The ranch is located approximately 30 minutes from downtown Bozeman and 15 minutes to Bozeman International Airport, which services Delta, United, and Alaska airlines as well as two FBO’s for private air travelers. The town of Belgrade resides adjacent to the airfield, and the smaller community of Manhattan is 20 minutes to the west.
Other area attractions include Big Sky Resort/Yellowstone Club, which is a scenic one-hour drive south and a popular destination for winter sports. Yellowstone Park can be accessed from multiple routes inside of two hours.
The ranch is located along the west side of the Bridger Mountains, north in the Gallatin Valley, in an area referred to as Springhill, which extends from Bozeman essentially to the ranch’s location. The immediate area near town includes a higher density subdivision governed by zoning. Continuing north, the land transitions to larger tracts of lands down to 160-acre minimum size, dictating more open space landscapes on the north end of the valley. The far north end of the valley includes Little Rocky Canyon Ranch, which resides on the threshold between the communities of Bozeman and Belgrade and a vast landscape of very large and prestigious ranches that scale from 20,000 to 65,000 acres respectively. The ranch has one leg in the vibrant community of greater Bozeman and one in the rural ranch lands to the north.
The Bozeman area has built a reputation as one of the most desirable communities in which to live in America and is the fourth largest city in Montana. With a current population of approximately 51,000, 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 that 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. Bozeman also serves as the hub to Big Sky Resort, which includes the Yellowstone Club, Spanish Peaks Resort, and Moonlight Basin. This has become a global destination in recent years and has provided a strong economic boost to the local economy. Given its extensive recreational opportunities in general, the Gallatin Valley 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 the benefits of a resort community but very few of its detriments. Its diverse elements assure this.
Belgrade is a bedroom community of Bozeman, and although its current population is just under 9,000 residents, it has seen substantial growth in recent years. Just six miles from Bozeman, it shares the same amenities and services as Bozeman does while also hosting the airfield.
Manhattan resides to the west of Belgrade and has a current population of just over 1,800 residents. Despite its proximity to larger communities, Manhattan embraces the small-town feel and culture. It offers simple yet adequate services, dining, and quality schools. Manhattan is in stark contrast to the valley’s urban centers maintaining its small-town appeal centered around the area agriculture.
The Gallatin Valley experiences four distinct climates. For growers, the valley is categorized as “Zone 4” and has an average growing season of 107 days. The average yearly temperature is a comfortable 56 degrees; however, each season has its own distinct weather. Humidity is relatively low, which makes it bearable to be outside even on the hottest or coldest days of the year.
At a base elevation of roughly 4,800 feet, anything can happen with weather, particularly with mountain peaks rising to over 10,000 feet. Winter generally sets in around Thanksgiving and extends into March. With short days early winter is typically dry and cold with average temperatures dipping to 13 degrees and the occurring high-pressure systems that can bring arctic air in dropping temperatures well below zero. As winter burns on, the days start to feel longer, and as is the case with all our seasons, spring announces itself. Warmer 50-degree days begin to melt the snow on the lower elevations, and as we get into April and May, the plants reemerge, and the valleys start to green up. Of course, early spring is also when the mountains and often the valleys receive the most snow as the pressure systems collide and cause precipitation. June is typically the start of summer and is also one of the most beautiful months as the mountain snow recedes and turn into a carpet of wildflowers. The rivers generally carry the melting snowpack out during May/June, and the area remains lush often through July as dependable daily afternoon rain showers diminish and virtually stop in August while the tempers warm to an average of 81 degrees. Like spring, fall usually makes an abrupt announcement of its arrival around mid-September as the mountains receive their first shot of snow, which is almost always short-lived. Temperatures continue to cool back into very pleasant levels as the fall colors come on and extend through October. Late fall typically extends through November into Thanksgiving time, and then winter will arrive again.
A mountain rain shadow causes precipitation to vary from one end of the valley to the other (12-19” end to end). Little Rocky Canyon Ranch resides relatively north in the valley and receives the upper end of the precipitation levels, which promotes a lush summer landscape and continual feed to the emergent springs.