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Smith River Ranch

$1,275,000 White Sulphur Springs, MT 227± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

The Smith River Ranch is located in an area of large Montana ranches where properties are highly sought after but tightly held and historically hard to come by. The 227± acre property offers stunning views of the river, the Big and Little Belt mountains to the east and west, and the Castle Mountain Range to the south. There is over one-half mile of both sides of the Smith River, which is a famous wild trout fishery with some very large fish. The wide wetland corridor includes a spring-fed slough and irrigated hay meadows which support a variety of large and small game, upland birds and waterfowl. The elegant four-bedroom timber-frame home is strategically situated above the river, offering an expansive panorama of the nearby mountains and the river corridor. With paved access just 15 miles northwest of White Sulphur Springs and an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Bozeman, the ranch offers a convenient getaway loaded with recreational flair right in the midst of a very special and largely unaltered ranching landscape.

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Just the Facts

  • 1.5 hours from Bozeman and 15 minutes from White Sulphur Springs
  • 227± acres with 37± acres being classified as tillable irrigated ground, 189± acres grazing land, and a 1 acre homestead
  • Over a half mile of private trout fishing on the Smith River
  • A well-appointed timber frame home with an open floor plan
  • Wildlife includes waterfowl populations, whitetail and mule deer, Hungarian partridge, antelope, sandhill cranes, and waterfowl
  • Surrounded by large and traditional ranching neighbors
  • Diverse recreational amenities
  • Beautiful views of 3 mountain ranges and the river

General Description

The property is well situated along the Smith River and includes willow bottoms with a wetland complex, a spring-fed slough, a pond and irrigated hay meadows which support a variety of large and small game, upland birds and waterfowl. The timber frame home sits above the river offering expansive views of the multiple nearby mountain ranges. 

Broker's Comments

Smith River Ranch is a rare opportunity to own a private fishing retreat and an entry point into the tightly held Smith River Valley. These waters offer an angler the opportunity to catch fish in excess of 22 inches, with larger fish sometimes being landed. The timber-frame home offers an easily maintained, comfortable resting place for friends and family, and an abundance of wildlife and recreation complete the package that lies within easy reach of three of Montana’s highly regarded cities in Helena, Livingston and Bozeman.

Learn about the locale

Location

The Smith River Ranch is located fifteen miles outside of White Sulphur Springs, and twenty miles from a paved and lighted 6,100’ X 75’ jet capable airstrip.  Commercial air service is available in either Bozeman, one-and-one-half hours away, or Helena, which is just over an hour away. The ranch is accessed from paved State highways 12 and 89 and there are no public roads through the ranch. Most services are available in White Sulphur Springs, which is the county seat for Meagher County, with a population estimated at just shy of 1,000. These services include banks, grocery stores, restaurants, motels, a movie theater, a small well-supported local hospital, as well as a variety of shops and services that one might expect in a vibrant small Montana community. Major services are available in Bozeman and Helena. 

Locale

White Sulphur Springs lies close to the headwaters of the Smith River and has historically been primarily a ranching community. However, in recent years with the increasing popularity of fly fishing and river floating, it has become a recreational mecca for people, many of whom are embarking on the five-day float trip through the Smith River Canyon which begins a short drive north of town. The area also offers both fly fishing and big game hunting and is now a newly discovered scenic route for tourists traveling between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.

There is a strong sense of community in White Sulphur. The town and surrounding ranch owners support a variety of local enterprises, but are opening their doors for more cultural and arts experiences. 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, drawing people from all over the United States. The proceeds go to support the community.  

For the winter sports enthusiast, several notable ski resorts are 30 to 60 minutes away and include Showdown Ski Area and Bridger Bowl as well as the more distant two-plus-hour’s excursion to Big Sky Ski Resort.  
 
It is fair to say that White Sulphur Springs is generally considered to be an area of large ranches that tend to remain in stable hands over generations. Few have passed into non-local hands but they have increased in size and are operated seriously. One of the great benefits of the area is that it is “off the beaten path” but is rapidly growing in popularity as witnessed by a number of notable ranch sales over the last 10 years. There is no question that its considerable amenities are fast being recognized. We consider it to be a bit of a “sleeper” at the moment. 

Climate

The area offers a mild climate with average snowfall ranging six to nine inches in the winter months with a high number of sunny days. Summer temperatures typically run between 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to the low 50s and high 40s at night.  

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

• 37± acres classified as tillable irrigated ground
• 189± acres grazing land
• 1± acre homestead  

Deeded Acres: 227±

Total Acres: 227±

Acreage Breakdown

Acres of Irrigated Crop: 37±

Acres Range: 189±

Acres of Building Site:

Acres AG Total: 227±

* All acreages are approximations.

Improvements

The ranch has a beautiful timber frame home that includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a double garage. It offers a chef’s kitchen with custom evergreen cabinetry, Jenn-Aire range and wall oven, and a built-in microwave. There are full-slab granite counter tops, oak wood flooring, a center island and a breakfast nook.  A comfortable dining room and living room with a wood stove offer a quiet place to rest after a day’s adventures. There is a loft/office with great views of the river and mountains in the distance. The master-suite bathroom boasts double sinks, granite floors, a jetted tub and walk-in closet. Additionally, there is a walk-out basement with a family/game room, two bedrooms and a bath.

Taxes

Taxes are approximately $3,785 per annum based on recent history. 

Learn about the recreational amenities

Fishery Resources

The property has over a half mile of both sides of the legendary Smith River and is located on a very private stretch of the river that lies approximately ten miles upstream of Camp Baker. The river contains shallow riffles combined with big bends and undercut banks. There are good fish numbers and great opportunities for landing monstrous brown and rainbow trout.  The property typically fishes well in the spring and early summer, while fall is usually the best time for the biggest fish. 

In addition to a whole host of recreational pursuits located near the property, there are a handful of rivers and creeks to fish within a short driving distance. The Shields and Yellowstone rivers are located within an hour of the ranch and are arguably some of the best fly-fishing rivers in the state.   

The Missouri River, 90± minutes from the ranch, has the tail-water section of the river below Toston Dam and offers world-class fishing for large brown and rainbow trout. For the lake fisherman, Canyon Ferry Lake is 30 minutes from the ranch and boasts exceptional fishing for a variety of species including walleye, trout, northern pike, brook trout and Kokanee salmon. 

There are many mountain lakes in the nearby national forest including a unique group of lakes a short distance from the property that offer productive trout fishing. Access is available by 4-wheel drive, horses, biking or hiking. 

Wildlife Resources

Smith River Ranch is rich in wildlife resources, supporting healthy populations of whitetail deer and mule deer.  Hungarian partridge can be seen on the property while the river and wetlands support waterfowl almost year around.   There are a host of other small game species including a variety of raptors, and the occasional moose will be encountered wandering through along the river bottom.  

Recreational Considerations

Meagher County is sparsely populated and overflows with public land and, as a result of so much accessible public land, the outdoor recreation is exceptional. The elk and mule deer hunting in the area is tremendous. The large mountain ranges, streams and nearby lakes offer a multitude of recreational pursuits including horseback riding, hiking, backpacking, bird watching, mountain biking, boating or just enjoying the area.   In addition to the previously mentioned Red Ants Pants Festival, there is a Fun Run, Labor Day Rodeo, 4th of July parade and numerous other community events.  Nearby are two ski resorts that in include the local favorite, Showdown, and nationally recognized Bridger Bowl, both within an hour of the property.  There are a host of additional winter activities in the area that include snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.  

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The ranch is leased out to a neighbor who owns one of the large ranches in the area. He puts up the hay and grazes the property. 

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