Conejos River Ranch

Property Map

Conejos River Ranch - Recently Sold

Antonito, Colorado

This very productive and exceptionally well-maintained property is a prototypical example of a Colorado mountain valley ranch. Deeded land of 3,992± acres consists primarily of native hay meadows supplemented by grazing rights on public lands and a small private lease. Under current management the property is run as a 1,400 head cow/calf ranch.

Located between Alamosa, Colorado and Taos, New Mexico this ranch has abundant water rights from the Conejos and San Antonio Rivers. An attractive ranch headquarters consists of recently constructed and completely remodeled buildings. The ranch itself offers some hunting and good fishing on the Conejos River. Huge expanses of public land begin within minutes of the ranch headquarters.


The southern end of the historic San Luis Valley of Colorado provides the setting for Conejos River Ranch. Ranch headquarters are located four miles southeast of Manassa, Colorado or six miles northeast of Antonito. Access is very convenient from US Highway 285 with four-and-one-half miles of paved road and four miles of county-maintained gravel to ranch headquarters.

Alamosa, which supports a full service airport with commercial flights, is a 30-minute drive to the north. Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico are approximately an hour and slightly over two hours to the south.


The San Luis Valley was one of the first areas to be settled in Colorado. The valley is populated with livestock ranches and farms primarily located along the rivers flowing from surrounding mountain ranges through the valley. All of the rivers in the San Luis Valley eventually flow into the Rio Grande River which is located a short distance east of the ranch.

Conejos River Ranch supports one of the larger cattle operations in the area. It lies in the southern end of the valley about 10 miles north of the New Mexico state line and eight miles west of the Rio Grande River.

San Luis Valley is an expansive mountain valley running 75 miles north to south and up to 50 miles east to west. The valley floor looks up to several mountain ranges with views of 14,000+ foot peaks. Great Sand Dunes National Park, as well as the Alamosa, Monte Vista and Baca National Wildlife refuges all lie within a short distance of the ranch. The Monte Vista refuge is well known as a viewing site during the spring and fall migration for thousands of sandhill cranes.

The entire area provides for outstanding recreational opportunities and productive agricultural land. Beginning a few miles west of the ranch, literally millions of acres of contiguous public lands run west into Utah, south into New Mexico and north into central Colorado.

Manassa, birthplace of heavyweight boxer Jack Dempsey, is the closest town. This small community has limited services. Alamosa is the primary market town for the area offering shopping, dining and agricultural support services. It is also home to Adams State College.

Wolf Creek Ski Area which gets the highest snowfall of any ski resort in Colorado, is about 1½ hours from the ranch. Several northern New Mexico ski areas including Taos are also between 1 to 1½ hours.

The town of Taos, which is about an hour’s drive to the south, provides a variety of fine dining, boutique hotels, spas, museums and a vibrant art community. Santa Fe, New Mexico is a 90-minute drive south of Taos.

A popular and scenic attraction within a few minutes of the ranch is the historic Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. This attraction claims to be the most spectacular example of steam engine mountain railroading in North America.

The train runs in summer months from the towns of Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico through some of the most scenic and undiscovered areas of both states. Rafting through the Rio Grande Canyon, the nation’s first designated wild and scenic river, is also a popular attraction. Fishing on the Rio Grande River is only three miles east of the ranch BLM permit.

General Description: 

Conejos River Ranch is a prime example of a well-run wet mountain ranch. The deeded portion is primarily high quality irrigated meadow and pasture watered by gravity diversions or natural sub-irrigation. This is supplemented by a 160-acre pivot sprinkler. Over 3,000 acres in the northwestern area of the ranch are considered wet. Water is obtained from the tree-lined Conejos River which runs through the northern part of the property for approximately 1½ miles and the smaller San Antonio River to the east of the ranch.

A shallow irrigation well serves the center pivot. The southeastern area of the ranch is dry pasture on deeded and BLM land composed of native grasses and sagebrush. A section of state land currently leased by the ranch is a mix of sub-irrigated pasture and dry range.

Summer grazing occurs in the scenic mountains southwest of the ranch on the Cumbres – LaManga Grazing Association. The ranch is the largest shareholder in this very productive and well-managed association.

Ranch buildings are perfectly suited for a cow/calf operation of this size. Buildings include a very nice ranch house, large equipment shop with attached living quarters and office, calving barn, equipment storage, commodity shed and two good sets of corrals. The majority of the buildings are either remodeled or new within the last few years. Overall the ranch exhibits a high level of management and care. Very little, if anything, would need to be done by a new owner.


3,992± Deeded

Acreage Breakdown: 

Included in current operations are exclusive grazing rights on over 5,000 acres of BLM, state or private leased land. The ranch is also part of a 55,000 acre forest service grazing permit through the Cumbres – LaManga Grazing Association.

Deeded: 3,992± Acres Pivot irrigated: 160± Acres Irrigated and sub-irrigated meadow/pasture: 3,000± Acres Dry grazing and improvement sites: 832± Acres Total: 3,992± Acres

*Between 2,000 and 2,500 acres of meadow are harvested for hay on an annual basis.

Adjacent to deeded lands, the ranch holds a State of Colorado grazing lease containing 640 acres and a BLM grazing permit on 4,302 acres. The BLM permit provides for a month of spring use and a month of fall use with a total of 208 AUMs. BLM permit fees for 2010 are $1.35/AUM. The State Lease is available year-round and rated at 289 AUMs. State lease cost for 2009 was $2,638.57. A private lease of 350 acres has also been used by the ranch in recent years.

Summer grazing is provided by membership in the 55,000 acre Cumbres – LaMaga Grazing Association. This Association has been recognized by the U.S. Forest Service for exemplary range management. Included in this offering are 1,112 shares from the total of 2,530 shares.

Additional shares are also typically available for lease. The Association runs on forest service land and employs a full time range manager. Grazing fees per share are established on an annual basis by the Board of Directors of the Association.

Typically one share allows for the grazing of a cow/calf pair for the grazing season. For dry or fall calving cows the 1,112 shares will run approximately 1,450 head or for yearling cattle approximately 1,600 head.

Transfer of State leases, BLM grazing permit and shares in the Grazing Association to a new owner are all subject to the rules of these agencies.


Building improvements on the property are very desirable and well-suited for a livestock operation of this size. Primary buildings are a recently remodeled adobe home containing three bedrooms and two bathrooms along with a spacious kitchen and living areas. The well-equipped shop building has two oversized doors. Nicely appointed living quarters with two bedrooms, full kitchen, one-and-one-half bathrooms and living/dining area join one side of the shop. The other side of the shop building is set up as an office and vet area.

A large calving barn is part of an extensive set of corrals and working pens located at ranch headquarters. Also at headquarters are equipment, hay and commodity storage sheds. A second set of corrals is located on the southeastern pasture.

Primary buildings are either new or extensively remodeled within the last few years. Condition of the buildings is excellent.


The San Luis Valley is an arid environment. Elevation at ranch headquarters is 7,700 feet. Annual precipitation in the valley is approximately eight inches as the surrounding mountain ranges capture much of the weather moving through the area.

Average snowfall is 41.7 inches, most of which is light dry powder. Sunshine is abundant in the valley with an average of 350 days during the year. The valley is the site of existing and proposed solar energy developments.

Summer climate is typified by warm days, followed by cool evenings and an occasional afternoon thunderstorm. The average summer temperature at Alamosa is 65 degrees. Winter temperatures can be cold, dipping well below zero, with an average of 14 degrees. While thermometer readings show low temperatures, low humidity, lack of wind and bright sunshine provide for a more mild winter climate than one might expect. During a typical winter livestock are fed 2 to 2½ tons of hay per head.

General Operations: 

Current ownership maintains approximately 1,400 cows on the Conejos River Ranch and leased lands. This is split into a spring calving herd of approximately 350 head and a fall calving herd of 1,050 head. This style of operation fits the ranch very well as it allows greater numbers of cattle to be run on the Grazing Association during summer months. Fall calving occurs after the cattle are brought back from the summer country in dry and moderate temperatures, avoiding the wet conditions and risk of spring storms. The ranch has good winter protection allowing fall calves and cows to maintain good condition during the winter months. Spring calving cows are the traditional method of operation. From a management/owner’s perspective, having fewer calves during the potential spring storm season is a nice alternative.

In addition to the livestock operation the ranch produces excess hay. The 160-acre center-pivot with grass/alfalfa mix is cut twice during the summer with yield of 3.5 tons per acre anticipated. Meadows consist of desirable native grasses and are usually harvested in July. Typically between 2,000 and 2,500 acres are put up for hay with total production from native meadows of 4,000 tons. Some of the meadows are fertilized yielding upwards of 2.5 tons per acre. At current stocking level, management anticipates feeding 3,000 to 3,750 ton, leaving 750 to 1,500 tons of hay available for sale on an annual basis.

Current ownership is not involved in day-to-day ranch operations. The ranch manager, who has been on this property for over 20 years, runs the operation with two full-time employees and two to four seasonal laborers. Currently operating as Double XX Ranch, the ranch name and livestock brand can be included with the sale.

Wildlife Resources: 

The deeded and adjacent leased portions of Conejos River Ranch provide habitat for elk, deer and migratory waterfowl. Deer can be found on the ranch at any time during the year. Elk are somewhat more migratory but large numbers are evident on the property at different times during the year. The mountains surrounding the San Luis Valley are well known for nearly all species of Colorado wildlife. Big game hunting in these mountains is considered to be very good.

Fishery Resources: 

The Conejos River, which runs through much of the northern side of the property, supports a good population of brown trout along with some rainbow. Broker estimates that the ranch controls both banks for between 1.5 and 1.75 miles when meanders are included. A small portion of the river leaves the ranch for a short distance as it flows through the corner of a neighboring property.

The fishing resource of the property is relatively undeveloped. In its current state this resource is good quality but could be enhanced by the addition of some structures in the river and construction of ponds elsewhere on the ranch. Fishing and other activities on the Rio Grande River are only a few miles east of the ranch.


Property taxes are approximately $18,254.44 annually.

Water Rights: 

Conejos River Ranch has extensive water rights, many of which have very early adjudication dates. The majority of water rights are appropriations from the Conejos and San Antonio Rivers. There is also one irrigation well permit which is used when necessary to provide water for the pivot sprinkler. Approximately 75 cubic feet of water per second is available from the adjudicated surface rights.

More than adequate water is available from these water rights in a typical year. The surface water comes from snow pack in the surrounding mountains. However, even in dry years this property receives most of the anticipated water.

Livestock water is provided by the rivers, springs, sloughs and ditches within the ranch. Several shallow wells are an additional source of livestock water. Contact listing broker for the complete list of irrigation water rights.

Mineral Rights: 

Seller is including all owned mineral rights with this offering. Seller believes he owns most of the mineral rights on the ranch. Exact status of mineral ownership is unknown.

Broker Comments: 

Conejos River Ranch is a prime opportunity to own a productive cattle operation in a scenic mountain valley setting. Extensive recreational opportunities are available on the ranch and in the surrounding area. The property is in outstanding condition, with experienced management in place. Abundant, good priority water rights have the potential to be in demand for alternative uses in future years. Cattle and equipment can be purchased by separate agreement.

In summary, Conejos River Ranch is a very desirable opportunity for an experienced ranch owner or the first-time ranch purchaser.

Additional Services: 

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, Jerome Chvilicek, Dan Berstrom or Brant Marsh 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, Dan Bergstrom or Brant Marsh 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.

Competitive Pricing  |  Flexible Terms  |  Efficient Processing
Tina Hamm or Scott Moran • (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.



Definitions of Working Relationships:

Seller’s Agent:
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.

Buyer’s Agent:
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.