Top Water Springs

$2,695,000 Big Timber, MT 229± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

This artfully designed fisherman’s “cabin” along the banks of the Yellowstone River enjoys pastoral views of the Montana landscape with the Crazy Mountains providing a majestic backdrop. Approximately 1.2 miles of Yellowstone River frontage along the property’s 229.8± acres offer excellent wade fishing or floating. A spring-fed wetland and reclaimed spawning stream add diversity and appeal, while attracting a wealth of waterfowl and other wildlife. Three bedrooms and three baths make efficient use of the home’s 1,946± square feet. Recognized in several publications for its rustic modern design, this tasteful retreat offers respite and recreational enjoyment in a genuine Montana ranch setting just 21 miles from Livingston and 47 miles from Bozeman.

Just the Facts

• 229.8± acres along the Yellowstone River near Springdale, MT

• 21 miles from Livingston and 47 miles from Bozeman

• Approximately 1.2 miles of Yellowstone River frontage

• Spring-fed wetland and spawning stream on the property flowing into the Yellowstone

• 1,946± sq. ft. 3-bedroom, 3 bath architecturally designed residence built in 2015

• Tremendous views across the Yellowstone River of the Crazy Mountains

• Excellent wade fishing or floating from the property

• Abundant waterfowl during the autumn season

General Description

The ranch is comprised of 229.8± acres and contains over a mile of Yellowstone River frontage. The landscape across the river is made up of agricultural fields and foothills of native range. The Crazy Mountains provide a backdrop for this northerly view. Looking up the river, the Beartooth and Absaroka ranges are prominent to the southwest.

When entering the property, the views of the Crazy Mountains are striking and prominent. The drive stretches across a flat bench, then drops off a bluff toward the river establishing a very private setting for the residence.

A spring-fed wetland emerges behind the house forming several acres of cattail wetlands. The wetlands drain into a small stream that has been enhanced for trout spawning habitat and flows into the Yellowstone River on the east end of the property. Mowed trails invite a walk along the creek andriverbank.

There is an irrigation canal that passes through the property, adding another water feature to the landscape. The canal originates at a headgate on the west end of the ranch and provides irrigation waters to downstream neighbors. 

Broker's Comments

Top Water Springs is a tasteful family retreat or recreational getaway offering fishing opportunities that are often only available on much larger ranch properties in this area along the Yellowstone River. Over a mile of river frontage, a secluded setting among the traditional Montana ranch landscape, and a short drive to the communities of Livingston and Bozeman are the highlights of this well-appointed property. The spring-fed stream and wetland complex adds another significant water feature, attracting waterfowl and other wildlife and lending intrigue and appeal to the landscape for which the architecturally designed 1,946± square foot home is perfectly suited.

Learn about the locale


Top Water Springs is located along the Yellowstone River near Springdale, MT, approximately 21 miles east of Livingston. The town of Big Timber lies approximately 15 miles to the east. The Yellowstone River flows from Yellowstone National Park near the park’s north entrance at Gardiner, MT, which is approximately 75 miles from the ranch.

The thriving cultural, retail, and service center of Bozeman, MT is located approximately 47 miles to the west. Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport, which is Montana’s busiest airport, is approximately 60 miles from the ranch. Livingston offers a paved 5,701-foot airstrip at 4,659 feet in elevation that accommodates most jets with instrument approaches, as well as fuel and hangar rentals. 


The tiny community of Springdale was a railroad station and stopping place for passengers traveling to Hunter’s Hot Springs. Its population was 42 as of the 2010 census. 

Livingston has a population of approximately 7,800 residents and is a 15 to 20-minute drive from the ranch. Livingston offers a full complement of services including galleries, restaurants, specialty shops, bookstores, and of course world-renowned fly-fishing shops such as Dan Bailey’s, George Anderson’s, Yellowstone Angler, and Sweetwater. Over the years Livingston has attracted artists, actors, and wealthy individuals from the worlds of business and finance. This trend has given the town a more sophisticated ambiance which combines nicely with the many strong Montana ranching families that live a more traditional, agriculturally-based lifestyle.

Big Timber is a little under a 15-minute drive from the ranch and is located at the confluence of the Boulder and Yellowstone rivers. Big Timber is a full-service agricultural community of under 2,000 residents. The Grand Hotel & Restaurant is a central attraction for locals and visitors who enjoy the fine dining.

The town of Bozeman is the cultural, economic, retail, and transportation hub of southwest Montana. The Bozeman area has built a reputation as one of the most desirable communities in which to live in the U.S. It combines a vibrant downtown with a strong business community, an agricultural center, and Montana State University all set in a beautiful expansive mountain valley that offers virtually every recreational amenity that one could ask for in an inland location. It has attracted residents from all over the world creating a diverse population. Bozeman is a jumping-off point for skiers (both alpine and Nordic), anglers, hikers, climbers, explorers, big game hunters, floaters, kayakers, and Yellowstone National Park visitors to name just a few. It has all the benefits of a resort community and university town.

The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport became the busiest airport in Montana in 2013. The airport continues to grow and provides residence nonstop access to many of the major airports in the U.S. including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, and Denver, as well as Seattle and other west coast airports.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 229±
Total Leased Acres:
Total Acres: 229±


The owner’s residence was constructed in 2015 by SBC Construction. Reed Smith architecture designed the “Crazy Mountain Cabin” (!crazy-mountain-cabin) with an emphasis for fly fishing. It’s a rustic retreat with simple, modern appointments, and a haven for fishermen. The back porch faces the river and the sounds of the nearby river riffle are captured on the porch and by the upstairs master bedroom windows, which are also river-facing. Three bedrooms and three bathrooms efficiently utilize the home’s 1,946± square feet. Large windows in the living area overlook the Yellowstone River and the Crazy Mountains in the backdrop. The rustic exterior blends beautifully into the natural landscape. One may leave the house with waders on, fly rod in-hand, and the Yellowstone River is only a few steps away.

Mineral Rights

A mineral search has not been conducted, so the ownership and status of the mineral rights on the ranch is unknown. The mineral rights owned by the seller will transfer to the new owner.


Annual taxes on Top Water Springs are approximately $2,260.00.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Top Water Springs contains all the wildlife that is typical in a riparian, river setting in southwest Montana. Waterfowl are particularly attracted to the spring-fed wetland on the property. Ducks nest among the cattails in the summer, and in the fall migratory birds add to the population and provide excellent hunting opportunities. The perimeter of the wetland and heavy cover along the creek banks provides excellent pheasant habitat if someone chose to implement a stocking program. Whitetail deer are common, as are a variety of eagles, ospreys, and other raptors.

One simple wildlife enhancement idea would be to plant grain in the sub-irrigated hay meadow. Barley or other grains would be very attractive to waterfowl and other upland birds.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The neighbor currently oversees the management and care of the property in exchange for limited cattle grazing and cutting a portion of the sub-irrigated meadows for hay. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, providing simplicity and ease of ownership for the landowner. Fences are maintained, weeds are sprayed, and the grass is managed. The owners are free to enjoy the property when they are there, which means more time fishing and relaxing with family and friends.

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