Timber Creek Ranch

Property Map

Timber Creek Ranch

  • Timber Creek Ranch

Timber Creek Ranch

Alder, Montana

Timber Creek Ranch represents an unusual opportunity to own both a significant fly fishing property and a “wilderness” ranch. Its 302± acres lie within the Beaverhead National Forest, nestled into a valley between the Snowcrest Range and the Gravelly Range. The ranch encompass over 2 miles of a “spring creek like” section of the Ruby River 26 miles south of Alder. Nearly one third of the ranch is irrigated and the balance is a pleasing mix of riparian corridor, native range, and pine and aspen groves. Most of the buildings were designed by Don McLaughlin, and the main ranch compound and guest house are historically accurate and rendered in exquisite taste in a beautiful setting as is the main house which is a very comfortable and more contemporary log home.


Timber Creek lies along a year-round gravel road about 26 miles (the first 11 miles are paved) south of Alder within the Beaverhead National Forest. The nearest commercial air service can be found at the Bozeman airport about a two-hour drive north of the ranch. This is Montana’s busiest airport and offers nonstop service in season to many major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, Atlanta and Seattle.

There are many smaller towns such as Alder, Ennis, Virginia City, Sheridan and Twin Bridges that offer most services that one would require in addition to offering fine dining and entertainment. These are all within an hour’s drive or less of the ranch. Twin Bridges in fact has an excellent small airport that is scheduled to be expanded to accommodate most private aircraft. 


There are a number of neighbors downstream which are small primarily recreational tracts that take in the river bottom to the Beaverhead National Forest Boundary. As one leaves the national forest going downstream, the valley opens up and is dominated by large ranching operations – most predominantly the Snowcrest Ranch owned by Ted Turner. There is essentially one neighbor upstream on Warm Springs Creek, which is a small recreationally oriented family retreat considered to be in strong and friendly hands.  Sixty-eight percent of Timber Creek Ranch’s boundary is with the national forest, the lands of which are used by the down valley ranches for summer and fall grazing.

Essentially this is ranching country with some use by locals for recreation, particularly during the big game hunting season. The neighbors are generally respectful of each other and work together to respect each other’s property and property rights. 

General Description: 

The Timber Creek Ranch is dominated by the two-plus miles of the Ruby River that meander through the middle of it. The riparian corridor has been protected to preserve the fishery. There are estimated to be around 115± acres currently irrigated, and these meadows and the riparian corridor make up the bulk of the ranch with the fringes including some evergreen timber and aspen groves. As one drives up the valley, one cannot help but be impressed by the setting of Timber Creek which takes up all the productive land in its portion of the valley.


The ranch has 302± deeded acres of which approximately 115± would be considered irrigable. The balance is riparian or timbered mountain grazing.


Designed by architect Don McLaughlin, who received an honorable mention for the design in 1997 and constructed in consultation with Yellowstone Traditions, the ranch compound just inside the ranch entrance includes a number of historically correct buildings that are truly reminiscent of another time while being thoroughly modern and useful. They include:

Manager’s House – This is a log two-story home with a fully finished basement and a beckoning front porch that looks to the river and the mountains beyond. This house contains three bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Office Cabin – Another classic structure out of another era that is used as an office.

Barn/Apartment – A unique structure that looks to have been there for at least a century, this building features an efficiency apartment upstairs, and downstairs it serves as a barn, tack room, shop and equipment storage. Like the other buildings, it is constructed from reclaimed wood and truly fits in as part of the landscape.

One then crosses the river from this compound to reach the owner’s home that is elevated somewhat above the river. It is a more contemporary log dwelling on two levels. The upstairs contains an enormous master bedroom and bathroom with an attached screen porch. There is also a guest bedroom and half bath on this floor, with extensive public spaces for sitting, dining and entertaining, or enjoying the outdoors from the porches. The basement was designed for the younger generation with a bunkroom that sleeps eight and a full bathroom. There is also a large billiard room which includes a fly-tying desk, and there is lots of storage for clothes and equipment.

A few hundred yards downriver from the owner’s house is a charming log cabin guest house which includes a main room with a kitchenette and a bathroom. It is well suited for one or two guests. 


The Ruby Valley in general is considered a very mild valley in terms of its climate and weather patterns. However, Timber Creek is getting to the upper end of the valley and is definitely in the mountains and should have dependable snow for activities such as snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. It is high enough that the summer temperatures would not get too hot and the evenings would be cool. All in all, it has all the advantages of a high mountain ranch but would be readily usable on a year-round basis. 

General Operations: 

The ranch has excellent water rights dating back to May of 1880 and this water is used to put up about 100 tons of hay each year. The ranch currently puts up about half in small bales for their own use and the neighbor puts up the other half on shares. Depending upon the owner’s use of the ranch for the owner’s personal livestock, there would be some grazing available to lease out. Under current management they bring in the neighbors cattle to graze for a short period.                                                                     

Wildlife Resources: 

As a virtual inholding in the national forest, Timber Creek is the permanent or occasional home of the full cross-section of Montana big game from big horn sheep to whitetail and mule deer, moose, bear, coyote, fox, mountain lion, elk and wolves. The owner’s even report having seen a wolverine. The river and hay fields bring the animals in as it does the birds. The ranch lies in a protected part of the valley so it is not subject to the high winds that impact the more open valleys and ridges. It is in fact a haven for wildlife.

Fishery Resources: 

With over two miles of the Ruby River passing through 302± acres, this is clearly what the Timber Creek Ranch is all about. The Ruby literally meanders back and forth through the ranch offering classic riffles, runs and pools. Virtually all of the Ruby River water rights are taken out downstream so the ranch has the advantage of the full volume of the river plus a major tributary, Warm Springs Creek, which enters the Ruby just above the ranch. This is an incredible resource which is what makes Timber Creek the dependable fishing ranch that it is. This stream pours thousands of gallons of nutrient-rich water per minute into the river on a year-round basis, tempering the water and maintaining consistent flows. This “spring creek effect” has a direct benefit to the ranch, providing an abundance of vegetative cover loaded with aquatic bugs and invertebrates which are the primary food source for the fish that reside there.

The Ruby River continues above the ranch for many miles, extending through the public lands of the national forest.  The upstream fishery is a lot more of a freestone system as it falls through steeper gradient over large rocks creating turbid waters.  This is where one will find more of an abundance of fluvial grayling which thrive in this pristine system.  This water helps to oxygenate the system below as the waters begin to slow and meander through the Timber Creek Ranch in a classic oxbow riparian environment.  These waters stack up above a riffle, accelerate into a tailing run often back-eddying against a deep, willow-lined bank before moving on to the next one.  The waters on the ranch repeat this scenario in one series after another.  Each pool is quite readable to the angler and there is such an abundance of great water, it makes it a real challenge to overburden the fishery or tire of fishing the same pool.  These are under-pressured fish that react well to large dry flies through the summer and early fall months.       

The Upper Ruby River at the Timber Creek location has mostly rainbow trout in the 8-12 inch range with some 14-17 inch rainbows and browns plus a few cutthroat trout, “cutbow” trout, and grayling.


Taxes are estimated at $5,700 based upon past years. 

Water Rights: 

The ranch has extensive adjudicated early water rights dating back to 1880. A complete listing is available upon request. 

Additional Information: 

The ranch is protected by a conservation easement with the Montana Land Reliance. Copies are available upon request but essentially the easement prohibits subdivision and limits structures to what is there plus one additional guest house with no specific size limit. 

Broker Comments: 

Timber Creek is that rare property that includes both a significant fishery and the benefits of being inside the Beaverhead National Forest. It is also blessed with an extraordinarily attractive and appropriate set of improvements. 

The Facts: 

·Acreage: 302± deeded acres
·Location: 26 miles south of Alder inside of the Beaverhead National Forest
·Fishery: over two miles of both sides of the Ruby River
·Improvements: two homes, two cabins, barn complex with apartment
·Conservation Easement: allows for an additional dwelling and restricts all subdivision
·Land use: one third of the ranch is subject to flood or sprinkler irrigation with the balance made up of riparian habitat, and timber and aspen groves
·Recreation and scenery: Timber Creek as a national forest inholding is surrounded by beautiful and surprisingly user-friendly mountain country, and the architecturally designed buildings are historically accurate and perfectly sited

Additional Services: 

MANAGEMENT SERVICES – Hall and Hall’s Management Division has a very clear mission–to represent the owner and to ensure that his or her experience is a positive one. Services are customized to suit the owner’s needs. They often begin with the recruiting and hiring of a suitable ranch manager or caretaker and are followed by the development of a management or operating plan along with appropriate budgets. Ongoing services include bill paying, ranch oversight, and consulting services as needed. Even the most sophisticated and experienced ranch owners appreciate the value of a management firm representing them and providing advice on local area practices and costs. Wes Oja and Jerome Chvilicek at (406) 656-7500 or Justin Bryan at (325) 260-5883 are available to describe and discuss these services in detail and welcome your call.

RESOURCE ENHANCEMENT SERVICES – Increasingly the value of a ranch is measured by the quality of each and every one of its resources. Coincidentally, the enhancement of a ranch’s resources also increases the pleasure that one derives from the ownership of a ranch. Our management services have included the assessment of everything from wildlife habitat to bird habitat to water resources and fisheries and the subsequent oversight of the process involved with the enhancement of these resources.Wes Oja, Jerome Chvilicek or Dan Bergstrom at (406) 656-7500 or Justin Bryan in our Abilene office at (325) 260-5883 are available to describe and discuss these services in detail and welcome your call.

AUCTIONS - Hall and Hall Auctions offer “Another Solution” to create liquidity for the owners of Investment-Quality Rural Real Estate.  Our auction team has experience in marketing farmland, ranchland, timberland and recreational properties throughout the nation.  Extreme attention to detail and complete transparency coupled with Hall and Hall’s “Rolodex” of more than 40,000 targeted owners and buyers of rural real estate help assure that there are multiple bidders at each auction. In addition, the unique Hall and Hall partnership model creates a teamwork approach that helps to assure that we realize true market value on auction day.  For more information on our auction services contact Scott Shuman at (800) 829-8747.

APPRAISALS - Staying abreast of ancillary market influences in ever-changing economic conditions requires a broad professional network to tap into. Finding an appraiser who not only understands the numbers but also the differences in value from one area to another is a critical part of making an informed decision. The appraisal team at Hall and Hall, formed entirely of Accredited Members of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA), has that critical network of brokers and lending professionals. This professional network coupled with diverse experience across multiple regions and market segments allows our appraisal team to deliver a quality product in a reasonable timeframe.  For more information contact our appraisal team at (406) 656-7500.

SPECIALIZED LENDING - Since 1946 Hall and Hall has created a legacy by efficiently providing capital to landowners.  In addition to traditional farm and ranch loans, we specialize in understanding the unique aspects of placing loans on ranches where value may be influenced by recreational features, location and improvements and repayment may come from outside sources. Our extensive experience and efficient processing allows us to quickly tell you whether we can provide the required financing.

Competitive Pricing  |  Flexible Terms  |  Efficient Processing
Dave Roddy • (406) 656-7500 
Mike Hall or Judy Chirila • (303) 861-8282
Monte Lyons • (806) 698-6882
J.T. Holt • (806) 698-6884


Following is a Montana law required disclosure.


Montana law requires that BUYER’s and SELLER’s be advised about the different types of agency relationships available to them (MCA § 37-51-102 & 37-51-321).  A real estate agent is qualified to advise only on real estate matters.  As the client or as the customer, please be advised that you have the option of hiring outside professional services on your own behalf (legal and tax counsel, home or building inspectors, accountant, environmental inspectors, range management or agricultural advisors, etc.) at any time during the course of a transaction to obtain additional information to make an informed decision.  Each and every agent has obligations to each other party to a transaction no matter whom the agent represents.  The various relationships are as follows:

SELLER's Agent:  exclusively represents the SELLER (or landlord).  This agency relationship is created when a listing is signed by a SELLER/owner and a real estate licensee.  The SELLER's agent represents the SELLER only, and works toward securing an offer in the best interest of the SELLER.  The SELLER agent still has obligations to the BUYER as enumerated herein.

BUYER's Agent:  exclusively represents the BUYER (or tenant).  This agency relationship is created when a BUYER signs a written BUYER-broker agreement with a real estate licensee.  The BUYER agent represents the BUYER only, and works towards securing a transaction under the terms and conditions established by the BUYER and in the best interest of the BUYER.  The BUYER agent has obligations to the SELLER as enumerated herein.

Dual Agent:  does not represent the interests of either the BUYER or SELLER exclusively.  This agency relationship is created when an agent is the SELLER's agent (or subagent) and enters into a BUYER-broker agreement with the BUYER.  This relationship must receive full informed consent by all parties before a "dual-agency" relationship can exist.  The "dual agent" does not work exclusively for the SELLER or the BUYER but works for both parties in securing a conclusion to the transaction.  If you want an agent to represent you exclusively, do not sign the "Dual Agency" Disclosure and Consent" form.

Statutory Broker:  is a licensee who assists one or more of the parties in a transaction, but does not represent any party as an agent.  A licensee is presumed to be acting as a “statutory broker” unless they have entered into a listing agreement with the SELLER, a BUYER-broker agreement with the BUYER, or a dual agency agreement with all parties.

In-House SELLER Agent Designate:   is a licensee designated by the broker- owner/manager (of the real estate brokerage) to be the exclusive agent for the SELLER for a specific transaction in which the brokerage has the property listed and the BUYER is working directly through the same brokerage also.  This agent may not act on behalf of any other member of the transaction and works for the benefit of the SELLER, but still is obligated to the BUYER as any SELLER's agent would be.

In-House BUYER Agent Designate:   is a licensee designated by the broker- owner/manager (of the real estate brokerage) to be the exclusive agent for the BUYER for a specific transaction in which the brokerage has the property listed and the BUYER is working directly through the same brokerage also.  This agent may not act on behalf of any other member of the transaction and works for the benefit of the BUYER, but still obligated to the SELLER as any BUYER's agent would be.

Subagent:   is an agent of the licensee already acting as an agent for either the SELLER or BUYER.  A "SELLER agent" can offer "subagency" to an agent to act on his behalf to show the property and solicit offers from BUYER’s.  A "BUYER agent can offer "subagency" to an agent to act on his behalf to locate and secure certain property meeting the BUYER's criteria. 

_____ of Hall and Hall is the exclusive agent of the Seller.

NOTICE: Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice, and approval of purchase by owner. Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been provided by sources deemed reliable, but whose accuracy we cannot guarantee. Prospective buyers should verify all information to their satisfaction. Prospective buyers should also be aware that the photographs in this brochure may have been digitally enhanced.