Rare Jackson Wilderness Inholding Hits The Market For $9 Million

It’s not every day someone can buy a slice of their own wilderness. Especially a wilderness that comes with a cinematic icon nearby. The Granite Creek Ranch is just downstream from where an iconic scene in the 1992 movie “A River Runs Through It” was filmed.

RJ
Renée Jean

November 06, 20236 min read

The view is amazing at Granite Creek Ranch. The caretakers' residence appears small beside the mountains.
The view is amazing at Granite Creek Ranch. The caretakers' residence appears small beside the mountains. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

JACKSON — It’s not every day someone can buy a slice of your very own wilderness. Especially a wilderness that comes with a cinematic icon nearby. 

The Granite Creek Ranch in the southern Gros Ventre Mountains in Jackson Hole is just downstream from where an iconic scene in the 1992 movie “A River Runs Through It” was filmed, starring Brad Pitt and directed by Robert Redford.

While the movie’s setting was Montana, a portion of it was filmed about 26 miles south of Jackson. This particular scene is the one where the boys steal a rowboat and take it over a waterfall. 

The falls in that scene are none other than Granite Falls, and they are just a mile or two from the Granite Creek Ranch, which has just hit the market for a sweet $8.995 million.

It’s hard to believe what all comes with the ranch for that price, given that it’s in Jackson Hole, where smaller ranches and even some homes routinely list for much more.

Not only is this an inholding — one of only seven in the area — in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, but the post-card-pretty, 33.6-acre ranch has everything someone would need to open a guest ranch. The sheets are literally folded away in a closet.

  • The caretakers' residence at Granite Creek Lodge.
    The caretakers' residence at Granite Creek Lodge. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • This rocky construction is known locally as The Open Door. When the light hits just right it looks like there's an open door near the top of the rocky outcropping of the mountainside.
    This rocky construction is known locally as The Open Door. When the light hits just right it looks like there's an open door near the top of the rocky outcropping of the mountainside. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The shop at Granite Creek Lodge with the caretakers' residence beyond.
    The shop at Granite Creek Lodge with the caretakers' residence beyond. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The way into Granite Creek Ranch is a one-lane dirt road. In winter it's groomed for use by snowmobile, dog sled, snowshoes or snow skis.
    The way into Granite Creek Ranch is a one-lane dirt road. In winter it's groomed for use by snowmobile, dog sled, snowshoes or snow skis. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The oldest building on Granite Creek Ranch used to be a skinning shed.
    The oldest building on Granite Creek Ranch used to be a skinning shed. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

What You’d Get

The ranch has a 14,080-square-foot lodge with a new roof, complete with commercial kitchen, dining room, classroom, library, 16 sleeping rooms and two communal shower areas, one for men and one for women.

Surrounding that, there are six cabins artfully arranged beneath beautiful lodgepole pines, along with a couple of newer duplexes and fourplexes that can also house guests.

The caretaker’s duplex includes two 776-square-foot apartments, each with a full kitchen, loft and a partially finished basement that can sleep up to four guests. 

The steel frame shop for storing vehicles and equipment, which also come with the ranch, is 6,160 square feet, about half of which is insulated.

There’s an indoor pellet shooting range for pellet guns, and an outdoor skeet shooting and rifle range, as well as an axe-throwing area.  

“It is a phenomenal value,” Live Water Associate Broker Latham Jenkins told Cowboy State Daily. “Layer on top of that, it is ‘commercially entitled’ with a conditional use permit from Teton County to operate a ‘guest ranch’ for up to 100 people on the property.”

That’s a license that would be impossible to get today, Jenkins added.

  • Granite Falls on Granite Creek is where the iconic waterfall scene in "A River Runs Through It" was filmed.
    Granite Falls on Granite Creek is where the iconic waterfall scene in "A River Runs Through It" was filmed. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • A river runs through Granite Creek Ranch.
    A river runs through Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • A fire pit with bench seating at Granite Creek Ranch.
    A fire pit with bench seating at Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • A view from one of the cabins at Granite Creek Ranch.
    A view from one of the cabins at Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Granite Hot Springs is only a few miles from Granite Creek Ranch.
    Granite Hot Springs is only a few miles from Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Where The Moose And The Hummingbirds Play

The river that fronts the ranch isn’t part of the property, but there’s no fence, nor any need for a fence, so it feels as though it’s part of the ranch itself. 

“The way the creek wraps the property boundary makes it feel like they’re one,” Jenkins said. “You can fish off the bank, sleep with your windows open, listening to the rolling creek, and watch wildlife meander up and down the waterway.”

More than 400 wildlife species have been recorded in the area, so it’s not just where the deer and the antelope play. There’s also moose, hummingbirds, osprey, sandhill cranes, elk, beaver, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and bears, both grizzly and black.

In addition to being a wildlife paradise, it’s also a convenient portal to adventure. There’s more than 1,000 miles of trails for hiking or horseback riding — an adventure every day in every direction.

One of the coolest adventures is just a couple miles up the road from the ranch. There’s a natural hot spring feeding into the creek. They’re called “hippy pots” by the locals.

“A trail from the ranch takes you right to them,” Jenkins said. “(They’re) a perfect nightcap, sitting in them under the stars and glowing falls.”

Just a little further on from the hippy pots is a Jackson Hole favorite, Granite Hot Springs. 

The hot spring has a manmade swimming pool fed by a natural hot springs bath. It’s open to the public May through September, then reopens in December for the winter.  That’s when it’s most popular.

  • Granite Creek Ranch Lodge is surrounded by lodgepole pines.
    Granite Creek Ranch Lodge is surrounded by lodgepole pines. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Four-plex housing at Granite Creek Ranch.
    Four-plex housing at Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Duplexes at Granite Creek Ranch in front, four-plexes in back.
    Duplexes at Granite Creek Ranch in front, four-plexes in back. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Land cabins round out the available housing on the ranch.
    Land cabins round out the available housing on the ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Another view of the lodge at Granite Creek Ranch.
    Another view of the lodge at Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Limited Access

The one downside to the ranch for some would be its secluded access. To the right buyer, though, that might become a plus. The dirt road entry will undoubtedly keep out casual Looky Lous.

In winter, that road is closed to automobiles, but it is groomed for travel bysnowmobiles, dog sleds, snowshoes, snow skis, and the like. It’s a fun scene and easy for Granite Creek Ranch occupants to dive right in. 

Granite Creek Ranch has lots of history in Jackson Hole. It was homestead in 1919 by Dr. William H. McKahan, who raised cattle and pine Martens on the property. Pine Martens are small, weasel-like creatures with fur that resembles sable. They make exceptionally fine fur hats and other items.

Later, Slim Basset, well-known as an avid angler, ran it as a dude ranch and hunting camp with his wife Mabel. 

In 1960, Dr. Donald “Doc” MacLeod, Jackson Hole’s second physician, took it over. He’s known for delivering more than 2,500 babies and driving a horse-drawn sleigh to rescue patients. He even occasionally pinch-hit as a veterinarian whenever there was a need.  MacLeod Lake, 7 miles from Granite Creek Ranch, is named after him.

In more recent times, the property was owned by Safari Club International and had been serving as the home of the American Wilderness Leadership School.

“Granite Ranch retains the authentic Wyoming feeling, just like it has since the ranch was started as an outfitting business in 1938,” Jenkins said. “It is perfectly framed by the mountains, has a creek running through it, and you listen to the coyotes howl at night.”

MacLeod’s daughter Janet is still in the area on a different part of the original homestead and remembers riding all the way to Jackson for ice cream as a child.

She said people can still do that today from Granite Creek Ranch. In fact, a rider on horseback can go almost anywhere from the ranch — Turquoise Lake, Crystal Creek, Shoal Falls, or even to Cache Creek and Jackson.

  • Slim Basset was an avid angler and once owned Granite Creek Ranch.
    Slim Basset was an avid angler and once owned Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The lobby at Granite Creek Ranch's lodge is decorated with many head mounts from game animals.
    The lobby at Granite Creek Ranch's lodge is decorated with many head mounts from game animals. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Granite Creek Ranch includes a complete commercial kitchen capable of serving up to 100 guests.
    Granite Creek Ranch includes a complete commercial kitchen capable of serving up to 100 guests. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The library area of Granite Creek Ranch Lodge.
    The library area of Granite Creek Ranch Lodge. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The fireplace at Granite Creek Ranch. It's mantle has been inscribed by many guests over the years.
    The fireplace at Granite Creek Ranch. It's mantle has been inscribed by many guests over the years. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • The dining area at Granite Creek Ranch.
    The dining area at Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Inside a duplex at Granite Creek Ranch.
    Inside a duplex at Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Bunk beds have been stuffed into the 16 guest rooms at the Granite Creek Ranch Lodge.
    Bunk beds have been stuffed into the 16 guest rooms at the Granite Creek Ranch Lodge. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)
  • Bedding has been folded and put away for the winter at Granite Creek Ranch.
    Bedding has been folded and put away for the winter at Granite Creek Ranch. (Renée Jean, Cowboy State Daily)

Renée Jean can be reached at Renee@CowboyStateDaily.com.

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RJ

Renée Jean

Business and Tourism Reporter