Difficulty Creek Ranch
Southeastern Wyoming Cattle and Recreation Ranch
Established in 1899, the Difficulty Creek Ranch has rugged beauty and abundant wildlife, operating on a total of 22,236 acres. Ideal for the business-minded and recreation-oriented owner, the ranch is located in a convenient southeastern Wyoming location northwest of the 2 million acre Medicine Bow National Forest and just north of the Medicine Bow River. Located along the Freezeout Mountains south of Shirley Basin and approximately 60 minutes from the upscale town of Saratoga, the ranch is rich in American West heritage. Difficulty Creek Ranch was recognized as a “Century Ranch” in 1999 and has operated as a year-round cow/calf operation with hay production. The ranch has excellent year-round access off County Road 121, has a private airstrip for small aircraft, and is characterized with flood irrigation water from Difficulty Creek with 11 fenced pastures. The ranch has livestock carrying capacity for up to 350 +/- Animal Units year-around and improvements consist of a two-story main home, an additional smaller guest home, hunting lodge, livestock working facilities, and horse barn – all in the no-income tax, Cowboy state of Wyoming. The ranch has excellent wildlife populations including elk, mule deer and antelope with fishing for trout in Difficulty Creek and the nearby Miracle Mile on the North Platte River.
Location and Area:
Difficulty Creek Ranch is located in Carbon County, Wyoming near the historic town of Medicine Bow and approximately two hours northwest of Ft. Collins and Steamboat Springs, Colorado, 60 minutes from Saratoga, Wyoming, and the 2+ million acre Medicine Bow National Forest. The towns of Rawlins, Medicine Bow, and Saratoga have municipal air facilities for private aircraft and the town of Laramie, 76 miles from the ranch, has the public Laramie Regional Airport which offers commercial carrier service to and from Denver and other larger cities. Elk Mountain lies 35 miles south of the ranch at an elevation of 11,156 providing spectacular snow-capped mountain views and offers exciting year-round outdoor recreation from down-hill and cross-country skiing, world-class trout fishing, snow-mobiling, snow-shoeing, hunting, ice and rock-climbing, hiking, horseback riding, and camping.
For healthcare services, Memorial Hospital of Carbon County is close to the ranch and is a critical care facility offering trauma-related ED, cardiac, respiratory, radiology, laboratory, obstetrics and medical/surgical services including four day clinics. Difficulty Creek Ranch is located within the Carbon County School District 2 which encompasses 4,000 square miles in southeastern Wyoming and schools are located in the communities of Elk Mountain, Encampment, Hanna, Saratoga, and Medicine Bow. In Wyoming, districts can choose whether to allow students in all grade levels to attend other schools, including Charter schools, in their district (referred to as Intradistrict Choice) which offers wider opportunities for academic education surrounding the ranch.
Wyoming’s state population is 563,626 and ranks 50th in the nation. Cheyenne, with a population of approximately 58,000 and two hours southeast of the ranch, offers a larger selection in goods and services including dining, retail, entertainment and cultural activities and is home to Cheyenne Frontier Days, the largest outdoor rodeo in the United States.
Difficulty Creek Ranch consists of approximately 22,236 total acres with 11,260 deeded acres, 9,601 BLM Leased acres, 800 State of Wyoming Leased acres, and 575 Private Leased acres. Ranging in elevations from 6,500 – 8,300 ft, the land is characterized by creek bottom, irrigated meadows, canyons, buttes and hill tops interspersed with rolling grass and sage pastures.
The ranch is divided into eleven pastures:
Big Pasture/Calving Pasture……..1,635 acres
Pete’s Gap Pasture…………………..1,600 acres
Freezeout Pasture……………………..2,265 acres
Dry Lake Pasture……………………….2,745 acres
Dry Creek Pasture……………………..3,040 acres
Camel Patch………………………………1,990 acres
Horse Pasture………………………………640 acres
Meadows Pasture……………………..1,440 acres
Hay Slough Pasture…………………..1,761 acres
Outside Hills Pasture…………………3,200 acres
Washboard Pasture…………………..1,920 acres
Within the 1,440-acre Meadows Pasture there are 250 acres of irrigated meadow hay. All eleven pastures have excellent stock water, from creeks and stream flow, reservoirs, springs, and 25 miles of underground pipeline and tanks.
Main Residence: The Main Residence, built in 1934 with some updates, is comfortable and consists of two stories with a basement. It has a warm and welcoming ambiance with the interior tastefully trimmed with antique wood with period glass doorknob accents. The first floor contains 1,504 sq. ft. with two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, pantry, and living room. The second floor consists of 726 sq. ft. and has two bedrooms and an insulated attic and the basement consists of 1,452 sq. ft. with a pantry room and additional room for storage. Hot water baseboards heated by propane warm the home’s two interior levels along with a wood-pellet stove. The double-paned windows and a metal roof make the home function efficiently and cost-effectively year-round. Gravity-flow spring water is piped to the Main Residence and pressure-boosted by a pump. The home also has a septic tank and leach field.
Guest Home: The Guest Home has a comfortable, inviting design and was extensively remodeled in 2002 and includes insulated windows and a shingle roof. The first floor consists of 1,025 sq. ft. with six rooms, a full unfinished basement with a pantry room, and a 12’ x 14’ covered front porch. A propane forced-air furnace heats the home and water is provided to the home by gravity-flow spring water which is also piped to the residence by pressure-boosted pump.
Hunting Lodge: The Hunting Lodge is built up on a pipe and post foundation with a solid good structure and is approximately 1,500 sq. ft. A modest improvement built by avid hunters with hunting in mind, the open-concept floor-plan includes a full kitchen, dining and living room combination with three bedrooms and 1 full bath and is characterized with Linoleum flooring throughout, steel roof and siding, wood stove septic system, electricity and propane, and a water by water storage tank
Calving Shed: The Calving Shed measures 30’ x 64” and was built in 1988 from post pole and metal. It consists of six pens plus and a calving facility with a head catch and restraining equipment as well as running water and electricity in place.
Machine Shed: The Machine Shed measures 30’ x 60’ and was built in 1988 from post pole and metal.
Chute Shed: The Chute Shed measures 20’ x 60’ and was built in approximately 1925 from post pole and wood frame and has a squeeze chute, electricity and running water in place.
Shop: The Shop, measuring 24’ x 24’, was built in 1933 and log and wood frame and has electricity in place.
Horse Barn: The Horse Barn measures 40’ x 30’ and was built pre-1915. A sturdy structure with a wood floor, it was constructed of log and wood frame and has six stalls, grain and tack rooms, a hay mouth on the upper level and has electricity in place.
Miscellaneous Small Outbuildings: There are miscellaneous, small outbuildings on the ranch.
Ranch Headquarters lie along the banks of Difficulty Creek and the ranch’s working facilities are functional, sturdy and built to last. All of the improvements on Difficulty Creek Ranch lie in the central-western portion of the ranch.
Climate and Weather:
Because of its elevation, Wyoming has a relatively cool climate throughout the state despite it being arid. Average temperatures between June and August range between 45 – 90 degrees. Summer nights are almost invariably cool, even though daytime readings may be quite high on occasion with the southern portion of the state being the warmest, year round. July and August are the warmest months with highs between 85 and 90 degrees. Daytime average winter low temperatures on and near the ranch at the coolest part of the day range between 10 – 20 degrees with the occasional below zero nights. The high temperatures at the warmest part of the day during the winter months range between 35 and 45 degrees. The area around the ranch receives approximately 60% sunshine throughout the winter months and approximately 75% sunshine throughout the summer. Average annual precipitation is 12 inches per year with the greatest amount (1.5 – 2 inches per month) occurring between April and July. The greatest amount of snowfall occurs in March and April and averages between 10 – 13 inches. The snowfall between October and February averages anywhere from 4 – 11 inches.
For its relatively arid location, Difficulty Creek Ranch has good water resources for livestock, wildlife and hay production. Download Water Rights document.
Difficulty Creek Ranch was established by Pap Amos. Pap’s son, Frank Amos, sold the ranch to Charles and Olive Ellis in 1899, and in 1904, Olive Ellis established the first post office in the small town of Difficulty. The ranch was owned and operated by the Ellis family through four generations, 104 years; allowing it to be appointed as a “Centennial Ranch” in 1999. Current ownership has retained many of the Ellis practices in management of the ranch. The ranch has operated successfully as a year-round cow/calf operation, running up to 350 pair, subject to weather conditions. The ranch produces and averages 250 tons of hay annually and has flood irrigation water from Difficulty Creek (1901 & 1907 Wyoming Priority), ditches and meadows which have been continually improved and well-maintained over the years. Supplemental feeding is required during winter months and prospective Buyers should conduct their own analysis.
Recreation and Wildlife:
Difficulty Creek Ranch is a sportsman’s paradise supporting significant, healthy populations of big game including elk, mule deer, and antelope. Large herds of bull elk and cows migrate from the Shirley Mountains to winter on the ranch. In addition, there are numerous bird populations including wild turkey, Canadian geese, bald and golden eagles, and a variety of other smaller and colorful migratory bird species on the ranch. German brown trout are abundant in the lower reaches of Difficulty Creek and Brook trout live higher in the drainage. The primary spring that feeds Difficulty Creek has been estimated to produce 250 GPM and has an existing State of Wyoming permit. There is tremendous potential to enhance the fishery habitat on portions of Difficulty Creek which runs through the ranch as well as further enhance wildlife habitat to increase value, production, and enjoyment.
Additional elk hunting and trout fishing is available in the nearby 2+ million-acre Medicine Bow National Forest along with exciting summer and winter alpine recreation at the Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area with four chair lifts and ski lodge. With close proximity to northern Colorado, the ranch offers the opportunity for day trips to Ft. Collins, Loveland, and Estes Park, Colorado for entertainment, dining and shopping and is an approximate 3.5 hour drive from the majestic Rocky Mountain National Park.
Wyoming Tax Advantages:
Wyoming has some of the most favorable tax and asset protection laws in the nation and with no individual state income tax, business income tax or inheritance tax, assets are insulated in ways so that wealth can grow at a much faster rate.
Conclusions and Comments:
Difficulty Creek Ranch is a remarkable and unique four-generation, working ranch with low overhead. It is rich in history, and located in a tax-friendly state ideal for businesses and full-time residency. The ranch has easy access to the Colorado Front Range as well as Denver International Airport and is diverse in terrain, has abundant natural resources and wildlife, scenic attributes, agricultural production and easy access to four-season outdoor recreation on and off the ranch.