Owned by the same stewardship-minded family for over four decades, Wood River Ranch is a longstanding, year-round cattle operation that represents one of the landmark properties in the Sun Valley area. Set against the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, the ranch is conveniently located 25 miles south of Ketchum and the resort amenities of Sun Valley and ten miles from the commercial airport in Hailey. The ranch encompasses two operating units with a combined total of 4,654± deeded acres, along with two associated Bureau of Land Management grazing permits. The primary grazing allotment lies approximately 95 miles south of the ranch and accommodates up to 600 head of cattle on a year-round basis. The Big Wood River is the centerpiece of the ranch flowing for over two miles through a robust, wildlife-rich riparian corridor with cottonwood forests, sloughs, and willow-lined wetland areas. The ranch features multiple surface and ground water rights used to irrigate up to 1,472± acres with an integrated irrigation system that includes nine center pivots. Ranch and residential improvements are located in a private setting in the northeast corner of the ranch with easy access to State Highway 75 and include a comfortable six-bedroom owner’s home, employee housing units, a horse barn with an upstairs apartment, equipment storage, livestock pens and feed bunks, and cattle-handling facilities. Elk, deer, antelope, moose, and upland game birds call the ranch home, while fishing for rainbow and brown trout is available in the river. The ranch is located in hunt unit 48 and the Smokey-Bennett elk zone and qualifies for landowner appreciation permits for controlled hunts. Sun Valley, with its world-class skiing, fine dining and shopping, and excellent golf courses, is located a half-hour north of the ranch. The ranch is not covered by a conservation easement at the present time. However, because of the property’s scale, location, open space, and extensive river frontage, it is a prime candidate for one.
Just the Facts
- Landmark Sun Valley ranch owned by the same family for over four decades
- 4,654± total deeded acres in two separate operating units
- Approximately 30 minutes south of Ketchum and the Sun Valley Resort and 15 minutes from the airport in Hailey
- Main ranch features 4,074± deeded acres, plus a 120± acre BLM summer grazing permit
- Castleford Unit includes 580± deeded acres and a 600-head year-round BLM grazing permit encompassing over 39,000 acres of BLM land
- Multiple surface and groundwater irrigation rights covering 1,472± acres, including approximately 1,000 acres under nine center pivots
- Over two miles of both sides of the Big Wood River with fishing for rainbow and brown trout
- Excellent, well-maintained residential and ranch improvements
- Extremely private with limited impacts from the public
- Wildlife includes elk, mule deer, antelope, moose, chukar, gray partridge, sage grouse, waterfowl, and an array of non-game species
- Ranch qualifies for landowner appreciation program tags for controlled hunts in unit 48
- No conservation easement although an excellent candidate for one
- Property taxes are approximately $29,000, including annual groundwater assessments
Wood River Ranch is comprised of 4,654± deeded acres in two operating units which are generally referred to as the main ranch and the Castleford unit. The main ranch features 4,074± deeded acres and includes 3,972± contiguous acres located west of State Highway 75 and a separate 105± acre irrigated parcel that lies three-quarters of a mile to the east of Highway 75 along Baseline Road. The Brock Creek grazing allotment, one of the ranch’s two BLM grazing allotments, is contiguous to the west end of the main ranch and covers 120± acres of BLM land. The Brock Creek allotment is utilized in conjunction with the ranch’s deeded lands during summer months. The Castleford unit is located approximately 95 miles south of the main ranch and 40 miles east of Twin Falls near the small agricultural community of Castleford, Idaho and consists of 580± deeded acres surrounded by the Devil Creek/Balanced Rock grazing allotment. This substantial allotment encompasses approximately 39,000 acres of BLM land and accommodates 600 head of cattle on a year-round basis for a total of 7,200 animal unit months.
The Big Wood River, which originates in the Smokey, Boulder, and Pioneers Mountains at the head of the Wood River Valley, bisects the main ranch and flows for over two miles from north to south through a broad bottomland corridor highlighted by wildlife-rich cottonwood forests, sloughs, and willow-lined wetlands. For practical purposes, the river divides the main ranch into two sections. The east side of the Big Wood River features approximately 385 acres of sprinkler irrigated pasture and 100 acres in dryland hay. The balance of the acreage on the east side of the river encompasses riparian zones and the property’s residential and agricultural improvements. State Highway 75, the main route in and out of the Wood River Valley, joins the main ranch’s eastern boundary for approximately a half-mile and serves as the primary access to the property. The main ranch also includes a separate 105± acre parcel that is located a half-mile east of Highway 75 along Baseline Road. This parcel serves as the main hay base for the ranch and features a well-kept manufactured home used by a ranch employee and a sprinkler irrigation system with a wiper-style center pivot and multiple wheel lines.
Diverse and expansive, the west side of the Big Wood River represents the largest portion of the ranch and features approximately 1,000 acres of sprinkler and flood-irrigated pasture, extensive bottomland areas, irrigation and stock water ponds, springs, rolling native rangelands, and a series of prominent foothills that rise almost to 500 feet above the valley floor. Views to the north from these elevated areas are nothing less than spectacular. This section of the ranch offers substantial seasonal grazing capacity, and five of the ranch’s nine center pivots are located here. Additional infrastructure includes perimeter and interior fencing, a set of loading corrals, an internal road and trail network, and excellent stock water improvements featuring a stock well, steel watering tanks, and water storage. During low water conditions, access to the west side of the ranch is via a gravel road that originates near the owner’s residence and crosses the river bed. When river flows don’t allow for use of this road, alternate access is available from multiple points along Glendale Road, a paved, all-season county road that borders the north end of the ranch and connects to Highway 75. The main ranch is bordered by BLM lands and private rural tracts, including properties preserved from development by conservation easements. The main ranch is located in Blaine County’s A-20, A-40, and Rural Remote-40 zoning districts.
The Castleford unit represents a standalone operating unit that provides significant year-round grazing capacity. Undeveloped except for perimeter fencing, the ranch’s deeded sole parcel with the Castleford unit serves as the base property for the surrounding Devil Creek/Balanced Rock grazing allotment. This large allotment is approximately 18 miles in length and rises approximately 1,000 feet in elevation from 3,900 feet at the north end of the allotment to 4,900 at the south end where Devil Creek and its dramatic canyon enter the allotment. The allotment encompasses productive native grasslands and crested wheat grass seedings and is supported by a buried pipeline system delivering stock water. Federal permits for year-round grazing allotments, such as the Devil Creek/Balanced Rock allotment, are highly coveted and rarely available. Because of this, a new owner would have little trouble in generating interest in the Castleford unit should a decision be made to separate Castleford from the main ranch.
Insulated by private ranches and undeveloped federal lands, Wood River Ranch offers amazing seclusion and privacy in a beautiful foothill setting yet is easily accessible to the communities of the Wood River Valley. The ranch features outstanding operational flexibility and can continue to be managed as a year-round livestock operation or with a focus on seasonal grazing, equestrian pursuits, recreation, and/or wildlife habitat enhancement. A ranch with the scale, accessibility, and usability of Wood River Ranch is rarely available this close to Sun Valley. These aspects of the property coupled with a substantial set of irrigation rights underscore the investment aspect of the ranch as the Wood River Valley continues to grow. The ranch is also an outstanding candidate for a conservation easement in coordination with one of the Wood River Valley’s conservation organizations active in preserving open space and working ranchlands in Blaine County.
Wood River Ranch is located in south central Idaho’s Wood River Valley 15 miles south of Hailey, the county seat for Blaine County and home to Friedman Memorial Airport, and 25 miles south of Ketchum and the resort amenities of Sun Valley. Primary access to the ranch is direct from State Highway 75 with secondary access from Glendale Road, a paved, all-season county road that connects to the highway. Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey offers commercial air service through Delta, United, and Alaska/Horizon Airlines with daily and seasonal flights to Salt Lake City, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. A fix-based operation, Atlantic Aviation, services the airport and accommodates all sizes of private aircraft. Estimated driving distances to major regional communities from the ranch are as follows: Twin Falls, Idaho, 60 miles to the south; Boise, Idaho, 125 miles to the west; Idaho Falls, Idaho, 130 miles to the east; Jackson Hole, Wyoming, 230 miles to the east; and Salt Lake City, Utah, 270 miles to the southeast.
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 Wood River Valley communities of Hailey, Bellevue, Ketchum, and Sun Valley. Of the nearly 1.7 million acres that comprise the county, 77 percent of the landmass is state or federally owned, assuring ample open space and recreational opportunities on public lands. With Wood River Ranch, one is able to take advantage of the amenities and activities typically found in a first-class resort community while also enjoying the low-key lifestyle afforded by rural living. 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, high quality dining and cultural opportunities, excellent hunting and fishing, and world-class downhill and cross-country skiing are all available within a short distance of the property. At the same time, the ranch is situated in the lower Wood River Valley which offers a wonderful pastoral setting with high quality fish and wildlife resources only minutes away from Wood River Valley’s more populated communities. Among other features, the lower valley is famous for blue ribbon trout fishing on Silver Creek and the Big Wood River, flights of ducks and geese crisscrossing the skyline, herds of elk, deer, and antelope, and working farms and ranches. With Wood River Ranch, an owner truly enjoys the best of everything the area offers.
The elevation of Wood River Ranch ranges from approximately 4,900 feet at the main residence to 5,400 at the top of Mabelle Hill on the ranch’s west side. The climate for the area is best described as semi-arid with an average humidity of 30 percent and annual precipitation of 14 inches per year. Summers are comfortable with the temperatures reaching into the 80s and cooling to the mid-50s 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)
Wood River Ranch consists of 4,654± deeded acres in two operating units. The main ranch features 4,074± deeded acres, including 3,972± contiguous acres and a separate 105± acre parcel located three-quarters of a mile east of the main ranch. The Brock Creek grazing allotment is contiguous to the main ranch and covers 120± acres of BLM land under permit to the ranch. The Castleford unit includes 580± deeded acres surrounded by the Devil Creek/Balanced Rock grazing allotment that is under permit to the ranch and encompasses approximately 39,000 acres of BLM land.
Wood River Ranch features all of the building improvements and infrastructure necessary for both year-round living and a viable livestock operation. A very private and attractive residential compound is located near the Big Wood River at the end of the entrance road and features a comfortable six-bedroom, four-bath owner’s home with 4,277± square feet. Built in 1974 and remodeled in 1999, the home is highlighted by a manicured lawn with mature trees and wonderful views to the north. The residential compound also includes a three-bedroom, two-bath home used by the manager but well-suited as a guest cabin, tennis and pickleball courts adjacent to the main residence, and a small storage barn.
Ranch buildings are well-maintained and clustered together in the northeast corner of the main ranch. They include a horse barn with a tack room, ranch office, and an upstairs apartment, a shop building with equipment storage, a calving shed, livestock pens and feed bunks, and a sturdy set of steel-pipe working corrals with a hydraulic squeeze chute and certified cattle scales. Two well-kept manufactured homes are also located on the main ranch, one of is which is situated on the Baseline Road parcel and used by a ranch employee. The second mobile home is located adjacent to Highway 75 at the south end of the main ranch and rented to a tenant on a month-to-month basis.
Wood River Ranch holds 23 surface and ground water irrigation rights that cover a total place of use of 1,472± acres. These rights include seven groundwater irrigation rights and 16 surface rights from the Big Wood River. There are multiple stock water and domestic water rights as well. Each of the water rights is of record with the Idaho Department of Water Resources and has been adjudicated through the State of Idaho’s Snake River Basin Adjudication.
All mineral and subsurface rights owned by the Seller will transfer to the new owner at closing.
Annual Blaine County property taxes are approximately $29,000. This amount includes the annual assessment for the South Valley Ground Water District which is estimated to be $12,000. Wood River Ranch is part of the groundwater district, and Blaine County is responsible for collecting the assessment as part of its property tax process.
Fishing for rainbow and brown trout can be excellent on the ranch, particularly during years when trout migrate upriver from nearby Magic Reservoir and populate the lower Big Wood. In addition to onsite fishing opportunities, the ranch lies in the center of Idaho’s best collection of trout waters. From classic spring creek fishing on world renowned Silver Creek to the excellent freestone fisheries of the Big Wood, Little Wood, and Big Lost Rivers to stillwater fishing on Magic Reservoir, an owner of Wood River Ranch is only minutes away from an outstanding fishing experience.
The Wood River Valley boasts strong populations of big game. Elk, mule deer, antelope, and moose can all be found on Wood River Ranch and take advantage of the ranch’s size and seclusion. The main ranch is located in unit 48 and the Smokey-Bennett elk management zone and qualifies for landowner appreciation program tags for controlled big game hunts. The area is also rich with upland birds and waterfowl. Chukar and grey partridge are plentiful in the foothills and grasslands on and around the ranch, while sage grouse are abundant in native sagebrush stands. Doves are abundant on the ranch in early fall before the first hard freeze pushes birds further south. Numerous springs and spring creeks are found in the lower Wood River Valley. Because of their flow and constant temperature, these bodies of water rarely freeze in the winter, which make them a haven for migrating and wintering ducks and geese. The ranch is also home to a variety of non-game avian species, including bald and golden eagles, sandhill cranes, herons, migratory songbirds, and a variety of hawks and falcons.
The Sun Valley area offers a variety of high quality, year-round outdoor recreation activities only minutes away from the ranch. Winter activities include skiing on famous Bald Mountain and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling on the area’s extensive trail network. During the summer and fall, the area’s diverse topography offers unparalleled hiking, trail riding, cycling, and ATV riding. Blaine County is also blessed with tens of thousands of acres of BLM and national forest lands that provide unlimited opportunities to experience the best of Idaho’s natural landscapes.
The owners have traditionally managed Wood River Ranch as a balanced, year-round cow-calf operation utilizing the ranch’s well-watered deeded lands and productive BLM grazing allotments. Current operations involve running approximately 600 breeding cows, plus bulls and replacement heifers. The main cow herd spends the winter on the Castleford unit, while bulls, replacements, and older cows remain at the main ranch. The ranch raises hay on approximately 200 acres to feed livestock that winter at the main ranch, while the balance of the irrigated fields is used as pasture during summer and fall months. There are nine center pivots on the main ranch that cover approximately 1,000 acres with the balance flood irrigated and irrigated by wheel line and hand line sprinklers. Cows are hauled to the main ranch from Castleford in May and begin to calve on the first of June. Cows return to Castleford in mid-November after calves are shipped. The ranch is operated by a full-time manager who lives at the main ranch and another full-time employee who lives on the Baseline Road parcel. A seasonal employee who lives off of the ranch in southern Idaho oversees cattle on the Castleford unit. The manager intends to retire upon the sale of the ranch but is available to consult with a new owner during the ownership transition.
This offering is for the real estate only. Livestock and ranch equipment are available through a separate negotiation. An inventory of personal property is available upon request.
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