Majo Ranch is without question the signature property in the Upper South Fork Valley. Majo is that unique property that lies at the end of the road where private land ends and a massive wilderness complex begins. When one leaves the back gate of the Majo Ranch, one can follow the trail of thousands of migrating elk to the Thorofare Country adjacent to Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone Park. Or one can head westerly ending up near Dubois, Wyoming or more northerly to Grand Teton National Park outside of Jackson. This area is known as the most remote region in the lower 48 states. It is only accessible on foot or horseback and is truly one of the most wild and dramatic landscapes one could imagine. The Majo is the doorway to these wonders. It consists of a 74± acre homestead parcel bounded by the river and national forest on one side, national forest on two sides, and one downstream neighbor. It has huge expansive downriver views with towering mountains dominating the skies in the other three directions. Besides the amazing diversity of wildlife, it offers miles of very-high quality trout fishing in the South Fork of the Shoshone River. The building complex is set in an impressive lawn with beautiful big trees. It includes eight cabins, a dining/kitchen building, and a historic “lodge.” Closer to the main entrance, there is an operating complex that includes a manager’s house, a shop, hay barn, and other miscellaneous outbuildings. In summary, an absolutely beautiful, very private family retreat at the end of the road.
Just the Facts
- Location: 45 mostly paved miles southwest of Cody; accessible year-round
- Acreage: 74± deeded acres
- Improvements: Ten comfortable and thoughtfully executed log structures plus operational outbuildings and manager’s home
- Operation: 40 plus years as a three-generation family retreat with full time resident manager
- Wildlife: Extensive - elk, deer, bear, mountain lion, Bighorn sheep, raptors are all seen on the property or in the adjacent USFS
- Water: Frontage on the Shoshone River plus irrigation rights from Cabin Creek and wells for domestic use
- Fishing: Excellent trout fishing in Shoshone River and ranch pond
- Summary: A dramatically beautiful mountain retreat in one of Wyoming’s most exclusive and sought-after valleys surrounding Yellowstone Park
As one reaches the end of the Upper South Fork Road, a left turn brings one through the ranch entrance gate, across Cabin Creek and down into the ranch compound. One passes through the operations center where the manager’s house is located, and then one pulls up to the parking area. One cannot but be impressed by the sweeping lawns and huge trees that provide a setting for the complex of comfortable log buildings described more fully below. Looking across the lawns to the south, the views of the mountain are literally “awe-inspiring” as these rugged peaks climb to 10,500 feet ASL from the valley floor at 6,500 feet ASL. Interestingly, while impressive, they do not make one feel closed in at all. That is perhaps because the down valley views to the north are truly expansive offering a pleasing contrast. One can walk from the buildings down to the river which forms an impressive easterly boundary and then south to the tack shed at the upper end of the property. Irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows offer good summer pasture for the horses and a lush environment through the spring and summer. The ranch lies in a narrow part of the valley which opens up again above the ranch to provide miles of great trout fishing and hiking before the river is enclosed by steep canyon.
The Majo Ranch is a fully, tastefully and thoughtfully improved family retreat in an incredibly beautiful and pristine Wyoming river valley. It provides “back door” access to some of the most dramatic mountain country in the lower 48.
Located at the end of the road approximately 45 miles southwest of Cody. Most of the route is paved with the last few miles being well-maintained gravel. Most people make the trip in around 50 minutes. This end-of-the-road location makes this one of the only ranches in the valley that is not affected by the two public roads which service a narrow valley. Cody, as one of Wyoming’s major cities, offers a full range of services, including good commercial air service from Denver and Salt Lake City on United Airlines and Delta Airlines.
Cody is a very attractive town with a long history of guests and visitors who have fallen in love with the mystique and the history of Cody and settled or retired there. It is the county seat for Park County and is home to the only night rodeo in Wyoming. There are nice restaurants and galleries, but the crown jewel of the community is the internationally recognized Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Comprised of five museums all in one big complex as follows: the Buffalo Bill Museum, the Whitney Gallery of Western Art, the Plains Indian Museum, the Draper Museum of Natural History, and the Cody Firearms Museum. Cody is a major access point to Yellowstone Park, both for tourists and backcountry enthusiasts. Superb hunting, fishing, and recreational opportunities are enjoyed in the many mountain ranges of the area. But there is also a touch of elegance found in Cody, which is always most prevalent when the Buffalo Bill Center of the West kicks off its annual fund-raising event in late September. The Art Show and Auction and the Black-Tie Dinner Dance are not to be missed. Patrons come from all over the world to attend.
The Upper South Fork of the Shoshone River Valley is an expansive valley dominated by high mountains and cliffs and incredible rock structures that rise as much as 3,000 vertical feet from the valley floor, offering some of the most scenic vistas in America. The fact that this is a “dead end” valley - as far as road traffic is concerned - with a very limited amount of deeded land has made it an extremely exclusive enclave with per acre prices having reached over $40,000 per acre at their peak around 2008. This is a unique neighborhood where the quietly wealthy landowners – some in the billionaire class - jealously protect their privacy and the integrity of this spectacular landscape.
The ranch is generally level ground along the river with an elevated ridge that passes through dividing the ranch meadows.
The climate is interesting in the Upper South Fork Valley floor as it is a bit of a “rain shadow.” What this means is that the high country above the valley receives significant precipitation, but the valley floor does not. As a result, it serves as a magnet for wildlife in the winter. While deer and elk are seen throughout the summer, their populations increase in the winter, and large populations of bighorn sheep come into the valley.
The other bit of good news is that, at 6,500 feet ASL, the ranch enjoys a near-perfect summer climate that remains cool and comfortable throughout and one is not driven out by a lot of snow at any time of the year. In fact, contrary to many high elevation ranches, the Upper South Fork offers literally year-round living that is, in fact, particularly pleasant in the winter months because of the concentrations of wildlife that make the valley home.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
There are no conservation easements of any kind on the Majo Ranch.
Majo Ranch is being offered “turn-key” as it sits today in fully operational condition. The exception to this is that the owner will exclude from the sale some furnishings that have meaning to certain family members, art, family photos, their personal affects, gear and belongings. They have agreed to provide a list of excluded items within two weeks of the execution of a purchase contract. The buyer shall have the right to approve this list during the due diligence period.
Majo Ranch improvements are modest, attractive and thoughtfully designed for use as a family or corporate retreat. They are briefly described as follows:
LODGE: A rather grand name for an attractive, “historic” one room log cabin that offers a big stone fireplace and comfortable seating where everyone can gather for a pre or post-dinner drink. It has a large screened porch to allow one to enjoy the evening sunset.
COOKHOUSE: A short walk from the lodge brings one to the cookhouse – another historic log building - which accommodates a full commercial kitchen with a small dining area and a large dining room with a table that will seat 25. Like the lodge which likely dates to the turn of the 19th century, it is easy to imagine the tall tales that were spun by generations of hunters and fisherman that have passed through these classic buildings over the years. Before becoming a private retreat for the Cathcart family, the Majo was, in fact, an operating dude ranch.
OWNER’S HOME: This is a proper log home with an enormous amount of charm. It has a full kitchen, dining area and living room with a large stone fireplace as well as an office, a master bedroom, and a guest bedroom along with two-and-a-half bathrooms. It also has a full basement.
TRAILHEAD CABIN: A comfortable log cabin with two bedrooms - each with its own bathroom - that share a living room.
HOMESTEAD CABIN: Another comfortable log cabin with two bedrooms - each with its own bathroom - that share a living room.
HIGHWATER CABIN: Similar to the others, this is a comfortable log cabin with two bedrooms - each with its own bathroom - that share a living room.
WRANGLERS QUARTERS: This is also a spacious log cabin with two bedrooms - each with its own bathroom - that share a living room.
MOOSE CABIN: This is a more classic log house with a good-sized living room with fireplace and two bedrooms that share a bathroom complex.
BIGHORN CABIN: This is another classic log cabin with a living room with fireplace, a master bedroom with bathroom, and a guest room with bathroom.
BUNKHOUSE: This building was set up to accommodate the owner’s grandchildren. The cousins relished the opportunity to be together and out from under their parent’s direct supervision. We suspect the parents actually relished the concept as well!! It sleeps six with a large shared bathroom and living room area.
MANAGER’S HOUSE: Located closer to the ranch entrance and outside of the main building compound, the manager’s house is a very comfortable four bedroom, three bathroom home.
OTHER BUILDINGS: These would include a building that houses a walk-in cooler, a washroom, and sleeping quarters for seasonal staff. Also included are a large equipment shed, a hay barn, and a tack room with an adjacent horse corral.
Seller will transfer all the mineral rights that it owns.
The ranch has a nice fishpond for the youngsters as well as deeded frontage on the river. The river does enter the ranch from the national forest, so there are countless miles of river to fish above the ranch. The nearest access point for the public is miles away, so there is very little public fishing in the area. One can also put in at the ranch and float the river which makes for a delightful outing through spectacular country.
Majo Ranch is small in acreage, which means that resident wildlife tends to come in and out from the surrounding national forest lands. Wildlife is prolific however, from raptors that nest in the cliffs and perch in the trees along the river to wolves, mountain lions, grizzly bears, deer, and bighorn sheep. Its setting in the narrow part of the valley puts it right on the major migration route of thousands of head of elk that make their way through in the spring and back in the fall to and from their summer home in the Thorofare Country just south of Yellowstone Lake. This is one of the numerous wildlife migrations that have recently been documented in Wyoming. There is also a resident herd of elk that live year-round in the Shoshone River corridor.
For the last 43 years, the Majo has been operated as a family retreat for three generations of the Cathcart family. They have a full-time ranch manager who lives on the ranch year-round and they hire seasonal help to look after the family during the summer and fall. The manager comes highly recommended and has been with the family for some time.
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This story has a happy ending for everyone involved. Both buyer and seller can rest assured that the Diamond S is in good hands moving forward.
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