For Sale

Ruby River One and Done Ranch

$14,200,000 Alder, MT 398± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Ruby River One and Done Ranch is a modern architectural masterpiece set on the banks of the fabled Ruby River, often described as one of the best fly fishing rivers in the lower 48 states. Nestled on nearly 400 acres outside of Laurin, Montana is the 10,000± sq. ft. home created by Seattle architect, George Suyama with interior design by Christian Grevstad. A spacious infinity deck hangs over trout filled ponds from which spectacular western vistas of sunsets and rolling thunder storms create a perfect kaleidoscope of nature. The home combines the spaciousness of a classic Montana river valley with the stripped simplicity of a linear and minimalist approach to architecture to create a perfect ambiance of place. Seamlessly welding sky, water, glass and earth, the architect has created at once a magnification of place and a reduction to human scale. Combined with world- class fishing on over a mile-and-a-half of classic live trout water and three constructed trout ponds, the Ruby River One and Done Ranch immerses the senses, delights the mind and relaxes the body.

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Just the Facts

• 10,000± sq. ft. ultra-modern luxe home

• 397± acres

• One-third of a mile of both sides of the Ruby River

• One-and-one-quarter mile of both sides of Clear Creek

• Three trout ponds with huge rainbows

• Legendary freestone fly fishing

• Trophy whitetail and abundant waterfowl


General Description

Turning left from State Highway 287 in to the town of Laurin and motoring quickly past the classic stone St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, you exit the town square at the southwest corner, immediately cross the Ruby River and travel less than a quarter mile before entering the property just past the manager’s home (not included in this offering) in the middle of the property’s eastern boundary. Turning quickly left, one meanders south around one-half mile on an impeccably maintained private gravel road. As one approaches the main home from its eastern side, the first thing noticed is the graceful ponds that emerge from the sea of grass and planted summer crops. 

Passing the main home, one has the option of continuing on private roads to tour the southeast agricultural fields of the ranch, eventually looping back to the main house. From this point and continuing north, one back-tracks on the entry road, eventually taking a left-hand turn to the west. This road accesses the remainder of the ranch, passing another built pond to the north, a shop/equipment storage facility to the south and eventually crossing Clear Creek. From here, a series of ranch roads and two-track roads run a loop that parallels the one-and-one-quarter mile Clear Creek, an utterly private fishery that rivals the Ruby River itself and has no public access, existing entirely within private deeded lands. On the western edge of the property, an approximately 50-foot high bluff steps up to an elevated bench overlooking the trap/skeet and pistol range and presenting the ranches signature golf driving tees: five separate elevated tee pads made for whacking big drives into the groomed meadow below. 

From this elevated perch, one takes in the vast expanse of the Ruby Valley with the alpine peaks of the Tobacco Root Mountains towering to the north, the steep timbered slopes of the Ruby Mountains to the west and the gentler ramparts of the elk-rich Gravelly Range to the south. Skimming the meadows below, the eye takes in the intricate meanders of Clear Creek, the Ruby River and the main residence, draped along the shoreline of the ponds constructed to accent the dramatic scenery.

Broker's Comments

An architecturally significant modern home on the banks of one of the West’s most fabled fly fishing rivers succinctly describes this one-off offering. No substitute, no holding back, no hesitation and no elegance left out, this is a masterpiece of western living and one of the finest fishing properties on the market today.

Learn about the locale

Location

Ruby River One and Done Ranch lies two miles north of Alder, Montana on the outskirts of the small town of Laurin (pronounced la-ray, locally). The nearest commercial air service can be found at the Bozeman airport about an hour-and-a-half drive east and north of the ranch. This is Montana’s busiest airport and offers nonstop service in season to many major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Seattle. Twin Bridges has an excellent small airport that is scheduled to be expanded to accommodate most private aircraft, but currently offers a 4,300’ paved and lighted runway about 15 minutes from the property, while Ennis, about 30 minutes away offers a 6,600’ jet-capable runway.

There are also many smaller towns nearby such as Ennis, Sheridan and Virginia City, that offer fine dining and entertainment. These are all within an hour’s drive or less of the ranch.

Locale

The Ruby River Valley includes the communities of Alder, Twin Bridges and Sheridan and their surrounding agricultural and mountainous terrain. Here in the heart of big sky country is a tightly held series of river-bottom ranches, luxurious private retreats and a fabled fly fishing resort, the Ruby Springs Ranch. The Ruby Valley offers some of the most sought-after trout water in the lower forty-eight states and is not easily accessed by the general public, despite Montana’s stream access laws and the legendary status of this particular river. The Ruby is divided into two sections, an upper section above the Ruby Reservoir and the lower section, a tailwater fishery that runs through the property. A half-hour to the southeast is Ennis, Montana, located at the base of the Madison Valley and its legendary fly waters flowing from Hebgen Lake and Yellowstone National Park. An hour south is Dillion, and its fabled network of rivers including the Beaverhead and the Big Hole. The Jefferson River comes into existence just below Twin Bridges after the confluence of the Ruby and Beaverhead Rivers with the Big Hole River. 

The Ruby River One and Done Ranch is literally in the trout-filled heart of the American West and the access to cold, clear freestone rivers, lakes and high mountain springs is nearly endless. 

Climate

The Ruby Valley is considered a mild valley in terms of its climate and weather patterns. Daytime high temperatures in July and August average in the low-80s, while winter overnight lows in December and January average in the mid-teens with daytime highs averaging in the mid-30s. It is a semi-arid climate with most of the annual precipitation occurring in the spring months of April-June. The valley receives around 12-inches of rain each year and annual snow accumulations of almost 60 inches. 

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 398±

Total Acres: 398±

* All acreages are approximations.

Additional Information

Conservation Easement

The ranch is not encumbered with a conservation easement, leaving open a bright future for ongoing private stewardship, as well as possible future tax benefits. 

Improvements

Architectural Vision

The award-winning architect, George Suyama, describes his first visit to the site of the future One and Done Ranch as a blunt encounter with the vast space and eye-stretching tableau of sky, water and mountain. The goal that emerged from that encounter was to create a sense of sanctuary that was at once sheltered from the immensity of landscape yet connected to it so that the full kaleidoscope of nature enters the home, seizes the senses, and dissolves the separation of viewer and viewed. With the completion of the main home at One and Done, he has unquestionably accomplished this vision. 

The approach to the home was designed by Mr. Suyama to create a hierarchy of experiences. Sweeping through the open Ruby River landscape, you will exit your vehicle and enter the rear of the house, immediately paring down the visual vastness. Compared to a moat, the home’s opening movement is an enclosed breezeway in which one briefly inters the senses, much like the dimming of house lights before an orchestral triumph. Passing through, rather than over, this proverbial drawbridge, one briefly reemerges into a courtyard open to sky and light. This overture offers a refined outdoor dining area complete with a fire cauldron, adjacent gardens and patio entrance to guest quarters, but the finale is to come. 

The main entrance offers large architecturally designed double doors with an equivalent width to the breezeway to create a perfect continuity within the arrival experience. Stepping briefly beneath an atrium with powder room and seating area to one side and statement art to the other, one explodes onto a stage of light and color. Without interruption, the floor upon which you stand extends ahead to large floor to ceiling glass doors that slide seamlessly apart and continue onto the over 3,000 sq. ft. deck located mere inches above the surface of the two ponds that surround, protect and salute the viewer. Water, sky and light flood the senses and one can hardly choose where to rest the eye first. 

Without effort, your gaze first crosses the water, then rambles to the verdant berms that were constructed as a mimicry of foothill closeness. Providing a perfect launch pad for the senses, these berms hide the home from view and, indeed, one can see no other structures from this vantage point. But the brilliance of the berms is not just its sheltering privacy, but also the singular way it compresses the view and brings an immediacy to the wooded ramparts of the Ruby Mountains to the west. Elsewhere in the Ruby Valley, beautiful as it is, the view wanders for large distances across the open and flat plane before rising to the heights. But here, among the lakes and berms, the eye may skip this journey and arrive with all the immediacy of a grand crescendo at the base of a grand western escarpment. The assembly of these elements so thoroughly captures, amplifies and embraces the setting that both your heart and your vision come immediately to rest without thought or effort encompassing everything and nothing in one swift moment of arrival. From the endless sunsets to thundering storm clouds, you’ll never miss a beat in the everchanging landscape. 

Main Residence

Cashmere and jeans best describes the experience of relaxing in this master home. Completed in 2014 by Martell Builders in Bozeman, the home features three bedrooms, three bathrooms with approximately 7,000 square feet of living space and an additional 3,000 square feet of deck and porch. Totaling just over 10,000 square feet of useable area, the distinction between indoors and out is eliminated. 

Overall, the home is a linear design, offering length over depth and stretching along the full shoreline of the pond in front, so that each and every space directly engages the water, sky, and mountains that define the Ruby River Valley. Starting at the north end in the master suite, this room has water on two sides as the pond features wrap around the towering floor to ceiling windows. Wake to the sound of water lapping at your bedside while reflected sparkles illuminate the surrounds. A concrete retaining wall also punctuates this end of the pond and ties the home solidly to the earth with an elegant taper as it descends from a high point adjacent to the house to meet the water’s edge. Generous walk-in closets, its own washer and dryer and clean elegant lines define this portion of the home. A blind door, virtually invisible, appears from the exterior wall like magic if privacy is desired. Above, a barely visible glass divider completes the privacy requirements of the master, yet retains the illusion of a completely open design. 

Crossing the wide-oak charcoal-stained flooring into the rest of the house, there is a small private study on the left for private phone calls or other times when isolation is required. Emerging into the kitchen/bar area, the sunken presentation bar provides the host the perfect stage from which to entertain. Maintaining eye-level contact with seated guests, the bartender-host can face his or her charges while the tableau of the ponds, berms and mountains provide a living tapestry as a backdrop for conversation and re-telling the day’s adventures. The single-plank, live edge wood slab sourced from a specialty mill on Whidbey Island outside of Seattle is an organic counterpoint to the linearity and simplicity of the rest of the home’s detail. 

The kitchen is also a masterwork. Elegant in its simplicity and yet offering the most demanding cook any convenience desired, it features a sweeping granite slab nearly sixteen feet long. The bush-hammered textural finish is yet another astonishing detail that one won’t see elsewhere that imparts movement and life without distracting from the grandiosity of the outdoor play of light and shadow. 

A Sub-Zero refrigerator, Wolf four-burner propane range with grill, a Wolf steam oven for baking perfect crusty French bread plus a second Wolf convection oven, two Miele dishwashers and ample cupboard space means the chef in the house will have all the tools necessary for their greatest creations. A butler’s kitchen in back features a Carrera marble pastry table, second sink, loads of extra preparation space and a full size walk-in cooler, reducing the need for supply runs to town. A pizza oven completes the bonus features of this dream kitchen.

The wide-plank oak flooring stretches throughout the house and is heated with radiant in-floor heat with forced-air propane heat as a backup. Speaking of backups, the entire house is tied to a massive diesel generator with a buried 1,000-gallon tank, providing energy security for any unforeseen events. 

After the bar/kitchen area, a large commodious seating area is arranged around a two-sided fireplace. Again, everywhere to the west are large floor-to-ceiling windows and doors and when the weather is fair, a fully open house truly makes no distinction between indoors and out. Two guest suites with ensuite baths anchor the south end of the house and share their own seating area, artfully arranged between the two rooms. A small private screened porch completes the guest quarters. For overflow bedding, a large upper gallery holds a variety of single and double beds, perfect for children and young adults. 

Going outside holds its own set of surprises. A large plinth fireplace perfectly situated on the 3,000 sq. ft. of decking reads like the altar of some futuristic Greek temple, while a large 240 sq. ft. screened porch is the ideal spot to get the perfect perspective of how the home sits on the landscape. Reminiscent of a South Pacific over-the-water bungalow, this space offers complete three-season comfort, from hot-sunny afternoons when the cooling pond breeze eases the spirit to crisp autumn eves when the Rais gas fireplace warms the bones and makes a perfect accent to ripening grains under a full harvest moon. 

Most of the décor and furniture is included with the purchase of the property and a list of the excluded items is available upon request. The included items feature a variety of architect and designer pieces, including a variety of shou-sugii-ban, burnt wood finished accents, abaca carpet, architecturally designed lamps, unique stools and classic deep leather armchairs. 

Every design and as-built element has been meticulously documented in exhaustive manuals to ensure that future repair and modifications conform to the original architectural vision.

Water Rights

The ranch has at least eight different water rights with priority dates stretching back to 1865, very senior rights. Details are available upon request. 

Two groundwater wells provide ample water for the ponds, as well as irrigation and the third pond is created by the water table which lies not far beneath the ranch’s surface.

Taxes

Annual property taxes are approximately $13,272.


Learn about the recreational amenities

Fishery Resources

Simply put, this section of the Ruby River and Clear Creek offers some of the best dry fly fishing water in the lower forty-eight states of America. Large brown trout and rainbows cruise the nutrient-rich diversity of riffles, deep cut banks, ledges and holes. Dry fly fishing begins in April on the Ruby and extends well into the warm fall afternoons of October. The adjacent Ruby Springs Lodge shines a spotlight on this precious fishery, but that is merely a testimony to the excellence of the angling and not a threat to exclusivity of the offering. The vast majority of the Ruby River receives little to no pressure from the public as access is extremely limited. The one-and-one-quarter mile of Clear Creek is completely off limits to the public and fishes as well – most say, better – as the Ruby River itself. 

The Ruby River in this section is a tailwater fishery, spilling from the cold, deep waters of the Ruby Reservoir a few miles upstream, the river maintains its excellence as a fishery throughout the warmer months for this reason and once spring run-off has subsided, the fishing is incredibly reliable. 

The ponds on the ranch team with massive five-pound plus rainbows, carefully managed by the owner and a delight for all anglers from the globally traveled dry fly fisherperson to the young child just learning their love of all things trout.

Wildlife Resources

Moose, whitetail, ring-necked pheasant and abundant waterfowl are the hallmark of this property. Actively managed as a premiere recreational property, the hi-low skeet towers, pistol range, golf tee pads and 18-hole putting green ensure that when you are done with your angling adventures, plenty more awaits. The Ayotte Ditch supports vast numbers of migrating waterfowl in the fall and spring and the grain fields and other ranch features ensure frequent avian visitors of all kinds. 

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The Ruby River One and Done Ranch is managed as the quintessential western recreational retreat. Fields around the house are planted to annual summer crops, often barley for its intense green color, with hay and alfalfa taking up the further surrounding fields. The trap/skeet and pistol range, golf driving range, 18-hole putting course and ponds are the primary focus of ongoing management, with hay and grain production undertaken as a modest income supplement and to enhance habitat for whitetail deer, upland game birds and waterfowl. Paths along most of the live water features of the property are mowed and maintained as improved angler access and for leisurely evening strolls. 

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