Lay of the Land

The Centennial Valley 

Remote and undeveloped, the Centennial Valley is the definition of Big Country. Located two hours due west of Yellowstone National Park and just north of the Continental Divide along the Idaho-Montana border, the Centennial Valley is a place of sweeping grasslands, expansive wetlands, and dramatic mountain ranges. Neighboring the Red Rock Lake Wildlife Refuge and the Centennial Sandhills Preserve, and flanked by the Centennial and Gravelly mountains, the valley feels uniquely wild.

Home to the J Bar L’s summer headquarters, the Centennial Valley hasn't changed much in the last 100 years. With no towns, gas stations, subdivisions, or paved roads, the valley offers you the opportunity to experience the grandeur of untamed, open country. At 620-square-miles––more than four times the size of Denver––and with fewer than 20 year-round residents, the Centennial Valley still remembers how to be quiet. Stars burn brighter here, and mountains loom large. Once a Native American hunting ground, the Centennial Valley still serves as a critical migration corridor for the Northern Rockies. The Valley is home to grizzlies, wolves, elk, pronghorn, hundreds of bird species, and the countless other magnificent wildlife that draw millions of visitors to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem each year. These original inhabitants are often visible from the front porch of our homesteads, freckling the sagebrush prairie or watering at the Red Rock River.

The Centennial was settled in the late 19th century by a handful of cattle-ranching families and ranching remains at the heart of the Centennial’s community and culture. Relics of these original homesteaders remain––collapsing log cabins and weathered barns reminding of us the valley’s history of labor and ambition. A place defined by hard work, far horizons, and boundless wilderness, the Centennial Valley epitomizes Montana's natural grandeur and rich history.