Microsoft founder Bill Gates has acquired for himself a simple country abode: the Irma Lake Lodge, a $9 million, 492-acre Wyoming ranch Buffalo Bill named after his oldest daughter back when he settled the place in 1902.
The main house is at the end of a seven mile private road off Highway 89, so it’s a bit tough for unwanted visitors to get to and tour. Fortunately for all of us, sneaky Valleywag managed to obtain photos of the place before they were pulled off the Web. (How? They were cached by Microsoft Bing, of course.)
We loaded them up here and you should check them out.
Here’s the realtor’s now-removed description of the place, if you’re curious:
Located in Park County, Wyoming, Irma Lake is at the end of a seven mile private road off of Highway 89 at the base of Carter Mountain. The ranch lies adjacent to Shoshone National Forest and nearby Washakie Wilderness, which gives this property a backyard of over three million acres containing continuous wilderness and forest lands. For all its seclusion and privacy, the property is conveniently located within 21 miles of the town of Cody, the eastern gateway to Yellowstone National Park.
Consisting of 492 acres, Irma Lake offers a spectacular setting nestled among the foothills of the rugged Carter Mountain. With the unique topography of Irma Lake’s natural basin along with the fact that the Shoshone National Forest borders on two sides, privacy at the ranch is virtually assured. The terrain varies considerably from open knolls to thick conifer forests, aspen groves and rock outcroppings. Dotted across the ranch are four named lakes and three large unnamed ponds. Named by Buffalo Bill Cody after his youngest daughter, Irma Lake is the largest body of water with approximately 12 acres, followed by Lilly Lake, Arta Lake, and Natalie Lake.
Buffalo Bill settled into the most picturesque nook in the region and named his prized ranch after his eldest daughter Irma. Currently the ranch is privately held and is perfectly suited for an incoming owner who wishes to carry on the legacy of Irma Lake.
Irma Lake is well suited for hosting family or corporate retreats. Improvements include the main residence, guesthouse, caretaker’s house, dairy cabin, Buffalo Bill stable and a rustic hut on the island located in the middle of Irma Lake.
The main residence enjoys a commanding view of the valley. Perched above Irma Lake with expansive open spaces and patios, this home is perfect for indoor and outdoor entertaining. With over 15,000 square feet of finished space, the home blends into the wilderness with surprising ease, a tribute to Rogers Marvel architects. The home contains four guest suites in addition to the master suite, which sprawls over the entire northeast corner of the house.
The guest house lies to the east of the main residence. This 5 bedroom, 3 ½ bathroom home includes an open kitchen and dining room, living room and enclosed sun porch.
The most notable historic structure on the property is Buffalo Bill’s original 3-room hunting cabin. Perched on a knoll, the cabin has an excellent viewing location. This structure is not livable and current ownership has consciously elected to leave this historic structure in its original state to preserve a time gone by.
An extensive network of roads exists on the ranch, ensuring the owner easy access to their deeded ground and surrounding public lands. The entire property is perimeter fenced.
All appurtenant water rights will transfer.
The Irma Lake property is an ecological jewel set at the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Many unique aspects of the property and the area make the ranch quite suitable for a future conservation easement. The ranch is currently not encumbered and therefore could provide considerable conservation value for the incoming landowner.
Irma Lake provides the incoming owner with a unique opportunity to catch three different trout species onsite in the shadow of Carter Mountain. By instituting a feeding or increasing the stocking program, the size and catchable number of fish could be increased and enhanced.
The setting of Irma Lake provides one of the area’s most diverse wildlife viewing environments. More notably are the ranch’s big game species which at any given time of the year may include elk, moose, Mule deer and Bighorn sheep. These are in addition to bear, mountain lion, wolves, bobcats and even the elusive wolverine and lynx that can all be found on the ranch and in the immediate National Forest surroundings.
Irma Lake has some of the finest big game hunting the west has to offer. Along with fantastic Mule deer, Moose and Big Horn sheep hunting, Irma Lake is located in area 58 considered by many to be one of the best elk hunting regions in Wyoming. With limited tags hunters usually wait years to draw, Irma Lake qualifies for two owner’s tags in this coveted area.