Rustle Up Some Cash: Legendary Montana Dude Ranch Available for $15M


The legendary Diamond J Ranch near Ennis, MT, is on the market for $15 million.

Located between Big Sky and Ennis, the massive 160-acre property features buildings that date to 1929. It also has a fascinating connection to a female trailblazer.

“The original founder of the ranch was a woman named Julia Bennett, who pioneered the dude ranching concept,” says listing agent Martha Johnson, of the Big Sky Real Estate Co. “She developed the ranch back in 1929. In 1959, the grandparents of the current seller bought it, and it has been a guest ranch since then.”

The sale of the ranch, currently operating as a summer-only guest ranch, includes 20 buildings. The main lodge features a commercial kitchen and large stone fireplace. There are also log cabins, storage buildings, corrals for horses, and a large barn.

For recreation, there’s an outdoor pool with a hot tub, indoor tennis court, spring-fed trout pond, and two creeks. Many of the cabins feature wood-burning stoves or fireplaces and balconies or decks.

“The property has only been run as a summer ranch, and there are water rights for irrigation,” says Johnson. “The grandmother was an avid tennis player, so there is an indoor covered tennis court. Most of the cabins were designed for summer only, but there are five houses that are able to extend year-round.”

Aerial view






There are no conservation easements on the property—a rarity in this area, according to Johnson. “Although the cabins are historically preserved, they are very well cared for. Someone could put easements on the property if they wanted to, which would offer a tax benefit.”

Surrounded by the Gallatin National Forest, the ranch is a little over an hour away from Yellowstone National Park.

“To get to Big Sky Resort, you can just drive along Jack Creek Road,” says Johnson. “You’re a half-hour away from Big Sky and the Madison River, which is one of the best trout streams in the world. It offers fly-fishing, and big-game hunting is also available nearby. It’s also not far from Yellowstone River. The first One & Only Resort in the United States is being built on Jack Creek Road between this property and Moonlight Basin ski area.”

The sprawling ranch also has no zoning, so the next owner could pursue endless opportunities for the property.

“Someone could come in and make it look a little shinier if they wanted, but still rustic,” says Johnson. “You could turn it into a family compound, or it could be a hunting lodge. I think the next buyer will be someone who wants a hunting or fishing ranch that reeks and oozes Montana with its log structures.”


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