The Van Trump Report

Historic Wyoming Ranch Once Won in a Poker Game Hits Market for $58 Million!

The Gros Ventre River Ranch, rebranded as the Grand View River Ranch, spans almost 119 acres in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Originally homesteaded in 1910, the property has only switched hands a handful of times, including in 1944 when it was won by a local cowboy in what had to be an epic poker game. Operating as a working dude ranch since the 1960s, this is the first time in over 80 years that the storied property has been on the market.

Grand View River Ranch is situated in Teton County, Wyoming, surrounded by the pristine landscape of Grand Teton National Park and not far from Jackson Hole. It was originally homesteaded by William Smith in 1910. The property was later sold to William Woodward in 1920, and then to John Barnes of Washington DC in 1932. Barnes used the property as a hunting camp until 1944, when he lost the ranch in a poker game to Claude Wham, a cowboy working on another nearby property.

During much of this hand-changing, the land around Gross Ventre was being bought up by John D. Rockefeller Jr., who had fallen in love with the area after visiting the Grand Teton Valley in the late 1920s. In an effort to preserve the natural landscape, he quietly began purchasing land in the area through a local banker named Robert Miller, his identity kept secret. Rockefeller ultimately amassed 35,000 acres that would eventually become Grand Teton National Park. However, Gros Ventre was one of the few properties that resisted Rockefeller’s buyout attempts and thus became a rare federal in-held private parcel within the wilds of the iconic national park.  

Wham owned the ranch for just a little over a decade before a divorce forced him to offload the property in 1959 to his employers, the Chambers brother. The Chambers used the property to access their Turpin and Ditch Creek grazing allotments. In the early 1960s, the Chambers began operating a dude ranch they called the Flying V. The property was purchased by the current owners in 1986, who changed the name and began running the Grand View River Ranch the following year.

The property today is still a working dude ranch, featuring over 24 buildings that accommodate up to 40 guests and about 30 staff members. Several historic structures have been moved to the ranch over the years. Among them are four cabins and the J.O. Lodge relocated from the historic Bar BC Ranch, one of the first dude ranches in Jackson Hole.  

The ranch also spans both banks of the Gros Ventre River, offering exclusive access to a popular and scenic float, as well as an exceptional fishery. The river did not always run through the property, however. In 1925 a massive landslide dammed the Gros Ventre River and created a new lake known today as Lower Slide Lake. This historic geologic event also pushed the river’s path into the property boundary. This bestowed ownership rights on both banks of this Nationally recognized Wild & Scenic River to Grand View River Ranch for nearly a half mile of its flow.  

Check out the listing from Grand View River Ranch here, including more pictures of the spectacular landscape, HERE.

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