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Swan Land Properties
Two Miles of the Sun River
Lewis & Clark County


  • Augusta, Montana

  • 1,411 Total

  • $1,975,000

Lower Sun River Ranch is a productive agricultural operation with cattle working facilities and strong recreation amenities.  The 1,411± total acres, including 1,341± deeded acres and 70± State of Montana lease acres, are located 8 miles from the authentic western town of Augusta and about an hour from city amenities and the commercial airport in Great Falls.  There are about 160± acres of flood irrigated pasture.  The historic ranch compound includes a well-maintained set of working corrals, a barn and Quonset shop that are well designed to run a small cattle operation.  An updated calving barn is located on the southeast side of the property.

The Ranch borders approximately 2± miles of the Sun River.  The river not only offers fishing for large brown trout, but also provides excellent habitat for deer, upland birds and waterfowl creating exceptional hunting opportunities on the Ranch. A charming gazebo is located along the Sun River in a stand of mature cottonwood trees providing an ideal retreat to picnic and recreate by the river. 

The property is held under a conservation easement with the Montana Land Reliance.  The easement allows for additional building on an envelope near the current corrals and barn.  Please inquire with the Bozeman office for specifics on the easement.

No mineral rights transfer with the property.


The Ranch is located about 5.3 miles north of Augusta on Warden Road.  Augusta offers limited services which include a gas station, grocery store, post office and several cafés – a classic Montana ranching town.  Choteau, the Teton County seat, sits about 30 minutes to the north and provides a larger range of services.
A well-maintained public airstrip is situated on the northeast edge of Choteau.  Located at an elevation of 3,942’, the 75’ x 5,000’ asphalt runway is in good condition.  Communications for this facility are available through Salt Lake City at Frequency 133.4/285.4 (Great Falls RCAG).
Families can expect their children to receive a high-quality kindergarten through high school education at Augusta Public Schools.  Students from the surrounding community experience the unique educational environment of the small-sized multi-grade classrooms.  The high school is classified as a Class C school (under 160 students) by the Montana High School Association and provides a great learning environment and competitive interscholastic athletic programs.  School bus service provides round-trip transportation for elementary and high school students in the area.  The Augusta community has traditionally been very supportive of the school system and has regularly supported school bonds for capital improvements and upgrades.

The local area is primarily comprised of agricultural operations interspersed with recreational landowners.

Known in Montana as the “Electric City,” Great Falls is the commercial and banking hub of north central Montana.  With a population of approximately 60,000, Great Falls offers a complete and diverse array of retail, dining, supply, and equipment services.  The Great Falls Clinic Medical Center also provides quality health care and surgical services.  Malmstrom Air Force Base, located just east of Great Falls, is home to the 341st Missile Wing, one of three U.S. Air Force Bases that maintain and operate the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile.
Convenient commercial air service is provided at Great Falls International Airport with good connections offered by Allegiant Air, Delta, Alaska, and United Airlines.   Currently, direct flights are available to Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Seattle.  For up-to-date flight schedules and airport information, please refer to the airport website:  Great Falls International Airport also has two fixed-based operators (FBOs) – Holman Aviation ( and Front Range Aviation, Inc. (

Approximate distances to other area cities and towns from the main home of the Lower Sun River Ranch are as follows:
Great Falls

 5.3 miles
30 miles
50 miles
73 miles
142 miles
177 mile


The improvements on the Ranch are modest but functional and well-maintained.  The buyer will not be paying for unneeded, tasteless buildings.  The improvements include a nice set of working corrals, a barn, and a Quonset which is used as a shop.  There is a well-maintained calving barn located near the river.  In addition, a charming gazebo is perfectly situated to enjoy cookouts or gatherings with friends and family near the river.

Electricity is provided by Sun River Electric Cooperative based in Fairfield.

There is a 70-acre State of Montana lease, lease number 7993, that adjoins the Ranch boundary.

No mineral rights will transfer with the property.

Lower Sun River Ranch sits at an elevation of approximately 4,000 to 4,300 feet above sea level.
The average annual precipitation is 14 inches, with the majority of this amount coming as rainfall occurring in April, May, and June.  The average growing season in the area is approximately 93 days with frosts ending in early June and beginning again in September.
The average high temperatures in June, July, and August range from 72° to 81° Fahrenheit, and average summer low temperatures range from 45° to 51°.  In December, January and February average high temperatures are between 32° and 41° and minimum temperatures typically range between 11° and 16°.  There is plenty of sunshine throughout the year and winters are typically open, even with frequent snowstorms.

The outdoor amenities of North Central Montana are abundant and fulfill the prerequisites of any recreation enthusiast.   The Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex situated near the Ranch is comprised of 1,535,352 acres.  “The Bob” is the fifth largest wilderness area in the United States.  Its sustained beauty is due in part to the Wilderness Act of 1964 which prevents any roads or structures from being created as well as motorized or mechanical equipment not being allowed in the area.  The Wilderness is accessible by foot or on horseback through its abundant trail system.  Hunting, fishing and camping are all allowed with the proper permits.  Wildlife within the area includes grizzly and black bears, moose, elk, deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, wolverine, wildcats and lynx.
In close proximity to the Ranch, near the town of Fairfield, lies Freezeout Lake.  While this Wildlife Management Area offers hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing, it is also the primary staging area for snow geese in their spring migration from the Gulf States.  In early March as many as 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swans gather at the Lake to rest before continuing to the extreme northwest Arctic Coast of Canada.  Positioned between the Pacific and Central Migratory Fly Zones, the mountains tend to push migrating birds east thus creating tremendous waterfowl hunting opportunities with the massive migratory populations.
Fairfield also offers golfing at the Harvest Hills Golf Course with a beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountain Front.  Golfing is also available at the Choteau Country Club, and Great Falls has several notable courses including Anaconda Hills, Meadowlark Country Club and the new Eagle Falls Golf Club.
For many decades, travelers have journeyed down the Missouri to see the inspirational rock formations and limestone cliffs.  Scenic boat tours are available to enjoy the beauty that has changed little since the days of Lewis and Clark.  To gain additional knowledge of the “Corps of Discovery” Expedition and the history of the area, it is well worth visiting the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Great Falls which offers lecture series, films and exhibits.
Located about an hour from the Ranch west of Choteau, Teton Pass offers both winter and summer recreational activities.  With an annual snowfall of approximately 250 inches, this cozy resort offers varying terrain for skiing and snowboarding.  In the summer, the amazing views can be enjoyed by hiking and biking the various trails.
Each year on the last Sunday in June, the American Legion PRCA rodeo takes place in Augusta.  For over 75 years, the community has hosted the oldest and one of the largest rodeos in Montana, which draws the top rodeo athletes from around the nation.  This annual event featuring a parade, Old-Time Wild Cow Milking and rodeo creates an exciting family affair.


In the 1860s cattlemen were arriving in this area to take advantage of the prairie grasses to feed their herds.  Before the disastrous winter of 1886-87, it is said there were more than half a million cattle in the immediate vicinity.  In 1889 Montana became a state, and four years later in May of 1893 the town site of Augusta was surveyed and dedicated.  It was named after the first child born in the town, Augusta Hogan, daughter of an early rancher, D.J. Hogan.
This small western town of Augusta is the gateway to the immense Bob Marshall Wilderness and the adjoining Scapegoat Wilderness.  The “Bob” was named after Bob Marshall – an early forester, conservationist, and co-founder of The Wilderness Society.  In 1941 this region was set aside as the South Fork, Pentagon, and Sun River Primitive Areas, and in 1964 it was designated as wilderness area when Congress passed the Wilderness Act.  The wilderness area extends for 60 miles along the Continental Divide and consists of over one million acres.  Although there are no paved roads within the area, there are 1,700 miles of trails that are accessible only by foot travel or horseback – a backpacker’s paradise. Adjoining The Bob to the east is the Gibson Reservoir.
Although the initial conversations about the Gibson Dam began in 1907, construction did not start until 1926, in part due to its remote location.  Even then the nearest railroad was still 23 miles away in Augusta.   Gibson Dam was the first American dam to be analyzed and designed according to the trial-load method. The trial-load method relies on mathematical equations to determine stresses and strains acting on a dam.  This method would later be used in the design of the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.  Gibson Dam, an imposing, concrete half-moon, standing 199 feet high with a crest length of 960 feet, is able to store 99,000 acre feet of water in its reservoir!   Its base is approximately 117 feet wide and tapers to 15 feet wide at the top.  Construction of the Dam was completed in 1929, and it was the last of the major irrigation projects in the Sun River drainage.


Lower Sun River Ranch, as previously described herein, is being offered for sale at $1,975,000 Cash or Terms acceptable solely at the discretion of the Sellers.  The conditions of sale are as follows:
    1.  All offers to purchase or letters of intent must be in writing and accompanied by a wire transfer of 5.0% of the purchase price to the escrow account at First American Title Company of Great Falls;
    2. Earnest money deposits will be placed in escrow with First American Title Company of Great Falls, which may place the funds with local banks at nominal rates of interest accruing to the  benefit of the Buyer until Closing;
    3. All Prospective Buyers must demonstrate  to the satisfaction of the Sellers absolute financial capability to purchase the Property prior to scheduling an inspection of the Property;
    4. The Sellers will provide and pay for a standard owner’s title insurance policy.  Any endorsements requested by the Buyer or any lender will be at Buyer’s expense.  Title to the real property will be conveyed by a deed;
    5. All of the water right claims controlled by the Property will be transferred to the Buyer at Closing;
    6. The mineral rights will be retained by the Seller at Closing;
    7. Buyers’ Brokers are welcomed and invited to contact Mike Swan in our Bozeman Office for information regarding Cooperation Policies.
The Sellers reserve the right to effect a tax-deferred exchange for other real property in accordance with provisions in Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.  The Buyer will not be required to incur any additional expenses nor to step into the chain of title on any property which the Sellers may acquire.
This entire Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice and approval of purchase by the Seller.  Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, crop yields, potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been obtained from sources deemed reliable; however, accuracy is not warranted or guaranteed by the Seller or Swan Land Company.  Prospective Buyers should verify all information to their sole and complete satisfaction.
A 48-hour notice is requested to make proper arrangements for an inspection of Lower Sun River Ranch.
Swan Land Company has been authorized by the Seller to act as their Exclusive Real Estate Broker on the sale of Lower Sun River Ranch.  Since 2002, we have focused on the brokerage of significant ranches, farms and recreational properties throughout the Rocky Mountain West.
This Offering is based on information believed to be correct; however, it is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale and change or withdrawal without notice.  Information contained herein has been provided by the Sellers or obtained from other sources deemed reliable.  The Agent does not, however, guarantee accuracy and recommends that any Prospective Buyer conduct an independent investigation.


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Follow Up with Me:
Michael S. Swan
It was growing up in Southwest Montana where that deep sense of love for the land was first instilled in me. Our family ranch was on the banks of the Jefferson River near Twin Bridges. Being raised on a sizable commercial cow-calf operation, my brothers and I learned the importance of being good stewards of ...
Meet the Broker
Owner/Broker of Swan Land, Mike Swan

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