The Salt River Narrows Ranch is a classic recreational ranch, with a full host of features, located just over 60 miles south of Jackson Hole. The 1,000± acre ranch controls over a mile of the Salt River, a highly regarded trout fishery, and has two warm springs that support waterfowl throughout the year. It lies in two main parcels, 2.5 road miles apart, both with paved road access. The southern 240± acres features a 2,850 square foot six bedroom, six bathroom lodge sitting atop the landmark Shoshone Ridge. The lodge overlooks the Salt River and has sweeping views of the Salt River and Caribou Mountain Ranges. A highway divides the northern 760± acres, with the western 370± acres offering irrigated hay meadows, Salt River access, and a rich riparian corridor along the river. The eastern 390± acres is primarily uplands, rising over 500 vertical feet to a timbered ridge. Together the parcels make up a balanced small recreational ranch within an hour of Jackson.
Co-listed with Ken Dunn of Sage Realty Group.
Just the Facts
- Location – Eight miles north of Afton and 61 miles south of Jackson Hole.
- Acreage – 1,000± deeded acres.
- Acreage Breakdown – 180± irrigated, 110± sub-irrigated, 710± native range.
- Taxes - $4,958 per year estimated based upon past history.
- Water resources – Extensive including good irrigation rights for 180± acres, two significant spring creeks, one developed spring, and the Salt River for a total of four miles of trophy trout water and waterfowl habitat.
- Improvements – 2,850 square foot six-bedroom home, corrals, equipment storage shed.
- Operation – Balanced 80 to 90 cow operating ranch with excellent grazing and hay production – all leased to a local rancher.
- Recreational attributes – Combination of river, spring creeks, and riparian corridor make for excellent fishing, birding, boating, and waterfowling. Moose, elk and, deer are present, and hiking, riding, four wheeling, and snowmobiling are all excellent.
- Summary – Outstanding small recreational ranch an hour from Jackson.
Access to the Salt River Narrows Ranch is from a paved county road and state highway just north of Afton. The ranch consists of three clearly defined parcels. The east parcel, lying east of the highway, is 390± acres and consists of steep to rolling rangeland that is best utilized as seasonal grazing. It also offers some amazing building sites with staggering views. These sites would provide good separation from the highway and a high degree of privacy. The west parcel consists of 370± acres of highly productive riverfront land, which varies from a lush riparian corridor to 180± acres of excellent irrigated hay meadows and access to over a mile of the Salt River. There is a pole barn and a good set of livestock corrals on this parcel. The southern 240± acres is where the home is located on a high central ridge. There are also two spring fed creeks on this section of the ranch and an additional 110± acres of sub-irrigated meadows. The six-bedroom, six-bathroom, 2,850± square foot lodge was built in 2000 and has sweeping views of the Salt River Range to the east, the Caribou Range to the west, and overlooks the Salt River.
The Salt River Narrows Ranch is an appealing recreational ranch property, with very good on-site fishing, waterfowl and big game opportunities in addition to a modest, yet healthy production component - all of this just 60 miles south of Jackson Hole. The home will comfortably welcome large gatherings and is sited to capture the magnificent mountain views of the nearby Caribou and Bridger Teton National Forests.. With over a mile of Salt River on the ranch, the Snake, the South Fork of the Snake and several other smaller streams/creeks nearby, the ranch offers easy access to some of the best fishing in the intermountain west.
Located eight miles north of Afton and 61 miles south of Jackson Hole, the Salt River Narrows Ranch lies along the upper reach of the Salt River Valley just before it drops through the Narrows that divide the north and south halves of Star Valley. The ranch has convenient access to all of the basic necessities in the nearby Star Valley towns of Afton, Thayne and Alpine. It is also an easy and beautiful drive into Jackson, which offers a broad cross-section of social, commercial, medical, and cultural amenities. Commercial airline service is available in Jackson, with daily non-stop service to Salt Lake City and Denver, and seasonal direct service to major cites. Additionally, Afton Municipal Airport (AFO), home of the Aviat Husky manufacturing facility, is 12 miles away and offers a 7,025’X75’ asphalt runway for private aircraft.
Star Valley was settled by Mormon pioneers in the late 1870s and was named by one of the church’s general authorities as the “Star of all Valley’s” for its natural beauty. Agriculture has been a long-standing mainstay of the local economy. Through the early part of the twentieth century, herds of dairy cows flourished in the area to provide milk for local creameries and cheese factories. Many of the dairy herds have left the valley, but hay production and beef cattle remain an important part of the local economy.
As Jackson Hole has grown to become one of the most sought-after addresses in the west, the popularity of this southern neighbor has grown as well. The 40-mile-long Star Valley has four incorporated towns and several smaller communities. While Jackson offers a quick trip for fine dining, museums, and shopping, the local towns provide all of the basic necessities including hardware stores, sporting goods, banks, grocery stores, and several good restaurants.
The Salt River runs the length of Star Valley and is considered one of the great trout fisheries in the region. It merges with the Snake River at the north end of the valley and forms Palisade Reservoir. Below the reservoir, the river is known as the South Fork of the Snake, to differentiate itself from the Henry’s Fork of the Snake, and is truly one of the best Cutthroat trout fisheries in the west. In addition to fishing, Star Valley is surrounded by national forest, providing easy access to hiking, backpacking, horseback and ATV trails, and snowmobiling.
Besides a solid base of local residents, Star Valley boasts multiple small ranches like the Salt River Narrows Ranch. It is an ideal location for people wishing to take advantage of Jackson’s many cultural offerings, galleries, shops, and world-class gourmet restaurants while also enjoying immediate uncrowded access to the many recreational opportunities closer to home.
At over 6,000 feet on the west side of the continental divide, the Salt River Narrows Ranch has cool summer nights and comfortably warm days. The average annual precipitation is approximately 18.16 inches in nearby Afton, with most months receiving over an inch of precipitation and May and June being the heavy months averaging over 2 inches. The typical summer night is in the low 50’s, and days usually do not exceed the low 80’s. Winter months are cold, with highs below freezing and single-digit lows. The growing season is short, with approximately 70 frost-free days.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
There is no conservation easement on this property, which is zoned rural, allowing for agricultural uses and low density (above five acres) residential. The Salt River Narrows Ranch is a prime candidate for the donation of a conservation easement and the Jackson Hole Land Trust is very familiar with the property.
There is a six-bedroom, six-bathroom, 2,850± square foot lodge built in 2000 with an attached two-car garage. The home is serviced by well and septic. The entire perimeter of the ranch is fenced. To support a cattle operation, there is a 3,321± square foot pole barn and a good set of livestock corrals.
Sellers will convey 100% of the mineral rights that they own. The Buyer should plan to include a mineral right search as part of their due diligence since the owners do not know what mineral rights they own.
Based upon past years, the real estate taxes are estimated to be $4,958 per year.
The following is quoted from the Fish the Fly Guide Service website:
"Fly fishing the Salt River in Wyoming is a more intimate fly fishing experience than other Jackson Hole area waters. The Salt River begins its 84-mile course above 10,500 feet on the slopes of Mount Wagner in the Salt River range. It flows south briefly before veering north through the pastoral ranches of Star Valley on its way to Palisades Reservoir. Along the way it picks up several springs and creeks that add to the flow and keep this smaller river cool all summer long. Below Afton, WY is where it really takes shape as a trout fishery and floating the Salt River becomes a reality." (This is exactly where the Salt River Narrows Ranch is located.)
Fly fishing on the Salt River in Wyoming is best from mid to late June all the way into November. The Salt River often clears before some other major rivers in the area. Salmonflies and Golden Stones are the first insects to pop and the Cutthroat and Brown trout take notice. Gray Drakes, Yellow Sallies, Caddis and Pale Morning Duns are also on the menu through July. August is terrestrial time on the Salt River where Grasshoppers, Ants, and Beetles bring the river’s best trout to the surface. September continues with terrestrial action, but Mahogany Duns and Blue Winged Olives dominate as October nears. Nymph and streamer fishing are the ticket towards the end of October and through November as the trophy Brown trout from the Palisades swim upstream on their spawning run.
The ranch’s warm springs attract large populations of waterfowl, offering great birding and hunting. Moose, elk, and mule deer frequent the meadows and can be seen passing through the ranch. One of the desirable qualities of the Salt River Narrows Ranch is that it includes a cross-section of habitats from the river and associated wetlands to drier foothill pastures.
The ranch offers on-site fishing and floating the Salt River, along with bird watching and waterfowl hunting in the associated riparian corridor. Horseback riding, four wheeling, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling are all popular options on the ranch as well. The ranch is located nearby Palisades Reservoir for water skiing and fishing. With the Salt River, Snake River, South Fork of the Snake, and numerous other streams/creeks close by, there are multiple options for outstanding year-round recreation. In addition, the Bridger and Caribou National Forest surround Star Valley and offer multiple access points for hiking, backpacking, big game hunting, ATV riding, and snowmobiling.
The current owner leases the ranch to a tenant, who combines the ranch with several others to support a large-scale cattle operation. The tenant reports he puts up an average of 1.5 tons per acre on the meadows, which he splits with the landlord (70% to tenant and 30% to landlord). The grazing and home are leased on a flat rate basis. The tenant estimates that there are 560 Animal Unit Months of grazing on the property. The Salt River Ranch represents a well-balanced small ranch that would put up enough hay, and offers enough grazing, to carry a small cow herd year-round (estimated in the range of 80 to 90 head). However, the winters at this altitude generally dictate a scenario that suggests that the highest and best use of the ranch would be seasonal grazing, reserving the winter months for personal recreational activities.
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