The property is located a short drive across a neighboring ranch from the paved Shields River Road that services the ranches in the upper Shields River valley and eventually dead ends at the national forest. It lies approximately five miles northeast of the small ranching community of Wilsall and a 35-minute drive northeast of Livingston. Bozeman lies approximately 50 minutes southwest of the ranch, with the Bridger Bowl Ski Area located along the way, just 25 minutes from the ranch gate.
For the more adventurous, Yellowstone National Park is 80 minutes to the south. There is a jet-capable airstrip and FBO near Livingston with commercial air service at Belgrade – just west of Bozeman.
Wilsall is an historic ranching community and is still proud to be so today. It is what many hope to find in a small Montana town that offers an awareness of a not-too-distant bigger world while treasuring the close personal relationships and the slower pace of life of a traditional ranch community. It boasts around 250 residents, a church, and a variety of businesses, including a bar and at least one eating establishment, a post office, and a gas station. Options for additional amenities, services and supplies are not too distant in Livingston or Bozeman.
The greater area surrounding the ranch includes some large private holdings that are owned by a combination of old-line ranching families and more recent absentee owners who likely care even more than the locals about maintaining the integrity and ranching traditions of this region. The area remains pretty much devoid of small tract development, and the direction has been to generally protect against such an occurrence, particularly along the mountain front by way of open-space conservation easements. That is why this homestead tract is such a rare occurrence in the neighborhood.
At the same time, this ranch sits on the threshold of larger communities that offer a full line of amenities and services, allowing one to have one leg in an intimate private landscape and the other in a thriving community. Livingston, for example, now boasts a new full hospital. Bozeman, of course, is one of the “hottest” towns in the West – for better or for worse!
Immediately to the east of the ranch are the Crazy Mountains, locally referred to as the “Crazies.” This island mountain range spans roughly 40 miles between the Musselshell and Yellowstone River valleys. With peaks rising to over 11,000 feet, this is a truly spectacular range which includes a considerable amount of above-treeline country dotted with high mountain lakes located in cirques amongst the peaks. This range lies on the far eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains, with the Great Plains spreading to the east. From the ranch, one can access the National Forest at numerous trailheads, one being only a short drive to the east.
The average elevation of the ranch is 5,350 feet above sea level. The total annual precipitation is estimated to be 16 to 18 inches. Without a doubt, the months spanning from late May through October are nothing short of spectacular. Generally, the heat of the summer rarely rises above the 80’s, and the cool summer nights and low humidity create a near-perfect outdoor living climate.
Winter generally arrives in the late fall - sometime around Thanksgiving and from that period through Christmas. The short days usually combine with cold temperatures and the onset of snow. January, February, and March will find a full mix of winter weather, including the occasional major winter storm with low temperatures that will drop below zero. While the night-time average in the coldest months is in the single digits, the daytime highs average in the mid-thirties. Standing snow levels at the ranch amount to a couple of feet during a good part of the winter, requiring ranchers in this area to carry a good supply of hay for livestock in the winter months.