For Sale

Red Lodge Creek Ranch

$3,100,000 Red Lodge, MT 1,489± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Red Lodge Creek Ranch is a 1,489± acre ranch ideally located within 15 miles of the resort community of Red Lodge. The ranch’s location away from the base of the mountains gives it the most dramatic views of the highest peaks in Montana. The rolling topography is divided by Red Lodge Creek which courses through the ranch for approximately one mile. It offers a combination of riparian area and foothill range along with a complete set of extensively renovated improvements which include a home, machine shed, barn and outbuildings in a serene creek-frontage setting. 

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Just the Facts

  • 15 miles from Red Lodge, MT
  • Creek frontage on Red Lodge Creek
  • Remodeled headquarters
  • Private trout fishery
  • 1,489± deeded acres
  • 80± acre State lease
  • Beartooth Mountain views
  • Productive hay ground
  • Good deer and upland bird population

General Description

The ranch is well blocked and contains four miles of new fencing. It has convenient access off the county road making it entirely accessible with a vehicle and/or ATV.  The property consists of rolling hills, protected coulees, meadows and a lush riparian corridor. Three springs and three wells provide water for both livestock and wildlife. The most recent well, drilled in 2012, delivers water via pipeline to several stock tanks on the ranch. 

The eastern two-thirds of the ranch consists of rolling grass hills and brushy coulees. From the hilltops the views of the Beartooth south of the ranch are truly world class.  Due to its rolling topography the ranch has a much larger feeling than its acreage would indicate.  The remaining acreage is highlighted by the riparian area created by Red Lodge Creek which runs for roughly one mile in a north-to-south direction. There are no deed restrictions to prevent an owner from taking advantage of the landscape and further developing additional home sites.  

Broker's Comments

Red Lodge Creek Ranch is an outstanding grass ranch with adequate hay production to balance its exceptional seasonal grazing. It is also located in one of the most desirable regions of the state – close to Billings and Red Lodge.  The recreational attributes are outstanding with trout fishing, big game, and upland bird hunting immediately out the back door.  Well-sodded grassy hills command incredible views of Montana’s highest and arguably most dramatic mountain range. 

Learn about the locale

Location

Red Lodge Creek Ranch is accessed off State Highway 78 by way of the well-maintained graveled Red Lodge Creek Road which passes through the ranch approximately 15 miles northwest of Red Lodge.  Billings, Montana’s largest city, lies approximately 50 miles northeast of the ranch providing commercial and private air services.  Delta, United, Alaska and Allegiant airlines provide multiple flights each day to the hub cities of Salt Lake, Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix. There is also summer nonstop service to Chicago, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. 

The ranch sprawls across a rolling landscape approximately nine miles north of the northern front of the Beartooth Mountains.  It enjoys massive, panoramic views of this towering range which hosts some of the tallest peaks in Montana. This pastoral site within easy reach of Red Lodge offers a pleasing contrast to the massive Beartooth Front just a few miles away. 

Locale

The Beartooth Plateau levels off at 11,000 feet where the famous Beartooth Highway crosses it above the tree line, connecting the community of Red Lodge to Yellowstone National Park.  A dedicated wilderness area encompasses a large portion of this range including the Beartooth Plateau, ensuring that this pristine region which adjoins Yellowstone Park will remain intact and unspoiled. 

The greater region encompassing the property is comprised of medium-sized foothill and bottomland ranches that were settled over 100 years ago.  Many of these have become recreationally driven holdings over recent decades due to the rich natural resources, aesthetic values, and proximity to Billings and the other attractive smaller communities in the immediate area.  Traditional ranching still 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. Many smaller towns are within minutes of the ranch with some providing amenities such as schools, grocery stores, banking and other services.  Some of these communities such as Roscoe are nothing more than a post office and a bar/restaurant, known in this case as the Grizzly Bar and Café which serves enormous steaks, juicy burgers and micro brewed beers.  Locals gather in these establishments bumping elbows with visiting fishermen, hunters and a variety of travelers that are exploring this very scenic region. Other nearby towns include Dean, Nye and Absarokee - all within a 40-minute drive of the ranch.

The hub of this area is the eclectic small town of Red Lodge.  Red Lodge lies on the northern end of the Beartooth National Scenic Byway (also known as the Beartooth Highway) and is the launching or receiving point for those who venture across what is 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 Mountain Ski Area is also a mainstream attraction for winter enthusiasts.  Cultural events extend all year with outdoor concerts and festivals.  For an out-of-the-ordinary event, one can attend the pig races at Bear Creek Downs which is also a saloon and steak house located just minutes from downtown.  There is a strong commitment to conservation in the area through easements and also through strong ownership.  The Beartooth front is well guarded by prominent landowners that are dedicated to preserving the landscape and agricultural integrity of their lands.  Increasingly, this has become an area of the state where large land acquisitions have become a rare event due to the dwindling supply of offerings.  The ranch is pretty well encapsulated by many of these larger landowners. 

Climate

Average elevation on the ranch is 4,600 feet above sea level.  Winter generally has settled in before Christmas where average temperatures range from 10 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit with occasional Chinook winds that cause 50-degree-plus temperatures throughout the region periodically through the winter months.  Temperatures in the early winter months can also fall well below zero which, when combined with the Chinooks, can create huge temperature fluctuations.  On average, 122 inches of snow will fall annually with 3-7 inches standing on the ground though the colder months.

The transitional seasons always provide dramatic weather patterns and springtime is perhaps the most notable.  Average temperatures range from 18 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit with over half of the 21 inches of annual precipitation falling between March and June.  Fall tends to be very pleasant in September and October and often through November, but dramatic reminders of winter forthcoming are demonstrated by early mountain snows.  Average fall temperatures range from 20 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit with a generally predictable “Indian Summer” that occurs in October.  Precipitation is drastically decreased during this period and aside from the short prefaces to winter, the fall season is generally a pleasant time of year.

The summer months are comfortably warm but not excessively hot, and days are highlighted by cool summer nights.  Average temperatures range from 43 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  The moisture content in the air is quite low so even in the colder times, most people find the climate here to be very pleasant as compared to most four-season parts of the world. 

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Red Lodge Creek Ranch is comprised of:
  • 1,489± deeded acres
  • 80± acre State lease
  • 140± acres irrigated

Deeded Acres: 1,489±

State Leased Acres: 80±

Total Leased Acres: 80±

Total Acres: 1,569±

Acreage Breakdown

Acres of Irrigated Crop: 140±

Acres Range: 1,349±

Acres AG Total: 1,489±

* All acreages are approximations.

Improvements

The ranch has a complete set of operating improvements. The major improvements include the owner’s home which is a two-bedroom, one-bath home that was originally built in 1910, but over the years has been remodeled and well maintained.  There is also a 960± sq. ft. barn, a 1,800± sq. ft. shop building and numerous ancillary ranch buildings rounding out the headquarters.  Nearly all the ranch buildings have been upgraded and remodeled.

Water Resources

Irrigation to the ranch’s hay fields is provided directly out of Red Lodge Creek, which flows year round, and the Pleasant Valley Ditch. There are seven water rights filed dating back to 1894.

Mineral Rights

All minerals owned by the Seller are negotiable with contract.

Taxes

The taxes for Red Lodge Creek Ranch are approximately $2,247 based on previous years.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Generally speaking, Red Lodge Creek is too warm and carries too much sediment from its rich soil banks to support a blue-ribbon cold-water fishery, but this stretch is extremely good both in numbers and size. It is not uncommon to have 20 fish days and to land brown trout well over 18 inches.  There is a large variety of wildlife that resides on the ranch and surrounding lands.  Game species such as whitetail and mule deer thrive in good numbers across the property. Elk have been seen on the ranch and the neighboring properties for the last three years. Antelope and Hungarian partridge inhabit the rolling hills with a growing population of pheasants in the bottomland riparian areas and adjacent grain fields.  Waterfowl also favor the riparian lands and roost along the creek. A host of non-game species such as raptors, herons, songbirds and other fur-bearing animals are also present in good numbers.  

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

Red Lodge Creek Ranch works quite well as a balanced operation capable of supporting 100 animal units on a year-round basis.  The ranch’s irrigated fields produce 300 tons of hay annually with some of the irrigated lands used for rotational grazing.  The ranch is divided into eight pastures and has outstanding spring and early summer grass.  Stock is conveniently rotated through the summer pastures while the hay crop is cultivated.  The bottomlands are grazed in the fall and then used to feed cattle through the winter months, providing easy access and thermal cover for the animals.

A variety of alternatives for its agricultural use includes leasing the grazing, running yearlings and selling the hay crop, or converting it all into small grains.  According to the Seller, the ranch can generate approximately $50,000 in annual income. Outstanding water rights and meaningful hay production open up many options.

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