Retreat at French Basin$ 7,950,000
Locale & Locale
With best of the best views, this stunningly beautiful property is located in the southern Bitterroot Valley in the Sapphire Mountains near the tiny ranching community of Sula at the base of Lost Trail Pass. Although completely unexpected geographically, Trapper Peak, the highest point within the Bitterroot Mountain Range at 10,157 feet in elevation, plays a feature role in the views seen from on this ranch.
Through the core of the 90 mile Bitterroot Valley runs US Highway 93. The ranch has the advantage of utilizing this paved highway for all but the final five mile ascent into this private haven. Although secluded and pristine, the property is a short drive from the necessities of modern life to include several wonderful dining establishments in the immediate vicinity. Traveling north, the town of Darby is about 20 miles and provides banking, groceries, gas and lovely galleries and shops. Onward is Hamilton, the hub of the valley and full service community to include a jetport for private aircraft located 45 minutes from the ranch. The continuation north another 44 miles finds Missoula which services all of western Montana and has an international airport with commercial flights daily, a full array of medical and professional services and is home to the University of Montana.
Acreage & Grounds
This property lies in the center of the last of the prominent ranches, representing yesteryears in these modern times where the “ranchy” experience is all but gone from the Bitterroot Valley. The 705+/- acres of private land borders US Forest Service and State of Montana along the east line, providing limitless recreational opportunities. Diverse in terrain the grounds encompass timber, grazing land, open meadows and three developed ponds. On average, 400-500 head of elk migrate through the ranch while other big game populations are numerous including a large herd of Rocky Mountain Big Horn sheep.
Improvements include a 5,800+/- square foot custom home, a two-unit residence that currently serves as manager’s home and guest cottage respectively, a 40’ X 60’ equipment and workshop, a large heated shop with storage and artist’s studio and a commercial grade greenhouse.
Primary Residence – Main Level
Stately and contemporary, the primary residence sits high atop a ridge taking in 360-degree views. Finished in wood, rock, steel and glass, the floor-to 36’ ceiling windows look out at Trapper Peak and over the lands used by wildlife as their sanctuary. Lawn and landscaping surround the exterior along with a variety of natural rock outcroppings and inlaid stone walkways to coordinate with the stone and beam front entrance with stained glass front door.
Highlighting the vaulted ceilings of the main level are exposed beams and trusses accenting tongue & groove cherry wood with a showcase stone Rumford fireplace — efficiency meets beauty, with custom metal surround and raised stone hearth in this centerpiece of the great room. Rich wood shelving provides entertainment area storage. The kitchen is spacious and kept open to the unobstructed exterior views beyond. Filled with top-quality appliances and opulent wood cabinetry, this kitchen offers function and fun for entertaining. An adjacent dining room is placed strategically along a bank of windows. Off the great room is an elevated library with lots of built-in bookcases and a desk. Slate flooring covers the main level. High-quality finishes, fixtures, hardware and doors are evident throughout the entire home. Doors lead out to decks and patios that carry the continuity of views outdoors and allow for savoring sunsets in the mountain air.
The luxurious master suite is privately tucked in a wing of the main level. Plush carpeting and a gas fireplace create cozy warmth as the wood, iron and glass theme continues in this room. Views dominate two walls. An upper loft accessed by a circular staircase provides ideal space for an exercise room or home office, or both. Entry into the bathroom is gained either of two ways, via the “his” or “hers” side featuring dual gigantic walk-in closets before stepping into the enormous room that contains a jetted tub, twin head tile shower with rain and body water features, water closet as well as a bidet closet and a long double sink vanity. Functional shelving and storage is disguised behind practical mirrors. A small tile room from within the bathroom makes a great sun room or greenhouse.
Primary Residence – Lower Level
A lower level is open to the exterior, and in fact off one lower entrance is a fire pit and gathering area used for entertaining purposes. The double garage has direct access into the home from the lower level in the presence of lots of storage and pantry closets. A dumb waiter is located in the garage for ease of transferring items to the main level. A special area pet shower station has been designed in the garage with its own laundry room enclosed.
The lower level also has an art studio and a family room with a massive rock fireplace. Musical enthusiasts will appreciate the acoustically designed recreation room with Gibson guitar wall art and access to a mini kitchen wet bar. A guest bedroom is located downstairs as are both a full and a partial bathroom. Rounding out the downstairs features are a laundry facility and two fireproof rooms that could be utilized for storage of valuables or as wine cellars. Two mechanical rooms house the components that service the home to include the propane fueled forced air heating and cooling systems, in-floor heating controls and central vacuum. The home is equipped with security and fire alarms and has a residential sprinkler system attached to a 4,000 gallon cistern water system. A 15,000kw generator system is designed to auto-start to run the home in the event of a power outage.
Manager’s Residence / Guest’s Residence
A two-story log-sided residence features two separate living areas, each with full kitchen and living areas. The upper unit houses three bedrooms and two bathrooms with a wood-burning stove and the lower unit has two bedrooms and one bathroom. Both are surrounded by decks taking in wonderful views of the mountains, valleys and a series of nature ponds that are a draw for wildlife. A lovely landscaped yard encircles the grounds.
In the same vicinity as the manager’s residence are two large shops and a commercial grade greenhouse. The first shop is a 40’ x 60’ building functional for vehicles and equipment with a full workshop area for making repairs and an upper loft with plenty of storage capacity. Another building of similar size is heated and can be utilized as an art and musical studio, exercise gym and also maintains a large loft and storage areas.
Recreationally, this property in the in heart of all the things that make Montana and mountain living so sought after. In addition to the massive playground that comprises the deeded acreage, the ranch is positioned adjacent to US Forest Service land as well as State of Montana ground. Endless options exist for hiking, ATV and snowmobile exploration, cross-country skiing, photography and archery & rifle big game hunting. Located 15 miles from the property is Lost Trail Powder Mountain, a downhill ski area acclaimed for its great snow conditions. The East Fork of the Bitterroot River traverses the valley just below and has several fishing and rafting access areas all in close proximity. Anglers of all levels enjoy fly-fishing the Big Hole River, a “blue-ribbon” trout stream only half an hour’s drive away. Two reservoirs within 45 minutes provide boating and water sports.
As mentioned previously, this property and the surrounding visible hillsides are a haven for wildlife! Enjoy the opportunity to spy on the ecosystem at work, viewing herds of elk, numerous mule and whitetail deer, moose, wolves, bear and large bands of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Turkeys, geese, heron and majestic bald eagles also navigate the grounds.
Contact Jane Iten @ 406.363.1010 for a full profile of this spectacular property!