Ringling Land & Cattle is located approximately 20 miles north of Wilsall and 20 miles south of White Sulphur Springs, along State Highway 89. This puts it also in the enviable position of being a 20-minute drive to the jet-capable airport at White Sulphur Springs, a 50-minute drive to Livingston and its jet-capable airport, and about a 70-minute drive to Bozeman. This route is also by way of Bridger Bowl Ski Area, which is only 40 minutes from the ranch. There are very few ranches of significant size and carrying capacity that can boast that they are only a 40-minute drive from a quality ski area – not to mention being within easy reach of two of Montana’s most desirable towns. Bozeman’s airport is now the most active in Montana and offers seasonal non-stop flights to many of the largest cities in the U.S. such as Chicago, New York, Atlanta and a number of West Coast destinations.
The Ringling Land & Cattle Ranch lies on top of the watershed divide of two mountain fed streams at the north end of the Crazy Mountains. From the ranch, Sixteenmile Creek flows westward into the Missouri River and the Smith River flows north, also eventually into the Missouri. This is not to mention the Shields River which rises just to the south and flows into the Yellowstone River near Livingston. These are all resected fisheries. The area is rarely visited by tourists but is well known by locals as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful parts of a state already known for its beauty. Fortunately, even though it lies an easy drive from sought-after population centers like Bozeman, it has not received the development pressure that dominates the Gallatin and Paradise valleys. It has remained, to a large extent, an area of good-sized farming and ranching operations in strong hands. The Ringling Bar is a popular destination steakhouse. The nearby towns of Wilsall and White Sulphur Springs are large enough to support churches, bars, gas stations, schools, and eating establishments, which means that locals have a comfortable place to gather, while also always having the option of driving into Bozeman or Livingston. The neighboring ranches are generally large and many have been in family hands since Montana was a territory.
There is a strong sense of community in the trio of towns near the ranch. Ringling, Wilsall and White Sulphur Springs have historically been primarily ranching communities. In recent years with the increasing popularity of fly fishing and river floating, White Sulphur Springs has become something of a recreational mecca for people embarking on the 5-day float through the Smith River Canyon. The area also offers big game and upland bird hunting and has begun to attract nonresident landowners as well as a growing interest from tourists passing through the area as they look for the most scenic route between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.
White Sulphur and surrounding ranch owners support a variety of local enterprises such as the local hospital which is critical in a community of this size and distance from other major towns. The Red Ants Pants Festival held every summer in a “cow pasture” just outside of town has featured such notable musicians as Lyle Lovett, Taj Mahal, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris. It is a fun-filled family style gathering complete with food, camping, and nonstop dancing. It draws people from all over the United States. The proceeds go to support the community.
Wilsall is large enough to support churches, bars, gas stations, schools, and eating establishments, which means that locals have a comfortable place to gather while also always having the option of driving into Bozeman or Livingston. The neighboring ranches are generally large and many have been in family hands since Montana was a territory. Skiing is easily accessible from the ranch at Bridger Bowl Ski Area in about a 40-minute drive.
Its location on the northwest corner of the Crazy Mountains, at elevations above 5,500 feet, puts the Ringling Land & Cattle Ranch in an area that receives maximum precipitation. A nearby weather station reports in excess of 20 inches, 50 percent above much of Montana east of the continental divide. This area is not known for the high winds that characterize the Yellowstone Valley to the south. The summer and fall seasons are lovely with warm but not hot days, and cool nights. The area gets a good percentage of its precipitation in the spring which is what makes it such an incredible “grass factory” during the grazing season. This area is known to produce some of the richest grasses in the state. They have the ability to produce huge calves and put big gains on yearling cattle.