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Warren Peak Ranch

$9,990,000 Philipsburg, MT 5,748± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Warren Peak, at 10,463 feet above sea level, dominates the view on this ranch. The property is located in an area overlooked by many despite the fact that it has everything a western ranch buyer could want, from easy access off the pavement to a large wilderness area just beyond the doorstep. This property is sizeable for the area with 5,748± deeded acres as well as a full section of State lease for a total of 6,388± acres. With plentiful range, stock water, and 890± acres under irrigation (5 pivots) with solid water rights, this has the potential to be a balanced operation with an estimated carrying capacity of 360 animal units (AUs).Trout Creek flows through the property offering on-site small stream fishing and the views from this place will stop you on a dime. Snow skiing is 30 minutes away at Discovery Basin and it is equidistant to the main stem of Rock Creek, a blue-ribbon trout fishery. The 158,000-acre Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness is your backyard while quaint Philipsburg serves up all the town you’ll need just 15 minutes away.

Just the Facts

  • 5,748± acres
  • 640 acres State lease
  • Drop-dead views
  • Large wilderness area a stone’s throw away
  • Balanced cattle operation
  • Easy access yet private
  • Nearly complete guest cabin designed by Candace Miller under construction

General Description

This ranch was made up of two ranches that were assembled into one a few years ago by the current owner. The two ranches complement each other perfectly with one being predominantly rangelands and timber and the other having an abundance of irrigated hay lands. Skalkaho Road forms the north boundary for almost two-and-one-half miles. The main entrance to the ranch is marked by an understated and simple ranch arch. The vista from this entrance is a postcard panorama of granite peaks holding snow most of the year. In fitting humor, this private driveway is marked on the postal maps as “Cattle Drive.” This access point is located approximately two-thirds of the distance from the northeast corner to the northwest corner. The junction of the East Fork of Rock Creek Road and Skalkaho Road is the approximate location of the northwest corner. The entire frontage along Skalkaho Road is where the five pivot-irrigation systems are located and the topography is fairly gentle. The area south of the pivots is flood irrigated before it rises up into hills comprised of a mix of timberlands and rangelands.  Trout Creek rises on the ranch at a large spring in the southeast and it flows in an arc to the northwest and then eventually back to the northeast. It exits the property near the northeast corner. There is an extensive road system that provides access to most any area on the ranch. 

Broker's Comments

Warren Peak has most everything a ranch buyer could want in Western Montana. The access is right off the pavement but the privacy is premium. The aesthetic of the landscape would inspire an artist to paint their masterpiece. Water is in abundance on this ranch and its productive capacity adds authenticity to the holding. This is a real ranch in an unreal location. 

Learn about the locale

Location

Warren Peak Ranch is located in Granite County, Montana, near the headwaters of Rock Creek. From the property, Missoula lies 86 miles to the northwest and Butte 52 miles east, both accessed via State Highway 1 (The Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Route) and Interstate 90. Commercial airline service is available in Missoula and Butte. Missoula has daily flights on Delta, United, Horizon and Allegiant Air with direct service to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Denver and Phoenix. 

Philipsburg, the county seat, is approximately 12 miles to the northeast. Area amenities include Georgetown Lake and Discovery Ski Area, both about 15 miles from the ranch.  A lighted 3,600-foot asphalt airstrip, Riddick Field, is located at Philipsburg and provides access for most private aircraft (single and twin engine) other than jets. 

Locale

Warren Peak Ranch is located west of the Continental Divide in a mountainous region of rivers and timber. The property lies along one of the forks of the major tributaries to the Clark Fork of the Columbia River, the East Fork of Rock Creek. Vast expanses of mountainous public lands comprise the majority of the region. The Lolo, Beaverhead and Deer Lodge National forests converge in this area.

The cultural history of the area was established by mountain men, followed by miners, with loggers and cattlemen on their heels. Philipsburg was founded in the late 1800s as a mining town for silver and manganese. It still maintains the oldest continually operating primary and secondary school in Montana. A stable population of over 800 people inhabits this historic and charming mountain mining town. Many well-preserved brick and brightly painted Victorian buildings line its main streets. Bed and Breakfasts, hotels and restaurants offer services to the tourist and locals alike. In addition, an emergency-grade hospital serves the region with a short helicopter ride to the major medical center in Missoula. 

Climate

Warren Peak Ranch has a typical northern Rockies “west of the divide” climate. Occasional extremes can reach into the 90s in the summer and below zero at times in the winter, but mostly there are four distinct seasons with temperatures that are not overly punishing compared to other climates elsewhere in Montana. At the closest National Weather Service station in Philipsburg, annual precipitation is reported to average between 14 and 15 inches. Snow accumulations may average as much as 18 to 20 inches on the property, with the predominate snowfall occurring between November and March. Elevations range from 5,600 feet at the northwest corner to almost 6,800 feet at the east boundary. 

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Grazing: 2,641± acres
Irrigated: 1,228± acres
Forest : 1,876± acres
Farmsites: 4± acres

Deeded Acres: 5,748±
Total Acres: 5,748±

Improvements

With one exception, the improvements at Warren Peak Ranch are modest but functional. The exception is a Candace Miller-designed guest home that is presently under construction and will be of the highest quality. This two-bedroom, two-bath cabin is slated for completion in the fall of 2016 and includes over 1,400 sq. ft. of heated living space as well as 553± sq. ft. of porch.

Other improvements include two single-family homes along with a large shop and other outbuildings.

Water Rights

The ranch has a plethora of stock, domestic and irrigation rights with priority dates ranging back to 1881. There are numerous filings on springs, Trout Creek, groundwater and the East Fork of Rock Creek. Details are available upon request. 

Mineral Rights

Seller will transfer all mineral rights owned by Seller. 

Taxes

Taxes for Warren Peak Ranch are approximately $16,495 based upon past years.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Fishery Resources

Trout Creek flows through the ranch providing a modest, small-stream fishery.  In the immediate area there are a multitude of other fisheries from mountain lakes, to Flint Creek, to the famous mainstem of Rock Creek itself. Of the seven “blue ribbon” trout streams located in Montana, Rock Creek is the only stream so designated found west of the Continental Divide. Rock Creek is home to populations of brown, rainbow, cutthroat, bull and brook trout. The size of these trout range upwards from 16 inches to 18 inches for the cutthroat and rainbow. Bull trout, known to reach over 35 inches in some areas of Montana, are also found in Rock Creek. The year-round fishing season allows artificial flies and lures only.

Wildlife Resources

A wide variety of wildlife resides in the area and can be seen on the ranch from time to time. Elk and deer (whitetail and mule deer) are found on the ranch most any time of year.  One might also expect to see the occasional moose. Other species in the area include mountain lions, eagles, ospreys, grouse, coyotes, wolves and black bears.

Recreational Considerations

Opportunities for fishing, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, snowmobiling and hunting are prevalent at Warren Peak Ranch and on countless acres of national forest bordering the ranch and in the immediate area. 

Within 16 miles of the ranch, Discovery Ski Area and Georgetown Lake also offer numerous additional recreational opportunities including downhill, cross-country, and water skiing together with lake fishing.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

Warren Peak Ranch is comprised of 4,500± acres of native range and 1,228± acres of irrigated hay fields and pasture land. The ranch will produce 4,350 AUs between rangeland and irrigated pastures with 2,400 AUs produced on irrigated pastures. In its current condition, the ranch will produce 1,000 tons of hay per year. Hay production could be increased by 30 percent if certain fields were renovated. 

Seven hundred irrigated acres are under six center pivots, four of which are gravity flow. There is a 640± acre and state land lease in addition to the deeded acres.

Warren Peak Ranch is currently utilized as a summer grazing operation with three different lessees. It has been stocked at 600 cow/calf pairs for the last two years which is approximated at 75 percent of the full carrying capacity.

Summer grazing operations are ideal in this geography due to relatively short growing seasons. That being said, the ranch could support a 600 head cow/calf operation on a 12-month basis. The operator would need to develop a calving facility if cattle were kept on the ranch year round. Previous operators have historically run 400 cow/calf pairs and 400 to 500 yearlings on a 12-month basis.

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Terms

Cash to Seller

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