Bridger Passage Ranch is a 719± acre mountain foothill property located 25 minutes north of downtown Bozeman along the west face of the Bridger Mountains. The ranch offers varying, rolling topography inclusive of native range, dry cropland, irrigated pasture and an old-growth Douglas fir forest that extends through the riparian corridor. Mill Creek originates in the adjacent national forest in a high basin five miles above the ranch and crashes out of the mountains through this property over granite boulders, adding to the aesthetic amenities and providing irrigation water. The ranch boasts wide sweeping views over the Gallatin Valley and its surrounding mountain ranges from all areas of the ranch, including the modest residence which is perched on a hilltop overlooking the ranch. Rich in wildlife, the ranch supports populations of elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, bear, partridge and grouse that are all commonly found on the property and contiguous national forest lands. This is an exceptionally livable property located on the threshold of a vibrant mountain community, yet holds a greater level of privacy and the ancillary benefit of exploring the beautiful landscape of the Bridger Mountain Range directly out the back door.
The property is accessed off a graveled county road which defines the western-most boundary of the ranch. As one enters, a newly constructed road meanders up a shallow valley through irrigated and dry-crop farm lands. The lands continue to undulate and climb in elevation from 5,360 to 6,200 feet as they extend to the east and into the Bridger Mountains. As the private road continues through the valley, it veers to the north and into an alluvial apron of rock and old-growth Douglas fir that cascades out of the mountains, enveloping the riparian corridor of Mill Creek. The creek begins some five miles east of the ranch in a high alpine basin and carves its way through a deep valley that terminates on this ranch.
The 719± acres run for roughly two miles east and west, and one-half to three-fourths of a mile in width north to south. The topography as described provides a greater level of privacy yet still allows big views of the mountains and the expansive Gallatin Valley.
In addition to riparian and native range, the ranch has multiple fields historically dedicated to dryland hay and barley crops. There are two areas totaling 84± acres that are under irrigation.
The residence sits atop a hill on the west end of the ranch and has its own direct access off the county road. The newly constructed road leads to a building site tucked up against the forest on the east end of the property and it is also utilized as a means of comfortably accessing the “back” of the ranch and the national forest.
The lands are unencumbered and have seven recorded tracts in the event an owner would want to utilize them for further development or protect them with a conservation easement.
Bridger Passage Ranch represents what a lot of buyers in today’s market are seeking. Privacy, proximity to an airport and a vibrant community, beautiful views, water, wildlife, and direct access into public lands. The Gallatin Valley has a growing population and not only are places like Bridger Passage becoming increasingly harder to find, they are also becoming more and more valuable. For a buyer looking to find a livable property that has a relatively blank canvas to create their own vision, this is an outstanding find.
Learn about the locale
Bridger Passage Ranch is located within a 25-minute drive north of Bozeman, and 15 minutes to Bozeman’s Gallatin Field airport at Belgrade which has recently been recognized as Montana’s busiest commercial airport. This has given Bozeman area residents non-stop access to many of the major airports in the U.S. including New York, Chicago and Atlanta, as well as Seattle and other West Coast airports.
The Bozeman area has built a reputation as one of the most desirable communities in which to live in the U.S. It offers a vibrant downtown, an active business community with multiple high-tech businesses, Montana State University, and a large agricultural community. In addition, the town boasts a strong social and cultural scene which is enhanced by a population that has moved there to enjoy its beautiful, expansive mountain valley setting that offers virtually every recreational amenity one could ask for in an inland location. Given its extensive recreational opportunities, Bozeman attracts visitors and residents such as skiers (both alpine and Nordic), hikers, climbers, explorers, big game hunters, bird hunters, anglers, floaters, kayakers, and Yellowstone National Park visitors, creating a truly diverse population. It has all of the benefits of a resort community but very few of its detriments. Its diverse elements assure this.
The ranch is located in an area locally known as Springhill. This is a delightful landscape along the western face of the Bridger Mountain Range which rises over 9,000 feet above the valley, feeding tributary waters into the East Gallatin River. The landscape is serene with tall grasses, pockets of aspens and farmland. As one goes north towards Bridger Passage Ranch, the land holdings become larger and increasingly removed from subdivision. Bridger Pass is ideally situated outside of development influences, and protected both by its size and by strong zoning in the Spring Hill area.
Learn more about the property
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded Acres: 719±
Total Acres: 719±
Acres of Irrigated Crop: 84±
Acres of Dry Crop: 120±
Acres AG Total: 204±
* All acreages are approximations.
A modest house sits atop a hill on the western end of the ranch overlooking the valley and adjacent mountains to the east. This 3600± sq. ft. dwelling was constructed in 1982 and features single-story living with a finished basement.
Copies of the water rights are available upon request. All water rights are subject to an ongoing statewide adjudication process by the Montana Department of Natural Resources.41H 29054 00- 51 acres- 1.25 cfs41H 29053 00- 33 acres- 1.25 cfs
Taxes for Bridger Passage Ranch are estimated at $2,282 annually.
Learn about the recreational amenities
The opportunities to pursue and enjoy sporting and recreational activities are seemingly endless in the Gallatin Valley. Within 30 minutes, anglers can be on one of a multitude of options for fishing the renown blue-ribbon trout waters that are the headwaters of the Missouri River. In less than two hours, one can be pulling through the northern entrances of Yellowstone National Park. In 45 minutes, skiers can be stepping into their boots at Bridger Bowl or venturing further to Big Sky Resort. Or, one can simply stay home and enjoy all that Bridger Passage Ranch has to offer.
Hiking, mountain biking or riding horses on-site is quite enjoyable with all the different views and land aspects on the property. From the back gate, explorers can walk into the national forest which expands north and south for approximately 45 miles. Hardscrabble Peak rises above the Mill Creek drainage to over 9,500 feet and is a favorite location for mountain goats.
Hunting on the ranch and in the national forest is enjoyable. Pursuing Hungarian partridge and mountain grouse is always an option in early fall. A small herd of elk are often found lurking in the forest and feeding on the grain in irrigated fields. They are often joined by mule deer, antelope and whitetail deer. It is also common to find black bear and an occasional moose roaming the area.
Learn about the general operations
Bridger Passage Ranch controls water rights utilized for irrigation as a direct diversion out of Mill Creek on two fields totaling 51 and 33 acres respectively. Currently these fields are flood irrigated, making them suitable for hay production. It would be entirely reasonable to convert to sprinkler irrigation systems and explore the option of gravity pressurization. This would allow for better utilization of the water and diversity in the crops planted. Currently these fields are being rotated with seeding scheduled for spring of 2017.
Historically, these lands have been grazed by a neighboring rancher. Upwards of 100 or more pairs, depending on range conditions, were brought on in the early summer for a short period of time as the herd transitioned into the grazing permits on the national forest. They were brought back onto the lands again in the fall as they transitioned out. The ranch is perimeter fenced and internally cross fenced to help manage the grazing.
Bridger Passage would make a nice small “executive” ranch, offering hay or grain crops as well as grazing. There is also good demand from local ranchers to utilize the grazing and cropland on a lease or sharecrop basis.