Past Auction

Four Bear Ranch

This auction was on Sep 26 Cody, WY 1,246± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Located 25 miles west of Cody, this 1,246± deeded acre historic mountain ranch lies at the end of the road in its own very private basin tucked up against the Shoshone National Forest. Jim Mountain literally towers over the ranch, whose upper reaches include dramatic cliffs, lush timbered hills and spring fed grassy basins. The views are the most breathtaking we have ever seen and include only jagged mountain peaks, many of which are snowcapped throughout much of the year. As one gazes out over this incredible vista from the main house, one is totally unaware of any human habitation. Yet it is an easy drive into Cody. Elk, deer, bear, mountain lion, wolves and coyotes are at home here offering high quality and private big game hunting with the ability to expand one’s hunt into tens of thousands of acres of adjacent wilderness. There are many springs and lakes on the ranch and Jim Creek, a significant mountain stream, passes through for miles just a short walk from the main house. Improvements include the historic Olive Fell house, a four-bedroom caretaker’s house, a magnificent architect-designed 6,800± square foot owner’s home, plus a barn and “dance hall” cabin, all in immaculate condition. The ranch is not encumbered by conservation easements which allows one to build anywhere on the property and take advantage of the ability to donate an easement effectively reducing one’s purchase price substantially. The county road ends just below the ranch gate assuring complete privacy. Four Bear Ranch is the finest private retreat on the market today in Wyoming.

Call Hall and Hall Auctions today to request a brochure!

1-800-829-8747

Auction Date and Location:
Wednesday, September 26th
Held at the Holiday Inn of Cody
1701 Sheridan Ave.,
Cody, WY 82414

Inspection Dates and Location:
Meet a Hall and Hall Auction representative at the property
Thursday, September 13th & Tuesday, September 25th: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Held at the Property
Other Inspections by Appointment

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Just the Facts

  • Location: 25 miles west of Cody in a very private high mountain basin adjoining USFS
  • Acreage: 1,246 ± deeded acres
  • Improvements: 6,800± sq. ft. architect-designed owner’s home, log guest house, 4-bedroom caretaker’s residence, log “dance hall” and steel barn
  • Wildlife: Elk, deer, two varieties of bear, mountain lion, wolves, coyotes, turkey and upland birds
  • Views: The finest we have seen of the high peaks of the Absarokas, with no human habitation in sight
  • Water: Multiple ponds, springs, Jim Creek passing through
  • Key features – Dramatic setting under Jim Mountain, exceptional privacy, immaculate condition, easy access to Cody

General Description

As one accesses the ranch from the county road above Wapiti, one climbs up out of the valley and you begin to see the country open up as one approaches the ranch gate. There are hints of what is to come as one sees ahead a high ridge with Jim Mountain towering above it. After entering the ranch, one climbs to the top of this ridge and the Olive Fell House comes into view occupying a most dramatic site on top of the ridge. As one passes this landmark the basin in which the bulk of the ranch is situated opens up. One is looking north and Jim Mountain towers over the landscape to the northwest, where Jim Creek passes along the westerly boundary under its namesake peak for close to two miles. One can just make out the main house tucked into the trees also to the northwest under Jim Mountain. The basin is framed on the north side by steep hills and high cliffs, also part of the ranch’s deeded lands. As one moves northerly into the basin one can see a series of spring- fed ponds dropping back down to the southern boundary. The basin in the central part of the ranch is generally expansive but it holds the promise of secret valleys along its north side and the protected riparian corridors are ever-present. Excellent gravel roads take one to the main house with a side road leading down to the caretaker’s house and barn which overlooks the series of spring fed ponds. The northern third of the ranch which forms the basin is dramatic to say the least. It consists of high rock cliffs and steep secret valleys where the elk hide out during the fall.

Broker's Comments

  • Totally private and totally accessible - end of the road
  • Adjoins national forest on 2 sides
  • Trophy quality elk and mule deer hunting
  • Nicely but not overly improved 
  • World class views
  • Multiple springs, ponds, mountain stream
  • Very diverse habitat from towering cliffs to open range to timber and aspens
  • No conservation easement
  • Wyoming address – tax haven
  • Offered well below appraised price
  • What’s not to love about Four Bear Ranch ~ it’s a true gem

Learn about the locale

Location

Four Bear is approximately 25 miles west of Cody off U.S. Highway 14/16 which is the main access route from Cody to Yellowstone National Park. One turns off this highway at Wapiti and the county road then turns north and climbs up above the North Fork Valley and essentially dead ends just below the ranch entrance. One then climbs up over a ridge from which point the ranch lies out in front of one in its own very private basin presided over by Jim Mountain and a series of dramatic cliffs and ridges to the north – an awe inspiring location to say the least.


A significant attribute of Four Bear Ranch is that, in addition to immediate back gate access into thousands of acres of National Forest lands, one is only a short and beautiful 33-mile drive to Yellowstone National Park. If one is so inclined one can stop along the Shoshone River on the way home to catch an evening hatch. This is arguably the best fishing in the Cody area and one rarely sees anyone taking advantage of it. It lies literally minutes from Four Bear.


Most services for the area are found in nearby Cody which also offers commercial air service by way of commuter flights from Denver and Salt Lake City as well as a once-weekly seasonal nonstop service from Chicago. Cody is one of the most vibrant communities in Wyoming offering outstanding medical facilities, top quality schools, banks, equipment and car dealers, fine dining, galleries, box stores and specialty shops. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is an exceptional five-museum complex and the area offers a full complement of recreational services including the famous Cody Night Rodeo, fly shops, dude ranches, and outfitters. Cody is a jumping-off point for people wanting to access the massive wilderness complex that lies immediately to the west.

Locale

Buffalo Bill put Cody and its nearby wilderness areas on the map early in the 20th century and "easterners" who came to the area’s dude ranches in those early days have returned to buy ranches and retreats and take up residence in Cody itself. Many are happy to take advantage of Wyoming’s "tax haven" status. They have become major supporters of the area’s institutions such as the previously mentioned Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the area’s respected medical facilities. The result is a prosperous community that boasts a widely diverse cross section of individuals and families that one would not expect to find in a small town in Wyoming.


Four Bear lies in the Jim Creek drainage, a tributary valley to the North Fork of the Shoshone River Valley known locally as the "North Fork." There is a very limited number of these tributary valleys to the North Fork. They are home to some of the most beautiful ranches and retreats in Wyoming. They essentially back up to the Shoshone National Forest which has quite limited public access. Others would argue but we believe that Four Bear Ranch is the most dramatic of these few unique properties.


The immediate neighbor to the west and north is the Shoshone National Forest with some large tracts of BLM on the east. The neighbors below it to the east and south tend to be smaller tracts. However, the geography of the ranch causes these holdings to be pretty much invisible from Four Bear.

Climate

Four Bear Ranch lies between 6,400 feet and 8,000 feet above sea level. The nearest weather-reporting station in Wapiti is nearly 1,000 feet lower on the valley floor. There is an estimated 10 to 14 inches of annual precipitation, the bulk of which falls between April and August. Average highs in the summer run from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and the average winter lows in December and January run around 38 degrees. It is rare for there to be any significant snow accumulations during the winter as these are the drier months. The exception would be the more protected upper reaches of the ranch where the snow will accumulate. Typically, the late spring, summer and early fall are ideal with pleasant days and cool nights.

History

Because of its Buffalo Bill legacy and the fact that it was the main entrance to Yellowstone Park for people traveling from the east, Cody has always attracted the wealthy as well as European royalty who came not only to see the world’s first national park but to spend the summer and autumn riding and hunting in the massive mountains that guarded the south side of the Park. Many of these people stayed on and some of Wyoming’s most famous ranches were established by them in the area – ranches like the Pitchfork and Buffalo Bill’s TE Ranch and the Hoodoo Ranch now owned by the Texas Hunt family. This foundation of wealthy residents and summer visitors donated lavishly to create what is now known as the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. A massive five- museum complex and research library which would be the envy of a much larger city.

The summer visitors to the area were known as “dudes” and Cody was home to many of the early dude ranches. In an earlier life Four Bear was one of those dude ranches, and the Dance Hall is the only surviving structure that is still useful.

About 50 years ago the Four Bear Ranch ended up in the hands of William Weiss a wealthy easterner who fell in love with the west and was a great collector of early western art. The main house on Four Bear was designed specifically to show off some of his collection, much of which can now be seen adorning the walls of the Whitney Gallery in the Buffalo Bill Center of the West.

The current owners are avid hunters and were particularly enamored with the variety of wildlife that they could view on a daily basis from their house. They loved the prospect of being able to take their elk and deer each year on their ranch. They made the Four Bear Ranch their permanent home because of its easy access into Cody and complete privacy.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 1,246±

Total Acres: 1,246±

* All acreages are approximations.

Additional Information

WYOMING AS A TAX HAVEN


Many consider Wyoming to be one of the tax friendliest states to live in. Here are a few of the reasons:


No state income tax on personal or corporate income or out of state retirement income

No state inheritance or gift tax

No state capital gains tax

Dynasty trusts are permitted in Wyoming

No tax on personal property held for personal use

Property taxes in general are low and based on assessed values. 

No taxes on the sale of real estate

Please consult a tax professional for more information and assistance in evaluating Wyoming as “tax haven”. 


Click here for additional property information.

Improvements

Four Bear Ranch is optimally improved in every way without going overboard, including a beautiful 6,800± square foot architect-designed owner’s home, a classic remodeled log “guest house” well separated from the main house (the Olive Fell House), a comfortable four-bedroom caretakers residence, a 30’x50’ steel-sided barn and storage building. Additionally, there is a classic one-room log “party building” which was originally conceived as a “dance hall” or saloon. All these buildings are maintained in immaculate condition.

OWNER’S HOME

Designed by the late Adrian Malone in the mid-1970s and added onto by the current owner, this modern structure is extremely well built and strategically sited with virtually every window commanding unforgettable views of the ranch and the sea of peaks to the south and west. Extensive decks allow access from much of the main floor, as well as the kitchen.

The main floor features a gallery as one enters and a powder room. To the east there are two guest bedrooms - each with a bathroom. The master suite occupies the far east end of the main floor. It includes his-and-her bathrooms and a comfortable sitting room or study with fireplace as well as large, solid wood walk-in closets. From the front entrance across the gallery one enters the living room with a stone fireplace, large windows looking south, a wet bar and a unique intimate loft sitting area overlooking the living room, which is accessed by a circular wood staircase. Moving westerly, one enters the formal dining room which also features large windows with the same dramatic southerly views. Both of these rooms have sliding doors that access the tigerwood outside decks. To the west, one enters the kitchen which features high-quality appliances, quartz countertops, and most importantly, a breakfast room with a cozy fireplace and an elevated window that frames Jim Mountain which one feels that one could almost touch, it is so close.

The daylight lower level includes an expanded two-car garage, a large walk-in cedar closet, and a bedroom/bathroom suite that also incorporates large windows with southerly views. There is a utility room (which has been used as a wine cellar) and an equipment room which includes hot-water heaters, a commercial water conditioner and hot-water heat. There are two other rooms and multiple closets that can be used for storage and/or hobbies.

OLIVE FELL HOUSE 

Named for a previous owner of the property who built it, this 2,900± square foot log home literally sits on top of the world on the high ridge above the south entrance to the ranch. It acts as a comfortable guest house or a stand-alone second home. It features a 700± square foot living room with extensive windows on three sides and a stone fireplace. The balance of the house includes a kitchen, laundry/utility room, powder room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It also has a full unfinished attic.

CARETAKER’S HOUSE 

This is a simple, comfortable house with two bedrooms and a bath upstairs that are duplicated in the basement. There is a kitchen with public spaces upstairs and a similar space below it in the basement.

STEEL BUILDING

This 30’x50’ steel building with a concrete floor and a wood stove includes a two-car garage, a shop, and an equipment storage area.

DANCE HALL/SALOON 

This is an historic one-room log building with plumbing. Its intended use was as a party building or an entertainment room with pool table, bar and other games. It is currently vacant. It represents the last remaining structure of a guest ranch complex that was an integral part of the early history of the ranch.

Water Resources

The ranch has excellent water by way of multiple springs and of course one to two miles of Jim Creek passing through. Water for the houses is provided by abundant springs that offer some of the purest water to be found anywhere. The ponds could easily be stocked to provide still water fishing. The ranch also has a recorded water right on Jim Creek to take 6 1/2-acre feet of water to fill a reservoir utilizing a ditch diversion.

For the serious angler, the North Fork below and above the ranch offers some of the best fishing in the area. It flows for 25 miles through the national forest a few miles up the highway from the ranch. One rarely sees fisherman taking advantage of this resource which is totally available to any angler prepared to take the short walk from the highway down to the river.

Mineral Rights

All mineral rights currently owned by the seller will transfer to a buyer.  

Taxes

The real estate taxes are estimated to be $13,403 based upon past years.  

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Four Bear Ranch is an absolute mecca for wildlife. It offers a variety of habitat from spring- and creek-fed riparian areas, to open range land, to protected timbered valleys. The Shoshone National Forest on two sides provides a reservoir of wildlife that relishes this quiet, peaceful, well-watered basin. The owner’s residence is carefully sited to allow one to view wildlife from the comfort of one’s own home. Four Bear boasts mule deer, elk, wolves, coyotes, both species of bear, mountain lion, bighorn sheep, blue grouse, Hungarian partridge, Merriam’s turkey as well as waterfowl, raptors and many smaller mammals and birds.

The ranch qualifies for landowner elk tags which means that it provides over 2000 elk days of feed for the local elk population. The present owners have routinely taken their elk and deer on the property. It is rare to find a property that is this close to town and relatively small in total acreage that actually offers the ability to consistently provide private elk and mule deer hunting. Naturally the ability to expand one’s hunt into the adjacent national forest is a real bonus.

Recreational Considerations

Four Bear offers some of the best terrain one could imagine for horseback riding, hiking, four-wheeling and wildlife viewing. The ability to ride or hike out the back gate into beautiful wilderness terrain adds another dimension to what the ranch itself offers. Also of course, as mentioned above, with Wyoming’s landowner tags, big game hunting is also available for a nonresident owner. Fishing of course could be developed on the ranch.


In terms of the immediate area, there is excellent trout fishing in the nearby North Fork of the Shoshone. The Buffalo Bill Reservoir just below the ranch offers both fishing and various forms of sailing. As mentioned earlier, Yellowstone Park is just over 33 miles to the west, and the national forest and wilderness country between the ranch and Yellowstone offers virtually endless recreation.


Easy access to Cody also brings a plethora of opportunities for enjoyment from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, to river floats, fine dining, golf and shopping in Cody’s many galleries and small shops. Basically, one can be very happy just staying on the ranch or one can take advantage of the ranch’s convenient location to easily enjoy a myriad of opportunities nearby.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

Four Bear will comfortably accommodate 40 cows for the grazing season. This allows the ranch to maintain its agricultural status. It is cross fenced into an upper and a lower pasture. Springs, ponds and Jim Creek provide excellent stock water. Grazing rates run from $20 to $25 per head/per month depending upon who is providing the care.


The current owners have rented out the Olive Fell House in the past for seasonal short-term rentals. With the easy location near Cody and Yellowstone Park, the dramatic setting and its interesting history this is a property that should be in demand. Airbnb has made short term rentals simple and easy and quite profitable.

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