" Living at the Edge of Nature"





The Land - 340.66 ACRES



T he Historic Alta Ranch offers diversity of land type.The east portion of the ranch is rugged mountain land for hiking, hunting, ATV's and access to the adjoining U.S. Forest Service land and thousands of acres. The land is covered in Ponderosa Pine with trails for horseback riding. Views of the surrounding mountains in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness are spectacular! One can see into Idaho from this section of the ranch. The acreage on this side of the West Fork Road is not subject to conservation restrictions. There is a well and septic approval in one portion of this where a home was anticipated and not built. The owner's purchased this piece fairly recently and it offers a home site with access. There is a newly renovated bridge completed in 2019 over the river near the main lodge. This large bridge is well constructed and adds value for years to come.

The ranch has the West Fork of the Bitterroot River running through the land for almost a mile. The lodge, the Homestead Cabin, Ponderosa Cabin, Aspen Cabin, barn and shop are located on the east side of the river west of the roadway. The Cottonwood Cabin, event hangar, ponds, and meadows are on the west side of the river. The ranch fauna include pines, fir, aspen, alder, willow, and an abundance of native grasses and wildflowers. This is truly a beautiful ranch. The ranch will support approximately 40 head for stock with supplemental feeding during the winter months. Montana State Licensed Outfitters in the area currently offer horseback rides on the ranch for guests for a fee. There are corrals by the barn and areas which could be fenced for stock working activities.

The barn on the ranch has an open bay for hay storage and equipment plus three stalls, a tack room, and grain storage. Portions of the ranch have exterior fencing. The ranch has irrigation pumps and has been irrigated in the past in the meadows. The owner will provide a land stewardship report for the buyers to assist in future land management.


The Historic Alta Ranch is legally described  in 6 parcels. A portion of the ranch is protected under a Conversation Easement with Five Valley’s Land Trust. A copy of the document is available upon request. While the conservation document restricts the subdivision of a portion of the ranch, it does not limit development of the remaining portions or significantly restrict ranching and lodging activities. There are many such conservation easements in this scenic area of Montana. One of the benefits is the retention of wild places, wildlife, and open space.

The total acreage is 340.66 acres. It would be possible to redesign the ranch with a boundary line adjustment of the parcels outside the conservation easement if the buyer wished to do so under the exemption rules. Incremental sale of portions of the ranch can be accomplished without any review.  



The Alta Ranch is legally described in 6 separate parcels. The upper West Fork Valley has some of the most scenic land in Montana. Portions of the ranch may be improved with other structures while other portions are protected from further development.

The owners realized early one in their ownership that the land was too special to be cut up into little pieces and worked with The Five Valley's Land Trust to restrict the subdivision of a large portion of the ranch. The ranch is located near the end of the the paved roadway that leads into the rugged hills east of Idaho and was once homesteaded by those who were seeking gold or homesteading for logging and mountain living. There proved to be little in the way of gold deposits and the logging industry no longer flourishes, but the scenery and open space remains. Ask us for a copy of the conservation document for the ranch. Only special properties qualify for such conservation and the Alta Ranch gets a check for scenery, open space, wildlife habitat, water resources, and conservation value.


Utilities on The Ranch

Propane gas is delivered to the ranch for heating. Bitter Root Disposal Service provides garbage collection. Land telephone is from Blackfoot Communications. Cell phones do not work well at the ranch and in many areas of the West Fork Canyon. Television and internet services are provided by satellite companies.

There are five septic systems on the ranch - one for each living unit. See due diligence package for details on wells, septic systems, vendors, and water rights.

Agricultural Overview

The ranch has an irrigation pump near the events barn used in the irrigation of the pasture land. The grazing in the ranch is possible without intensive irrigation, depending upon the number of animals. The meadow remains green with strong grass throughout the summer. The high elevation, snow melt, and afternoon rains provide some natural irrigation. Ask the agent for a land stewardship summary to determine the irrigation practices of this specific property.



The ranch has a lovely green meadow at the center of it all. The balance of the acreage is pines, fir, cottonwoods, aspen, and river bottom. The ranch will support cattle or horses depending upon the pasture rotation, fencing, and additional feed. There is a small corral and area for stabling horses near the barn. The ranch has some exterior fencing. The land is mostly level on the lower section with good sun exposure and shelter from any north wind. There has not been any recent hay production. The sellers have used the pastures for grazing in the past. The barn is perfect for the storage of grain, hay, and equipment. There are three horse stalls, tack room, and more.



Access to the property is from US Hwy 93 about 60 minutes from Missoula, MT. The travel from the airport in Missoula is south through Hamilton and Darby and then southwest on the West Fork Road, which is a paved two lane secondary highway. Year around maintenance to the ranch is provided by Ravalli County Road Department. The drive from the ranch is as follows: Darby - 20 minutes, Hamilton - 40 minutes, Missoula - 90 minutes.





The taxes on the property total $7,498.37 for 2018. The parcels numbers are: 1063000, 1031700, 1062940, 1062930, 1062950, 1062992.


An additional benefit of having conservation protection on the land is that it lowers the property taxes. The parcel numbers for the easement property area: 1063000 and 1031700 totaling 136.09 acres. It should be noted that this conservation document does not provide any access or use for the public.


Personal Property Bill of Sale


The Historic Alta Ranch includes the irrigation equipment, appliances in all of the structures, water rights, and all furnishings in the cabins. The main lodge furnishings will convey on a list to be approved by both buyers and sellers. Select items may be purchased - a list to be provided to the buyer.

Buyers should inquire about any items which are of interest and not clearly defined to determine if they can be purchased separately on a Bill of Sale.



Phone: 406-369-4313
Email: jan.king@ranchmt.com


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Berkshire Hathaway Montana Properties
120 S. Fifth St. Ste 201
Hamilton, MT 59840

Phone: 406-369-0320
Email: rod@bitterroothorseproperty.com