For Sale

Aspen Bend Ranch

$2,900,000 Lewistown, MT 356± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Located in the foothills of the Big Snowy Mountain Range just 15 miles south of the community of Lewistown, Montana, Aspen Bend is a paradisal gentleman’s ranch and recreational retreat. The ranch’s 355.53± acres are bisected by the East Fork of Big Spring Creek, which is known for its exceptional water quality and clarity. The stream offers fly fishing for Brooke trout up to 16 inches and creates riparian and wetland habitat that attracts a wide variety of wildlife, including pheasant, waterfowl, whitetail, mule deer and elk. Stands of aspen and chokecherry-filled draws offer diversity and additional habitat complementing uplands that support Hungarian partridge, and sharp-tailed grouse. The ranch is truly a wildlife wonder, and the adjoining 640± acres of public land offers additional opportunity for hunting, hiking and wildlife watching. The custom owners’ residence is finely constructed and artfully appointed with 4,882± square feet, four bedrooms and three-and-one-half bathrooms on two levels. The 1952 ranch house has been partially renovated and could serve as a three-bedroom, two-bath guest home. Irrigation from Big Spring Creek offers further ranch production and wildlife enhancement opportunity. This is one of those special properties where one wishes to stay and enjoy a life within its boundaries.

Just the Facts

  •  355.53± diverse acres with aspen draws, irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows and riparian habitat along the East Fork of Big Spring Creek
  • Fly fishing on .88± miles of the East Fork of Big Spring Creek
  • 4,882± sq. ft. custom owner’s residence constructed in 2011 with four bedrooms and three-and-one-half baths
  • Superb craftsmanship with custom woodwork and cabinetry
  • Pastoral setting from the owner’s residence overlooking the stream with views toward the Big Snowy Range
  • Partially renovated three-bedroom, two-bath ranch house could serve as guest or caretaker residence
  • Insulated & heated workshop, implement shed, and storage shed
  • Abundant pheasants, Hungarian partridge, sharp-tailed grouse, and waterfowl
  • Plentiful elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, and antelope
  • Borders a state section providing additional hunting opportunities
  • 15 miles from Lewistown in the foothills of the Big Snowy Range

General Description

Aspen Bend enjoys a broad array of unique and attractive attributes. The East Fork of Spring Creek is a crystal clear and beautiful resource, whether fishing for brook trout, walking along the stream, or gazing over the creek from the porch of the owners’ residence. The .88± miles of the East Fork provide a foundation complemented by aspen groves, irrigated meadows and grassy hills. It’s a pastoral setting, with diversity and scale, but not so great as to be overwhelming.

The owners’ residence is sited above the stream and exhibits exceptional craftsmanship. The doors, cabinets, and trim were milled and constructed on site from knotty alder and fashioned into artistic elements of the home. The stairway treads are constructed of white oak and the newel posts are from black walnut burls brought from the Midwest and milled on site. The 4,882± square feet of the home centers around a vaulted great room with adjoining gourmet kitchen.

The 1,700± square foot, three-bedroom, two-bath 1952 ranch house serves overflow guests and may be ideal for an on-site caretaker or rental to sportsman and travelers. There is also an insulated, wood heated workshop and three sheds and an old grain bin which round out the attractive collection of structures along the creek.  

The ranch provides balanced livestock resources, with hay meadows and productive range land ideal for cattle or horses. It is also very attractive for a broad range of wildlife, including upland birds, waterfowl, and big game. Aspen Bend is one of those special sporting gems, where you can enjoy everything from pheasants and Hungarian partridge to elk and black bears.

The Snowy Mountains provide a scenic backdrop and capture precipitation on their north slopes that creates a rich, lush environment. The town of Lewistown is an appealing, stand-alone community that is somewhat removed from Montana’s larger municipalities, making Aspen Bend a great destination for someone attracted to a high amenity property in a smaller rural community.

Broker's Comments

The Aspen Bend Ranch is a wonderfully diverse 355.53± acre ranch in the beautiful foothills of the Big Snowy Mountains. The .88± miles of the East Fork of Big Spring Creek are a tremendous stream resource of exceptional quality. The owners’ residence is thoughtfully designed and finely crafted and the other improvements are tasteful and complete, ideal for a recreational retreat. Wildlife abounds, from pheasants to elk and virtually everything in between. Just 14.5 miles from Lewistown, where one can find all the conveniences of a thriving small town, this Montana ranch offers a rare combination of sought-after amenities in an attractive rural community.

Learn about the locale

Location

The ranch is accessed from Lewistown’s Main Street via Highway 238, which is known as the East Fork Road, and later Red Hill Road. This very picturesque drive follows Big Spring Creek and later the East Fork of Spring Creek past East Fork Reservoir toward the East Fork’s headwaters in the Snowy Range. From town, the ranch entrance is approximately 14.5 miles, with the first ten miles paved, and the rest county-maintained gravel.  

Lewistown, known for being the geographic center of Montana, is the largest commercial center of central Montana providing a full range of services and a thriving business community. Lying in the central part of the state between the Judith and Snowy Mountains, it is blessed with relatively high annual precipitation and a comfortable year-round climate. It is the county seat of Fergus County, with a population of approximately 6,000 residents and a county population of around 11,500. There are many community activities in Lewistown including the Cowboy Poetry Weekend, Montana Winter Fair, the County Fair and Rodeo, and the Chokecherry Festival.

The Central Montana Medical Center in Lewistown is a 25-bed, critical access hospital with a complete staff of specialty physicians providing a full range of services from rehab, home health/hospice, in/outpatient surgical services to obstetrics, emergency, intensive care, and high-tech radiology services. 

The Lewistown Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport that accommodates regional jet series aircraft. The primary runway is 6,100 feet in length and there are two additional runways of 5,600 feet and 4,100 feet. The nearest commercial air service is in Great Falls which is just over two hours west of the ranch. Billings, the largest city in Montana, is 140 miles southeast and provides a full array of retail, service, and transportation services.  Each year the airport host’s the annual Lewistown Airport Fly-In, which brings a host of older planes to town.

Locale

While Lewistown services one of Montana’s richest farming and ranching regions, it offers a multitude of other amenities. Big Spring Creek, one of the most sought-after spring creek fisheries in Montana, originates seven miles south of Lewistown and flows through town providing crystal clear, mineral-rich water for the city. The remarkable artesian spring pumps 50,000 to 64,000 gallons per minute of 52-degree water year-round and flows north for about 30 miles before joining the Judith River. The city maintains a scenic 25-mile trail system that meanders along the creek for public recreation. 

The other outstanding geographic feature that makes Lewistown unique in the central Montana landscape are the five island mountain ranges that encircle the community. This combination of mountain and prairie environments provides a tremendous diversity of wildlife, attracting upland bird hunters and big game hunters in search of elk, whitetail, mule deer, sharp-tailed grouse, and pheasant every fall.

The Fergus County landscape is depicted in many of cowboy artist, Charlie Russell’s famous western paintings. The renowned Charlie Russell Museum is located within Great Falls, and Lewistown’s Charlie Russell Chew Choo dinner train provides a scenic and entertaining 56-mile journey through central Montana’s mountains and prairies.  During the three-and-a-half-hour trip, the train crosses two historic trestles and passes through a half-mile long tunnel.

Climate

The owners’ residence at Aspen Bend sits at 4,640 feet above sea level, about 500 feet higher than Lewistown at 4,154 feet above sea level. Lewistown’s climate is relatively mild with highs averaging 81 degrees in July and average lows in January averaging around 13 degrees. The number of frost-free days in this area is consistently around 105 days. Annually the area receives 16.5 to 20 inches of precipitation with an average of 60 inches of snow contributing to the total. This area of central Montana, due to its elevation and annual precipitation, can stay green the entire summer followed by vibrant autumn colors.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 356±
Total Acres: 356±

Improvements

Main House: Constructed in 2011, the owners’ residence exhibits craftsmanship and quality throughout. The home’s 4,882± square feet include on the main level a master bedroom and bathroom, great room with a fireplace, kitchen, two pantries, office, powder room, laundry room, mud/dog room, a three-season sunroom, and a three-car garage, which has radiant heat. The home is protected against power outages by a Generac 20 KW generator, which supplies electricity to the entire home. There is also a surge protector attached to the electrical meter, which provides whole-house protection for your appliances.

The appliances in the kitchen include a 48-inch Sub-Zero refrigerator-freezer, a Wolf six burner stovetop with griddle, Wolf warming drawer, Wolf oven, and a Wolf convection/microwave oven. The kitchen sink is Kohler, the countertops are granite, and there is under-cabinet lighting. The stove hood is a variable commercial hood.

The flooring in the mudroom and laundry room is stained concrete, and both have radiant heat. There is cork flooring in the two pantries and master bedroom dressing areas. The kitchen floor is slate and the dining room, living room, office, powder room and master bedroom are hand-scraped hickory three-quarter inch hardwood. The master bathroom features a Kohler soaking tub and has travertine flooring with radiant heat.

All the bathroom fixtures are Kohler, both on the main level and the lower level. There is a water recirculation pump for quick hot water. A majority of the lights are dimmable, and the fans are all Casa Blanca.

The lower level walkout has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a family room with fireplace, and an entertainment area with a sink, two storage rooms, and a utility room. The main level has air conditioning and the downstairs has radiant heat, supplemented by geothermal. In the garage there is a dog shower with hot and cold water.

Outside the patio doors on the lower level there is a covered rock patio. This patio remains dry due to the Trex RainEscape on the upper deck. This Trex drainage system funnels water and melting snow into gutters that are connected to drainpipes that open on the hillside.  Wiring is in place for a future hot tub or sauna.

The covered deck runs the width of the house and connects to the sunroom.  Both the deck and sunroom have LP gas outlets for future use. The flooring for both areas is Port Orford cedar. The sunroom walls and ceiling are pine tongue and grove, and it is a three-season room.  It has a door that connects to the dining room.

Guest House: Originally constructed in 1952, the guest house’s 1,714± square feet have been updated to provide comfortable accommodations. The home has a kitchen, living room, small office, recreation room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms, all on one level. There is also a one-car garage, fenced yard, and dog kennel attached to the workshop.

Outbuildings: Next to the guest house is a 30’X40’ workshop, that is insulated and heated by a wood stove and has telephone and computer service. Other outbuildings include a 10’X12’ weather-tight storage shed behind the workshop, a 24’X30’ weather-tight shed, a 14-foot diameter grain bin, a 12’X20’ garden shed, and the remnants of an old calving shed.

Water Rights

DNRC records indicate irrigation rights and stock water rights out of the East Fork of Big Spring Creek. There are also stock water rights on a developed spring and domestic groundwater rights.  A copy of the DNRC water right abstracts will be provided with other due diligence materials upon request. 

Mineral Rights

The owners obtained a mineral search which indicates ownership of 100 percent of the mineral rights on all but 39± acres of the ranch. On those 39± acres, the owners own 50 percent. A copy of the mineral report will be provided with other due diligence materials upon request. 

Taxes

Annual property taxes are approximately $7,716.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

In addition to trout fishing in the spring creek, Aspen Bend has a unique diversity of wildlife because of the stream and foothill mountain habitat that exists on the ranch. For the sportsperson, there are upland birds, waterfowl, and a full array of big game animals, including elk, mule deer, and whitetail deer. Pheasant, sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge all reside on the ranch. The neighboring section owned by the State of Montana is not accessible from a public access point, so use is limited to the neighboring landowners and their guests. This section greatly expands the hunting opportunities from the ranch.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The Aspen Bend Ranch is a nicely balanced small ranch. The owners currently lease the ranch to a neighbor who grazes 45-50 cow/calf pairs from late April through September 1st. The lessee also cuts hay on approximately 45 acres and is responsible for maintaining fences and weed spraying. The owners purchase fertilizer and weed spray chemicals.

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