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Lone Cypress Ranch

$4,500,000 Sula, MT 301± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Tucked away in the gentle fold of a grassy valley in one of the most pristine watersheds in the lower 48 states is the Lone Cypress Ranch, 301± acres with three trout-filled ponds and an extensive set of luxury improvements ideally suited for a mountain retreat. The master residence – a stately and expansive log home – is situated to provide maximum privacy, occupying a choice location adjacent to the three-quarter-mile common boundary with the Bitterroot National Forest. Large migratory elk herds frequent the property, especially during the fall when cool weather brings them out of the high country. Extensive equestrian improvements and guest facilities further enhance the overall utility of this property, located just outside of the town of Sula at the southern end of the Bitterroot Valley, 90 minutes from Missoula and less than an hour’s drive from Darby or Hamilton. Frontage on the East Fork of the famed Bitterroot River beckons the angler. In short, a very complete recreational retreat with a complete package of every amenity for which one could hope. 

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Just the Facts

  • Located in Sula, MT, 35 miles south of Hamilton in the Bitterroot Valley
  • 301.39± deeded acres
  • Borders Bitterroot National Forest for three-quarters of a mile
  • Approximately one-third mile East Fork of the Bitterroot River frontage
  • Three stocked trout ponds
  • 9,500± sq. ft. master residence
  • Extensive equestrian facilities
  • Guest home, wranglers’ quarters, and manager’s residence
  • Adjacent to Sula Peak Ranch (active Hall and Hall listing)

General Description

This property includes 301± deeded acres, with adjacent United States Forest Service acreage that extends for tens of thousands of acres to the south and east. The land consists primarily of open meadows with around 44 acres of irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows. A forest fire in 2000 burned large areas of the Bitterroot Valley including U.S. Forest Service lands to the north, although the fires did not make it as far as this property. In fact, the adjoining forest service acreage was completely spared and the property transitions from the open valley floor to lightly wooded draws, giving way to mature timber consisting of a mix of Douglas fir, lodgepole and ponderosa pine as one gains elevation off the property. The ranch is reached off the East Fork of the Bitterroot River Road. Turning south from this county-maintained access road, one quickly crosses the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. A quarter-mile or so further on, where county maintenance ends, one enters the ranch on its western boundary. About two-tenths of a mile further along, the first of three stocked ponds is passed with a size of around two acres. About three-quarters of a mile from the ranch’s gate, the manager’s residence is positioned to monitor all incoming traffic, followed rapidly by a shop which includes a manager’s office. To the northeast of the manager’s complex is the second of the three stocked ponds, consisting of around one-third acre. To the south, one next encounters the equestrian complex consisting of a barn, large modern indoor riding arena and wrangler’s quarters. About a mile from the entrance, the main ranch road starts to veer south, turning up the Reimel Creek drainage. Passing the third pond one arrives at the primary residence, an architecturally designed and expanded log home that offers spacious living on multiple levels. Opposite the main residence, and just a short distance further up Reimel Creek is the barn-style guesthouse. 

Broker's Comments

The Lone Cypress Ranch is an exemplary recreational retreat property with extensive guest facilities and first-rate equestrian improvements. The Sula Basin and the East Fork of the Bitterroot River remain shining jewels in the very private Sula Basin, a world away from the more populated Bitterroot Valley. Pristine views, stellar improvements and great fishing make this property a great value in today’s market. 

Learn about the locale

Location

The Lone Cypress Ranch borders the town of Sula, Montana, just off U.S. Highway 93. Sula offers a post office and general store, and lies approximately 35 miles south of Hamilton and 90 miles from Missoula, the social and cultural hub of western Montana. To the south, approximately 58 miles over Lost Trail Pass, lies the small mountain town of Salmon, Idaho, while east from Lost Trail Pass brings one into the legendary Big Hole Valley, famous for its 10,000 hay stacks and the outstanding fishery on the Big Hole River. Ravalli County, where the ranch is located, has a population of around 40,000. Hamilton, the largest town in Ravalli County, hosts full medical services as well as virtually every amenity that one would expect from galleries and restaurants, to banks and stores, offering every imaginable product and service.Air access to western Montana is provided by Delta and United Airlines, which serve the Missoula International Airport from their respective hubs in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, and Denver with several arrivals and departures each day. Missoula is also serviced by Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Airlines, providing nonstop service to Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Allegiant Air, an economy carrier, offers direct flights to and from Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.Private air accommodations are available in Missoula as well as the Ravalli County Airport in Hamilton, the county seat, which provides a 4,200’x75’ runway at 3,603-foot elevation open to general aviation.

Locale

Lone Cypress Ranch lies on the eastern side of one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the West and sits across a broad territorial valley from Sula Peak (elevation 6,800 feet). Other nearby large holdings, including the adjoining 2,848-acre Sula Peak Ranch and the much larger Shining Mountain Ranch, ensure that the area retains the ambiance of a traditional western ranching valley. The Bitterroot Valley, often referred to as the “banana belt of Montana,” is recognized as having one of the mildest climates in the state. The valley lies between the Sapphire Mountains to the east and Bitterroot Mountains to the west. The Bitterroot River flows to the north to join the Clark Fork River near Missoula. The ranch’s location provides access to an extraordinary variety of recreational activities. Within an hour’s drive one can be in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, the Big Hole Valley, the Main Fork of the Salmon River, the Anaconda-Pintlar Wilderness, and many other desirable areas. The economy here is evolving away from extractive resources and moving toward tourism, high tech, and an increasing number of affluent retirees who enjoy the high quality of life this valley has to offer. The area is regarded as stable and prosperous with a significant influx of tourists and second homeowners in the warmer months or during periods of peak dry fly fishing activity.Missoula is home to the University of Montana with an undergraduate student body of over 13,000 students. Missoula offers multiple cultural opportunities such as live theater, concerts, museums, galleries, film and music festivals, and more. The ranch is approximately 15 miles north of the Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area, which has undergone a massive expansion of their facilities in recent years.While the Bitterroot Valley has become more populated and modernized, the Sula Basin remains sparse in population and closer to historic Montana cowboy culture. The Lone Cypress Ranch is truly a gem, located in a secluded, very private location, yet within easy reach of many urban and backcountry amenities. 

Climate

The geography of the Bitterroot Valley creates a moderate year-round climate that earns its reputation of the “banana belt” of Montana. While low temperatures may drop into the teens during January, the coldest month, expect warm winter days as well. About 30 inches of snow falls over the winter, with more at the higher elevations — Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski resort reaches a base of 60 inches in a typical year. Many winter days are sunny, and shirtsleeve ski days aren’t uncommon. About 14 inches of rain fall each year in the Sula area, putting it on the dry side. Still, spring rains fill the creeks and abundant wildflowers blanket the valleys and hillsides. Spring nights remain crisp, and even in mid-summer the nighttime temperatures can be in the 40s. July is the warmest month, with an average high temperature of 85 degrees. Cool summer nights, with clear skies and no light pollution, make Lone Cypress optimal for watching the Persied meteor showers in August. As the aspen, cottonwoods and western larch trees turn gold in the fall, temperatures range from the low 30s to the high 50s — perfect weather for hiking, fishing, hunting or just watching the elk and deer from your front window.

History

With its historic forts, missions, and trails, the Bitterroot Valley figures prominently in Montana history — and one of the most important sites is on the adjacent Sula Peak Ranch. In 1804, the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery arrived in a small valley called Ross’ Hole, cold, wet and hungry. The Salish Indians, who were camped there, provided food and furs to the group that included Sacagawea and her baby. A painting of the event by Charles M. Russell hangs in the Montana State Capitol.The Bitterroot Valley is named for the bitterroot plant, a food staple for the Salish tribes who were its first residents. The Hudson’s Bay Company established forts to trade with trappers and Indians, and St. Mary’s Mission was founded near present-day Stevensville, which eventually became the first incorporated community in Montana in 1842. Logging and agriculture were the main industries in the region and have evolved toward tourism, research facilities and the high-tech entrepreneurship that is finding its way into the region today. 

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 301±

Total Acres: 301±

* All acreages are approximations.

Additional Information

PERSONAL PROPERTYAn inventory of ranch equipment and other personal property will be made available for purchase but is not included in the purchase price.SPECIAL NOTEThis property lies adjacent to the, 2,848-acre Sula Peak Ranch, also offered by Hall and Hall, and makes an ideal complement to the extensive agricultural operation offered by that property. 

Improvements

The Lone Cypress ranch offers a complete set of recreational and residential improvements, including additional quarters for an on-site manager and/or additional ranch hands. Master residence, shooting range and guest quarters: The main residence is an Alpine log home initially constructed in 1986, with multiple updates over the years, the most recent occurring in 2009. The overall living area dimensions include approximately 9,500 sq. ft. of living space plus a garage and covered deck areas. Highlights of the master residence include a very private master suite in a separate tower, a library, music room, extensive custom stone work including a rock shower grotto reminiscent of fine boutique accommodations, a 72’ shooting range in the basement, and incredible privacy. Additional high points are a separate apartment, accessed from a private entrance, which is ideal for housing guests or staff. There is a total of four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms, inclusive of the separated guest apartment. Guest House:The guest house is a 1,395± sq. ft. one-bedroom/one-bathroom log structure with a full kitchen and living area. A custom spiral stair reaches a 495± sq. ft. loft area that is part of the total square footage. Overall finishes are superior and your guests and loved ones will be able to enjoy the very best in western rustic architecture while surrounded by luxury appointments and the conveniences of a very complete modern home. Manager’s residence:The manager’s residence is approximately 1,472 sq. ft. with an attached 500+ sq. ft. garage. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a covered porch and adjoining deck. This is a well-maintained domicile with an appropriate level of detail and finish. Utility Structure:This building, located a short distance east of the manager’s residence, is a multi-purpose structure currently used as a ranch office and general congregation area. It has a concrete floor, heat, plumbing, and is partially finished. It includes a 200± sq. ft. office, 380+ sq. ft. apartment, and an open shop–like area with a bathroom. Total square footage is approximately 1,500. Equipment Shop:This 1,344± sq. ft. building is of post and pole construction with wood siding and a metal roof. It has oversized doors and a finished interior with concrete floors. Outdoor lean–to structures further expand the utility of this building. Equestrian Center:Equestrian facilities at the Lone Cypress Ranch include a nearly brand new 13,000± sq. ft. arena, stables, and wranglers’ quarters. The arena was completed in 2012 but has never been used, and features tongue-and-groove oak paneling. The attached barn holds six stalls with padded floors, a tack room storage area, equine wash facility, a bathroom, and a vet area. An additional guest lounge ensure visitors can observe all the action in dust-free comfort. Above this area are the wrangler quarters which offer a bedroom, a full bathroom, a kitchen, and a dining/living area. The top floor holds an additional bathroom and single bedroom. Separate from this facility, across the road, is a 27,600± sq. ft. outdoor arena. 

Water Rights

The ranch claims seventeen separate water rights for stock, irrigation and domestic use, plus wells. These rights are from a variety of sources including groundwater, Reimel Creek, springs, and the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. Priority dates stretch as far back as 1897. A full list of claimed rights are available upon request. 

Mineral Rights

All minerals owned by Seller will transfer to a new owner. 

Taxes

Taxes for Lone Cypress Ranch are approximately $20,466 per annum based on recent history. 

Learn about the recreational amenities

Fishery Resources

In the Bitterroot Valley, world-class recreation is never more than minutes away, but at Lone Cypress Ranch, the best opportunities may be out your back door. With the East Fork of the Bitterroot River running along and through most of the northern boundary of the property, you will have direct access to one of the top-class trout streams in the region. You can also take your fly rod up Reimel Creek or to any of the three stocked trout ponds. About 15 miles to the north, the main stem of the Bitterroot River holds an abundance of large trout on broader water and is great for rafting. 

Wildlife Resources

The Sula Basin is an area rich in wildlife. Large, migratory elk herds frequent the ranch and descend from the high country when the cold weather hits.  Some estimates put the local herd at over 2,000 animals and it is common to see groups of 500 or more crisscrossing the valley. Mule deer, whitetail, moose, bighorn sheep, black bear and cougar further round out the large mammal offerings, while charismatic bird species such as bald eagle, golden eagle, and osprey also have home ranges on the ranch. Migrating ducks, geese, swans and other remarkable wildlife further add to the wild flavor of this great property. 

Recreational Considerations

Hiking and endless horseback riding are available directly from the property simply by venturing across the national forest boundary with your GPS and map in hand. The broad, open nature of the Sula basin ensures that one can almost always orient toward local landmarks. Four-wheeler and snowmobile use is also directly available on the network of United States Forest Service roads that start on the property. Slightly further afield, major trailheads thread up nearly every significant side drainage into the stunning Bitterroot Range. Hike to the summit of Trapper Peak or take horses and head to high mountain lakes. Bird hunters will find huntable populations of waterfowl and upland game birds throughout the general area, while big game enthusiasts will likely be able to fill their deer and elk tags each year on the property or within a short distance. Ski at Lost Trail Powder Mountain, with a base elevation of 7,050 feet. Hike, bike or just soak at Lost Trail Hot Springs Resort. Both areas are within 15 minutes of the ranch. Golfers can play 18 holes at the Hamilton Golf Club, one of the best public courses in the Northwest. The private 18-hole Stock Farm Club is also in Hamilton. Both courses provide spectacular views of the Bitterroots.

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