Regarded as one of the finest trophy big game hunting and recreational ranches in Colorado, Big Mountain Ranch is a true sportsman’s paradise. This inspiring 3,549± deeded acre ranch is situated adjacent to the national forest on the west slope of the Flat Tops Mountains, providing a beautiful setting for outstanding improvements and a wide variety of sporting venues. The multi-faceted property encompasses a rich landscape varying from the rolling drainages of the Piceance Creek valley up to the aspen groves, dark timber and lush meadows of Big Mountain at nearly 10,000 feet. With nearly 10 miles of common boundary with White River National Forest and BLM lands, the diverse topography and vegetation of the ranch results in very scenic views and excellent wildlife habitat that not only support large numbers of elk and mule deer, but draws them from the adjacent public lands. The ranch encompasses historical elk rutting grounds and attracts trophy-caliber herd bulls every year.
The luxurious custom stone and log main home and guest house are recently constructed with exquisite finishes and offer first-class accommodations for family and guests. An extensive internal road network and trail system links the improvements and a wide variety of recreational activities for multi-generational enjoyment including numerous trout-filled ponds, indoor/outdoor shooting range, sporting clays course, gaming lodge, snowmobiling, horseback riding, biking and hiking. Located midway between Meeker and Rifle, the ranch is accessible via good roads less than 20 miles from I-70 and an excellent airport. The current owners initially chose this location over a decade ago due to its captivating setting, privacy and wildlife. Over the years they have painstakingly expanded the boundaries and completed extensive improvements to make the ranch the amazing turn-key sporting paradise that it is today.
Big Mountain Ranch is located in Garfield County on the western edge of the Flat Tops Mountains in northwest Colorado. From its location midway between Meeker and Rifle, the ranch is less than 30 minutes to either town. County Road 252 forms the west boundary of the ranch and provides access to paved State Highway 13, which links Meeker and Rifle, approximately 3 ± miles to the west.
There are a variety of cities, towns and resorts located within an easy drive of the ranch. Meeker, with a population of about 2,400 is the county seat and most populous town of Rio Blanco County. Located on the famous White River, Meeker is internationally known as a premier destination for big game hunting and fishing. Meeker is a thriving community and has retained its culture as a true western town still primarily influenced by agriculture and recreation. Meeker is home to a 6,500-foot jet-capable airstrip.
From its location on the Colorado River and Interstate 70 between Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, Rifle has long served as a commerce center. Today it is also well known as an outdoorsman’s town, providing access for those exploring the Flat Tops, Roan Plateau, Bookcliffs and Battlement Mesa. Rifle is served by a general aviation airport with an excellent 7,000 x 100 foot runway that saw $47 million in upgrades in 2010. Both Meeker and Rifle offer a full complement of services from restaurants and motels, to banks, medical facilities, grocery stores and outfitters.
The resort communities of Aspen, Snowmass, Beaver Creek and Vail are all within a two-hour drive of the ranch. In addition to skiing, these year-round resorts also offer a variety of dining, shopping and recreational diversions. From the ranch, it is approximately 45 miles to Glenwood Springs and 85 miles to Grand Junction, the largest city on the western slope of Colorado. Commercial air service is within 90 minutes of the ranch on I-70 either west of Rifle at Grand Junction or east of Rifle at the Eagle County Regional Airport, which serves the Vail Valley.
The area immediately surrounding the ranch is characterized by three distinct and picturesque geographic zones - the Flat Tops Mountains, the upper Piceance and West Rifle Creek valleys, and the Grand Hogack. The ranch is a contiguous area of mountainous terrain running from the Flat Tops mountains to West Rifle Creek and Upper Piceance Creek.
The majority of the Flat Tops fall within the 2.3 million acre White River National Forest which the ranch borders along its east boundary. Within the forest, 235,000 acres are preserved in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. The Flat Tops are more of a huge elevated plateau than a typical mountain range, but the plateau has been eroded into many individual peaks and summits, and most of them are flat-topped, or dome-like. This area is like no other in Colorado. Many peaks of the Flat Tops Mountains exceed 12,000 feet in elevation, especially in the eastern half of the range. The namesake Big Mountain peak that is on the ranch, at just under 10,000 feet, is the highest peak in the western portion of the range offering excellent views of the surrounding area.
In contrast to the scattered dome peaks of the Flat Tops Mountains is the Grand Hogback, which stretches continuously along the south and west rim of the Flat Tops from Glenwood Springs to Meeker. The Grand Hogback is generally only two or three miles wide but approximately 50 miles in length. Elevations range up to 9,000 feet and the peaks and drainages can be quite rugged. Much of the Hogback is public land managed by the BLM and big game hunting can be excellent. The Grand Hogback forms much of the views facing west from Big Mountain Ranch.
Between the Flat Tops and the Grand Hogback are a number of creek valleys. Two of these, Piceance Creek and West Rifle Creek, drain the west side of the Flat Tops and the east side of the Hogback in the neighborhood where Big Mountain Ranch is located. Piceance Creek cuts through the Hogback providing the route for the county road to access the west boundary of the ranch from the paved highway. This central valley region is characterized by rolling hills punctuated by a number of side drainages.
Big Mountain Ranch is appropriately named not only because the 9,853 foot summit of Big Mountain Peak is located in the northeast corner of the ranch, but also because the name evokes the kind of majesty that is found on the property. Big Mountain Ranch has incredible diversity of terrain and vegetation within its borders. At its lower elevation of 7,200 feet, lush mountain grasses and colorful brush cover rolling terrain. As elevation increases, aspen and coniferous trees predominate, interspersed with open parks and meadows. The eastern portion of the ranch gains elevation quickly along the slopes of Big Mountain, leading to the property boundary with White River National Forest and the Flat Tops Mountains.
Piceance and West Rifle Creeks lie along the west boundary of the ranch. Within the east Piceance Creek basin are numerous ponds, countless springs, colorful hills and fertile valleys, each with their own characteristics. The basin holds impressive numbers of big game and other wildlife species.
A county road runs north/south, forming parts of the west ranch boundary and providing access to the ranch. A system of private trail roads has been developed providing good access throughout the property for a variety of activities.
While the public roads make for convenient access to the ranch, impact on ranch privacy is minimized due to topography. Another very significant aspect of this large holding, which was carefully assembled by the current owner over a number of years, is the fact that more than half of the property joins White River National Forest and BLM lands – a total of nearly 10 miles of common boundary.
The ranch is comprised of all deeded land with the exception of one parcel of 160± acres representing a 50% undivided interest. Acreage is approximately as follows:
Deeded 100% Interest: 3,469± Acres
Deeded 50% Interest: (160 x 50%) 80± Acres
Total Deeded Land: 3,549± Acres
While this acreage is quite substantial in its own right, the property with its diverse topography and adjacent public lands feels much larger. In addition there is direct access to one of the largest National Forests in Colorado from the ranch. This access provides literally hundreds of thousands of recreational acreage, some of which is designated Wilderness, at one’s doorstep.
Big Mountain Ranch is complimented by a variety of structural improvements to support the use and enjoyment of the ranch. High-quality residential and recreational buildings are very appealing, comfortable and practical. The structures are designed to be low maintenance and are suited to a broad range of usage levels, whether it’s a quick getaway for two or a gathering for extended family and friends over a long holiday weekend. Details on the major structures are summarized as follows:
The luxurious owner’s home is located at the head of a secluded valley adjacent to a nice pond stocked with trout and a small cascading creek.
The owner’s custom home is of large log and stone construction with three levels containing approximately 5,000± sq. ft. inclusive of the garage. The lower level has an oversize, heated two-car garage, custom walk-in gun room, living area and utilities. Up one level are the modern kitchen, dining area, living room with stone fireplace and cathedral ceiling, bedroom and bathrooms. A wrap-around covered deck accessible from this level looks up and down the valley with inspiring views. The third level contains the master bedroom, master bath with steam shower, additional bedroom and loft, and office/sitting area. Finishes throughout the home are of very high quality.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
An excellent collection of buildings and amenities has been constructed on Big Mountain Ranch over the last 10 years under the guidance of the current owner. The improvements reflect superior craftsmanship, are well finished and very appealing.
The attractive guest home is just down the valley from the main house. Also adjacent to a well stocked pond, this dwelling overlooks a large stone patio with a fire-pit next to the pond. This beautiful two-level stone and log home has five bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, kitchen, dining area, living room and a large deck, with a total size of 2,852± sq. ft.. Construction and finish quality are excellent and result in very comfortable accommodations for up to 15 guests.
Located on a hilltop a short distance from the main home and guest house is the recreation lodge or game hall. This expansive 1,120± sq. ft. log building is used by all members of the family and contains a wide variety of entertainment gear including a pool table, darts, foosball, card table, ping pong, shuffleboard table and other activities. The lodge is ringed with windows and a covered porch looking over the ranch is an ideal evening spot to view game movement across the ranch.
Two unique separate shooting pavilions provide a venue for additional entertainment and enhancement of shooting skills. The rifle range features a 465± sq. ft. log building, from which one can shoot in heated comfort, in addition to a covered concrete patio with several shooting stands. The range is set up with a variety of targets from 100 to 1,200 yards in 100 yard increments.
The fully automated sporting clays course includes a 377± sq. ft. club house for shelter and equipment storage. There are five covered shooting stands with eight remote-controlled throwing stations to send targets in a variety of challenging directions.
A small corral and tack shed at the guest home is convenient for keeping horses. Trails leading from these facilities provide a base for miles of great horseback riding.
Complementing the ranch operations is an essential 12,924± sq. ft. equipment storage building and shop with an attached one-bedroom apartment. This building is insulated with nine storage bays featuring large overhead doors, two of which are drive-through. Half of the building is heated and most of the bays have concrete floors and floor drains. Compressed air is distributed across the bays and there is a wash bay. A loft over the apartment and shop area has drive-up storage for snowmobiles and ATV’s.
Electric service was recently extended from Highway 13 to provide power to the owner’s home, guest house and the game hall. All electric lines on the ranch were buried to minimize visual impacts. The main and guest houses are also supported by a back up generator. Domestic water is sourced at a quality spring and supplied to the main house and guest house via pipeline and other locations in cisterns.
Big Mountain Ranch is located in the mountains of western Colorado. Crisp mountain air and bright blue skies are common occurrences in this environment. Annual precipitation on the ranch varies from 18” on the lower elevations to over 24” at higher elevations. Snowfall ranges between 100 to 300 inches annually, with higher elevations holding snow throughout the winter. Summer days will find high temperatures in the 70s and 80s with evenings cooling rapidly. Winter temperatures will frequently be in the 20s for daytime highs with occasional sustained cold snaps.
The ranch is lightly utilized for livestock with a lease to a local sheep operator. The sheep usually move through the ranch for two to three weeks each spring followed by a similar grazing period in late summer. The property benefits from this use, as the operator is responsible for fencing repair and the light utilization benefits big game habitat.
For all its attractions, Big Mountain Ranch really stands out for its wildlife and hunting opportunities. The ranch consistently has strong numbers of big game and produces trophy-caliber bull elk and buck mule deer every year. There are a number of reasons why Big Mountain Ranch is such an exceptional wildlife and hunting ranch.
First is the location in an area with large numbers of game. The Flat Tops Mountains are home to the largest Rocky Mountain elk herd in North America, numbering over 42,000, and a huge mule deer population, estimated to be over 61,000 plus another 8,300 in the neighboring Rifle Creek herd. The elk and mule deer in this area also have solid genetics, with the bulls and bucks exhibiting good antler growth and typical antler formations. It is worth noting that the ranch encompasses historical elk-rutting grounds and attracts large number of elk including trophy caliber herd bulls every year.
Second is large deeded acreage with superior habitat. As discussed earlier, the ranch offers diverse topography and vegetation, all of which is excellent habitat in particular for elk and mule deer. From the oak brush and sage, to aspen groves and dark timber, elk utilize the entire ranch and there are elk on some part of the ranch every day of the year. Current ranch ownership has completed significant wildlife improvements including clearing brush to create hundreds of acres of new meadows, many of which are alfalfa and even a field of turnips. By acquiring land with the right native habitat and then making it even better through wise enhancements, the ranch has become one of the finest wildlife properties in Colorado.
Third is the significant amount of neighboring public lands. Sharing nearly 10 miles of boundary with national forest and BLM means that the wildlife can freely move back-and-forth throughout the year. Naturally, as soon as hunting season nears and human activity increases in the public lands, many animals seek refuge on private lands where they are more or less left alone. Big Mountain Ranch becomes a wildlife sanctuary every fall.
The fourth reason that Big Mountain Ranch has high numbers of game is its wildlife-focused management. This relates not just to hunting but supporting wildlife in general. Even though the ranch is home to large numbers of animals, it is not overhunted. Harvested animals are carefully chosen. The ranch is not heavily grazed to save forage for the wildlife. The internal network of roads and trails are maintained to provide easy access for stalking and game retrieval. Care had been taken to attract and maintain superior populations of big game.
Lastly, due to the ranch’s size and location, it is relatively easy for owners and guests to obtain elk and mule deer hunting licenses. The ranch is located in Game Management Units #23 and #33, which offers an unlimited either-sex elk license for two of the four rifle seasons, and unlimited archery tags for private land only during the archery season. This means that an elk hunter can purchase an over-the-counter license for either of the 9-day rifle seasons or the month-long archery season. It does not matter whether the hunter is a resident or non-resident of Colorado. No mule deer licenses are available over-the-counter in Colorado, but large landowners such as Big Mountain Ranch can receive priority preference to increase their chances of drawing tags through the license application process. Traditionally the ranch has harvested a very sustainable 10-to-12 mature bull elk and five-to-seven quality mule deer bucks annually.
There are over a dozen ponds on the ranch, many of which have been stocked with trout. Most are fed by springs and creeks and stay full year-round. A variety of trout inhabit the stocked ponds ranging from under a pound to some surprisingly hefty fish. Trophy trout in excess of 30 inches are caught every year. The method of fishing or the type of fly or lure does not seem to matter.
The result is that a ranch guest of any age with little fishing experience can catch the fish of a lifetime. In addition, the ranch is located within a short drive of two of Colorado’s top rivers, the White and the Colorado, making for convenient day trips.
Big Mountain Ranch offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities for people of all ages to complement the excellent hunting and fishing. The rifle range is great for target competitions and long-range shooting as well as sighting in. The sporting clays course is a favorite for determining who’s the best shot at a variety of moving targets. The extensive trail system throughout the ranch provides many miles for hiking, biking, horseback riding, ATV’s, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. There is an area used for paintball games and another that is used for snowcat-accessed downhill skiing and sledding. Of course the gaming lodge provides indoor entertainment options in the evenings and during inclement weather. Suffice it to say that no one visits Big Mountain Ranch and gets bored.
The attractive scenery of this diverse ranch is accentuated by the ability to overlook the ranch from several viewpoints. Two outstanding view sites are from the porch of the game hall, and from the top of Big Mountain looking west across the valley and up at the rugged hills of the Grand Hogback. It is unusual for a ranch to have the topography and boundaries to make such an experience not only possible, but relatively easy to accomplish.
There are a number of spring, well and ditch water rights for irrigation, piscatorial (fishing), domestic, stock watering, fire protection and power generation uses associated with the ranch. A more detailed analysis of water rights will be available at the appropriate time.
The majority of mineral rights on the ranch are owned by the Federal Government. Any appurtenant minerals owned by the Seller will transfer with a sale. Although there has been significant oil and natural gas development in the Piceance Basin to the west and south of the ranch for decades, these deposits do not appear to extend to the upper Piceance Creek valley, as evidenced by the lack of minerals exploration, extraction and leasing activities on the ranch or in the surrounding neighborhood.
Big Mountain Ranch is a wild and scenic property featuring exceptional big game hunting and sporting pursuits that have been thoroughly refined with a variety of improvements and luxurious accommodations. This ranch stands out as an exceptional multi-faceted sporting property with captivating scenery, surprising privacy and an impressive character that is true to its name. Big Mountain Ranch is an excellent candidate for an active family who loves to play outdoors and are seeking a diverse and well-appointed property that is ready to enjoy immediately.
* Some of the outstanding photography herein was provided by Richard Pruitt. (Contact information is available upon request.)
MANAGEMENT SERVICES – Hall and Hall’s Management Division has a very clear mission–to represent the owner and to ensure that his or her experience is a positive one. Services are customized to suit the owner’s needs. They often begin with the recruiting and hiring of a suitable ranch manager or caretaker and are followed by the development of a management or operating plan along with appropriate budgets. Ongoing services include bill paying, ranch oversight, and consulting services as needed. Even the most sophisticated and experienced ranch owners appreciate the value of a management firm representing them and providing advice on local area practices and costs. Wes Oja and Jerome Chvilicek at (406) 656-7500 are available to describe and discuss these services in detail and welcome your call.
RESOURCE ENHANCEMENT SERVICES – Increasingly the value of a ranch is measured by the quality of each and every one of its resources. Coincidentally, the enhancement of a ranch’s resources also increases the pleasure that one derives from the ownership of a ranch. Our management services have included the assessment of everything from wildlife habitat to bird habitat to water resources and fisheries and the subsequent oversight of the process involved with the enhancement of these resources. Wes Oja, Jerome Chvilicek or Dan Bergstrom at (406) 656-7500 are available to describe and discuss these services in detail and welcome your call.
AUCTIONS - Hall and Hall Auctions offer “Another Solution” to create liquidity for the owners of Investment-Quality Rural Real Estate. Our auction team has experience in marketing farmland, ranchland, timberland and recreational properties throughout the nation. Extreme attention to detail and complete transparency coupled with Hall and Hall’s “Rolodex” of more than 40,000 targeted owners and buyers of rural real estate help assure that there are multiple bidders at each auction. In addition, the unique Hall and Hall partnership model creates a teamwork approach that helps to assure that we realize true market value on auction day. For more information on our auction services contact Scott Shuman at (800) 829-8747.
APPRAISALS - Staying abreast of ancillary market influences in ever-changing economic conditions requires a broad professional network to tap into. Finding an appraiser who not only understands the numbers but also the differences in value from one area to another is a critical part of making an informed decision. The appraisal team at Hall and Hall, formed entirely of Accredited Members of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA), has that critical network of brokers and lending professionals. This professional network coupled with diverse experience across multiple regions and market segments allows our appraisal team to deliver a quality product in a reasonable timeframe. For more information contact our appraisal team at (406) 656-7500.
SPECIALIZED LENDING - Since 1946 Hall and Hall has created a legacy by efficiently providing capital to landowners. In addition to traditional farm and ranch loans, we specialize in understanding the unique aspects of placing loans on ranches where value may be influenced by recreational features, location and improvements and repayment may come from outside sources. Our extensive experience and efficient processing allows us to quickly tell you whether we can provide the required financing.
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Tina Hamm • (406) 656-7500
Mike Hall or Judy Chirila • (303) 861-8282
Monte Lyons • (806) 698-6882
J.T. Holt • (806) 698-6884
In Colorado, Buyers should be aware that different real estate brokerage relationships are available which include seller agency, buyer agency or transaction-brokerage.
BROKERAGE DISCLOSURE TO BUYER
Definitions of Working Relationships:
A seller’s agent (or listing agent) works solely on behalf of the seller to promote the interests of the seller with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the seller. The seller’s agent must disclose to potential buyers all adverse material facts actually known by the seller’s agent about the property. A separate written listing agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the seller.
A buyer’s agent works solely on behalf of the buyer to promote the interests of the buyer with the utmost good faith, loyalty and fidelity. The agent negotiates on behalf of and acts as an advocate for the buyer. The buyer’s agent must disclose to potential sellers all adverse material facts actually known by the buyer’s agent including the buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of the transaction and if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. A separate written buyer agency agreement is required which sets forth the duties and obligations of the broker and the buyer.
A transaction-broker assists the buyer or seller or both throughout a real estate transaction by performing terms of any written or oral agreement, fully informing the parties, presenting all offers and assisting the parties with any contracts, including the closing of the transaction without being an agent or advocate for any of the parties. A transaction-broker must use reasonable skill and care in the performance of any oral or written agreement, and must make the same disclosures as agents about all adverse material facts actually known by the transaction-broker concerning a property or a buyer’s financial ability to perform the terms of a transaction and if a residential property, whether the buyer intends to occupy the property. No written agreement is required.
A customer is a party to a real estate transaction with whom the broker has no brokerage relationship because such party has not engaged or employed the broker, either as the party’s agent or as the party’s transaction-broker.
Please contact one of the Hall and Hall brokers for a complete discussion of potential working relationships for this property. A written relationship disclosure will be provided to a prospective buyer prior to engaging in brokerage activities as defined by the Colorado Real Estate Commission.
NOTICE: Offering is subject to errors, omissions, prior sale, change or withdrawal without notice, and approval of purchase by owner. Information regarding land classifications, acreages, carrying capacities, potential profits, etc., are intended only as general guidelines and have been provided by sources deemed reliable, but whose accuracy we cannot guarantee. Prospective buyers should verify all information to their satisfaction. Prospective buyers should also be aware that the photographs in this brochure may have been digitally enhanced.