For Sale

Steamboat Rock - Stillwater River Ranch

$3,890,000 Nye, MT 392± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

The Steamboat Rock Ranch is located in the scenic Stillwater River Valley, 30 minutes southwest of Absarokee, Montana. Containing approximately 400 deeded acres, of which approximately 46 acres are irrigated, the ranch has over a mile of unfettered access to the Stillwater River, one of Montana’s premier trout fisheries. Aside from the river, the ranch is well watered with five springs and three wells providing both stock and domestic water. The improvements are appropriate in size with a comfortable modular home on the river, plus a shop and log barn circa 1895. With views of Steamboat Rock and the majestic Beartooth Range, this all-inclusive ranch is less than an hour and a half from Billings, Montana’s largest city.

Just the Facts

  • 400± deeded acres
  • 46± acres irrigated
  • Over a mile of Stillwater River frontage
  • Excellent trout fishing
  • Elk and deer hunting
  • Comfortable improvements
  • Easy access off county maintained road
  • Good proximity to Absarokee and Columbus, Montana
  • Close to million-acre wilderness area
  • 1.5 hours to Billings, Montana

General Description

The headquarters of the Steamboat Rock Ranch sit along the river bottom within immediate view as one arrives at the front door of the residence. There is an instant sense of tranquility and privacy as the crystal-clear pocket water of the Stillwater traverses through the ranch. All the improvements are on this side of the river while a sturdy bridge provides access to the irrigated hay ground on the other side. All the pastures are watered by spring, river or well. Approximately 100 acres of the ranch is on the north side of the county road. The property is set up for both agriculture and recreation, as a variety of wildlife resides on the ranch.

Broker's Comments

This Montana ranch offers an owner so much of what we all want including dramatic pastoral, river and mountain views. It also features river frontage on a blue ribbon trout stream, comfortable improvements and a diverse habitat for wildlife such as elk, deer and turkey. Iconic small western communities are all an easy drive from the ranch. Finally, larger towns, a ski resort, one million acres of wilderness and commercial air service are all relatively close at hand.

Learn about the locale


The Steamboat Rock Ranch is accessed by one of two ways. There is currently road construction on Stillwater River Road which is normally the shortest route to Absarokee from the ranch. The alternative route is through Fishtail and Nye on Highway 78. This route is approximately 33 miles with nearly 26 miles of pavement. Red Lodge, the gateway to Yellowstone National Park, is less than 60 miles to the south. Both Columbus and Red Lodge have paved airstrips capable of landing small aircraft. Billings, approximately 90 minutes away, is Montana’s largest commercial airport providing air service through Delta, United, America, Alaska, Cape Air and Allegiant. 


Absarokee provides a friendly place to purchase all the staples needed to operate the ranch. This community which has never been incorporated thrives due to volunteerism and community involvement. Several other interesting communities are within 45 minutes of the ranch: Fishtail, Roscoe, Columbus, and Red Lodge. Noteworthy watering holes in the vicinity include The Grizzly Bar in Roscoe and the Cowboy Bar in Fishtail, both are destinations for locals and those passing through. Red Lodge is a destination ski resort which offers several fine dining establishments, galleries, shops and all the other services associated with a thriving tourist-based community.

The community of Absarokee has approximately 1,200 residents. It offers restaurants, gas stations, a grocery store and a K-12 school system. Absarokee has a medical clinic while Columbus has a 23-bed Critical Access Hospital with 24/7 emergency services.

The immediate area around the ranch has a diverse culture and aesthetic flavor with small to medium sized foothill ranches and river homes along the banks of the Stillwater River. Second homes along the river have been a long-time favorite of Billings area families.


Absarokee has an elevation of approximately 4,000 feet. Average daytime temperatures in the summer are near 78 degrees and 21 in the winter. Precipitation in the spring can arrive as either snow or rain. It is not uncommon to have heavy wet snow during March or April, followed by warm Chinook winds bringing temperatures in the 50s. The fall season is colorful and pleasant into November, but as soon as you let your guard down winter can show up at your front door. The Stillwater is a wonderful place to experience the treasure of all four seasons.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 392±

Total Acres: 392±


The ranch has a very suitable set of improvements which include a 1989 three bedroom and two bath manufactured home with metal roof and Masonite siding. The additional ancillary buildings include a 2,400 square foot metal shop building built in 2003, a barn building circa 1895, and several smaller but functional pole frame buildings which include a garage building and implement sheds.

Water Rights

The ranch controls excellent water rights from both Fletcher Smith Ditch and Dyer Ditch.

Mineral Rights

All minerals owned by the current owners will be transferred at closing.



Learn about the recreational amenities

Fishery Resources

The Stillwater River is a misnomer, as the Stillwater has less quiet water proportionally than any other river in Montana. The lack of quiet water produces some of the best boulder-pocket fishing anywhere. Wade fishing from the property is outstanding, resulting in both rainbow and brown trout ranging in size from 13-20 inches. The Stillwater is not a major float-fishing river in this area as compared to the lower Stillwater River or the Yellowstone. This is a blessing to both the fish and those who are lucky enough to live along its beautiful banks.

Wildlife Resources

The ranch consists of several environments which support a very diverse collection of wildlife. The agricultural base along with the adjoining forested hills offer habitat for elk and deer. On the north side of the ranch, mule deer browse in the upper benches where native grasses are abundant and good cover is available in the coulees.  Turkey are found on the ranch along with Canadian geese and numerous songbirds. As one would expect from a ranch located within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, many raptors and predators frequent the area throughout the year.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The ranch has been a family run operation set up as the base for backcountry outfitting, raising horses and cattle. The agricultural lands south of the river historically put up 4-5 tons to the acre in hay and is rotated into barley. The ranch can carry 20 pairs and 10 head of horses or a combination of the two. This is a beautiful place where agriculture and recreation work seamlessly with the labor of love.

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