Saddleback Ranch

Property Map

Saddleback Ranch - Recently Sold

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

The Saddleback Ranch is a true three-river legacy offering within 8 miles of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. At the heart of the historic Saddleback Ranch lies the confluence of two classic freestone tributaries and the head of the San Juan River – one of the most revered trout streams in the American West. With a combined 1.9± miles of the West Fork of the San Juan, the East Fork of the San Juan, and the San Juan River, the Saddleback presents a rare and distinct opportunity to own a fly-fishing paradise. Contiguous to the exclusive Bootjack Ranch and San Juan National Forest, the Saddleback’s hidden waters are seldom fished and highly protected. Striking landscapes, privacy and unsurpassed angling define this beautiful 408± acre mountain valley property. Unencumbered by conservation easements, the Saddleback includes a 2.5 acre stocked lake, small creek and excellent adjudicated water rights. The amenities of Pagosa Springs are only 8 miles down the valley via Highway 160 and the Wolf Creek Ski Area is 15 miles to the north. 

Co-listed with Roger Horton, Dutton Creek Realty


The entrance to the Saddleback Ranch is 8 miles northeast of downtown Pagosa Springs on Highway 160, and less than a mile east of the highway on Forest Service Road 667. Abutting the southern boundary of the Bootjack Ranch, the Saddleback is 15 miles down the valley from the Wolf Creek Ski Area. A well maintained gravel road and bridge over the East Fork insure access throughout the ranch during all seasons. Nearly surrounded by the mountains of the San Juan National Forest, the ranch is 12 miles from Stevens Field Airport.

A beautiful and friendly resort town, Pagosa Springs is conveniently located one hour’s drive east of Durango, which is the nearest commercial airport, and just over two hours from Taos, New Mexico. Santa Fe is a scenic three hour drive to the south.


Pagosa Springs is rich in history and culture. Home to what are considered the largest and hottest naturally heated mineral springs in the world, it has been a gathering place since the time of the Anasazi. A welcoming and vibrant mountain community, Pagosa offers museums, dining, art galleries, live theatres, musical events, and a beautiful river walk. The scenic downtown is complimented by hot springs resorts and spas along the banks of the San Juan River. Pagosa Springs is home to modern health care facilities and takes pride in its public and private schools. The surrounding San Juan Mountains and numerous rivers are uncrowded and offer some of Colorado’s finest recreational activities.

Pagosa is the county seat of Archuleta County and is home to roughly 1,700 residents. Encompassing 1,364 square miles, Archuleta County’s total current population is estimated at just over 12,000. The San Juan National Forest consists of 1,869,931 acres and comprises nearly 50% of Archuleta County. Archuleta County is home to the East and West Forks of the San Juan, San Juan, Piedra and Navajo rivers, and numerous streams and reservoirs provide additional angling opportunities. Just 23 miles from downtown is the Wolf Creek Ski Area, a phenomenal ski resort with an annual average snowfall of 465 inches.

The Stevens Field Airport is 12 miles from the ranch and offers an 8,100 x 100 foot runway and new FBO facilities offering a full range of services and amenities. The Durango-La Plata County Airport is an hour’s drive to the west of Pagosa and provides commercial jet service with direct flights to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver and Phoenix.

General Description: 

Privately sited in an exclusive mountain valley, the Saddleback Ranch provides superb angling on three prolific rivers – the San Juan River and its East and West Forks.  Surrounded by dramatic peaks and timbered slopes, the property’s beauty was captured by its previous owners, the Adolph Coors Company, as a film and photo setting for its Coors Belgian Hitch team.  Local history indicates that the Saddleback Ranch name is derived from the property’s exceptional view of Saddle Mountain, the prominent peak to the west of the ranch.  As a compliment to its name, the “Rafter Y” insignia of the ranch is said to originate from the distinct, “Y” shaped avalanche chutes located directly below the peak of Saddle Mountain.  The extraordinary angling opportunities are complimented by the exceptional landscape encompassing the Saddleback Ranch. 

The modern residence is located on a bluff above the San Juan River and at the edge of a lush hay meadow, providing clear views of the surrounding mountains. Well protected riparian corridors rise into rolling meadows and old-growth pine and aspen forest. The West Fork of the San Juan River enters the property from the north and the East Fork of the San Juan flows in from the national forest to the northeast. Saddleback is bordered by the Bootjack Ranch to the north, by the San Juan National Forest on its eastern and southern borders, and Highway 160 across the river to the west. An historic lodge and cabin, hand-built with spruce and aspen logs, lay at the eastern edge of the property. The caretaker’s residence, guest cabin, historic barn, and toolshed are located behind the main home and add to overall functionality. Johnny Creek runs through the southern edge of the ranch and a 2.5± acre stocked lake is located in the northeastern corner of the property. Approximately 94± acres of meadow are irrigated by excellent adjudicated water rights.

The property is unencumbered by conservation easements.


408± deeded acres.


The well maintained ranch road runs south from the gated entrance through old-growth ponderosa pines and meadows before crossing the East Fork River bridge, where a mandatory stop to spot trout holding and feeding in the pools below is an unspoken tradition of the Saddleback. Beyond the bridge, the road wraps further south around a large hay meadow before arriving at the main residence, caretaker’s home, guest cabin and barn.

Tastefully sited at the edge of a large meadow, the modern three-bedroom, three-bath residence provides seclusion, excellent views, and mountain comfort.  The nearby caretaker’s residence and cabin provide a combined six bedrooms and three baths.  The original barn has been well maintained and is utilized by current ownership.  A tool shed and other outbuildings further compliment the needs of the ranch. Tucked into the timber on the eastern edge of the property lies a cabin and a rustic lodge, custom built around 1925 by a retired forest ranger from Montana.  The classic architecture of the national parks is evident in this historic building, which stands as tribute to the generations of family and friends that have gathered on the Saddleback to share in its unmatched beauty and angling.


  • The La Plata Electric Corporation (LPEA) supplies power.
  • Century Link provides telephone service.
  • Water is provided by domestic well.

Located at an elevation of 7,000± feet and receiving an average of 300 days of sunshine, Pagosa Springs is located in “Colorado’s Sunbelt”.  Summertime temperatures reach into the high 80s and occasionally the low 90s, while average winter lows vary between the mid-20s to mid-30s. Boasting a remarkable year-round climate, the average snowfall is approximately 100 inches, with annual precipitation slightly over 20 inches.

General Operations: 

The grass meadows fed by abundant water resources and hundreds of acres of native rangeland provide excellent grazing on the Saddleback.  The ranch currently grazes 33 cow/calf pairs during the summer grazing season which typically runs from June 1st through October 1st.  The ranch historically carried up to 70 cow/calf pairs, but current ownership has never grazed more than 63 pair.  The property is well suited for cattle or horses.  A ranch manager provides regular maintenance and patrols the property.

Wildlife Resources: 

The Saddleback Ranch is located in Colorado Division of Wildlife Game Management Unit 78, an area of southwest Colorado highly regarded for its abundance of wildlife and the trophy quality of its deer and elk. Large animal wildlife includes elk, mule deer, Merriam turkey, bear, mountain lion, as well as the presence of lynx.

Contiguous to virtually limitless national forest lands, the Saddleback offers immediate access to extraordinary big game hunting. This region is renowned for producing trophy elk and Boone and Crockett class mule deer. Excellent hunting is just a few steps from the main residence.

Fishery Resources: 

Beginning at the Saddleback Ranch, the San Juan River flows for nearly 383 miles through Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona, where it joins the Colorado River at Lake Powell. From its headwaters high in the Colorado backcountry the San Juan’s upper reaches are comprised of two main forks, the East and West Fork of the San Juan, and their confluence is located at the heart of the Saddleback Ranch. Flowing through lush meadows and mountain valleys, the upper San Juan is a classic freestone river fed by backcountry snow-melt and springs. Combining cold natural waters with a rich biomass, the upper San Juan quietly produces trout as large as those found in the tail-waters of the lower river. Nymph and streamer fishing is always productive, however the dry fly action is truly remarkable. Indeed, the hallmark of these rivers is the mid-summer stonefly (salmon fly) hatch as well as incredible caddis and mayfly hatches. Controlling both banks of the San Juan River, West Fork of the San Juan River and East Fork of the San Juan River, the Saddleback Ranch features limitless angling just minutes from Pagosa Springs.

The current owner is a seasoned fly fisherman and has elected to maintain the natural integrity of this fishery. No stream enhancements have been conducted on any of the Saddleback’s rivers and a strict catch-and-release policy has been enforced for over 20 years.

San Juan River
From the confluence of the East and West Forks, the San Juan River flows south through the Saddleback Ranch for just over 1/4± mile. Shaded by ponderosas and cottonwoods, the gentle gradient, deep pools and glassy runs of this section of river are perfectly suited for long drifts with a dry fly. Rainbows, browns and cutthroats are the predominate species of fish and the average size of the trout range from 10 to 16 inches, with the occasional fish breaking the 20 inch mark.

West Fork of the San Juan River
The West Fork of the San Juan River originates high in the Weminuche Wilderness. From the wilderness, this freestone river flows south, merging with Wolf Creek and coursing through a large private ranch before entering the Saddleback. The West Fork runs south through the property for 3/4± mile before reaching its confluence with the East Fork. The private reaches of the West Fork provide superb angling and the adjacent upstream property has been utilized by the United States Fly-fishing Team to train for international competition. Defined by towering ponderosas, large boulders, surprisingly deep pools and sweeping sand and gravel runs, the West Fork provides classic holding water for large rainbow and brown trout. The West Fork’s waters are so clear that an angler can enjoy hours studying the habits of its piscatorial inhabitants as they work feeding lanes and cruise its plentiful pools. Predominantly a rainbow and brown trout fishery, the West Fork holds the occasional cutthroat. Fish average 10 to 16 inches with some fish in the 18 to 20 inch plus range.

East Fork of the San Juan River
The headwaters of the East Fork of the San Juan are deep in the backcountry of the San Juan National Forest. Flowing into the Saddleback from the northeast, the East Fork winds through the ranch for more than 3/4± mile before merging with the West Fork to form the San Juan River. A complimentary alternative to the deeper West Fork, the East river provides excellent spot and stalk fishing in smaller pools, pocket water, short rapids and tight riffles. The East Fork offers beautiful cutthroat and brook trout as well as a healthy population of rainbows and browns. With only light angling pressure, the larger fish of the East Fork are often found holding in surprisingly open waters. Though the East Fork fish average 8 to 14 inches, several surprisingly large trout have been landed in its waters.

Other rivers within reasonable distance from the property are the Animas, Piedra, Los Pinos, Blanco, Navajo and Conjeos, as well as the headwaters of the Rio Grande River. Nearby creeks are Williams, Vallecitos and Wolf Creek. Excellent stillwater fishing can be had at the Navajo, Echo Canyon, and Williams Creek Reservoirs as well as the Lake Capote Recreation Area. The tailwater section of the San Juan River below Navajo Dam is one hour to the south.

Recreational Considerations: 

Colorado has always been famed for its mountain culture and highly desirable recreational amenities. Pagosa Springs and the greater Four Corners Region provide a combination of lifestyle and historic landscape that is unmatched. The dramatic picture of local beauty and history is perhaps best depicted in the ancient painted pottery and hand-etched petroglyphs found throughout the region. Rugged and lasting, southwestern Colorado’s beauty has captivated its inhabitants for well over one thousand years.

Saddleback Ranch is in the center of a sportsman’s paradise – a place where locals have chosen to live a life full of fishing, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, camping, hunting and clean air. Easily accessible by road or air, Pagosa Springs maintains freedom from the traffic and bustle of Colorado’s larger resort communities. The valley offers unique access to alpine peaks and world class skiing at Wolf Creek Ski area. Receiving the highest annual snowfall of all of Colorado’s ski resorts, the Wolf Creek Ski Area boasts an average of 465 inches a year. Mesa Verde National Park and the high desert mesas of New Mexico are just a short drive away. Additional recreational activities include snowmobiling in the ranch’s long fields, boating and sailing at nearby Navajo Reservoir, skiing at Durango Mountain Ski Resort and a 27-hole championship golf course. Saddleback is also a horse lover’s dream property. The ranch’s smooth terrain and forest service access provide limitless trail riding opportunities in a striking setting. However, no day is complete in the region unless capped by a relaxing soak in the Pagosa Hot Springs.


The 2012 property taxes were $3,339.64.

Water Rights: 

A combined 19.08 CFS of water rights irrigate approximately 94 acres of meadow.

Chapson & Howe Ditch supplies a total of 8.25 CFS, W.B. Turner Alternate Pumpsite Nos. 1 and 2 supply 4.0 CFS, Saddleback Alternate Pumpsite Nos. 1 and 2 supply 3.75 CFS, Langworthy Ditch supplies 1.0 CFS, Deer Creek Ditch supplies 1.0 CFS, Johnny Creek Ditch supplies 0.54 CFS, and the Turner Ditch supplies 0.54 CFS.

Wells for domestic, livestock, irrigation and municipal use are Permit No. 31680-F, for 10 gallons per minute or 2 acre feet volumetric limit and Permit No. 198441 for 15 gallons per minute or 2 acre feet annual volumetric limit, and not more than 1 acre of lawn.

Deer Lake is an undecreed 2.5± acre reservoir with an estimated storage capacity of 40 acre feet.

Mineral Rights: 

No mineral rights will be included in this offering.

Additional Information: 

Along the banks of the San Juan River, elevation begins at 7,550 feet and rises gradually to the eastern boundary of the property to just over 7,800 feet. 

Online Resources
The Official Website of the Town of Pagosa Springs:
Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce:
Archuleta County:
Archuleta County Airport at Stevens Field in Pagosa Springs:
Durango-La Plata County Airport: aspx?nid=202
Wolf Creek Ski Resort:
Durango Mountain Ski Resort:
Pagosa Springs Golf Club:
Pagosa Hot Springs:
The Pagosa Springs Sun Newspaper:
Navajo Lake:   Navajo/Pages/NavajoHome.aspx
San Juan River:
Mesa Verde National Park:
San Juan Historical Society Museum:


Broker Comments: 

The offering of the Saddleback Ranch provides the rare opportunity to acquire a world class angling property encompassing the headwaters of the most revered trout fishery in the southwestern United States.  In addition to its quality fly fishing and habitat, a significant asset of the Saddleback is the privacy of its waters.  While many states allow liberal public access to river corridors, the exclusivity of the Saddleback’s rivers is currently insured by Colorado’s strict water laws, which are among the most protective of private property in the nation.  Conveniently located, Saddleback provides comfortable improvements and outstanding scenery. 


 Some of the outstanding photography herein was provided by Michael Pierce Photography.  (Contact information is available upon request.)

The Facts: 
  • 408± deeded acres
  • 8 miles from Pagosa Springs, CO and 15 miles to Wolf Creek Ski Area
  • Premier fishing property located in exclusive river valley
  • Both banks of the legendary San Juan River
  • Both banks West Fork of San Juan River
  • Both banks East Fork of San Juan River
  • Confluence of East and West Forks of San Juan River
  • 3 bedroom, 3 bath main residence with finished garage
  • 4 bedroom, 2 bath caretaker’s residence
  • 2 bedroom, 1 bath guest cabin
  • Historic lodge and cabin
  • Horse barn, shop and outbuildings
  • Excellent adjudicated water rights and 94± acres irrigated meadow 
  • 2.5 acre stocked lake
  • Aspen, ponderosa and spruce forest
  • Protected by large neighboring ranches and adjacent to literally millions of acres of national forest lands
  • Unencumbered by conservation easements
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.