Three Waters Ranch

Property Map

Three Waters Ranch - Recently Sold

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

The legendary Elk River cuts a ribbon through Three Waters Ranch and a lively, sight-fishing stream winds through the meadows. The mirror-still surface of a large, spring-fed lake reflects the peak of nearby Round Mountain. Together, the river, the stream and the lake give Three Waters Ranch its name and offer endless fishing adventures. Bordered by the Routt National Forest, the ranch encompasses 1,138 acres of pasture and wilderness. One of the most beautiful Colorado ranches available today, Three Waters Ranch also features superb improvements, including a large indoor equestrian arena with first-class amenities for horses and riders. Meticulously maintained ranch management facilities support cattle and haying operations. The ranch also has two large, well-appointed houses - a 5,126-square-foot owner's home with a bell tower and three fireplaces, and a 4,000-square-foot log home for the ranch manager - as well as two staff houses and three charming guest cabins. Located just 14 miles north of Steamboat Springs and premier skiing, Three Waters Ranch offers the best of Colorado ranch life and recreation, as well as an opportune investment.


North of Steamboat Springs, along the western continental divide, the Park Range of the Rocky Mountains slices through Routt County, its peaks rising to 12,000 feet above sea level before gathering and rolling down into the Yampa River Valley. The Elk River runs from these mountains, along th Routt National Forest, past Round Mountain and through a quiet green valley as it makes its way to the Yampa. Three Waters Ranch lies here in this green valley along the Elk River, surrounded by some of the most beautiful land in all of Colorado.

Secluded yet accessible
Bordered by more than a million acres of protected wilderness, Three Waters Ranch is both private and easy to reach. A paved road leads from the ranch to County Road 129, which runs north to the community of Clark and southeast to Steamboat Springs with its world-class ski resort, shops, restaurants and regional medical center. Two jet-capable commercial airports, Steamboat Springs/Bob Adams Field and the Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden, are located less than 45 minutes from the ranch. Denver is 166 miles southeast of Steamboat, while Vail, another premier ski resort, is about two hours south.


Few Colorado mountain towns offer the diversity and charm of Steamboat Springs. While its world-class slopes and resorts have earned Steamboat the rightful moniker of "Ski Town, USA," to focus only on the skiing is to miss the four-season charm of the community. Steamboat remains an authentic Western town in touch with its colorful history.

To French trappers, the gurgling and gushing of a mineral spring sounded like a Steamboat—hence the name. Gold miners settled Steamboat Springs in 1875; the railroad and cattle ranchers followed close behind. By 1900, when Steamboat incorporated, the town at 6,700 feet was a major cattle exporter. Skiing arrived in 1914 in the form of Carl Howelsen, a Norwegian ski jumper, who helped found the first resort.

Today, Steamboat Ski Resort is world famous for its characteristic Champagne Powder® and great tree skiing. The ski area boasts 2,965 acres and averages an impressive 331 inches of snowfall a season. Howelsen Hill, located in downtown Steamboat Springs, is the home of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and a famed training ground for Olympic skiers.

It’s common to find skis and saddles in the beds of pickup trucks parked in downtown Steamboat where locals move easily from ranching to the slopes. "Skijoring," a quirky competition in which horses pull skiers through downtown streets, melds the West with winter sport as only Steamboat can.

In summer, Steamboat thrums with music festivals, ballets, balloon races, rodeos and family activities. The Routt National Forest and Mount Zirkel wilderness, just east and north of town, offer endless opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other outdoor adventures. The Yampa River, which flows through Steamboat, is renowned for fly fishing, rafting and kayaking. Scenic Steamboat Lake, north of the town and near The River Ranch, offers water-skiing and boating.

With a population of 10,000, Steamboat Springs has fabulous restaurants, shopping, a full-service regional medical center, the Yampa Valley Medical Center, two golf courses and a jet-capable regional airport, the Steamboat Springs/Bob Adams Field. Its public schools consistently receive high marks from the Colorado Department of Education while two private schools, Lowell Whiteman and Christian Heritage, are well regarded.

General Description: 

An intelligently outfitted operation

Few Western properties offer the wild beauty and the extensive, quality amenities of Three Waters Ranch. This ranch is fully equipped to support high-end, cattle and equestrian operations. The original ranch buildings have been restored and maintained to the highest standards with an eye for details. New construction is top quality. From the rust-red metal pipe fencing along the road to the squeeze chute, each improvement contributes to the overall master plan of the ranch. The barns, shop and other livestock facilities are located with convenient access to County Road 129 and at a distance from the residences.

Set up for high-end equestrian and/or cattle operation coupled with excellent recreational attributes — Three Waters has it all.


1,138± Acres


Owner's Residence
Known as the Bell Tower House for its distinctive architecture—there is an actual, working bell tower reminiscent of early mountain churches—this owner's home overlooks much of the ranch. Recently remodeled, the Bell Tower House features classic Colorado style with its a log exterior, a metal roof and three, large stone fireplaces and paneled wood ceilings.

The 1.5-story home has three bedrooms and three baths in 5,125-square feet, plus a finished basement and two-car garage. Radiant heating provides efficient, four-season comfort.

The Manager's Home
A handsome, two-story log home with a full walk-out basement provides a year-round residence for the ranch foreman. This 4,000-sq.-ft. house has four bedrooms, 1 ¾ baths, a fireplace, hot water (entran type) heat and a 10' x 20' covered deck. There also are a 24' x 24' detached garage and a 20' x 40' barn with loft.

Equestrian center
This first-class equestrian center is ideal for the professional or amateur horse enthusiast. The Horse Barn has five stalls, 12' x 12' with automatic water, outdoor runs and feed managers. There also is a large feed and veterinary room, a laundry room, break room with ½ bath and a double wash-bay. The 100 ' x 120' indoor arena is heated and well lighted. The equestrian center is surrounded by paddocks and pasture to provide the perfect environment for horse and rider alike.

Barns and supplementary ranch buildings
Three large barns, including the equestrian center, and two smaller barns facilitate the smooth operation of the ranch. The Main House Barn with 4,000 square feet of finished space has utilities and septic tank, a wash-bay, laundry/feed room and a ¾ bath. A separate 500-sq.-ft building functions as a shop or garage. The 50' x 100' Cow Barn features 10 calving stalls, a squeeze chute with scale, vet room, break room, ¾ bath and office in 50' x 100' space. There also are a separate heated shop with concrete floor, hay shed, fuel shed, office and smaller auxiliary barns.

Gracious accommodations
Three Waters Ranch is perfect for entertaining and large gatherings with family and friends. The ranch has two fully appointed houses suitable for staff housing, guests or income-producing rentals. Three tidy cabins are privately situated for relaxation and rest. These houses and cabins can comfortably accommodate up to 4 people in the homes and 2 people in the cabins, including families, couples and mixed groups.

The 1,200-sq.-ft. Taylor Creek House and the 900-sq.-ft. Lake Cabin have two bedrooms and are heated. The Elk River Cabin, scarcely a stone's throw from the riverbank, has one bedroom and a full kitchen. The smaller cabins have minimal kitchen facilities. All guesthouses and cabins have at least one bath.


The Park Range creates a climatic barrier that produces winter snows and delightfully mild summers. Temperatures range from an average high of 82 degrees in July, the warmest month, to an average high of 27 degrees in January, the coldest month. Steamboat Springs receives about 24 inches of precipitation annually, most of which falls in the form of snow, averaging 167 inches. Accumulated snow depth is generally greatest in February, at about 28 inches. The sun shines more than 250 days a year, humidity is low and wind rarely blows—the classic combination for perfect Colorado weather.

General Operations: 

Ranching in harmony with nature

Three Waters Ranch encompasses approximately 1,138 acres of pastures, meadows and forests. Mature cottonwoods line the Elk River and Spring Creek. Irrigated meadows of Timothy grass spread across the valley floor.  On the east side of the ranch, as the elevation rises, sagebrush and pockets of pine, spruce and aspen trees cover the rolling hillsides. Herds of elk and deer traverse the ranch to linger about and drink from the Elk River. 

Irrigated pastures
The current owner irrigates, fertilizes and harvests about 200 acres of hay and has the potential to irrigate another 500 to 600 acres, depending upon water flow. At present, the ranch supports about 200 head of cattle in the summer and fall. The ranch also benefits from a summer grazing lease on approximately 3,600 acres in the adjacent Routt National Forest. The seller is willing to relinquish his position in the lease, and pending approval by the Forest Service, the lease will transfer to the new owner. The National Forest grazing permit is allocated for use from July 16th to September 30th and will support 168 cow/calf pairs or 360 yearlings.

The agricultural operation on the ranch is well suited for cattle, yearlings, horses, and/or a haying operation. (General operating expenses and a copy of the grazing permit #20340 are available upon request).

Wildlife Resources: 

Northwestern Colorado is home to the largest migratory elk herd in the United States. The ranch is located in the Division of Wildlife game management unit (GMU) 214 and 14. Hunting on the ranch is permitted in season per Colorado regulations. 

Fishery Resources: 

A rare abundance of water

Three Waters Ranch is rich with water resources rarely found on private property in northwestern Colorado. Here, all three venues of trout fishing—river, stream and lake—are of the highest caliber and very private.

The Elk River
The legendary Elk River flows through Three Waters Ranch affording almost 1.4 miles of accessible riverbank. Almost 5,700 feet of the Elk River is fully within the ranch boundaries and accessible from both banks. An additional 1,679 linear feet of Elk River borders the property and is accessible from one bank. A historical fishery abounding with long riffles and diverse fishable runs, this medium gradient, freestone river yields abundant rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout, as well as native mountain whitefish. Because the Elk flows primarily through private ranchland, it is not heavily fished, and the trout grow large, averaging 14 to 16 inches, with fish over 20 inches quite common. Throughout its varied seasonal flow, the Elk provides endless angling opportunities.

"The existing Elk River fishery on (the ranch) is strong with exciting insect hatches throughout most of the year, and really possesses all of the biological markers to engrain itself as a first-class, fly-fishing amenity . . . " – Jay Robinson, Fisheries Biologist CFI Global Fisheries Management.

Spring Creek 
One of the true gems of Three Waters Ranch is Spring Creek, a sight-fishing stream built in 2007 by CFI Global, a leading aquatic habitat and fisheries restoration and enhancement firm. The original vision of organizing a collection of various springs and water diversions evolved into an intimate and exceptionally productive ecosystem that is far more successful than ever envisioned. The stream channel is about ¾-mile long and averages 10 feet in width. With corner pools, plunge pools, a 12-foot-deep, in-channel pond and a controlled water flow, the stream supports year-round populations of rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout. Easily fished from both banks, Spring Creek is the perfect sight-fishing venue to see the trout rise to the fly and experience "fishing with your eyes."

"This strategically and thoughtfully designed fishery is now a breathtaking meadow stream loaded with freshwater shrimp and invertebrates, and voracious rainbows. With fully-established riparian vegetation and beneficial aquatic plants abounding, this amazing trout fishery is as pristine as it gets." – Shannon Skelton – President of CFI Global Fisheries Management

Ranch Lake 
Huge trout dwell in the depths of this 5-acre lake, which is fed by a natural spring and the creek. As a still water fishery, the lake provides an alternative when heavy spring runoff precludes fishing on the rivers and creeks. The lake is always an enjoyable venue for family outings on shore or in a small boat. A new aeration system supplements oxygen levels in the lake to ensure a continuously vital and healthy habitat.

Water Rights: 

Three Waters Ranch benefits from significant water rights. Diversions from the Elk River and Franz Creek support domestic, irrigation, livestock, fish propagation, aesthetic and recreational uses. All water rights used in conjunction with the ranch are adjudicated and appropriated. Surface irrigation rights consist of approximately 20.95 cfs. There are also eight springs and two stock ponds, which provide year-round domestic and livestock watering. (Additional information is available upon request.)

Mineral Rights: 

The Seller's complete interest in surface and subsurface mineral rights will be included in the sale of the ranch. The Seller currently owns approximately 75 percent of the total mineral rights.

Additional Information: 

Protecting the land for future generations

Conservation Easement
Three Waters Ranch has a total of 1,138 acres under a conservation easement, which ensures that the agricultural, wildlife and scenic values of the ranch are protected from development. The original 2000 agreement with the Colorado Cattleman's Agricultural Land Trust was amended in September 2007 to afford a new owner greater latitude and flexibility to construct a new residence. The 2007 agreement permits a five-acre building envelope strategically located between the main stem of the Elk River and the sight-fishing stream on the west side of the ranch. This site affords maximum privacy and convenient access.

Under the amendment, a new owner may build a home of up to 10,000 square feet and/or expand existing residential dwellings, provided that the total square footage of all residential dwellings does not exceed 32,600 square feet. The amendment requires the removal of an existing structure, such as the 900-sq.-ft. Lake Cabin, before a new house can be built. More than 7,000 acres in the area immediately surrounding the community of Clark, north of Three Waters Ranch, have been protected by conservation easements, including at least one neighboring property.

Online Resources
Steamboat Ski Resort
Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association
Steamboat Resorts 
Steamboat Today
Routt County Website
City of Steamboat Springs
Haymaker Golf Course
Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club 
Steamboat Fly Fisher
Bucking Rainbow Outfitters
Medicine Bow / Routt National Forest

Broker Comments: 

Three Waters Ranch is the rare Colorado ranch that truly offers it all. Located just 20 minutes from Steamboat Springs and world-class skiing, the 1,138-acre ranch borders Routt National Forest with more than a million acres of protected wilderness. The ranch itself encompasses 1.4 miles of accessible riverbank along the Elk River and includes a spring-fed, sight-fishing creek, a deep lake and two ponds for excellent and diverse fishing opportunities. This sportsman's paradise also features exceptional improvements, including a distinctive 5,126-sq.-ft. Owner's home, superb guest and staff accommodations, a high-end indoor equestrian arena and related facilities to support cattle, equestrian and haying operations. With significant water resources and water rights, abundant wildlife, accessibility and privacy, Three Waters Ranch is a premium Colorado ranch property.

Defined by waters, framed by mountains, Three Waters Ranch is a place of breath-taking beauty.


*Hall and Hall would like to acknowledge the outstanding professional photography of Dan Sidor, Steamboat Aerials, Aerial Pan Imaging. (Contact information is available upon request.)

The Facts: 

Acreage: 1,138± acres, includes 200± acres of irrigated land
Elevation: Lowest point 7,000 feet; highest point 7,800 feet.
Elk River: 1.4 miles of accessible riverbanks, including 5,698 feet both banks; 1,679 feet one bank
Spring Creek: ¾-mile-long, sight-fishing stream
Ranch Lake: 5 acres, spring-fed, aerated, stocked
Ponds: 2 on sight-fishing stream
Conservation Easement: Yes
Zoning: Agricultural
Water rights: 20.95 cfs
Mineral Rights: Seller's 75% ownership of surface and sub-surface minerals is included in the sale.
Property taxes: $19,778.28 annually

• Bell Tower House: 5,126 sq. ft. guest or staff house overlooking ranch, recently remodeled, 1.5 stories, finished basement, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, 2-car garage, 3 stone fireplaces, radiant heat, paneled wood ceilings, log exterior, metal roof
• Manager's House: 4,000 sq. ft., two-story log home for ranch foreman with full walk-out basement, 4 bedrooms, 1 ¾ baths, fireplace, hot water (entran type) heat, 10' x 20' covered deck, 24' x 24' detached garage
• Taylor Creek House: 1,200 sq. ft., guest house, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, forced-air/propane heat plus gas stove for décor, 12'x15' covered deck
• Lake House: 900 sq. ft., 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, forced-air propane plus gas stove, 15' x 20' covered deck
• Elk River Cabin: 460 sq. ft., 1 bedroom, ¾ bath, full kitchen, wood stove, 200 sq. ft. screened/glassed-in porch, large open deck with built-in gas barbecue grill
• Heart Cabin: 450 sq. ft., 1 bath, kitchenette and fireplace
• Bird House Cabin: 300 sq. ft., ¾ bath and mini-fridge

Agricultural buildings
• Equestrian center: 5 stalls, 12' x 12', with automatic water, outdoor runs and feed managers. Large feed/vet room, laundry, break room with ½ bath, double wash-bay and heated 100' x 120' indoor arena with lights
• Main House Barn: 4,000 sq. ft. barn, wash-bay, laundry/feed room, ¾ bath, utilities, septic tank and 500 sq. ft. garage or shop space, large outdoor arena with viewing gazebo
• Cow Barn: 50' x 100', 10 calving stalls, squeeze chute with scale, vet room, break room, ¾ bath and office
• Office: 700 sq. ft., ¾ bath and fireplace
• Hay shed: 10,000 sq. ft.
• Shop: 6,500 sq. ft. with concrete floor, heat and ½ bath
• Fuel shed
• Equipment storage: more than 7,000 sq. ft. available storage

Recreational facilities
• Tennis Court: 8,040 sq. ft., asphalt

• Electrical: Yampa Valley Electric Association
• Ferrel Propane: leased tanks on ranch
• Domestic water: wells and springs
• Waste water: septic tanks and leach fields

Air travel
Steamboat Springs Airport/Bob Adams Field: 14 miles south of the ranch, near Steamboat Springs.
Yampa Valley Regional Airport: 37 miles from the ranch in Hayden.

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.