“There are no bad views in Montana, just different ones.”
The same can be said about the varying neighborhoods that comprise Bozeman. Those of us lucky enough to live here label “Bozeman“ as an area that sprawls a solid ten-to-fifteen miles in any direction from the heart of historic Downtown. Each vantage point has its own distinctive feel. Surrounded by mountains, with a heritage based on agriculture and the University, the city and county boast different rates of density, zoning requirements, Homeowner Associations, schools, access to national and state land, property values, age of the home, maturity of trees and landscaping, and even weather patterns.
In order to help you acquaint yourself with this community, I am highlighting the major “neighborhoods” (in the broad sense of the word) that I tend to actively conduct real estate business within. My specialty is high-end real estate, and although there are individual homes located in some areas not mentioned below, I am giving Buyers of luxury properties an First, though, you should understand sub-division in Bozeman. I have had many out-of-state clients remark, “I don’t want to live in a sub-division.” Nearly every home in Gallatin Valley situated on 20 acres or less is in a subdivison because these properties were—not too long ago—large ranches and farms. In order to divide the acreage into smaller parcels, a sub-division had to be formed. I currently live in a 5 parcel “subdivison” of 20 acre sites.
Let’s start with Downtown. Main Street divides the north and south sides of Bozeman, with the more expensive and historic district being south of Main Street.
Zoning within the city proper, and the ability to alter the exterior of a historic home, is highly regulated, which has resulted in Downtown maintaining its charm. Downtown has also kept up its property values, with the desire to live Downtown being strong. Tree-lined streets and front porches add to the quaint small town feel. Neighbors know each other. The Village Downtown, at the northeast end of town, is the newest addition to Downtown housing, with a New England college campus feel, loft apartments and townhomes within walking distance of shops and restaurants, and easy maintenance for those who cycle in and out of town.
The Southside of Bozeman, heading from Downtown toward the Gallatin/Hyalite Range, encompasses a number of quiet, older residential areas, such as Gardner Park, Annette Park, Hitching Post, Lariat Loop, and Sourdough Ridge. Newer planned “communities” have sprung up in the past twenty years, all with Open Space and trail systems. Considered by most people to be the most desirable area close to Downtown, the southisde has mature trees, towering lilac hedges, and great locations. Some of the notable locations are:
Sundance Springs, a planned development of approximately 180 homesites, connecting to West Meadows, an area with condos and smaller lots, backs up to the main trail system leading into town and to the Bridger Mountains. Sundance Springs lots are generally under an acre, with a majority of the lots already built-out and backing up to the extensive Open Space and Trail System, which breaks up the density. Homes are priced generally from $400,000 to under a million dollars. Different builders and architects have created a visually interesting neighborhood, with close-by schools attracting families. The overall feeling of the homes tends more towards “Montana Mission” and bungalow style, but you’ll also find traditional two-story homes.
Northridge Ranch, with 11 homeowners, and Saddle Ridge, with @ 18 homeowners, occupy the ridgelines above Sourdough Road, the south/north road at the heart of the southside. These two sub-divisions are accessed by Trooper Trail, and both are comprised of 20 acre lots, larger homes, and commanding views of the valley. This small pocket of properties is within minutes of Downtown, yet decidedly rural in feel, with the wintering elk herd often in attendance. The few vacant 20 acre parcels today cost a million dollars and upwards, with homes rarely coming on the market and generally being in the two million dollar plus range.
Triple Tree was a large ranch that was sub-divided years ago into approximately 100 one-to-three acre lots with an extensive trail system, Open Space, and adjacent access to national and state land. Bordered by the forests on the southside, and less than 10 minutes to town, with a topography of rolling hay fields and wide-vista views, Triple Tree has proven to be quite popular. Over ¾ of the lots have been built upon. A variety of housing styles exist, with a strong HOA insuring that homes meet a high standard of quality. Prices range from $750,000 upwards to $2,000,000 plus. A full-time Ranch Manager keeps the area cleared of snow and always tidy, while homeowners enjoy their Community Center and friendly neighbors. Fences are not allowed, in keeping with the desire to have the area feel like a ranch.
From Triple Tree, heading east, but still along the bordering Gallatin Range and national/state lands, is Eagle Rock Reserve. Accessed through Triple Tree or from Tayabeshockup Road off Kagy, Eagle Rock is another ranch that was divided-up into approximately 23 parcels of 20 acres each, with a number of acres being designated as “ranch” land. A planned horse and nature-lovers community, each homeowner has a 3-acre building envelope situated so that individual homes blend into the undulating hills, with the remaining 17 acres having easements for all Eagle Rock homeowners to use for recreational purposes. Wildlife abounds, and the views are spectacular. Horses are kept at a community barn, and a fulltime Ranch Manager performs a variety of jobs, including overseeing the haying and roads. Prices in Eagle Rock begin at the million dollar mark, and in keeping with each home being unique, the prices vary widely.
Green Hills is one of Bozeman’s newest areas, situated between Cottonwood and 19th, beside the older Hyalite Hills and Mystic Hills neighborhoods. The approximately 70 homesites are on 1 (+/-) acre lots and command north facing views of the valley and the Bridgers, off in the distance. Bathed in sunlight, and nestled beside the foothills of the Gallatin Range, Green Hills is ideal for people who want to be situated closer to Big Sky and have quick access to national and state . A number of the lots have homes less than 5 years old, or have not been built-out yet. Priced from $750,000 to under two million, the homes are classy, modern, and with all the bells and whistles folks moving to Montana desire.
Montana Ranch is in Gallatin Gateway, south of Bozeman, on the western bench before you reach Gallatin Canyon, with Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch bordering the property. Originally the Day Ranch, this gated horse community is comprised of 2,800 acres, divided in 20, 40, 160, and one 270 acre tract. Minutes from world renown fishing on the Gallatin River, this is the ideal location for someone desiring the real west. Easements allow owners to ride, cross country ski, and hike throughout the property. Horses can be kept on owners’ land or at the community barn. Varying topography, rugged rock formations, and sweeping views of the Spanish Peaks, Gallatin Range, Bridgers, and even the Madison Range take your breath away. Vacant land is very reasonably priced.
Heading East and Northeast from Bozeman, you take either Kagy, which turns into Bozeman Trail, or 1-90, exiting at Bear Canyon, Jackson Creek, or Trail Creek. This part of the valley is flat and rural until you reach the convergence of the Gallatin Range with the Bridgers, which form Livingston Pass. Once in the canyons, the terraine is mountainous, with narrow valleys, forests, and the grandeur of Rocky Mountain life. Homes tend to be clustered in the valleys, while more isolated on hilltops and tucked into forests. There are few neighborhoods, but rather geographic locations. These areas include:
Bear Canyon Area begins in the valley and quickly rises into the Gallatin Range, on the south-east side of the valley. Bear Canyon and other areas close by—such as Bear Claw Lane—are forested, with abundant wildlife, and a decidedly “mountain feeling” as the canyon narrows. Close to 1-90 and the Livingston Pass, as well as Downtown, the property prices are in the $400,000 to $750,000 range with acreage. Many properties allow horses and are adjacent to public lands. Views vary according to topography. Homes tend to be more rustic in feeling.
Trail Creek is the furthest east of Bozeman area still considered to be Bozeman. Off 1-90 in the Livingston Pass, Trail Creek is the true Montana mountain and forest lifestyle, with many log cabin structures, horses, trails into wilderness, and a sense of being far removed from any city, despite being less than 15 miles from Bozeman. Prices reflect the distance from town, and vacant land can be found.
Kelly Canyon is much closer to town, on the northside of 1-90, cutting from the frontage road through a somewhat rugged, narrow grassy canyon over to Bridger Canyon. Views tend to be restricted due to the steepness of the canyon, and homesites tend to be elevated and tucked into folds of hills. Prices here depend on the acreage and age of home, but are decidedly less than either Jackson Creek or Bridger Canyon.
Jackson Creek, which winds it way between 1-90 and Bridger Canyon, has larger tracts of land with—for the most part—gorgeous custom homes, many with views of both the Bridger Mountains and the Absorkas. The valley widens in many areas into grazing lands and meadows, with the surrounding mountains covered in healthy, lush forests. This is an area for those desiring privacy, stunning views, and a more upscale enviroment. Home and land prices reflect the location and the luxury of the build, ranging from a million dollars upwards into the multi-millions.
Bridger Canyon is one of the most desireable areas for newcomers due to its decidedly mountain feeling and close proximiety to Bridger Bowl Ski Area, Downtown, and national lands. A number of pocket neighborhoods feed off the main Bridger Canyon Road, such as Armour Hills, Bridger Creek Ranch, Teepee Ridge, Bridger Spur Road, and Ross Peak. Bridger Canyon zoning is very strict, and the area is a combination of small, older homes, newer Montana Mansions, and parcels from small acreage to large tracts. Sales in the canyon are consistently the highest volume of sales in the area for residential properties, and finding the perfect property can be challenging as the inventory tends to be low. No matter where you live in the canyon, the Bridger Mountains are the star, and the rushing Bridger Creek provides the true image of mountain living. The valley can be narrow in places, with homes close to the busy road, but the “neighborhoods” have developed off the road, tucked into hills or areas where homes can be built and roads maintained.
North of Downtown, accessed from 19th, which becomes Springhill Road, or Manley Road, or one of the roads prior to entering Bridger Canyon from Bridger Canyon Road, are a cluster of areas ranging from river bottom land along the East Gallatin and creeks feeding into the East Gallatin, to grassy hay lands comprising the western slope of the Bridger Mountains. Known as the “Bananna Belt,” the further northern areas have warmer temperatures, less snow fall, and magnificient views of both the Bridgers , Madison Range, and the southern ranges of Spanish Peaks and Gallatin Range. Once again, 1-90 is a defining line.
Brass Lantern is a sub-divison of about 13 properties, each on 20 acres, located just below the famous “M” and accessed from Bridger Canyon Road. The homes are new, in the million-to-three million dollar plus range, and covenants allow horses. The property backs up to the Bridgers and public land and views look south and west, spanning the valley, with Bozeman city lights adding twinkling to the evening sky. This is where you want to watch Fourth of July fireworks!
Headlands is a small pocket of new homes on the southside of Bridger Canyon Road just east of Story Mill. Very accessible to Downtown, and on the flats, this sub-divison has small acreage lots and is close to the road, with great Bridger views and more affordable pricing, ranging from $600,000 to $1,000,000.
Old River Farm, off Manley Road, is a very upscale sub-division of 7 to 8 homes on 20 acre lots. Completely built-out, homes here are all multi-million dollar properties with spectacular Bridger views, close proximity to Downtown, and an exclusive, private setting.
Manley Meadows, which backs up to both Old River Farm and Riverside Country Club, has been developed within the last 10 years with a number of buildable lots still available. There are 40 homesites, between 1 to 3 accres each, with the homes that have been built having a Montana flair. Bridger views or Riverside Country Club settings are predominant. Lots range between $250,000 to $425,000 and finished homes—when they come on the market—tend to be just above the million dollar price.
Stonegate, Sypes Canyon, and Riverside Country Club tend to be older neighborhoods with mixed housing. Lot sizes have wide variations, with Stonegate having a higher density offset by a major trail system. Mature trees abound. Stonegate is definitely a surburbia feeling with density, while Sypes Canyon has hidden streets, large acreages with horses allowed, and surprises.
Autumn Ridge is another planned community with 20 acre homesites, wide panoramic views, gated, and covenants allowing horses.