Located approximately five miles northeast of Red Lodge, Montana, the 2,500± acre L-BO Creek Ranch revels in dramatic views of the Beartooth Mountains and Red Lodge Ski Resort. There are also distant views of the Crazies, Snowies, Pryors and Big Horn mountains. An ideal mix of irrigated hay land, dryland hay and grazing support approximately 150 animal units. Along with good water rights, several wells and stock reservoirs, Elbow Creek meanders through the ranch for nearly three miles. Water, productive farm land, and native range host a wide variety of wildlife including upland birds, elk and antelope in the fall, and mule and whitetail deer year-round. Modest but well-kept improvements include a small ranch-style home and ancillary outbuildings. In addition, there is a 2,400-ft. grass runway, airplane hangar and heated storage space. The L-BO Creek Ranch combines beauty, views and multiple recreational features with a significant agricultural operation just minutes from Red Lodge, Montana - the gateway to Yellowstone National Park.
As one enters the ranch from the west, one sees that the L-BO Creek Ranch consists primarily of an undulant landscape that includes native grasses, hay lands and a riparian corridor that runs west to east for approximately 3 miles. The ranch consists of two non-contiguous tracts which at the closest point are approximately a quarter of a mile apart. Aside from several old homesteads and practical cattle handling facilities, the improvements include a well-kept ranch home and a 2,400-foot runway and airplane hangar which are located in the northern tract of the ranch. The two overwhelming characteristics of the property are its well-balanced agricultural component which, according to the FSA maps, includes over 525 acres of cropland and the awe-inspiring views of the Beartooth front, which rise immediately to the south.
The L-BO Creek Ranch is an opportunity to own a productive, but manageable operating ranch in an area with abundant recreation and easy access to Billings, Red Lodge and the Beartooth Mountains. This allows one to enjoy both the culture of Montana’s largest city and the amenities of an appealing Montana ski resort town.
Learn about the locale
The L-BO Creek Ranch is accessed by gravel county road just five miles north of Red Lodge, Montana. It is also just over 60 miles southwest of Billings, which is Montana’s largest city and offers excellent commercial and private air service. There is seasonal or regular nonstop service from Chicago, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Red Lodge offers its own paved strip that will handle small private jets.
The ranch lies on an undulating open bench just north of Red Lodge. This area is characterized by small productive cattle and hay ranches that take advantage of the extensive water resources for irrigation. This is one of the few areas of Montana where homesteads are productive enough to sustain a family, hence the many small ranches in the area that have survived over the years.
The greater region encompassing the property continues the same theme for ranches that have increasingly become recreational in nature due to the rich natural resources, aesthetic values and proximity to Billings and other attractive smaller communities in the immediate area. Red Lodge is considered one of the gateways to Yellowstone National Park and is situated at the base of Montana’s highest mountain range known locally as the “Beartooths”. It also boasts its own very challenging ski area, and with its mining heritage, Red Lodge is often likened to Aspen, but on a much more modest scale. Traditional ranching remains strong as this is some of the most productive grass country in the state and even the more recreationally oriented owners find their land to be in strong demand from area ranchers.
The small town of Red Lodge is a big area draw and lies on the northern end of the Beartooth National Scenic Byway, which Charles Kuralt deemed to be the most scenic highway in North America. Downtown Red Lodge hosts a variety of services and includes quality dining, accommodations, galleries and other boutique establishments. Red Lodge Ski Area is also a mainstream attraction for winter enthusiasts. Cultural events extend all year with outdoor concerts, food events and festivals.
Learn more about the property
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
2,462± deeded acres
80± State of Montana leased acres
Total 2,542± acres
Deeded Acres: 2,462±
State Leased Acres: 80±
Total Leased Acres: 80±
Total Acres: 2,542±
Acres of Irrigated Crop: 169±
Acres Range: 2,228±
Acres of Building Site: 1±
Acres Other: 65±
Acres AG Total: 2,462±
* All acreages are approximations.
The primary residence is a 1991 mobile home set on a poured concrete full basement. Each floor is approximately 1,438± sq. ft. and the basement is partially finished. There is a total of 3 bedrooms and 1 bath along with a 2-car attached garage.
The barn which was built in 1917, the corrals and ancillary sheds are all in good condition and capable of handling cattle.
The hangar which is located away from the residence is approximately 2,500 sq. ft. and has a 40’ by 12’ Schweiss hangar door. It was built in 2002 and has a bunkroom and full-bath which is serviced by a 11 GPM well, septic and alarm security system. A pole barn was later built on to the hangar in 2004 and provides an additional 2,700± sq. ft. of covered storage which can be accessed by three overhead doors of varying sizes.
There are several old interesting homesteads on the ranch, one of which is an old schoolhouse that still has the original chalkboards.
Irrigation to the ranch’s hayfields is provided by shares of the Rock Creek and Clear Creek Ditch Company and the Pleasant Valley Canal Company as well as from the Jeffery Ditch, Allison Ditch and Robinson Ditches. Along with irrigation, there are a number of reservoirs and six wells on the ranch.
All minerals appurtenant to the ranch and owned by the Sellers will be transferred to Buyer at closing.
Annual property taxes are approximately $4,047.00
Learn about the recreational amenities
Elbow Creek provides fishing for small brook and brown trout. Several rivers are close, which include the Stillwater, Rock Creek, the Rosebud Rivers and the Yellowstone, all are tremendous fisheries. Wade fishing and floating in these streams can produce rainbow trout, brown trout and other species up to 20 inches or more.
Location, ample water, good cover and feed create very desirable habitat for a variety of wildlife. The most prevalent specie is deer, with both whitetail and mule deer. They can be found about anywhere on the ranch, grazing the hillsides and hayfields or taking cover in the canopied creek bottom. Elk frequently migrate through the ranch in the fall along with antelope. Upland birds inhabit the rolling hills and pheasant can be found in the riparian bottoms and fields. A host of non-game species such as raptors, songbirds, and other fur-bearing animals are also present in good numbers.
Learn about the general operations
The L-BO Creek Ranch operates as a recreational/ranch retreat providing enough hay and wild grass to run 150 Animal Units and attract a variety of wildlife species. The ranch has been leased out to a local rancher for the last 16 years on a year to year basis and during that length of time the owner and the tenant have negotiated many different agreements. The ranch has produced as much as 340 tons of hay and as little as no hay, those years it was used solely as irrigated pasture. The owner and tenant have run as many as 200 pairs and as few as 125 pairs with varying ownership shares and responsibilities.