For Sale

Bar Cross Ranch

$35,000,000 Cora, WY 12,035± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Framed by the majestic peaks of the Wind River Mountain Range, the Bar Cross Ranch operates on over 35,000 acres. Located in Sublette County, just 15 miles north of Pinedale and 60 miles south of Jackson Hole, the ranch is comprised of 12,035± essentially contiguous deeded acres. The Bar Cross is one of Wyoming’s historic reputation ranches offering the highly sought-after combination of a robust and productive cattle operation, world-class fishing and hunting, and direct “out the gate” access to millions of acres in the adjacent Bridger Teton National Forest and Bridger Wilderness. Rich in water resources, there are two and a half miles of New Fork River frontage offering true blue-ribbon quality trout fishing, around eight miles of Willow Creek, a quarter-mile of frontage on Willow Lake, and numerous ponds throughout - including a 40± acre lake. Historically run as a balanced cow/calf operation, the ranch has transitioned into a yearling operation in recent years. In 2021, which was one of the driest years ever recorded, the ranch ran 2,300 yearlings on the deeded acreage, the three contiguous private U. S. Forest Service permits, two BLM leases, and two state leases. As part of the Upper Green River Watershed, abundant and senior water rights provide for the 3,464± acres of irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows. The original Bar Cross ranch improvements located along the banks of the New Fork River include a four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath, owner’s home and bunkhouse, both of which were completely renovated in 2019. Other improvements at this site and at the Willow Creek site include a ranch manager’s home, an additional bunkhouse, a foreman’s house, two barns, large and small shops, and numerous outbuildings. Virtually every important building on the ranch as well as the livestock infrastructure - such as fences, water development, and working corrals - has been built or renovated in the last five years to an exacting standard. In summary, this is a ranch that is completely ready for a new owner to move into with no fear of deferred maintenance and an outstanding management team in place.

Just the Facts

  • ACREAGE: Approximately 12,035 deeded acres. Property Taxes in 2021 were $25,369.
  • LEASES: There are three U.S. Forest Service grazing permits, two BLM leases, and two state leases that add approximately 23,000 acres to the grazing base.
  • OPERATION: Historically run as a year-round cow/calf operation, currently intensively managed under new regenerative principles as a yearling operation with an estimated capacity of over 900 animal units.
  • LOCATION: Cora, Wyoming, 13 miles north of Pinedale and 60 miles south of Jackson Hole
  • HISTORY: Homesteaded in the early 20th century, the Bar Cross brand has over 100 years of history and will stay with the ranch.
  • CONSERVATION EASEMENT: Approximately 5,000 acres of the ranch is under multiple conservation easements with the Jackson Hole Land Trust. The easements in general allow three ranch tracts each with three 60-acre homesites. Each can be further divided into 3 parcels. The balance of the ranch is completely unencumbered.
  • FISHERY: Approximately 2.5 miles of blue-ribbon quality trout water on the New Fork River. One of the finest brown trout fisheries in the State of Wyoming.
  • ADDITIONAL WATER: Around eight miles of Willow Creek and a quarter-mile of frontage on Willow Lake. Numerous ponds including a 40± acre lake.
  • PUBLIC LANDS ACCESS: Substantial forest and public lands boundary with impressive views of the Wind River Mountain range, including Gannet Peak, the tallest peak in Wyoming.
  • HUNTING: Landowner tags for elk, mule deer, and antelope.  
  • WILDLIFE: Abundant wildlife on the ranch including big game species such as elk, deer, antelope, and moose. Sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, waterfowl, sage grouse, and numerous birds of prey species reside on the ranch at various times of the year. Black bears, mountain lions, and wolves can also be seen on the ranch at times.  
  • WATER RIGHTS: Excellent senior water rights on 2,500± irrigated acres, part of the Upper Green River Watershed.
  • RECENT IMPROVEMENTS: Significant investments have recently been made to the irrigation infrastructure via three new headgates, extensive ditch maintenance, and new control structures. Over 100 miles of fenced pasture with approximately 60 percent being converted into wildlife-friendly fencing over the last five years. New corrals and working pens were completed in 2019, allowing for centralized loading and shipping.
  • OWNER'S IMPROVEMENTS: The main residence is a historic ranch house set along the banks of the New Fork River with four-bedrooms, three-and-a-half-bathrooms, completely renovated in 2019. Adjacent to the owner’s residence is a charming bunkhouse which was also restored in 2019.  
  • OTHER IMPROVEMENTS: A manager’s home and bunkhouse, both renovated in 2018, two barns, a new large shop with office complex and two-bathrooms, numerous other outbuildings, and an outdoor riding arena with a round pen. New state-of-the-art corrals and scales.
  • AIR SERVICE: Commercial air service in Jackson Hole, Ralph Wenz Field FBO and its 8,900’X 100’ foot paved runway is just 15 miles from the ranch. The ranch has its own bush airstrip for small aircraft. 

General Description

The Bar Cross Ranch is accessed along its western boundary where it fronts paved County Road 352, about one hour southeast of Jackson Hole. A dead-end county road traverses the Bar Cross from west to east, beginning on an elevated bench with sweeping views of the ranch lands, the winding New Fork River corridor, and the spectacular Wind River Mountains beyond. Heading toward the center and northern portions of the ranch, one descends from this elevated bench crossing the New Fork River and passing by the ranch headquarters. The original Bar Cross headquarters compound sits along the banks of the New Fork River at the edge of over 1,000-acres of irrigated native hay meadows boasting picturesque views of the Wind River Range to the east. Immediately north of the headquarters is a leased Wyoming state section with additional irrigated hay meadows and rows of cottonwood trees lining the arterial irrigation canals. It also offers an additional linear mile of river for fishing. To the south of the headquarters are expansive irrigated hay meadows. As one follows the county road easterly the elevations rise to the north and east to classic rolling sagebrush steppe crossed by smaller drainages. 

However, rather than follow the county road, one almost immediately turns to the southeast and crosses over into the Willow Creek Valley and the site of the Willow Creek headquarters where the ranch manager lives. The Willow Creek Ranch was added to the original Bar Cross in more recent years. This expansive valley literally takes one’s breath away as one crosses a ridge and stops to see it laid out with the Wind River range as the backdrop. It encompasses around eight miles of Willow Creek with its broad meadows and a 40-acre lake. The ranch’s eastern boundary actually fronts on Willow Lake one of a number of beautiful mountain lakes that lie along the Wind River Mountains. As one moves easterly the ranch briefly leaves Willow Creek and rises into the adjacent sagebrush hills before dropping down again into the Willow Creek Valley just at the point where it exits the national forest. The is a much more lush, intimate part of the ranch featuring smaller meadows, aspen groves, and a classic old homestead site where the owners have put up a unique 700 square foot permanent tented structure that features running water and solar power - basically “all the comforts of home”. It functions as a family retreat in the summer and a base for hunting in the fall. 

The USFS permits lie just inside the national forest and the BLM permit lies to the west. Cattle can easily be trailed to all of them. In a nutshell, the Bar Cross covers an enormous expanse of diverse country including steep to rolling hills, huge expanses of riparian meadows, many miles of streams, huge vistas, and mountain views. As we say in the west, “it’s the real deal!”

Broker's Comments

The Bar Cross Ranch does in fact have it all – privacy, big views, well blocked, access to USFS, highly diverse wildlife, blue-ribbon quality fishing, very high conservation values, and a viable and productive livestock operation. The real icing on the cake is the fact that it is an easy one-hour drive to Jackson Hole - a world class year-round resort town where U.S. residents are flocking for the quality of life and to take advantage of Wyoming’s favorable tax climate. 

Learn about the locale

Location

The Bar Cross Ranch is located in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem one of the most significant biomes in North America. More specifically it is situated in Sublette County, 60 miles south of Jackson Hole and 15 miles north of Pinedale. This historic ranch sits at 7,440 feet along the banks of the renowned New Fork River, less than 15-miles downstream of its headwaters in the Wind River Mountains. The ranch entry is on paved County Road 352 just south of its intersection with Forty Rod Road. The ranch boundary lies directly across from the historic Green River Drift, the stock trail that has been used since 1896 to move cattle from the southern end of the county to the summer range on U.S. Forest Service allotments in the upper Green River Valley. The ranch uses a portion of this passageway to access its forest permits. 

The Sublette County Airport (Ralph Wenz Field- KPNA) is located just 17 miles to the southeast and can handle any private aircraft on its 8,900’ x 100’ foot runway. Commercial airline service is available in Jackson Hole, which is serviced daily by Delta, United, American, and SkyWest airlines.

Locale

The Bar Cross lies amongst other large operating ranches generally considered to be in strong hands. Whether it is an absentee owner or a fifth-generation ranching family, this is a community that is dedicated to maintaining the traditional ranching values so coveted by many. The area’s considerable recreational and scenic amenities have increasingly attracted nontraditional ranch owners, especially those who have been attracted to Wyoming’s favorable tax climate and have chosen to establish residency in Sublette County or, more often, in nearby Jackson. A ranch like the Bar Cross gives a Jackson resident a convenient escape during the summer tourist season in Jackson. 

Known as the gateway to Teton National Park and the southern entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole is an easy 60-mile drive from the ranch along scenic paved state highways. Jackson embodies the romantic cowboy heritage of years gone by and is one of the country’s most popular destinations for outdoorsmen and tourists alike. Here you will find plentiful fine dining options, five-star hotels, museums and cultural offerings, rodeos, and recreation options that rival any place in the west. It is a true resort town mentioned in the same breath as Aspen and Sun Valley. It boasts a magnificent ski mountain that is arguably the most dramatic and challenging in the U.S. 

Pinedale is only 15 miles south of the Bar Cross, along a well-maintained state highway. This cowboy town is the gateway to the Wind River Mountain Range, which boasts 48 summits higher than 12,500 feet and 19 of Wyoming’s 20 highest peaks. It is also home to the Museum of the Mountain Man and offers amenities such as an aquatic park and an ice arena. From hardware stores to grocery stores and banks, to restaurants -- Pinedale offers almost everything one could ask for in a charming package. 

Climate

With a base elevation of 7,440 feet in the low-lying meadows of the Green River Basin, the Bar Cross Ranch experiences a full four seasons of weather. Average summer highs are in the upper-70’s, with most mornings requiring a jacket as the low temperatures range in the low-40’s. Wintertime lows get well below zero and average two degrees Fahrenheit, while winter highs average in the upper 20’s. The ranch sits just twenty miles west of the continental divide and typically enjoys more than 225 days of sun each year and receives about 70 inches of snowfall and 11.5 inches of rain annually.

History

The Bar Cross Ranch is one of the historic Wyoming ranches named for its cattle brand. This brand will transfer to the new owner. The equally historic UZ brand connected with the Willow Creek Ranch will also transfer. The Bar Cross brand originally belonged to P.W. Jenkins, a mathematician and astronomer, who had studied, taught, and was working on his doctorate at Columbia University before becoming ill in the early 1900s. When diagnosed with a terminal disease and expecting to die before long, P.W. and his wife moved to Big Piney to live with his wife’s uncle. However, after a few years, his ailments subsided and he started buying small homesteads and putting together what became the Bar Cross Ranch. When considering brands, his mathematics background yielded the simple, one-iron brand: - + (bar, cross). P.W. Jenkins went on to become a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives and in 1921 introduced a bill to create the county of Sublette. It was one of the first counties to be defined by a watershed. The county would have been exclusively determined this way had P.W. not thought to include Bondurant in the county as well in order to assure that he had enough votes to get Pinedale made the county seat. Apart from Bondurant, the county consists exclusively of the upper Green River drainage. 

P.W. Jenkins’ grandson John Perry Barlow, while raised on the Bar Cross Ranch, was sent away to boarding school at the age of 14. While away at school he met Bob Weir, who would later join the Grateful Dead music group. The two became fast friends and although John Perry Barlow ran the Bar Cross Ranch for 17 years, he also participated in writing lyrics for the band throughout his life. 

In 1987, John Perry Barlow sold the ranch and was quoted as saying the following when discussing why he sold the brand with the ranch; “I wanted it to have its own independent identity so that a variety of people could pass through there, and it would be the Bar Cross. And it was hard for me to give the brand up, you know, for sentimental reasons, but I felt like the one thing that I wanted to do was to gift that institution with some of its own identity if I could.” And so, the Bar Cross Ranch traded out of the family and became an institution unto itself. 

The ranch is prominently featured in Barlow’s autobiography - Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times

The current owners have taken it upon themselves to bring the ranch back to its former glory. They started by putting the Willow Creek and Bar Cross ranches back together. Then, in addition to a masterful renovation of the original ranch house for their private use, they have invested heavily in the operating infrastructure. Family considerations have caused them to search for the next owner of this legacy ranch.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acreage - 12,035± Acres

  • 8,571± acres native range and riparian areas
  • 2,565± acres irrigated meadows
  • 899± acres sub-irrigated meadows

Leased Acreage - 23,289± Acres

  • 20,767± acres in USFS permits (current annual cost - $4,421)
    • Little Flattop Allotment - 240 head from 6/16 to 9/16
    • Boulder Allotment - 511 head from 6/15 to 9/30
    • Pot Creek Allotment - 380 from 7/10 to 9/30
  • 1,002± acres BLM (current annual cost - $1,898)
    • 40 Rod Permit - 213 head from 5/26 to 6/27
    • Willow Lake Tracts - 13 head from 6/1 to 7/30
  • 1,280± acres WY State Leases (current annual cost - $4,722)
    • 3-7153
    • 3-7799
  • 240± acres Informal Private Lease (current annual cost - $1,200)

Deeded Acres: 12,035±
State Leased Acres:
Private Leased Acres:
BLM Leased Acres:
Indian Leased Acres:
Other Leased Acres:
Total Leased Acres:
Total Acres: 12,035±

Additional Information

Conservation Easements

Previous owners of the Bar Cross Ranch placed four conservation easements on the ranch with the Green River Land Trust, now managed by the Jackson Hole Land Trust. The easements cover the 5,000 plus acres of deeded land in the original Bar Cross Ranch. Three of these easements – as we read them allow nine 60-acre building sites and each of the three parcels can be divided into three parcels each with a building site. In general, they do not encourage any commercial uses of the ranch including dude ranching. The fourth easement covers a small gravel pit and allows for gravel to be taken out. However, the experts indicate that it is not merchantable gravel. In our experience we find these easements to be reasonably flexible and do not significantly impact the value of this part of the ranch. Call any Hall and Hall office for additional details about the easements. 

Of course, over 7,000 acres are completely unencumbered. Because of the fact that this uneased portion encompasses most of the mule deer migration corridor on the ranch, the Bar Cross is of great interest to a number of conservation organizations including The Nature Conservancy.

Improvements

The ranch operating improvements are complete and immaculate, including the beautifully renovated owner’s home, a manager’s house, and two bunkhouses - all renovated since 2018. In addition, there is a foreman’s house, two barns, a large shop, and a remote permanent tented retreat near the national forest boundary, as well as an outdoor arena and round pen for working horses. More importantly however, the entire ranch infrastructure has been updated in the last five years. Three new headgates have been installed for the irrigation system along with important maintenance work and the installation of control structures to assure maximum utilization of the ranch’s extensive water rights. 60 percent of the ranch’s nearly 100 miles of fences have been upgraded to wildlife-friendly and new corrals and working pens were completed in 2019 – including a new set of corrals and electronic scales at the Finn Place. The owners state that they have invested over $7,500,000 in capital improvements over the last five years through 2021. 

BAR CROSS HEADQUARTERS

Original Barlow House: This classic western ranch house built in the early twentieth century circa 1910 evolved over the years with remodels and add-ons. The current owners of the Bar Cross, rather than build a new modern owner’s home in an inappropriate place on top of a hill, opted to renovate this historic structure, which is sited where it should be - with the help of architects who specialize in the renovation of historic homes. In addition to modernizing all the plumbing and electrical infrastructure, they stripped off siding and exposed the original logs, and put in new windows and floors. The result is a tight, lovely “modern” four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom home that looks like it has been there – as it has – for over 100 years. As can be seen from the photos, the furnishings and art are arguably more valuable than the house. The Molesworth and the Molesworth replicas are literally museum quality. (Special note: this listing does not include any personal property, but the owners would be prepared to sell separately almost all the personal property including furnishings, some art, ranch vehicles, and equipment.)

Bunkhouse at Bar Cross: The old bunkhouse located just behind the main house received a similar treatment in 2019 and it is now a comfortable 467 square foot one-bedroom guest cabin with multiple bunk beds, a kitchenette, and a sitting area.

Foreman’s House: This is the home of the ranch foreman who has been on the ranch for about 40 years. It is a small comfortable older house that, according to county records, predates the Barlow House. It has not been renovated but is in good condition.  

Horse Barn: This is a classic hand-built hip roofed barn that is estimated to be around 75 years old. It is in good condition and commands a presence in the headquarters compound. 

Other Buildings: With the addition of the Willow Creek Ranch to the Bar Cross, the operating center of the ranch has moved to the Willow Creek compound. The original Bar Cross buildings that include shops, calving sheds, and equipment storage are rarely used and were built for another era. They remain usable in most cases. 

WILLOW CREEK HEADQUARTERS

Manager’s House: As an indication of the priorities of the current owner, the manager’s house was renovated first - in 2018. It is a comfortable two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bathroom 2,363 square foot frame log home with an unfinished basement and attached two-car garage. It is located on a bench overlooking the lake and the Willow Creek Valley. There is a second two-car garage and a state-of-the-art chicken coop in the same complex of buildings.

Bunkhouse at Willow Creek: The Willow Creek improvements are newer and more modern than the Bar Cross. Most of them were built in the 1960s. They nevertheless needed to be renovated and updated. The 420 square foot frame log bunkhouse is suitable for staff or guests and contains one bedroom, a sitting area, a kitchenette, and one bathroom. It was also renovated in 2018. 

Shop: Built in 2017 this 2,688 square foot building has a partial concrete floor and is heated and insulated in this main part. Enclosed gravel eqiupment storage and a lean-to make up the balance of the square footage. The main part has a bathroom and overhead electric doors to bring in equipment. It also includes the ranch office which has its own bathroom and kitchenette. 

Other Buildings: In addition to multiple loafing sheds, outbuildings, the round pen, and the arena; this location has a 1,369 square foot horse barn with a heated tack room built in 1966. 

The ranch also has a good gravel airstrip for small aircraft.  

Water Resources

The New Fork River, whose headwaters are just one mountain pass south of the headwaters of the Green River, flows through the Bar Cross Ranch for over three miles, two-plus miles of which are on deeded land along both sides of the river. The New Fork is known to be a productive fishery with outstanding wade fishing and strong populations of brown, rainbow, and cutthroat trout. A highly regarded and reputable stream bank restoration firm was hired by a previous owner to improve the fish habitat. The results of their work make this one of the most desirable sections of this well-known and popular trout stream in which to fish. As part of the restoration, the entire stretch of the deeded river section has been fenced off. 

The ranch also includes an estimated eight miles of Willow Creek. This is a somewhat smaller stream than the New Fork and most anglers feel it has a lot of potential for restoration and rehabilitation. The owner has commissioned a study of it for enhancement but has not pursued any of the recommendations.

There is also a 35-acre private lake located just east of the Willow Creek Headquarters. It attracts incredible numbers of both indigenous and migratory waterfowl and makes an appealing place for an afternoon canoe or kayak outing. There are other smaller private lakes that are primarily used for livestock water. One of them is reported to contain trophy-quality trout! 

The ranch also boasts very early and extensive irrigation water rights. These rights cover around 4,242.6 acres of adjudicated original supply. The broad expanse of lush meadows below the Bar Cross Headquarters is the envy of many who pass by the ranch. Many are territorial rights and of great value when one considers that the Green River is one of the main tributaries of the Colorado River, which we all know is vastly oversubscribed. 

The owner has gone to considerable expense to develop extensive stock water sources to facilitate their intensive grazing management and to assure that even the most remote corners of the rangeland are grazed. 

While literally millions of dollars have already been spent to bring the Bar Cross to its current high level of production and efficiency, the owner has commissioned many additional engineering/prototype plans for water development on the property from pivot sprinklers to water storage and spring developments.

Mineral Rights

Seller will convey 100% of the mineral rights that they own. 

Taxes

Based upon past years, the real estate taxes are estimated to be $25,368 per year. 

Learn about the recreational amenities

Recreational Considerations

The Bar Cross is home to year-round populations of pronghorn, sage grouse, moose, coyote, eagles, and hawks. Elk tend to come onto the ranch in the late fall with trophy quality animals available primarily for the late season. One does however have good private access to large areas of National Forest that adjoins the ranch. The river, creeks, and lake attract hundreds of birds and waterfowl – including a resident pair of trumpeter swans, plus five other nesting pairs of swans, sandhill cranes, and multiple duck species. 

The ranch is also a critical part of the second largest migration in North America (https://migrationinitiative.org/content/red-desert-hoback-migration-assessment). This is one of the greatest wildlife events in North America. The Red Desert to Hoback mule deer migration route traverses the ranch bringing hundreds, if not thousands, of mule deer through the area annually. Because of the lakes and the natural geography, there is a “choke point” in the migration corridor on the ranch. This makes it critically important that it be protected from development. 

The ranch offers outstanding angling for trout as the New Fork is a blue-ribbon brown trout fishery that has been professionally restored and enhanced. There is big game hunting for multiple species. Both antelope and elk of trophy quality can be taken on the ranch. Of course, immediate private access to the national forest out the back gate opens up multiple hunting and recreational opportunities as well. The ranch owner does qualify for two elk, two pronghorn, and two mule deer tags. Late season hunts for elk on the Bar Cross are particularly exciting. 

The critical frontage on Willow Lake opens up another world of recreational amenities, including boating and angling for large lake trout and rainbows. There is a nice beach on the ranch’s frontage which lies in an area that is pretty much inaccessible to the general public. 

The 40 Rod BLM area that adjoins the permit area used by the ranch actually fronts on multiple miles of the Green River itself. This provides another outstanding stretch of fishing water that is accessible from the ranch. 

While one does have one’s fill of recreation on the ranch and adjoining public lands, it should be recognized that the Wind River Range is generally recognized as one of the premier recreational mountain ranges in the world. It offers hundreds of lakes and 19 of Wyoming’s highest 20 peaks. The Elkhart Trail that is immediately accessible from the ranch is one of only two access points to the famous Continental Divide Trail in the State of Wyoming.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

While the Bar Cross had historically been run as a cow/calf operation, the current owners now run primarily stockers. In 2021, perhaps the driest year on record, they were able to run around 2,300 yearlings for the grazing season plus 205 pairs for others for varying periods of time. They also were able to produce over 500 tons of hay. Their current program is to lease a ranch in California where they run around 2,500 yearlings during the winter which they bring to the ranch for the grazing season. 

Extensive studies have been done on the ranch as current management uses regenerative ranching practices such as intensively managed grazing, limited use of chemicals, forage stimulating mechanical treatments, and low stress livestock management. The manager points out that these regenerative practices are in their early stages and the ranch has seen great improvement in pasture utilization and a healthy more diverse cross section of plant species. More importantly, these grazing methods have been responsible for the fact that one would be hard pressed to find an “abused” acre anywhere on the ranch despite the drought conditions of the past year. The forest permits have also received the highest compliments from the federal grazing managers. The mix of wildlife and bird species is improving as well. She feels the ranch is on a strong growth track in terms of greater profitability, ecosystem health, and improved carrying capacity. 

Back to Overview

Other Properties

More Like This

Spaeth Ranch

Gillette, WY

Located adjacent to Gillette, 6,472± acre ranch offers a unique opportunity for future city growth and current ability to operate a livestock operation with good fresh water sources and modest improvements.

5,512± Deeded Acres
$14,000,000
View Property Details

Indart Ranch

Buffalo, WY

Watered by springs and ponds, 1,291± acre unimproved ranch in the Big Horn Mountains south of Buffalo. An area prized for strong summer grasses and prolific elk and mule deer populations.

1,291± Deeded Acres
$2,950,000
View Property Details