The North Bridger Mountain Ranch represents the culmination of generations of excellent asset management. The grazing, timber, recreation, and hunting have been expertly managed for decades and it shows! The ranch which lies at the north end of the Bridger Mountain Range, is the headwaters of no less than four drainages. Truly an end-of-the-road mountain ranch situated on Elkhorn Ridge between the Shields River and Sixteen Mile Creek drainages, the 10,669± deeded acre ranch offers a significant landholding an hour from Bozeman, Montana.
Just the Facts
- End-of-the-road privacy within 60 miles of Bozeman, Montana
- Near perfect mosaic of range, timber, topography, and coulees with water
- Views of nine mountain ranges
- Multiple miles of live water via Bearskull, Timber, Coal, and Cottonwood Creeks
- See millions of stars with no light pollution
- See or hunt elk and never see another human
- Raise beef by the pound
- 4.7 million board feet of merchantable timber
The ranch operates on a total of 13,252+ acres. Historically, it has been utilized as the seasonal grazing unit of a large ranching operation. As such, the ranch is off the grid and has a two-room cow camp and a basic set of livestock facilities rather than traditional ranch headquarters. There are several great locations for the construction of an owner’s home and headquarters. These spots would take advantage of the ranch’s amazing views of multiple mountain ranges and its location at the headwaters of four major drainages.
The ranch was selectively logged more than 40 years ago, leaving a near perfect mosaic of native range, timber, dramatic topography, and small stream riparian corridors that perfectly suit wildlife as well as livestock. The current estimate of merchantable timber on the ranch stands at 4.7 million board feet, primarily Douglas fir.
With nearly 60 developed springs and four live creeks, naturally occurring water is prolific for both livestock and wildlife. There are no wells, pumps, or solar systems to monitor, just let gravity and Mother Nature do the work.
t is not often that a ranch of this size and quality comes on the market in arguably the most sought-after county in Montana. The ranch offers true privacy, views of nine mountain ranges, and more wild game than one can count. Yet is within easy striking distance of the cultural hub of Bozeman, America’s first National Park, and a plethora of all-season outdoor activities. If you raise beef by the pound and you want unbelievable hunting experiences plus giant views of the Big Sky Country, this ranch is for you.
The ranch is located in northeast Gallatin County, which is arguably the most sought-after county in Montana as it includes Bozeman. The ranch is 50 miles northeast of Bozeman, 45 miles north of Livingston, and less than 100 miles from the northern entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Bridger Bowl Ski Area (home of Montana’s Cold Smoke) is a mere 25 miles to the south. Wilsall (population 250), lies 15 miles southeast of the ranch and is the closest town and home to basic services such as cafes, a general store, gas station and auto service, and the Shields Valley Grade School.
Livingston’s Mission Field is a jet-capable 5,700-foot strip located 40 miles from the ranch. Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in the Gallatin Valley is within an hour and fifteen minutes. This airport is the busiest in Montana with direct flights to and from 25 major airports.
Even though the ranch is conveniently located to these major centers, it offers unbeatable privacy, views of nine mountain ranges, and tremendous stargazing.
The North Bridger Mountain Ranch lies in reputable ranching country. The nearby and neighboring ranches are in most cases sizeable. To the south as one approaches Bozeman and Livingston, one gets into areas where there are smaller ranches but to the east, west, and north the ranches are large and tend to be tightly held. Wilsall to the south is the nearest small town and it presents as a ranching community. Despite its reasonable proximity to Bozeman and Livingston, North Bridger does enjoy those benefits while remaining in a strong ranching community.
Elevation on the ranch ranges from 5,570 feet on Sixteen Mile Creek to 7,430 feet on the upper end of Elkhorn Ridge. As such, expect summer highs in the upper 70s and winter lows in the single digits. Humidity is generally low, which tends to make temperature extremes less uncomfortable. Annual precipitation averages more than 20 inches, with the wettest months being May, June, and July – and significant winter moisture via snowfall.
The North Bridger Mountain Ranch represents a century and a half of the accumulation of homesteads and Northern Pacific Railroad lands granted on July 2, 1864. Most of the area was homesteaded between 1906 and 1920.
The ranch has been used in its current state of seasonal livestock grazing, hunting, and outdoor recreation for the better part of 50 years. Past logging and stock water development were well-planned and well-executed. Those improvements are true enhancements to what is already a great ranch.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
- 10,669± deeded acres
- 1,280± acres of State of Montana leases
- 1,303± acres of BLM leases
- 13,252± total acres
Essentially all of the ranch is native range, mountain pasture, and timber.
The ranch is not subject to a conservation easement, but certainly would be a welcome candidate for one.
The ranch boasts 57 developed springs with water tanks, seldom does a ranch come on the market with better stock water than this. Key logging roads were installed on grade and have been well-maintained for years offering access to virtually all parts of the ranch. The ranch also has a previously mentioned off grid cow camp cabin and two basic sets of corrals.
The ranch’s western slopes feed water into the Middle Fork of Sixteen Mile Creek, which runs into the Missouri River near Toston. The ranch’s eastern slopes feed water into the Shields River, which runs into the Yellowstone River east of Livingston. The spring thaw sends water west and east off of Elkhorn Ridge with the Yellowstone and the Missouri Rivers reconnecting 722 river miles downstream at Fort Union, North Dakota.
The Yellowstone River, which is the longest undammed river in the lower 48 states, is 35 miles from the ranch. The “Stone” is a tremendous trout fishery and enjoyable float for most of the year. The nearby Shields River offers excellent small stream trout fishing without the heavy traffic of other southwest Montana streams. Further south of the ranch in the famed Paradise Valley, one can also wade fish spring creeks all year long.
One would be hard pressed to find a Montana ranch that is within an hour or so of so many fishable rivers. It seems there is always a stream in fishable condition regardless of the season.
The ranch offers miles of live water via Bearskull, Timber, Coal, and Cottonwood Creeks. While these are not spring creek fisheries, they are certainly highly contributory to the overall beauty, enjoyment, and usefulness of the ranch.
The seller’s family has spent the better part of two generations developing springs to complement the live water for the benefit of livestock and wildlife. The ranch boasts 57 developed springs that are piped into tanks.
The ranch has filed 69 water rights with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. All of the filed water rights are stock water rights, consisting of developed water, running water, and natural ponds.
The sellers are retaining all mineral and royalty rights.
The ranch was selectively logged 40 years ago leaving a near-perfect balance of grazing and habitat for multiple species. The combination of topography, feed, cover, and water is as close to perfect as one can find for wildlife and livestock. This ranch exhibits generations of managing for multiple uses.
The merchantable timber on the ranch was recently estimated to be 4.7 million board feet, primarily Douglas fir.
The annual estimated taxes are $8,852.73 based upon past years.
The North Bridger Mountain Ranch is an elk hunter’s dream. The elk numbers are high and they are well dispersed throughout the ranch. If you want to see or hunt elk but never see another human, this ranch is the place to be. With the exception of the harshest part of winter, the elk stay on the ranch in large numbers.
In addition to high numbers of elk, the ranch is home to mule deer, moose, black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, upland gamebirds, and numerous other critters.
Montana boasts some of the longest hunting seasons in the United States, providing ample opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. The ranch lies within Hunting District 393, which offers over-the-counter tags for archery and rifle hunting from early September through mid-December.
The recreational opportunities on the ranch and in the immediate area are significant. Whether you are a hunter, hiker, skier, snowmobiler, or looker, you will grow old before you experience everything that the ranch offers or that lies within 100 miles.
The ranch has been operated as a part of a larger ranch operation for nearly 50 years. Cattle come onto the ranch in early summer and stay until late fall or early winter. This is high mountain country that catches more snow and rain than most of the region. As a result, the quantity and quality of summer grazing does not vary as much as other areas. Under current operating conditions, the estimated carrying capacity is 4,400 Animal Unit Months (AUMs) per year. The sellers have expressed a desire to lease the grazing post-closing if a mutually beneficial agreement can be reached.
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