Black Mountain Ranch is located 15 miles south of Ennis and 60 miles north of West Yellowstone on the east side of the Madison Valley at the base of the Madison Range. It lies in one contiguous block between Highway 287 and the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area. Access is off of Highway 287 at Cameron onto the Bear Creek Road - a paved county road that changes to gravel for four miles before entering the ranch and eventually connects back to Highway 287. Alternatively, one can enter the ranch directly off of Highway 287 about five miles south of Cameron and drive through the ranch to the ranch buildings on an improved gravel road.
A small jet-capable airport and fixed base operation complete with fuel is located approximately 15 minutes to the north of the ranch between Cameron and Ennis. The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is located at Belgrade, approximately an hour and 15 minutes from the property. Delta, Horizon, and United offer multiple daily flights (jet and turboprop operated) to and from their respective hubs of Salt Lake City/Minneapolis, Seattle, and Denver. Additionally, Frontier and Allegiant also service this airport. It should also be noted that during the summer and winter tourist seasons, there are many non-stop flights to other major US metropolitan areas such as Chicago, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. This airport also has a customs station to accept international passengers. The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is now the busiest airport in the state of Montana. It also has two fixed based operations providing a variety of services to those who utilize private aircraft.
The Black Mountain Ranch is in the enviable position of being located in one of the most beautiful valleys in the Rocky Mountain region. The Madison Valley is world famous for its superb fly-fishing and dramatic mountain scenery. The valley was created millions of years ago by glacial action leaving a broad river valley, expansive alluvial benches, deep canyons coming out of the surrounding mountain ranges and towering granite peaks. The Madison River starts at the confluence of the Firehole and Gibbons Rivers in Yellowstone National Park and flows north to the headwaters of the Missouri River at Three Forks where it converges with the Gallatin and Jefferson Rivers to form the Missouri. The main part of the Madison Valley is encompassed by the Centennial Range to the south, the Madison Range to the east, the Gravelly Range to the west and the Tobacco Root Range to the north.
The ranch is situated in an area that is known for its large well-run cattle ranches. The Sun Ranch, CB Ranch and Carroll Ranch lie to the south, the Bar 7 Ranch to the west and Granger, Sphinx Mountain, Cedar Creek, Valley Garden and the Jumping Horse Ranches lie to the north. In addition to its agricultural surroundings, as previously mentioned the ranch borders the Lee Metcalf Wilderness Area that is an important component of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. It is also contiguous to the State of Montana Bear Creek Game Management Area that is used primarily for elk winter range and calving. One of the major benefits of land ownership in the Madison Valley is that over 85,000 acres of privately held lands are protected from future development by conservation easements and the surrounding mountain ranges are federally owned, providing unimpeded views in perpetuity. These conservation easements assure that these lands will be enjoyed by future generations as open space.
The Black Mountain Ranch is conveniently located to enjoy much that Southwest Montana has to offer. Ennis, a very attractive small town of 800 and the headquarters for fly fishermen destined for the Madison River, is a 20-minute drive north of the ranch. It offers good restaurants, art galleries, fly shops and guide services in abundance. It is also a trade center for the geographic area, which includes the Madison Valley and the eastern slope of the Tobacco Roots to the north.
Bozeman is just over an hour’s drive from the ranch. With a population of roughly 45,000 residents, Bozeman is home to Montana State University and another 16,500 student residents. It boasts the Museum of the Rockies and an active community theater and arts group. A major opera production is offered each spring. The city is a commerce center, providing virtually every service one might require. It has been a leader amongst Montana cities in attracting preferred industry.
From the ranch, one has easy access to all the recreational pursuits one might wish to enjoy. Fishing on the Madison is actually immediately accessible from the ranch by way of BLM lands that adjoin the ranch to the west. The Yellowstone, Gallatin, Jefferson, Henry’s Fork, Beaverhead, Big Hole, Ruby and Missouri are all within a two-hour drive from the ranch.
Hiking, horse pack trips, camping and wildlife watching are out the back door. The Bear Creek Trail is a major trailhead into the Lee Metcalf Wilderness and is within five minutes of the ranch boundary. One could ride quite easily off the ranch and into the Wilderness. For the winter sports enthusiast, superb skiing is available at Big Sky Ski and Summer Resort, around an hour and a half driving time by way of the ranch’s private access to the Jack Creek Road which also provides access to multiple golf courses seasonally. It is notable that the ranch is located just eight air miles from the Yellowstone Club. Theoretically, one could ride a horse or fly a helicopter from one to the other should members be interested in ownership.
Ennis, positioned within the middle of the Madison Valley, typically has 90 frost-free days and receives 11.5 inches of precipitation annually. The Black Mountain Ranch, with its location at the foot of the mountains, would normally have about 75 frost-free days and receive between 14 and 16 inches of precipitation. With the Continental Divide at the south end of the valley, the prevailing wind is from the south. In the winter months, this wind, commonly known as a Chinook, bares the snow off the benches and ridges allowing winter grazing for the livestock and wildlife which is evident by the thousands of elk seen throughout the valley during this season. In the summer months, thunderstorms build over the mountains. One often enjoys the cooling effects of these rain showers during the afternoons and evenings in the valley.
The elevation at the ranch runs from 5,412 feet at Highway 287 up to 7,020 feet on the Wilderness boundary. As previously mentioned, the lower lands on the ranch consist of the relatively flat lands of the Cameron Bench with the upper elevations consisting of steeper foothills leading into more alpine terrain.