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Swan Land Properties
Elk Wintering Calving Ground
Madison County

South Boulder River Retreat

  • Cardwell, Montana

  • 553 Deeded

  • $3,250,000

South Boulder River Retreat with 360-degree views, one mile of the South Boulder River, a massive stunning rock wall, and a timbered basin setting make this property unique. This offering is the last remaining large private parcel for sale in the South Boulder River drainage. These 553± deeded acres capture breathtaking views of the Tobacco Root Mountain Range and Hollow Top Mountain. Approximately 127 acres are flood irrigated with solid decreed water rights. The property, which borders state ground that abuts Beaverhead Deer Lodge National Forest, allows unlimited access to recreation.

South Boulder River runs the length of the property for about a mile and provides a very attractive riparian thread that wildlife and cattle use for watering. Nice stands of cottonwoods and willows harbor wildlife and contribute to the scenic landscape. The opportunity for big-game viewing is year-round as both elk and moose winter and calve on the property. The varied topography of the property creates exceptional wildlife habitat. Big-game hunting on the property and in the area is excellent.

There may be the opportunity to run some of a neighboring rancher’s cattle to generate some extra income and utilize the grass. The property is very well maintained and is sprayed for weeds annually.

Upon entering the property through the lower irrigated meadows, and crossing the South Boulder River, there are numerous ideal home-site options on the property. Electricity, telephone, and fiber-optic cable are available to the property line. There is an old homestead on the property which could be utilized by a caretaker.

Situated in a great location surrounded by ranches, agriculture, and beauty, this is a premium piece of property with all the desired features that today’s land buyers are seeking. This presents a unique opportunity to own a sizable acreage with endless views, recreation, wildlife, live water, and privacy in one of southwestern Montana’s most attractive locales.

South Boulder River Retreat is located about nine miles south of Cardwell.  Year-round access is provided by the county to the property via the South Boulder Road, which is a well-maintained paved and graveled county road.

Located near the historic town of Pony and the ranching communities of Cardwell and Harrison, South Boulder River Retreat is within an hour’s drive of Bozeman and Yellowstone International Airport, and within two hours of the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

Recently upgraded, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport at Gallatin Field in Belgrade (BZN) offers several full-service FBOs, including the Yellowstone Jet Center, and excellent commercial services through Alaska, Allegiant, American, Avelo, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Sun Country, and United Airlines. One of the busiest passenger airports in the Pacific Northwest, and the busiest in the state of Montana, BZN offers direct flights to 24 major airports around the nation including direct flights to the west coast, east coast, Texas, the Southeast, and Florida.

Approximate distances to other Montana cities and attractions are as follows:

Cardwell, MT
Pony, MT
Harrison, MT
Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport
Bozeman, MT via Norris
Bridger Bowl Ski Area
Big Sky Resort
West Yellowstone
9 miles
9 miles
11 miles
54 miles
59 miles
72 miles
76 miles
95 miles
111 miles

Deer and elk hunting in the South Boulder area and towards Pony is above average for the state of Montana.  Direct access from the property to adjoining state ground and the Deer Lodge National Forest, which abuts the state ground, creates additional hunting opportunities. Elk seek refuge on the property above the cliff line of the massive rock wall and regularly follow their game trails down the hillsides on the property to access the water in the South Boulder River. The abundant timbered ground on the property and on the adjoining ranches creates an ideal habitat for big game. Elk and moose routinely winter and calve in early spring on the property. The neighboring ranch, which does not allow hunting, is a safe haven for elk during hunting season and in the winter creating spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities. There is a direct vantage point on one of the best and most logical homesites on the property to utilize your binoculars or spotting scope to view wildlife on the property or on the neighboring ranch.  All in all, there is a lot of game on and around this property and the hunting opportunities are bountiful.

Northeast of the property, located in Three Forks, is the Missouri Headwaters State Park at the confluence of the Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin Rivers creating the headwaters of the Missouri River.  Two additional state parks in the area are Madison Buffalo Jump and Lewis and Clark Caverns along with the historic towns of Virginia City and Pony which are also well worth exploring.

Located in the heart of southwest Montana, the property is close to many exceptional outdoor recreational opportunities. The surrounding mountains, state land, and Beaverhead Deer Lodge National Forest provide almost limitless opportunities for alpine recreation including hiking, horseback riding, fishing, mountain biking, camping, and overall enjoyment. Many areas are also open for the motorized-recreational user as well.

Trout fishing in this part of Montana is some of the best the Rocky Mountain region has to offer. With several of Montana’s premier trout rivers only 30 to 75 minutes away, the property would be an outstanding home base providing the devoted angler miles of rivers and streams to relish for a lifetime on a comfortable “day trip” basis. An indication of this area’s world-renowned trout fishing reputation is the headquartering of the internationally known Simms Fishing Products based in Bozeman or Winston Rods in Twin Bridges.

Exceptional skiing is a comfortable one-and-a-half-hour drive from the property to Bridger Bowl or two hours to Big Sky Ski Resort, both offering numerous trails from novice to expert. Big Sky ranked as “The Biggest Skiing in America” while Bozeman has its own ranking offering a comfortable, small-town feeling with big-city amenities and an international airport.

The next owner of the property will literally live with a number of different options with fishing, hunting, hiking, rafting, skiing, and the cultural amenities of Bozeman so easily accessible.

The elevation gain on the property is a little over 1,370 feet, with the highest point around 6,400 feet above sea level on the northeast boundary of the Ranch near the rim and the lowest around 5,030 feet on the northwest portion along the South Boulder River.  There are some dramatic elevation changes with the cliff bands that span along the northeast quadrant of the property.

Pony receives approximately 16.2 inches of rain per year with the majority falling in May and June, and approximately 59.3 inches of snow.  Located in the USDA Hardiness Zone 4b, the average growing season of the area is approximately 86 days.  The last frost of the year is typically early to mid-June and the first frost tends to be in early September.

Average high temperatures in June, July, and August range from 66° to 76° Fahrenheit.  In December, January and February average high temperatures are between 32° and 37°.

Summer average minimum temperatures range from 40° to 49°.  Winter average minimum temperatures are typically between 12° and 16°.  There are an average of 186 sunny days throughout the year in Pony.

According to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, South Boulder River Retreat has the following water rights.  For additional information regarding the water rights, please contact listing broker David A. Lowry at 406-522-7342 or 406-459-8060.

41G 195375 00
41G 195380 00
41G 195381 00
41G 195390 00 1892.05.01 1 1 Headgate

All water rights in Montana are subject to an ongoing adjudication process by the Montana Water Court and, as a result of that process, may be changed as to the validity, amount, priority date, place of use, and other such changes as the Court determines.  The Seller has made all the filings currently required and will transfer the water rights as they currently stand with no warranty of future viability.

The Seller hereby makes known that there may be variations between the deeded property lines and the location of the existing fence boundary lines on South Boulder River Retreat.  The Seller makes no warranties regarding the location of the fence lines in relationship to the deeded property lines, nor does the Seller make any warranties or representations regarding specific acreage within the fenced property lines.

The Sellers are selling South Boulder River Retreat in its “as is-where is” condition which includes the location of the fences as they now exist.  Boundaries shown on any accompanying maps are approximate.  The maps are not to scale and are for visual aid only.  The accuracy of the maps and information portrayed thereon is not guaranteed nor warranted.

Seldom do properties like this come on the market in Madison County or the Cardwell to Pony and Harrison areas. There is a perfect homesite and a blank canvas for someone to create their own Montana wonderland. Between the views, sunrises, sunsets, amazing colors on the large rock wall face, wildlife, live water, irrigated meadows, and recreational opportunities, this property is a must-see and is truly unique.

Offering Price & Conditions

South Boulder River Retreat, as previously described herein, is now offered at US $3,250,000.00 Cash or Terms acceptable solely at the discretion of the Seller. Conventional financing and 1031 exchanges are acceptable to the seller. The conditions of the sale are as follows:

  1. All offers to purchase, or letters of intent must be in writing and accompanied by earnest money made payable to the escrow account of American Land Title Company in Ennis, MT.
  2. Earnest money deposits will be placed in escrow with American Land Title Company of Ennis, MT which will then place the funds with a local bank at nominal rates of interest accruing to the benefit of the Buyer until Closing, should the appropriate transaction be completed.
  3. All Prospective Buyers must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Listing Agent the financial capability to purchase the Farm prior to scheduling a personal tour of the property.
  4. The Sellers will provide and pay for a standard owner’s title insurance policy. The title to the real property will be conveyed by a limited warranty deed.
  5. All the appurtenant water rights controlled by the property will be transferred to the Buyer at Closing.
  6. The Sellers will convey to the buyer all mineral rights they own, subject to reservations by previous owners, including the gravel pit used for road base.
  7. Buyers’ Brokers are welcome and invited to contact David A. Lowry with Swan Land Company for additional information and to set up a private tour of the property. 48-hour notice is preferred.
  8. Any additional documentation provided to Prospective Buyers and their Agents related to and expanding upon the information contained in this offering brochure will be subject to terms of a Confidentiality Agreement to be signed by the Prospective Buyer and their Agents prior to the delivery of such documentation.

The Sellers reserve the right to affect 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.


A 48-hour notice is requested to make proper arrangements for an inspection of South Boulder River Retreat.

Swan Land Company has been authorized by the Seller to act as their Exclusive Real Estate Broker on the sale of South Boulder River Retreat.  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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David A. Lowry
My love for the land runs deep. I’ve been fortunate enough to lease and own working and recreational ranches in some truly breathtaking places, including Colorado, Montana, and British Columbia. As an avid hunter and angler with an entrepreneurial streak, I’ve always been equally passionate about the working and recreational aspects of running a ranch. ...
Meet the Broker
Swan Land Broker, David Lowry

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