Bismarck Trail Ranch

$37,500,000 Vale, SD 41,822± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Named after the trail that brought people from Bismarck, North Dakota to Deadwood during the days of the Black Hills Gold Rush, this ranch is a tremendous assemblage of various topography and agricultural uses. Conveniently located 51 miles north of Rapid City, South Dakota. The Bismarck Trail Ranch totals 47,883± acres which includes, 41,822± deeded acres, 4,361± acres of BLM grazing lease and 1,600± acres of State Lease. The ranch ranges from Belle Fourche River bottom and irrigated pivots to grassy-covered hillsides. There is a tremendous set of first-class improvements consisting of four homes, multiple sets of working facilities, and numerous new Morton outbuildings. The owner’s residence and one other home are very nice custom homes that didn’t spare any exquisite details. The property is well-watered with an extensive pipeline system, numerous stock tanks, dams, and water wells. There are 875± acres of irrigated ground under eight pivots. An exceptional investment class asset, the owner currently leases most of the grazing out as well as the production agriculture. The grazing leases consist of approximately 2,500 yearlings, 1,200 cow/calf pairs and 1,000 wild horses currently roam several large pastures. For an owner-operator, carrying capacity is estimated at eight to ten acres per cow for four to five months for yearlings and 15 acres for six months for cow/calf pairs. Without the wild horses, it is estimated that the ranch could carry 5,000-6,000 yearlings or 3,000 pairs. If there is a category for luxury working ranches the Bismarck Trail Ranch would likely be the top listing in the central plains states.

Just the Facts

  • 47,883± acres total with 41,822± acres deeded
  • 875± acres pivot irrigated acres
  • Very nice homes and new Morton outbuildings
  •  Indoor and outdoor arenas as well as very nice equestrian improvements
  • Tremendous set of working facilities, including truck and livestock scales
  • All perimeter and interior fencing is less than 12 years old
  • 38 pastures all with good water sources
  • Miles of pipeline, extensive stock tanks, and numerous stock dams
  • Multiple sets of working facilities
  •  Whitetail, mule deer and pronghorn antelope are found on the ranch
  • Significant investment opportunity with multiple renewable leases in place
  • Owner currently leases most of the ranch for approximately 2,500 yearlings, 1,200 cow/calf pairs, 1,000 wild horses and farming
  •  The pivots currently conservatively produce 150+ bushel corn and six tons per acre of alfalfa

General Description

The Bismarck Trail Ranch is a luxury ranching experience. With tremendous improvements for the owners, staff and, livestock. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more diverse ranch on the market in the central plains. 

The ranch is essentially broken up into two separate parcels. On the west side of the Belle Fourche River, there is a ranch manager home, three pivot sprinklers, the truck scale, some grain bins, a barn, and a couple of other outbuildings. As soon as you cross the river, the main entrance is on your right. This east parcel contains the majority of the improvements, including the houses, main shop, indoor arena, horse barns, calving barn, working facilities, and pivots. There are several well-watered pastures on this side of the ranch as well as tree-covered river bottom. A big chunk of the BLM leased ground is also located here and is fenced into the ranch. The main set of improvements also has its own set of working facilities.

The east part of the ranch contains the majority of the grazing pastures on the ranch. This land is characterized by rolling grass-covered hills and plains with numerous draws, ponds, stock dams and wildlife. The wild horses graze huge pastures in this area. Numerous other pastures are used for yearlings and cow-calf pairs. There is a very nice set of working facilities and loading chutes on this side of the ranch right off the main road. Several BLM and State Land parcels, that are leased by the ranch are scattered throughout this parcel. They are all fenced into the ranch and utilized seamlessly with grazing. 

The views from the east side of the ranch are spectacular! With the Belle Fourche River running through the Southwest corner, the legendary Bear Butte nearby and the beautiful Black Hills on the horizon, it’s easy to see why people are attracted to the beauty of this part of South Dakota.

Broker's Comments

Bismarck Trail Ranch is truly a unique ranch from the diverse topography to its diverse uses. Strong agriculture production and expansive grazing opportunities are tremendous for this multi-faceted investment asset. Whether you are looking to step into the significant lease revenue stream, the current owner has created or be the owner- operator yourself, this ranch can easily do both. The main improvements are immaculate, very well built, and well maintained. You can clearly see the pride in ownership that the seller has had!

I am very excited about the opportunity to market this tremendous ranch. Not only is the ranch spectacular, but the history of Vale and the surrounding area is very personal to me. The founder of Vale, Andrew Rosander, is my Great-Great-Grandfather. 

Learn about the locale


Bismarck Trail Ranch is located eight miles east of the town of Vale, 26 miles from Sturgis and 51 miles north of Rapid City, South Dakota. The ranch is located in an area that has long been considered one of the most agriculturally rich areas in South Dakota. Sturgis Airport can accommodate most private planes and jets with a 5,100-foot runway. Rapid City Regional Airport provides regular commercial air service, and it can also accommodate all types of private aircraft.


The town of Vale was founded in 1883 by Swedish Immigrant Andrew Rosander. At one time, Vale was a very active town, but now it is a relatively quiet small community. Today the population consists of approximately 136 people, with a Post Office, community center, church, café, ag service, restaurant, and bar.

Rapid City is the largest city in western South Dakota and is the gateway to the Black Hills. The population is approximately 75,000. Rapid City is full of all necessary services, fine restaurants, shopping, arts & culture, native American history, and numerous activities and attractions. The Black Hills are home to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, ski resorts, Deadwood, Sturgis, numerous parks and countless other attractions. Recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, and sightseeing abound in the area.

Nearby Sturgis has a population of approximately 7,000 people and is well known for the annual motorcycle rally, which recently celebrated the 80th Anniversary. It is said that 500,000 people come to the Black Hills attendance. In 2015, the attendance was over 700,000 for the 75th rally. The event generates approximately $800 million in annual revenue.

The historic town of Deadwood, which has been portrayed in numerous movies and tv shows, is also nearby. Deadwood not only features gambling, but other entertainment and numerous restaurants as well as a vibrant nightlife.


There is an average of 226 sunny days in Vale. The July high temperature is around 87 degrees, and the January low is around 12 degrees. Vale averages 18 inches of rain and 39 inches of snow annually. There is some precipitation, on average, 76 days per year.


Vale History: In the late 1870s Swedish Immigrant Andrew Rosander staked a claim on Cottonwood Creek and dug a 10 foot by 20 foot dugout in the side of the riverbank. He then applied for a permit to establish a post office in his dugout, which he also used as a general store which catered to cowboys and ranchers. On March 6, 1883 Andrew applied for and received a land permit and the Town of Vale was founded. In 1885 he built a two-story building. On the ground floor were the living quarters, a general store and the post office. On the second floor there was a lodge with sleeping quarters for travelers, a dance hall and a church. Andrew was also a cattle rancher and thrashed alfalfa for farmers in the area.  

The Bismarck to Deadwood Trail, although a short-lived trail, was a busy one. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills, people needed a short and quick way to the Black Hills and Deadwood. Twelve stages and 150 horses were used on the line at the beginning. Besides the passenger line, there was a freight train employing 150 mule and ox teams. The first stages left Bismarck on April 11, 1877 with a load of sixty-eight passengers. The one-way ticket fare was $23.00. The regular tri-weekly stage schedule began May 2, 1877. By the middle of June 1877, 26 stages were on the route and 200 teams were engaged in transporting freight to the Black Hills.

The route was fairly safe, but the driver and express messenger were well-armed, and after the stage was held up in July of 1877, outriders were employed to protect the coaches. In the fall of 1877, a Native American attack resulted in some plundering of the mail. Aside from this, little trouble was encountered from the Native Americans. At one time in 1880, the company had 160 stage horses and 23 stagecoaches. Forty drivers and seven messengers handled the stage traffic. The freight line had 240 horses and mules owned by the company and 170 hired horses and mules. It employed 155 men in addition to 17 station men and cooks, eight blacksmiths, two wagon makers, two carpenters, two harness makers, 15 laborers, eight well diggers, five hay crews of 80 men in haying time. Its daily consumption of hay was five tons and 7,200 pounds of grain. It carried 600,00 pieces of freight and 3,000 passengers that year. The Black Hills Gold Rush subsided soon after 1880. The boom days of the gold mines had passed, as had the golden age of the stagecoach. 

The Historical Marker for the Post Office of the deserted town of Clathorne is located on the East part of the ranch. The town existed from 1910–1914. 

Mato Paha or “Bear Mountain” is the Lakota name given to Bear Butte, which can be seen from many locations on the ranch. This geological formation is one of several intrusions of igneous rock in the Black Hills that formed millions of years ago. From the 4,426-foot summit, you can view four states. The mountain is sacred to many Native American Tribes who come here to hold religious ceremonies. Artifacts dating back 10,000 years have been found near Bear Butte. In more recent times, however, the Cheyenne and Lakota people have maintained a spiritual tie to this mountain. Notable leaders including, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull have all visited Bear Butte. These visits culminated with an 1857 gathering of many Native American nations to discuss the advancement of white settlers into the Black Hills.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 41,822±
State Leased Acres: 1,600±
BLM Leased Acres: 4,361±
Total Leased Acres: 5,961±
Total Acres: 47,783±

Additional Information


The ranch is unencumbered from any easements and could be a great candidate for a conservation easement in the future.


To say the Bismarck Trail Ranch has a nice set of improvements may be a major understatement. As noted above, the majority of the improvements are located on the East side of the ranch. 

The main house was built in 2012 it is 6,400 square feet with five bedrooms and five bathrooms. The house is meticulously crafted in a Western theme with high-end finishes throughout. There is a beautiful, full-length balcony around the back of the house with stunning views and a walkout basement below with a firepit. The living room features very high vaulted ceilings with an ornate fireplace and built-in cabinets & shelving. The master bedroom is on the main floor with a large walk-in closet, large bathroom, and fireplace. There is also a main floor office and guest room. The basement features a bar area, gaming area, open theater room, and three more nicely finished guest rooms. The house has in-floor heating and a backup generator. The house also has a bonus room above the oversized and insulated four-car garage.

The second large custom home which was originally built for the owner’s family is also very nicely done with high-end finishes as well. It was built in 2010 and it is 5,200 square feet with five bedrooms and four bathrooms. It also has a four-car garage. This house has geothermal heating and a backup generator. 

The ranch manager house was built in 2010 and is 1,500 square feet. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a two-car garage. The house is heated by propane and has an on-demand water heater.

The Bunkhouse is located amongst the main improvements and is a great place for guests as well. It is 1,200 square feet and features two bedrooms and one bathroom.

The 60’ X 60’ Morton built main shop was built in 2012. It is insulated, with a bathroom,  concrete floor and in-floor radient heat. It also has a connected lean-to that houses six fuel tanks. The tanks are two – 2,000-gallon ag diesel tanks, two – 1,000 gallon ag diesel tanks, one – 1,000 gallon road diesel tank and one – 1,000 gallon gas tank.

Additional Morton outbuildings include:

  • Big barn, built in 2012 – 54’ X 105’ with two – 12’ X 12’ stalls, two – 12’ X 24’ stalls, 12’ X 24’ tack room and vet room
  • Indoor arena, built in 2010 – 72’ X 220’ with a 32’ X 48’ attached stall barn in front with four horse stalls, steer alley, roping box, Priefert roping chute, kitchen, bathroom and tack room
  • Outdoor arena, built in 2015 – 150’ X 300’ with roping setup, steer alley, roping box and Chute Help solar-powered chute
  • Calving barn, built in 2012 – 32’ X 200’
  • Sheep barn, built in 2010 – 32’ X 100’ with 12’ X 12’ vet room
  • Bulk bin-hopper, 893 bushel capacity

Other Improvements:

  • East shop heated and powered by solar energy
  • Barn, 24’ x 38’
  • Pole barn, 40’ x 80’
  • Storage shed, 30’ x 40’
  • Three 12,000 bushel grain bins with aeration fans, one with heated drying fan
  • Truck scale and scale house

The majority of the fencing was rebuilt with new fencing in 2010. The steel corrals were built in 2014, and the gravel roads were done at the same time. 

Water Resources

The majority of the water for the ranch comes out of the Belle Fourche River pursuant to the ranch water rights. All of the homes are on Butte-Meade Water.

Eight of the pivots on the ranch (all powered by electricity) and pull water from the Belle Fourche River. One of the pivots gets water from Nine Mile Creek. All are powered by electricity. The pivots pump between 500 gallon per minute and 1,400 gallons per minute. They range from 2007 to 2011-year-old Reinke electronics-controlled sprinklers. The crops are mostly alfalfa, but corn and oats are also planted.

Mineral Rights

All mineral rights associated with the ranch and owned by the seller will transfer with the sale.


Annual real estate taxes are approximately $111,706.00.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

The ranch has a variety of wildlife and a rich source of food sources and habitat. The river bottom attracts numerous whitetail deer and wild turkeys. The rolling hills and deep draws located on other parts of the ranch are a perfect habitat for mule deer and pronghorn antelope. Upland bird hunting for grouse is also available on the ranch.

One of the ranch stock dams is stocked with bass and others dams could also be stocked to create more private fishing opportunities.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

The ranch is currently a multifaceted leased operation, as well as an owner-operated ranch. The irrigated ground is all leased to one tenant, who also grazes the residual growth. The grass pasture is leased to several tenants for approximately 2,500 yearlings, 1,200 cow/calf pairs, and 1,000 wild horses. The owner believes that all of the tenants would like to continue their leases under a new owner if so desired. This is truly a strong income-producing asset. To a qualified buyer, the general terms of the leases will be provided. 

The current owner also fully utilizes the ranch for a personal ranch quarter horse operation. The owner and his staff provide most of the daily care for the cows and wild horses. They raise the horses for ranch and rodeo use primarily and take advantage of all the great horse improvements on the ranch. 

For an owner-operator, carrying capacity is estimated at 8-10 acres for 4-5 months for yearlings and 15 acres for 6 months for cow/calf pairs. Without the wild horses it is estimated that the ranch could carry 5,000-6,000 yearlings or 3,000 pairs.

Back to Overview

Other Properties

More Like This

ZX Ranch

Buffalo, SD

The ZX Ranch is located 10 miles west of Buffalo, South Dakota and consists of 6,537± acres and features native range with wooded draws, ample water, wildlife, and world-class fossils.

6,417± Deeded Acres
View Property Details

The Majestic Ranch is located on the Missouri River breaks of Gregory County, South Dakota, and consists of 12,669± deeded acres. Highly diversified cattle operation and recreational ranch with excellent improvements and breathtaking views.

12,669± Deeded Acres
View Property Details