Elk Lake Resort
Property Image
Address: 5200 Elk Lake Road
Lima, MT 59739
Price: $595,000
Type: Commercial
Once in a lifetime this kind of opportunity comes along. A property so unique, a location so pristine, a setting so untouched by time as to make one wonder if it could possibly be real. Elk Lake Resort has been dubbed, "A Mile From Heaven." The only question guests ever ask is: "Which side?"

In the lower 48 states, one would be hard pressed, indeed, to find a property located in a more pristine setting. In fact, there are few, if any locations which can compare to Montana’s Centennial Valley when it comes to unadulterated beauty.

Escaping the hands of time and progress are difficult. However, when the Federal Government stepped into the valley in the early 1930’s, they created just such a climate in the Centennial. With a 50,000 acre plus wildlife refuge at its heart, a few large ranches on its perimeter, and handful of private in-holdings scattered across its face, Montana’s Centennial Valley is one of the last places a person can actually experience nature - up close, personally, and privately.

Tucked in its own private valley on the north-east end of the Centennial, Elk Lake Resort offers the only commercial lodging / bar / restaurant combination in the area. Thus, not only is the location completely unique, the opportunities are endless.


Section 29, Township 13 South, Range 1 East, P.M.M. Located 15 miles north east of Lakeview, Montana on Elk Lake Road in Beaverhead County, Montana. Surrounded by public lands, Elk Lake Resort operates under a special use permit from the United States Forest Service.


Elk Lake Resort sits on the shores of Elk Lake in a private valley just northeast of the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. This large and untamed refuge covers over 50,000 acres at the valley’s heart. Originally established to protect America’s largest waterfowl and one of her rarest native birds, the Trumpeter Swan, the refuge is now home to a growing Moose population (over 150 animals wintered in the valley in 2008). Furthermore, the valley is a bird lover’s meca with over 230 species of birds identified and provides a home to one of the largest concentrations of Raptores in the Rocky Mountain West.

Elk Lake and the resort grounds are located in the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest on the southeast corner of Beaverhead County. Surrounded by public lands (state, Bureau of Land Management, wildlife refuge, and forest service), Elk Lake is one of a chain of lakes which traverse north to south with Elk Lake being the furthest south. Furthermore, Elk Lake is within an hour’s scenic drive from Henry’s Lake, Henry’s Fork of the Snake, the Madison River, Hebgen Lake, and Quake Lake. Add another quarter to half an hour and one can be in Yellowstone National Park, the Big Hole, or fishing the Beaverhead or Red Rock Rivers.

Elk Lake Resort sits off the beaten path. The resort is located about 18 miles from pavement and is accessed via gravel and gravel / dirt roads in the spring, summer, and fall. During the winter season, Elk Lake visitors enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling to the resort. Located about 18 miles from the nearest plowed road, a winter trip to Elk Lake is an adventure popular among Island Park and West Yellowstone’s visitors and residents.


In 1933 Faye and Edna Selby obtained a special use permit from the United States Forest Service for a hunting and fishing camp at ‘The Narrows’ on Elk Lake. The resort has operated since that time, evolving from a mere hunting and fishing camp to a full-service resort offering country gourmet meals and comfortable cabins to guests from around the world.

Due to its unique location, over the years Elk Lake Resort has entertained such famous folks as Jane Russell and Ronald Reagan. Others, not so famous but no less important to the Resort’s history have returned, year-after-year to enjoy the area’s solitude and pristine beauty. Many of these old-timers can tell stories from the Resort’s early years. In fact, some families are now returning with third and fourth generation members to continue a long-standing family tradition.


Elk Lake Resort operates under a special use permit from the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest. Special use permits for commercial properties differ widely from special use permits for private properties.

Not only do commercial properties enjoy a ‘controlled’ lease amount based on income, they also enjoy the protection of a buy-out clause in the actual lease. In fact, while many existing commercial leases on forest land were started with limited intentions, much like the Selby’s plans, many are metamorphosing into classy destinations which offer the best of a resort in a uniquely natural setting.

Elk Lake’s current special use permit from the United States Forest Service has been extended to 2017. Future owners can expect to be given a one year lease in which time they are required to prepare and submit a five year business plan. At that point, they can expect to be given at least a five year lease. The maximum lease one can obtain on a commercial special use permit with the USFS is 30 years. However, leases are renewed at the time of their expiration.

The current lease allows Elk Lake Resort to offer fishing boats at both Elk Lake and Hidden Lake. Elk Lake is a motorized lake with no wake restriction. The lease allows the resort to offer motorized fishing boats on this lake. Hidden Lake is a non-motorized lake. The resort’s lease allows them to offer four row boats for rent to the area’s fishermen.


Elk Lake Resort offers accommodations and meals to guests and visitors for much of the year. Guests to Elk Lake enjoy unrivaled peace and quiet, star-studded night skies, the various wildlife which inhabit the Greater Yellowstone Eco-System, abundant scenic photo opportunities, and varied fishing options.

Located near some of the nation’s most popular trout streams and the well-known Henry’s Lake, Elk Lake, Hidden Lake, Red Rock Creek, and Culver Pond are some of the area’s best kept secrets. However, those in the know can tell you these waters are home to not only some beautiful fish, but some large ones as well. In fact, Elk Lake, Hidden Lake and Culver Pond have all received news coverage lately.

Hawg Quest, a Fox Fishing Show, did a clip on Elk and Hidden Lake within the last year. Northwest FlyFishing did an in-depth article on Elk Lake in their July / August 2009 issue. Culver Pond has been mentioned in numerous books however, many authors have chosen not to disclose the name and exact location of their favorite fishing spot. Bob Jacklin, however, dared to tell it all in his recent article in the Big Sky Journal.

However, Elk Lake Resort is about more than just fishing. Guests to the area can enjoy guided hiking, guided auto tours into the Gravelly Mountain’s high country, guided horseback riding (with a local outfitter who has permits for both the Centennial Mountains and for rides originating from the resort’s grounds), and guided snowmobiling (in coordination with a local guide), as well as ATV and jet ski or ski boat rentals (in cooperation with a local supplier), and bicycle rentals.

Furthermore, the Montana Audubon Society has established an annual two or three night trek through the Centennials using Elk Lake as its home base. Numerous other organized wildlife, photography, and art groups have used or expressed interest in the resort for their programs. This, of course, is in addition to a growing number of family reunions and weddings which the resort hosts each year.

To accommodate our guests, Elk Lake offers a lodge which includes a country gourmet restaurant, and a dining room which seats 34 and overlooks the resort grounds, Elk Lake, and the surrounding mountains. The full-service bar has a full beverage license and seats 15 to 20. The comfortable gathering area features a custom designed rock fireplace and log decor. In addition, the lodge offers two full bathrooms for guest and employee use.

The lodge is approximately 5,000 square feet and offers living space above the main floor. The manager / owner’s living area includes three bedrooms, a sitting area, a bathroom, and a loft office.

All sleeping units are in private cabins scattered across the resort’s 10 acres. Each cabin offers lake and / or mountain views. Each has its own private bathroom and deck. Five cabins measure approximately 20’ by 20’. Two are approximately 20’ by 30,’ and one is approximately 30’ by 50’.

All eight cabins have been remodeled within the last 10 years and new furniture (except for a few antiques kept to promote atmosphere) has been incorporated. Five cabins have been remodeled within the last three years with new carpeting, new windows and doors, increased insulation, and new fire view propane stoves for ambiance as well as warmth.

Three of the cabins have one queen bed and private sitting areas. One cabin has two queen beds. One cabin has three queen beds. One cabin has one queen bed and a set of bunk beds. One cabin has two queen beds, a set of bunk beds, and a private sitting area. One cabin has five bedrooms and a large living area with a total of two king beds and five twin beds. All cabins have recently had their wiring and plumbing upgraded.

The facilities also include two barns - one with a cement floored shop area, 2 outhouses, a 10’ by 10’ walk-in cooler, a generator and power system building, another generator building, a garden shed, and two boat houses.

Elk Lake has a state-of-art power system which made the cover of Home Power Magazine in 1998. While the system was obviously a high-quality setup in 1998, since that time it has been improved even more. In the last few years the owners have replaced the old batteries with a new and improved battery pack, added significantly to the solar capabilities, and added a tracker to further improve the solar generation system. All this means that Elk Lake not only functions off-the-grid, but it does so with such efficiency that guests rarely even realize they are not connected to the local power supply.

Furthermore, the resort boasts four energy efficient freezers and one energy efficient refrigerator / freezer combination. An on-demand water heating system keeps fuel usage to a minimum for heating water. Additional appliances are set up to work well with the power system.

The lodge not only enjoys a state-of-art power system, it also has two buried landline phone lines. One is dedicated to the credit card machine and the fax machine, the other is dedicated to incoming calls. A third line is available should it ever be needed. Furthermore, the resort enjoys satellite television and satellite Internet service allowing owners, employees and guests to stay connected to the world beyond.


Elk Lake Resort has an approved all-beverage liquor license which is licensed to Genesis West Resorts, Inc., a sub-chapter S corporation. The current owners are the only shareholders in the corporation. Full service liquor licenses are no longer issued in Beaverhead County. This makes the lodge’s liquor license an even greater asset.

The bar area will seat approximately 15 people on log bar stools at the bar or at one of the four tables scattered around the room. The bar also features a large pool table where many a family feud has been settled.


Elk Lake Resort’s restaurant specializes in country gourmet cooking. In the early 1980s, the resort restaurant established a reputation as something quite a bit more than just a hunting / fishing camp kitchen. Since that time, dinner guests from as far away as Bozeman, Montana and Idaho Falls, Idaho have sought reservations in our dining room. In addition, over the years, the restaurant has developed some ‘signature’ recipes which one can only find tucked away at a little lodge in Montana’s Centennial Valley.

The spacious, light-filled dining room will seat a maximum of thirty four guests per seating. Furnished with pine tables, antiques and barn board furniture, the dining room invites guests to sit back, relax, and enjoy their surroundings, their food, and their fellow diners. The ambiance and relaxed atmosphere which permeate the dining room encourages guests to interact and guarantees laughter and pleasant conversations are the norm.

The large kitchen is set up to handle sit down dinners up to approximately 40 guests or buffet style meals for groups up to 80. The kitchen is equipped with a large reach-in refrigerator, a 6 burner cast iron propane stove with a large oven, a new 4 burner propane stove and oven, a propane fired deep fryer, two dishwashers, a large hood with an approved ANSUL fire suppression system, a meat slicer, microwave, mixer, food processor and various other small appliances as well as serving plates and utensils.

In adjacent rooms one will find five freezers, a standard refrigerator, 2 washers, 2 dryers, an ice machine and the two BBQ grills where most of the restaurant’s meat is prepared. A well stocked storage room and spice rack round out all the supplies needed to turn out the delicious, quality food for which Elk Lake is well-known.


The lodge is comprised of two levels. The main level houses the bar, the dining room, the kitchen, storage and laundry areas, and the gathering area with rock fireplace and fire-view propane heating stove.

The second level is comprised of an owner’s / manager’s suite with three bedrooms, a full bathroom, a private sitting area, additional storage, and a loft office.


The upper barn is an old log stock barn which measures approximately 40’ by 50’. The attached corral and trough has seen use over the years by guests who bring their own horses to explore the area.

The lower barn is also approximately 40’ by 50’. This barn is used for storage and also has a cement floor shop area.


The generator shed houses a nearly new 20 KW Alaska Diesel generator. The 1,000 gallon diesel fuel tank is located nearby.


The battery shed houses a tool room, the power system and a nearly new 20 KW propane powered Kohler generator.


A 10’ by 10’ structure, the garden shed offers storage area for some of the tools used in grounds upkeep.


This structure is used to store vegetables and bread products in the summer. The compression and refrigeration units were replaced in 1997 to enhance the cooling capacity. This building measures approximately 10’ by 10’.


Both structures average about 10’ by 10’ in size. One is located on Elk Lake and is used to store boat motors, canoe and kayak equipment, and floatation devices. The other is located on Hidden Lake and is used to store the oars and floatation devices used with the boats on that lake

Gibson Realty represents to its best knowledge and belief that the information provided herein by the seller is correct and accurate. However, it is not guaranteed by the agent. Prospective purchasers or other interested parties are required to make their own investigation and are not to rely on information set forth herein, since the same may be subject to change in price, terms or other conditions, prior sale or lease.

Copyright © 2007- 2018 Gibson Realty All Rights Reserved