The Kootenai Springs Ranch is one of the ultimate expressions of a western recreational property with the added benefit of good agricultural underpinnings and immediate proximity to a variety of goods and services. With over two miles of frontage on the main stem of the Bitterroot River, celebrated architecture and grand, snowcapped vistas, the ranch exceeds expectations at every turn. Consisting of 1,186± acres on the valley bottom, the ranch offers scenic splendor among some of the strongest wildlife populations in the west. Rich and biodiverse, the property offers clear, deep and fishable spring creek water, wet meadows, dense underbrush, mature stands of Ponderosa pine, savannah-like pastures and verdant hay fields fringed by towering peaks. A resident elk herd, dense whitetail deer populations, turkey, pheasant and robust waterfowl populations mean daily wildlife sightings, while an extensive compound of owner, guest and management facilities are crafted from the highest quality stone, steel, glass and custom timbers. Located minutes from a 24-hour supermarket and the excellent school system of Montana’s oldest incorporated community, Stevensville, the Kootenai Springs Ranch offers a stronghold in the heart of the wild Rockies without sacrificing any modern conveniences.
The Kootenai Springs Ranch encompasses approximately 1,186± deeded acres of Bitterroot River bottomland with well over two miles of immediately accessible prime trout-filled riverfront. In stark contrast to the jagged peaks that lay to the west of the ranch, the property is almost entirely flat and suitable for a wide range of recreational and agricultural activity. From animal husbandry to equestrian enjoyment to four-wheeling or mountain biking, nearly every inch of the property is available for the ready use of the owners. The east edge of the ranch is bound primarily by the river though a few small portions of the property stretch across to the opposite bank. The river frontage itself is extremely accessible with a ranch road paralleling most of its length.
The main driveway enters the west side of the ranch and is located approximately one and a quarter mile from the south boundary of the property. The driveway soon passes one of the true landmarks of the valley, the original homestead log cabin, fully restored and available for immediate use. The driveway continues generally eastward for one mile as it winds its way through meadows and wetlands until it arrives at the main compound. The landscaping throughout the property is stunning and consistent with rustic luxury that imbues the property, and includes stone bridges, decorative stone walls, a 7-acre lake and custom exterior lighting.
All but approximately 120 acres lies east of Highway 93. The acreage west of Highway 93 is currently the area most intensively utilized for animal husbandry by the current owner and features a variety of pens, corrals and fenced pastures.
Kootenai Springs Ranch is a genuine masterpiece enjoying almost every amenity imaginable… man-made and those of higher origin. The ranch has been endowed with some of the most impressive natural resources found anywhere in the west all of which have been enhanced and protected by the current owners’ stewardship practices.
The Kootenai Springs Ranch is located in western Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, approximately two miles south of the community of Stevensville, and 18 miles north of Hamilton, the valley’s largest community with a population just under 5,000. Commercial air service is provided at Missoula by Delta, United, Allegiant, and Horizon, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, while the nearby Ravalli County Airport is a private, jet-capable airstrip with a 4200-foot runway and 24-hour FBO services.
The Bitterroot Valley is arguably the most beautiful valley in Montana, if not the Northern Rockies. When combined with its immediate accessibility to modern goods and services, it is hard to find a more desirable setting. The towering, jagged peaks of the Bitterroot Mountain Range descend to the western edge of the valley, while the eastern edge of the valley is graced with the gentler horizon of the Sapphire Range. The Bitterroot Range is also the eastern edge of the largest wilderness complex in the lower 48 states. The Selway, Frank Church and River of No Return Wilderness Areas total nearly 3 million acres of wild and scenic terrain serviced by an extensive network of trails that originate along the valley’s western flank.
The Bitterroot Valley is one of the more populous valleys in Montana and therefore offers an array of services that is often lacking in more remote locations. The valley is dotted with pastoral Montana towns, the largest of which is Hamilton located approximately 20 minutes south of the ranch. Finally, the literal and figurative heart of the valley is the Bitterroot River itself. Running over 75 miles in a northerly direction to its confluence with the Clark Fork River in nearby Missoula, it provides legendary dry fly fishing from March through October, an unusually long season that owes its existence to the Bitterroot’s mild climate. The nearby Lost Trail Powder Mountain Ski Area, located about 50 minutes to the south, provides deep powder and reliable, high-quality alpine and cross-country skiing in a family-oriented setting. Winter motorsports are also available on the nearby Lost Trail and Lolo Passes.
The Bitterroot Valley is one of the lowest intermountain valleys in the Rocky Mountains. The elevation at the Bitterroot River at Kootenai Springs Ranch is just under 3,300 feet above sea level. This location west of the continental divide results in a stronger "Pacific Northwest influence" than that which is found east of the divide. Consequently, the climate is mild by Montana standards. High readings of 90F occur less than 20 days a year. Summers are pleasant and winters are characterized by steady, but not severe, cold. Extremely high winds are rare.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Improvements at Kootenai Springs Ranch are extensive and consummately tasteful in design, orientation, construction and functionality. They include the following: The Main Compound consisting of five magnificent stone, log and glass buildings, the Satellite Guest House, Manager’s Residence, a Shop and Office Compound, Employee Housing and the Homestead Log Cabin.
The main living compound of Kootenai Springs Ranch consists of five stone, log and glass buildings: the Main House, Guest House, Guest Wing, Greenhouse and “Boy’s Club”. The buildings in the main living compound are constructed of over 5,000 tons of locally sourced Kalispell stone, custom square logs, custom re-sawn cedar, Douglas fir tapered columns and roofs of core-tin steel or heavy shake shingles. The attention to detail is astonishing, such as exterior log columns that are scribed into rock bases and the massive single slabs of rock that comprise the mantles of the soaring fireplace. The master mason that completed the majority of the work artfully blended large and small stone to create visual interest, while towering steel and glass give unobstructed vistas from the comfort of your favorite easy chair. The Main House, Guest House and Boy’s Club are all picturesquely sited with their backs to a meandering spring creek and fringed with ample stone patios, providing the perfect serene idyll just steps from the comforts of home.
The Main House includes 4,292± square feet and contains a single master bedroom in order to preserve the privacy of its owners. The master suite adds an ample dressing and bathing area with a distinctive Japanese soaking tub and associated amenities. Around the corner is an office with custom built solid walnut desk that provides an easeful way to stay in touch with the office while indulging in the sheer enjoyment of a residence in the heart of big sky country.
The kitchen in the Main House has a long list of outstanding features. It starts with a custom designed Baultup stainless steel kitchen featuring a butcher block island surrounded by stone and stainless steel. Marble counters, a Miele custom built-in coffeemaker, Traulsen refrigerator with backup freezer and extra refrigerator, two warming drawers, two dishwashers, wet bar with separate ice maker and refrigerator provides a short list of the many outstanding qualities of this space. Add to this a kitchen media area with kitchen fireplace and you can easily imagine the kitchen as the beating heart of the house. Outside, a DCS enclosed barbeque and custom designed ‘round-up’ barbeque make the ample stone patios a seamless extension of the indoors. The recent addition of a stone-surrounded hot tub make this area of the home an irresistible temptation. Additional features of the home include a grand stone and log entry through gracious walnut doors, a separate mudroom, stainless steel laundry room, a half bath of stone, log and steel with a granite sink and a formal dining area. Finally, the grand 30 foot high vaulted main room is the standout feature of this architectural marvel. Surrounded by stone and steel encased glass Hope windows with custom electronic window shades, stone floors and a Rumsford type fireplace with antique/epic Molesworth fire screen, the eye is cannot look away from the soaring ramparts of the towering St. Mary Peak. Holding snow well into July most years, St. Mary Peak dominates the western skyline and beckons one to the endless wild country that backs the Bitterroot country front range.
Lastly, a full basement includes three mechanical rooms and a 1,200 bottle wine cellar. Heating is in-floor radiant wherever there are stone floors. Everywhere else is heated with a high-tech ground source heat pump.
The Guest Wing includes 2,270± square feet and is attached to the main house by a covered breezeway. The building contains a living room with adjacent glassed-in porch, two upstairs bedrooms with full baths and walk-in closets, half-bath off the living room and a mud room off the two-car garage with custom core-tin steel doors. There is covered parking adjacent to the garage and an enclosed propane run backup generator.
The Guest House, includes 2,012± square feet and features a vaulted 20 foot high living room with custom designed fireplace and fireplace screen featuring stonework recessed behind glass with views beyond. The full kitchen features custom designed cabinetry and granite counters with counter seating as well as a leather banquet. This home contains three bedrooms with full tile and granite baths as well as three covered porches.
The Boy’s Club (508± square feet) consists of one open room with a half bath and adjacent custom wet bar. The building features an intimate view, captured by floor to ceiling windows, of the arched footbridge crossing the stream situated right outside. Floor material and ceiling material is re-milled, reclaimed antique wood. The focus of the room is a monumental fireplace which also contains a small contemporary wood burning stove.
The Green House’s architecture exactly mimics the stone, steel, timber and glass construction of all the other improvements and encloses 450± square feet with an additional 900± square foot outdoor garden area and an additional approximately 150 square foot covered potting area. In-floor radiant heat and an automated temperature control system ensure year-round optimized utility to this European grade improvement. Outside, raised beds and wildlife fencing mean that when your flower and vegetable starts are ready to go, they will be transferred to outdoors without the threat of wildlife consumption.
Satellite Guest House
The Satellite Guest House was completed in 2018 with the same exacting attention to detail that characterizes all the improvements on the ranch. The house is approximately 2,000 square feet and offers three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths wrapped by a covered porch that runs around at least three-quarters of the home. A detached approximately 730 square foot two-car garage provides parking and attached to this is an approximately 120 square foot artist’s studio or hobby room, depending on a new owner’s preference. Radiant heat bolstered by a geothermal heat pump throughout the home ensures even temperature control throughout the year.
The Manager’s Residence is located south of the main compound. This two-story residence contains 2,900± square feet and consists of three bedrooms, two baths, kitchen, dining room, utility room, mud room and living room with stone chimney and woodstove perched on a stone hearth. There is also a two-car garage, unfinished half basement and covered patio. This residence was constructed at the same time as the main living compound and is also fabricated using stone, square logs, re-sawn rough cedar, core-tin steel and heavy shake.
Shop and Office Compound
Adjoining the manager’s residence is the 6,000± square foot shop and office compound. This compound is constructed using rough sawn cedar siding and core-tin steel. It consists of three adjoining buildings containing the ranch office and conference room, an auto repair shop containing work benches, sink, overhead/oversize door, and mechanical room with outside entrance. Outside the auto shop is a covered car wash bay with three elevated fuel tanks on concrete. Across from the auto shop is a complete and comprehensive wood shop with overhead heating, ventilation and dust control systems, wood storage area, mechanical room and sawdust area. Outside of this shop is an attached, covered carport. Adjoining this area is a 20 foot high covered 7-bay open shed building housing a dump truck, backhoe, skidsteer and two tractors. A gun reloading room, walk-in meat locker, and a bird plucking room round out the improvements in this area.
There is also a 710± square foot bird brooding house next to the shop which includes a heated bird brooder room built on concrete slab with a feed storage room. Attached are three 150 foot long covered bird runs. There is also a heated dog kennel with feed room and four adjoining dog runs next to the bird brooding house.
As referenced under “General Description”, the portion of the ranch west of Highway 93 contains two older homes which are readily able to house employees. Each of these homes has been fully renovated. One home has two bedrooms and the other home has three bedrooms.
Homestead Log Cabin
Just inside the main entrance of the ranch (east of Highway 93), the original homestead log cabin is located under towering ponderosa pines and provides a gate house feel. Guarding the entrance to the property, this cabin has been completely renovated and restored on a new foundation. It contains two bedrooms, living room with wood burning stove, kitchen and bath.
The architecture for the majority of the ranch was created by the nationally acclaimed architectural team, Cottle, Graybeal & Yaw of Aspen, Colorado. Providing bona fides to the exceptional vision of the original designers, the property is featured in a wide variety of national publications including Architectural Digest, Men’s Journal, Town and Country magazine and Western Interiors and Design. Simply search the web for Kootenai Springs Ranch and you will find an abundance of pages.
Kootenai Springs Ranch enjoys extensive water rights which consist of Statements of Claims and Ground Water Certificates out of multiple sources of which are: Big Creek, the Bitterroot River, McCalla Creek, groundwater and other unnamed tributaries. These water rights include priority dates as far back as 1886. Water is distributed through pressurized (2-20 hp and 1-60 hp site) sprinkler systems (wheel lines and hand lines) and by flood irrigation.
Fishing is probably the most important attraction in the Bitterroot Valley. The Bitterroot River is a well-respected world-class fly fishing river. It has an exceptionally long season with fishable hatches from early March through early November. Highly productive riffles and runs can be found at every turn on the 2+ miles of river frontage held by the ranch, as well as for dozens of miles up and downstream. Rainbow and Brown trout up to 27 inches are landed here as well as Cutthroat trout up to about 20 inches or more.
Not to be outdone by the fishing, the Kootenai Springs Ranch is a first-rate waterfowl property as well. Some hold the opinion that the ranch either holds or gets flythrough activity of waterfowl greater than any other location in the Bitterroot Valley. By the manager’s estimation, the ranch gets migratory visits by anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 ducks of all varieties, in addition to hundreds of Canada geese. The waterfowl enthusiast will not lack for opportunity to view or pursue a rich variety of winged fauna.
Additionally, the ranch enjoys the benefits of holding a shooting preserve license to take advantage of the outstanding habitat present. The addition of a Game Bird Farm License, allows the ranch to raise and release birds with shooters on the ranch being able to hunt upland game birds from September 1st through the end of March of the following year. This is considerably longer than the general bird season and serves to greatly enhance the already outstanding wing shooting amenity of the ranch.
For big game, the ranch holds a resident herd of Rocky Mountain elk that drift between the ranch’s borders and two or three other nearby large protected properties. These elk are very lightly hunted and usually have at least a couple of 300-class bulls in the mix. The whitetail populations on the property are robust and active management to create a trophy class population is one possibility that awaits a new owner. Turkey, bear, moose, bobcat, mountain lion, bald eagle, great blue heron, sand hill cranes and ring-necked pheasant round out the wildlife attractions. It is not an exaggeration to state that the Kootenai Springs Ranch is a wildlife mecca and daily sightings of most Northern Rockies signature species are inevitable.
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