On the Cover: Wood River Ranch

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This property appears on the cover of the Summer 2017 issue of LAND magazine. CLICK HERE to read more and subscribe to future issues

Located in northwestern Wyoming in one of the west’s most spectacular and natural backdrops along the east front of the Absaroka Mountain Range lies Wood River Ranch, a legacy property which embodies spectacular scenery, amazing fly fishing, trophy hunting and excellent improvements all within a working ranch operation. Situated near the end of the Wood River valley and nestled up against the Shoshone National Forest, Wood River Ranch enjoys a quiet private setting along the Wood River. Some of the most untamed natural lands in the United States lie just out the back gate of the ranch leading through national forest and eventually Yellowstone National Park.

Wood River Ranch operates on about 4,000 acres with approximately 1,000 acres of deeded land securing both sides of the Wood River, 1,000 acres of landlocked state leased lands and 2,000 acres of private and public lease land. The ranch backs up to some of the grandest and most remote backcountry within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Many places talk about having a big backyard but only a select few places can claim a backyard this big!

Wood River Ranch is offered turnkey and move-in ready with all the real property as well as the business assets. Additionally, in place one will find an exceptional General Manager and Executive Chef as the married management team. The ranch currently is operated catering to the owner’s desire for hunting and fishing as well as raising hay and cattle. The ranch operates its various units to make money and reduce overall overhead by providing private lodging and outfitting services for hunting and fishing without compromising the owner’s use.

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The ranch has excellent water rights, which are used to irrigate approximately 400 acres of hay meadow and irrigated bottomland pasture. It is, in fact, the last irrigated hay meadow going up the Wood River Valley, and as such, it is a magnet for the wildlife. It is a common site to see herds of elk and deer grazing in the meadows after the hay has been harvested. The upland mountain acreage is incredibly private and provides interspersed open parks, beautiful mountain lakes, springs, aspen groves, and pine/spruce forests. There is a wonderful trail system that takes you to a beautiful lakeside rustic cabin with the mountains rising up to the north that is arguably the most charming spot one can encounter in the entire valley. The diversity of land encompasses all that one can hope for. Ranging from the Wood River and its lush Cottonwood-lined river bottom hay meadows that transition to aspen groves and parks filled with wildlife and then ascending into evergreen forested lands that give way to the surrounding mountains and alpine terrain that protects the Wood River Valley from the strong winds that affect other parts of the State. The scenery is pristine and breathtaking.

Historically, Wood River Ranch has ran an all-natural beef program, high quality haying operation and extends its capabilities as a private first class outfitting/fishing/guest ranch. Directly bordering the 2.5 million-acre Shoshone National Forest outside of Meeteetse, Wyoming, the ranch operating involves grazing and haying the natural forage produced on the lands. The ranch is a mecca for wild Yellowstone Cutthroat trout stream fishing with private access to over two miles of the spectacular Wood River on the deeded land and another two miles on private lease. Wood River Ranch offers a multitude of exceptional hunting choices for many big game animals and game birds unparalleled in Wyoming. Landowner tags are essentially assured and available for most species.

The backdrop of the Wood River area includes the Shoshone National Forest and Washakie Wilderness, which possess nearly every big game wildlife species present in the Rocky Mountain ecosystem. The ranch offers elite guided trophy hunts for elk, mule deer, whitetail, pronghorn, Merriam turkey, mountain lion, Shiras moose and big horn sheep. With five-star accommodations at the ranch and a licensed Wilderness Camp in the Shoshone National Forest, Wood River Ranch offers the best of both worlds. Located at the upper end of the Wood River valley, the hay fields, as mentioned earlier, are the highest irrigated ground in the valley, making the ranch a natural hotspot for the wildlife.

Fishing on the ranch is its best-kept secret. For those fishermen in pursuit of the Cutthroat Slam, the Wood River is a renowned Yellowstone Cutthroat fishery. Wood River Ranch has fenced its riparian areas and restricted them to foot travel, allowing the river bottom to flourish. With no grazing on the riverbanks, the river has become the best possible habitat for insects, and the trout reap the benefits. All of the river fishing is barbless, catch and release, fly fishing only. For the novice fishermen, there are two ponds stocked with Yellowstone Cutthroats which are catch and keep if you like and can be prepared by the executive chef for you that day!

Improvements include many new and remodeled buildings, which include a main lodge, private owners home, caretaker’s house, two “bunk houses,” two outpost cabins, barn, livestock facilities, bridges, fences, ditches and roads. Turnkey assets include everything onsite from the machinery and equipment to linens and utensils excepting only the owners personal effects. Lodging capacity is rated at 26 persons; however, 18–20 is more comfortable.

Wood River Ranch is 10 miles south of the small ranching community of Meeteetse, Wyoming, and an hour south of world-famous Cody, Wyoming. Meeteetse is an Indian term meaning “meeting place,” and the Wood River Ranch lives up to that billing as the ultimate recreational meeting place to stay and play.

Daily commercial air service is located in Cody along with great shops, restaurants, bars and galleries. The world famous Buffalo Bill Historical Center is also found in Cody, which is known as the eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park.

Wood River Ranch is an amazing offering with exceptional views and a peaceful setting in a very special location. With a perfect operational design and large deeded holding, the ranch has profitable unit operations and offers the very best in the way of hunting and fishing with exceptional lodging and management in place. The property offers easy access to the remote Shoshone National Forest as well as the untampered waters of a very unique fishery. The sustainable nature of the land, improvements and operational management make this a very special property offering.

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