Otter Canyon is a classic off-the-grid fishing and hunting retreat located on the west slope of the Bighorn Mountains approximately 20 miles south of Ten Sleep. Consisting of 276± critical acres of highly strategic land consisting of over two miles of the dramatic South Fork of Otter Creek Canyon. Otter Creek is a meandering trout stream which, if measured on its bends and turns, would offer many more than the two canyon miles of highly sought-after trout water. The downstream neighbor is a multi-generational local ranch family, and the lands above the ranch are BLM or State of Wyoming land for many miles offering near private access to virtually unlimited waters and acres for hunting or other recreational pursuits. Improvements include an historic homestead cabin and a modest three-bedroom more “modern” cabin with living area and kitchen. This is without question a unique, one-of-a-kind property that plays way bigger than 276± acres.
Just the Facts
- Location: 20 miles south of Ten Sleep
- Acreage: 276± acres
- Improvements: Comfortable off the grid three-bedroom cabin
- Operation: Private fishing retreat
- Wildlife: Prolific wildlife including deer, elk, black bear and mountain lion
- Water: Multiple miles of the South Fork of Otter Creek supporting four trout species
- Summary: One of a kind idyllic fishing and hunting retreat in a dramatic canyon setting
The Otter Canyon Ranch consists of over two miles of the South Fork of Otter Creek canyon. The canyon walls, which rise around 600 vertical feet in some locations, make for a truly dramatic setting. The floor is open enough to allow excellent access to the stream for fishing, and a good two-track road allows access to most parts of the stream by ATV. At the same time, there is a rich mix of deciduous trees and bushes and the more northerly faces boast heavier stands of Douglas fir, and there is ponderosa pine on the opposing slopes. Overall the canyon offers great cover and habitat for a cross-section of wildlife from black bear and mountain lion to deer and elk.
Most importantly, the canyon above the ranch runs through miles of public land that is not easily accessible to the public, and below the ranch, the canyon continues through public lands. This puts the owners of Otter Canyon Ranch in a preferred position to enjoy many miles of pristine wildlands above and below the ranch. Because of its protected nature, it is an absolute haven for wildlife in addition to offering many miles of private fishing.
The Otter Canyon Ranch is a truly enchanting retreat with its dramatic setting in Otter Canyon. It is very private and well off the beaten track. With modern off the grid technology, it has the potential to be converted from a modest fishing camp to a comfortable retreat enjoyed by all members of the family.
The ranch is located approximately 20 miles south of Ten Sleep, which places it about a 50-minute drive from Worland for major services and an airport for private aircraft of any size. Access to the canyon floor is by way of private easements from adjoining ranches off of the Spring Creek County Road. The nearest commercial air service is in either Cody or Casper about a two-hour drive from the ranch. Ten Sleep is a charming mountain town with exceptional schools at the base of the Bighorn Mountains that offers basic services, including bars, restaurants, shops and motels - veterinary services, too. The annual Fourth of July rodeo is a well-attended Bighorn Basin tradition. Worland offers a full cross-section of services for the local agricultural community as do the more distant and larger communities of Cody, Billings, and Casper.
Otter Canyon lies in an area of large and medium-sized traditional family ranching operations that lie along the western side of the Bighorns. Many take advantage of the excellent big game hunting, and the surprisingly prolific spring-fed trout streams like Otter Creek that flow out of these mountains. These have given rise to guest ranches and, more recently, new families and landowners who are more interested in the scenic and recreational amenities than traditional ranching. The Nature Conservancy has recognized the unique quality of this area by creating a Nature Preserve just east of Ten Sleep. By and large, however, this remains a traditional ranching community where people “neighbor” with each other and support those in need. Ranches generally do well here because the lower country is good for wintering livestock, and the upper country grows good summer grasses. These ranches also benefit from the immense Bighorn Basin reaching to the west and home to some of Wyoming’s most productive irrigated farms.
As mentioned earlier, this property consists of about two linear miles of a dramatic canyon. It is located where the Bighorn Mountains transition into the Bighorn Basin which is basically a desert environment. The ranch likely gets around 13 inches of annual precipitation, which places it more in a “foothills” category than either a desert or high alpine area. It is, of course, very protected from extremes of wind and weather and would normally not get heavy accumulations of winter snow.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
The ranch is not encumbered by any conservation easements.
The ranch lies in a contiguous block where practical access is across BLM and State lands.
Adjacent Property Available
For those interested in an operating mountain ranch retreat, the adjacent Double H Ranch offers a complete livestock operation with outstanding elk and deer hunting and comfortable improvements. See the map showing the combination.
The historic cabin has the potential to be fixed up but is not currently being used. The main cabin built in 1987 has three bedrooms and a kitchen, living room area as well as a screened porch and a nice deck. The water system is gravity fed from a 400-gallon storage tank above the cabin where water is pumped from the stream. Drinking water is brought in from outside. The ranch has enormous potential with current technology to develop solar or even hydro-power with a backup generator or batteries or both. Presently they use propane, which is provided by portable tanks that are hauled out to the county road to be refilled. Current technology is also available to allow one to bring in cellular service with a booster installed above the canyon. The accommodations would be considered adequate for a comfortable hunting or fishing camp.
Water for the cabin is provided by a pump in the stream, which fills a 400-gallon tank above the cabin providing gravity pressure for showers, sinks, etc.
Sellers will transfer all the mineral rights that they own.
Annual real estate taxes are estimated at $1,196 per annum based upon past year’s taxes.
The focal point of Otter Canyon is the multiple miles of the South Fork of Otter Creek that pass through the canyon. There are two linear miles of the canyon, but with its many twists and turns, we are estimating that the miles of creek could be double that. This does not take into account the many miles of creek that pass through public lands both above and below the ranch. This is a fishery that supports rainbow, brook, brown and cutthroat trout.
Because of the protected nature of the canyon, the ranch attracts a full complement of wildlife from black bears and mountain lions to deer and elk. There is also prolific birdlife. More importantly, it provides a base from which one can access thousands of acres of public lands that adjoin it.
The current owners operate Otter Canyon as a private fishing retreat with a caretaker living in Ten Sleep and checking on the property. It sits behind two locked gates on private roads.
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