Copper City Ranch

$4,200,000 Three Forks, MT 3,430± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Copper City Ranch offers a rare opportunity to purchase a working ranch and farm at a supportable price point between the growing communities of Bozeman and Helena, MT. The ranch’s 3,430± contiguous deeded acres include 1,000± tillable acres for small grain production, improved grazing, or dry land hay. An immaculate three-bedroom, three-bath residence with attached 60’X110’ insulated, heated shop and equipment building is superbly sited for privacy and the expansive views. The attractive home site is enhanced by approximately one acre of surrounding irrigated lawn and mature trees. The ranch has been thoroughly improved with new corrals, fencing, roads, and water systems. Adjoining the deeded acreage are 3,281± acres of BLM and 640± acres of state lease lands used for grazing. Carrying capacity ranges from 200-300 head depending on the use of the tillable acres. This is a move-in ready ranch with long term investment value in an area of increasing amenities, just 34 miles from Bozeman and 64 miles from Helena.

Just the Facts

  • 7,351± total contiguous acres (3,430± deeded, 640± state lease and 3,281± BLM lease)
  • 1,000± tillable acres
  • Immaculate improvements with 60’X110’ shop and attached 3-bedroom, 3-bath residence newly constructed in 2013
  • New ranch infrastructure including roads, fencing, and water systems
  • Paved access 34 miles from Bozeman and 64 miles from Helena, MT
  • Private setting with panoramic views of multiple mountain ranges
  • Mule deer, antelope, and Hungarian partridge
  • Owner qualifies for the landowner drawing in trophy elk district 380

Broker's Comments

Copper City Ranch is scenic, productive, superbly well-improved and maintained. What stands out is the large number of contiguous acres and the price point in this desirable and growing location between Bozeman and Helena. The ranch is set up for cattle and farming with quality infrastructure in place. Close proximity to the nearby communities of Three Forks and Townsend, with Bozeman or Helena also within an easy drive, make it attractive for a family, year-round residence, and long-term investment.

Learn about the locale


The ranch is located in southwest Montana, between the growing community of Bozeman and the state’s capital of Helena. It is accessed from Highway 287 which follows the Missouri River from its headwaters at Three Forks, MT toward Helena. The nearest towns are Three Forks (approximately 7 miles southeast) and Townsend (approximately 27 miles north). Both Three Forks and Townsend are stable communities with about 2,000 residents, K-12 schools, and a wide variety of basic services. 

The thriving cultural, retail, and service center of Bozeman, MT is located approximately 34 miles to the east. Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport, which is Montana’s busiest airport, is about 26 miles from the ranch. Helena lies around 64 miles to the north. Three Forks offers a paved and lighted 5,099’X60’ airstrip at 4,080 feet in elevation with instrument approaches, fuel, and hangar rentals. 


Copper City Ranch lies on the south end of a broad agricultural valley that separates the Elkhorn and Big Belt Mountains. The area is known for its agriculture, primarily hay production, which is made possible by irrigation water from the Missouri River. The Missouri and nearby Canyon Ferry Reservoir attract anglers and boaters, and the surrounding mountains harbor trophy elk and other big game.

Located seven miles southeast of the ranch is the town of Three Forks. The town is named Three Forks because it is located near where the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers converge to form the Missouri River. The area is rich in Lewis and Clark history and the nearby Missouri Headwaters State Park includes the Three Forks of The Missouri National Historic Landmark, where the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped in 1805. The abundance of trout fishing opportunities on these rivers attracts fly fishermen from across the country.

Thirty miles east of Three Forks, the town of Bozeman is the cultural, economic, retail, and transportation hub of southwest Montana. The Bozeman area has built a reputation as one of the most desirable communities in which to live in the U.S. It combines a vibrant downtown with a strong business community, an agricultural center, and Montana State University. All this is set in a beautiful, expansive mountain valley that offers virtually every recreational amenity that one could ask for in an inland location. It has attracted residents from all over the world creating a diverse population. Bozeman is a jumping off point for skiers (both alpine and Nordic), anglers, hikers, climbers, explorers, big game hunters, floaters, kayakers, and Yellowstone National Park visitors to name just a few. It has all the benefits of a resort community and university town.

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport became the busiest airport in Montana in 2013. The airport continues to grow and provides residents nonstop access to many of the major airports in the U.S. including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Denver, as well as Seattle and other west coast airports.

Nicknamed “the first city on the Missouri River,” Townsend is primarily an agricultural community located 27 miles north of the ranch. Townsend sits near the southern tip of Canyon Ferry Lake which is fed by the Missouri River. Canyon Ferry is Montana’s third largest body of water and was formed by damming the Missouri River, which was completed in 1954. The lake is a popular destination for boaters, fishermen, and waterfowl.

Thirty-five miles north of Townsend is the state capital of Helena, MT. Helena has a rich gold rush history which contributed to the city’s prominent Victorian architecture. Helena is Montana’s sixth largest city with a population of approximately 30,000 residents and 80,000 in the greater Helena area.


The Copper City Ranch headquarters are located between 3,800-4,000 feet in elevation. The area experiences lighter snowfall than does the Gallatin Valley to the east, which makes it conducive to winter grazing livestock. Climate data at Three Forks shows an average of 13 inches of rain per year and 32 inches of snow per year. The average high temperature in July is 86 degrees and the average low in January is 13 degrees.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

The ranch is comprised of 7,351± total acres (3,430± deeded acres, 3,281± BLM lease, and 640± acres State lease). There are 1,000± acres of non-irrigated cropland which has been used to grow winter wheat and triticale for the last several years. In the spring of 2019, approximately half the cropland was planted back to grass for grazing.

Deeded Acres: 3,430±
State Leased Acres: 640±
BLM Leased Acres: 3,281±
Total Leased Acres: 3,921±
Total Acres: 7,351±


The ranch improvements are immaculately maintained. The ranch residence is three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths, with 2,160 ± square feet on the main level per Montana cadastral records. The home features an open kitchen with custom bar, induction cooktop range, dual ovens and dual dishwashers. There is a high-efficiency wood burning stove in the living area, surround sound, and an outdoor fire pit and outdoor gas barbeque. The heating system is propane forced air with air conditioning, and the home is set up for an emergency generator. The large picture window in the living area affords a scenic view of the ranch and the nearby mountain ranges.

The residence and adjoining 60X110 square foot shop building were constructed in 2013. The entire shop building has concrete floors and is fully insulated. One half of the building is heated with propane overhead radiant heaters and used as a shop, while the other half is used for equipment storage. A partition wall separates to the two sections. On each end of the building, there are dual electric overhead doors. The smaller door on both ends is 10 feet wide and the larger door is 18’WX16’H on the south end and 24’WX16’H on the north end.

The shop building is wired for 240V with welder outlets and has compressor hoses run throughout. It also includes an office, gun room, and the mechanical room.

The area around the residence and shop is fenced with jack-leg rail fencing with extensive landscaping and tree plantings. The trees are irrigated as is approximately an acre of lawn.

Ranch infrastructure includes an extensive graveled road system, new fencing, two new wells (five total, all with new well pumps), and new stock water systems. There are heated tanks where needed for winter livestock water. There is a set of working corrals, tub and loading chute, and a tack barn and shed near the corrals. 

Water Resources

Livestock water on the ranch is provided by wells. There are three systems. The north system has two wells, a 3,000-gallon concrete cistern, heated pumphouse, and four stock tanks, with a heated stock tank at the pumphouse. This system services the northerly deeded acreage as well as the state and BLM lease ground.

The south system located at the working corrals has one well, a heated pumphouse, and four stock tanks with two that are heated. The east system is a single well with a single, heated water tank.

Mineral Rights

A mineral search has not been conducted, so the ownership and status of the mineral rights on the ranch is unknown. The mineral rights owned by the seller will transfer to the new owner.


Annual taxes on Copper City Ranch are approximately $6,630.00.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Copper City Ranch has resident mule deer and antelope that are frequently seen throughout the year. Elk are on the deeded acreage occasionally and utilize the adjoining BLM acreage more frequently. The owner qualifies for the landowner drawing in unit 380, which is a limited entry, trophy managed elk hunting district. The 380 tag is one of the most coveted elk tags in the state and the owner has been fortunate to draw in successive years in the landowner drawing.

Hungarian partridge are also found on the ranch. The combination of grain and native range provides good habitat for these hardy upland birds and the stock water systems provide necessary water. During the fall, Canadian geese frequently utilize the grain fields in significant numbers. The Missouri River system attracts migrating waterfowl throughout the season.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The ranch can be operated as a combination farm and cattle operation or maximized for cattle by grazing the 1,000± tillable acres, depending on the owner’s preference. The owner has grown winter wheat in the past, with yields typically in the 50 bushels per acre range. In other years, triticale has been grown and cattle grazed on the triticale throughout the growing season. In the spring of 2019, approximately one-half of the tillable acres were seeded to grass for grazing, or dryland hay production.

The stocking rate has varied from 200 to 300 cow/calf pairs plus bulls over those years, depending upon the use of the farm land. Hay has been purchased for winter feed. Feed requirements vary depending on the usage of forage in the summer. In normal years, the range is open for most of the winter, which makes the ranch very conducive to winter grazing. The ranch is currently leased, with plans to fall and winter graze.

Leases and Permits

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