Access to Sheep Creek Ranch is by paved Route 419 about 8 miles west of Fishtail. The ranch actually is only about a mile north of Dean “as a crow flies”. Dean is pretty much a wide spot in the road west of Fishtail that has offered a nice bar and eatery from time to time over the years. It is minutes away from fabulous kayaking and fishing on the Stillwater River and from unbelievable hiking and packing into the Beartooth Wilderness. This area is blessed with many enjoyable small towns including Nye, Fishtail, Roscoe, Red Lodge, Absarokee and Columbus. They are all within a 30-minute drive of the ranch. Billings is just over an hour’s drive and is Montana’s largest city offering virtually every cultural, social, service and economic amenity that one could ask for. This includes Billings Logan International Airport which offers a broad selection of flights connecting throughout the U.S.
The immediate neighbors to Sheep Creek are all good sized holdings. This immediate area has remained in ranching. However, one does not have to go very far to find pockets of small tract rural development. As mentioned above, there are many small towns within 30 minutes’ drive of the ranch – most of them are quite small with Absarokee (the closest), Columbus and Red Lodge (both county seats) being the most significant. This is a fascinating area because it is highly productive ranching country which is within easy range of about 200,000 local residents. It is also exceptionally beautiful with access to some amazing wilderness country that forms a protective barrier around Yellowstone Park. It has attracted wealthy individuals and families from all over the U.S. and the world. As a result, there are some areas that have seen smaller tract rural subdivision where locals have either seasonal or permanent homes.
At the same time, it has for generations attracted people who own or have put together good-sized ranches, particularly along the mountain face. There is a strong conservation ethic amongst these individuals and families. The result is vast tracts of productive ranching country with pockets of more dense population – particularly near the larger towns and to some extent along the rivers and major creeks. We find this to be one of the most appealing areas of Montana because of its diversity. It boasts a good population of locals who are based out of Billings and are weekend residents or others from all over the world who might have chosen to retire in the area because of these friendly smaller communities and the access to rivers and streams and wilderness. There are also strong families who have chosen to ranch in the area and are dedicated to maintaining the land in agriculture and open space.
Of particular note is the ranch’s prominent adjacent neighbor to the north and east. Tippet Rise describes itself as follows: Tippet Rise Art Center is located in Fishtail, Montana, against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains, roughly midway between Billings and Bozeman and north of Yellowstone National Park. Set on a 10,260-acre working sheep and cattle ranch, Tippet Rise hosts classical chamber music and recitals and exhibits large-scale, outdoor sculptures. Tippet Rise celebrates the concept that art, music, architecture, and nature are inextricably linked in the human experience, each making the others more powerful. The art center features musical performance spaces indoors and out, with programs that seek to create memorable experiences for performers and audience members alike. Classical concerts are held on summer weekends in the Olivier Music Barn, or outdoors under the Domo. Bike, hike, or take a tour by carbon-neutral electric van.
Tippet Rise is only three years old and has just begun to weave its magic in the community while already having achieved worldwide recognition for its intimate but exceptional offerings of both music and art. The impact has been palpable to the heart and soul of the area and its residents. The longer-term impact on land values and on the desirability of a region that was already one of the most sought after in the northern Rockies is impossible to determine at this time. However, the very concept of owning a totally protected ranch where one could potentially (with permission) ride out the back gate onto Tippet Rise is compelling to say the least. Here is a link to their website: https://tippetrise.org/. Hall and Hall is proud to have played a very small part in helping Peter and Cathy Halsted put this remarkable project together. We think it will do much to make this area of Montana a place where increasing numbers of sophisticated individuals and families will want to live.
The ranch is located at an optimal elevation range between 4,900’ and 5,800’ very close to the face of the mountains. At this elevation one rarely gets high temperatures in the summer and normally they receive good precipitation amounts. The winter is moderated by the fact that the area is subject to Chinook winds which can dramatically raise temperatures in the winter. According to U.S. Climate Data, the reported annual precipitation is 24” inches with an average high in the coldest month of December coming in at 34 degrees Fahrenheit and the low at 18 degrees, while the average high in the summer is only 75 degrees.