’s scenery, wide open spaces, wildlife resources and traditional ranching and farming activities stay protected.Conservation groups in Blaine County include, but are by no means limited to, the Idaho Conservation League, the state’s oldest conservation organization; the Wood River Land Trust, which has protected 14,000 acres through conservation easements and other acquisitions; and The Nature Conservancy, an international organization that has tens of thousands of acres under conservation easements locally, including those on Silver Creek.All three of these organizations supported the formation of the Blaine County Land, Water and Wildlife Program, passed in 2008, which provides $3.4 million for easements and other conservation projects in the county. These organizations were also instrumental in founding the Pioneers Alliance, a cooperative effort by ranchers, local residents, conservationists, and public land managers to protect 2.4 million acres of mixed public and private land just east of Silver Creek. This area encompasses one of the longest (150 miles) and oldest migration corridors for pronghorn antelope in the United States.The bulk of the population in Blaine County lies a short distance to the north of the Silver Creek area in the Wood River Valley towns of Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, and Sun Valley. Here, events like the popular Hailey Rodeo, Ketchum Wagon Days Parade, Trailing of the Sheep Festival, Sun Valley ice shows featuring international stars, free summer concerts, and the nationally recognized Sun Valley Writer’s Conference attract thousands of visitors each year.Summer and winter recreation in Sun Valley, an all-season, full-service resort community, includes world-class downhill skiing on famous Bald Mountain, cross-country skiing on groomed trails, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, golf, mountain-biking, hiking and climbing, tennis, swimming, horseback riding, fly fishing, river rafting, outdoor photography, and hunting for big game and birds -- all complimented by fine dining, galleries featuring the best in fine art, and a variety of quality shopping opportunities.Ketchum is served by a large, full-service hospital, St. Luke’s, and the Sun Valley area is home to numerous philanthropic foundations and non-profits, generously supported by civic-minded residents. These organizations include an equestrian riding facility for the disabled, a “Wounded Warrior” program, a modern YMCA, and an excellent public library, one of the few self-supporting libraries of its size in the United States.
The weather in Blaine County is influenced by the massive Sawtooth Mountain Range to the northwest, which acts as a moisture barrier. The ranch is in a high desert setting at 4,280 feet and has an average annual precipitation of a little over 12 inches, with close to 300 sunny days a year. Temperatures in nearby Picabo range from an average high of 86 degrees in July to an average low of 8 degrees in the month of January, with temperatures moderating in the months of February and March. Because of this, Silver Creek rarely freezes solid during the winter, resulting in a high fish survival rate and making it a haven for migrating ducks and geese. Average snow depths range up to 8 inches in January and February, with the balance of the year being relatively snow free. State Highway 20 provides access to the ranch. It is plowed during the winter and kept open.
Learn more about the property
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
The ranch consists of 537± deeded acres with approximately 222.5 acres currently under irrigation.
Deeded Acres: 537±
Total Acres: 537±
CONSERVATION EASEMENTConservation easements protect approximately 97 acres on the ranch, including much of the creek corridor and pastures to the north between the river and Highway 20. These easements do not include any of the existing buildings or developed areas. The balance of the ranch is not restricted from development currently but could be considered for additional conservation easements.PERSONAL PROPERTYAll irrigation and farm equipment, vehicles and most home furnishings (fine art, some home furnishings, and a few personal items excepted) are included in the offering.
Owner’s Lodge:The main lodge is a spacious 5,800± sq. ft. single-story log building constructed in 1973 and remodeled by the current owner in 2004. It has an attached two-car garage, five bedrooms, four full baths, great room, solarium, den, conference room, gourmet kitchen, wet bar, large open stone fireplace, fire pit, and adjoining outdoor heated swimming pool surrounded by mature landscaping. Many of the furnishings are antiques, like the stove in the kitchen, or custom-made to fit and compliment the old west theme. Attention to detail is evident throughout the lodge, creating an overall atmosphere of elegance and good taste. Most of these furnishings (except the fine art, some home furnishings, and a few personal items) are included in the sale.Guest House:The principal guest house was originally the Picabo railroad station, which was relocated to the property. It is a furnished one bedroom, one bath, classic wood frame structure with full kitchen and a generous living room with French doors that open onto decks providing an excellent view of the buttes that define the backside of the ranch. In keeping with the rest of Susie Q Ranch, this is a handsome, well-furnished home in the western style. A detached garage is nearby.Entertainment Cottage: This is a beautifully remodeled rustic cabin with kitchen and dining and living rooms designed to serve as an entertainment center along the banks of beautiful Silver Creek. Chairs and tables can be set up outside along the creek in the shade of a massive river birch tree reputed to be 100 years old.Farm House:One of the older buildings on the ranch, this charming home has a living room and kitchen with two bedrooms and two full baths, all downstairs, and a large bedroom/playroom upstairs.Original Farm House:Built in 1900, this classic farm house has one bedroom and bath upstairs and two bedrooms and one bath downstairs. It also features a large kitchen and dining room.Historic Wells Fargo House:The Wells Fargo Barn house is a historic livery barn that was relocated to the property. It has undergone some preliminary structural improvements for future renovation as a guest accommodation.Wood-Sided Mobile Home:This unobtrusive wood-sided mobile home, tucked in next to one of the barns and used by ranch workers, has a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, and one bath.Indoor Arena:This insulated 12,000± sq. ft. indoor equestrian arena is equipped with wash racks and vet stocks and is heated by a large hand-forged wood stove, as well as a propane unit heater. The adjoining barn has horse stalls, a feed room and a tack room. There is an office upstairs and a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, with a separate restroom for arena use.Other Outbuildings:The ranch headquarters area consists of a number of “barn red” historic buildings, all well maintained, including large barns, numerous equipment sheds, and stalls with adjoining paddocks, all of which have frost-free water.
The property boasts excellent senior surface and subsurface water rights, covering irrigation of 222.5± acres of the ranch’s own pastures plus an additional 177.5± acres of a nearby property, whose owner currently leases these valuable excess water rights. A complete inventory of Susie Q’s water rights will be supplied by broker upon request.
Current annual property taxes are $12,235.
Learn about the recreational amenities
Susie Q lies at the epicenter of the diffuse Silver Creek high desert ecosystem. It is not only a fly angler’s paradise with its prolific hatches of mayflies that make catching brown trout in the eight to ten pound range not uncommon, it also supports a diverse wildlife population, much of which, due to the temperate climate and heavy riparian cover, utilizes the ranch on a year-round basis.The riparian area along the creek contains alders, box elders, cottonwoods, river birch and aspen. This corridor, adjacent to lush green pastures, provides an ideal winter habitat for migrating waterfowl, otters, muskrats and beavers as well as the fish in the creek---rainbow trout, brown trout and Wood River sculpin.Birds abound on Susie Q and nest in all areas of the property. The ranch has set aside several bird and wildlife areas, including a pond and island where birds can seek protection from predators. Chukar partridge and their chicks are a common sight near the main house. Other birds frequently observed living on or passing though the ranch include sage grouse, golden and bald eagles, red-tail hawks, sand hill cranes, blue heron, killdeer, great horned owls, Canadian geese and long-billed curlews.Susie Q Ranch is part of a migration corridor for deer and elk. Many animals, big and small, use the ranch throughout the year. These include elk, moose, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, fox, badgers, and porcupines.
Learn about the general operations
The current owner uses the ranch as a corporate retreat and leases out pastures for cattle grazing. Until recently, the horse facilities were leased for training and boarding by many equestrians in the Sun Valley area. The ranch, as presently constituted, is ideally suited for all these uses. Susie Q Ranch has 222.5± irrigated acres of pasture and can support 250± cow/calf pairs in the summer.Year-round equestrian facilities can accommodate approximately 50 horses. The ranch is well equipped with irrigation and farming/ranching equipment, all of which are included in the sale.