Just 14 miles south of Montrose, Colorado, the Buckhorn Mountain Ranch spreads across 6,573.41± deeded acres and 6,003± leased BLM acres of stunningly beautiful irrigated farm land and high desert country at the base of Storm King Peak. Located in Montrose and Ouray Counties off U.S. Highway 550, the ranch is adjacent to Buckhorn Lakes Park, a popular recreational area owned by the city of Montrose, and has magnificent views of the San Juan Mountains 20 miles to the south.
This exceptional property is both a working cattle ranch with a full complement of livestock facilities and a superb hunting retreat with excellent habitat for mule deer and elk. The current owner of Buckhorn Mountain Ranch runs about 300 animal units and raises and sells AQHA horses. Ranching facilities include corrals, a 20,000-pound scale, a riding arena and horse paddock, a calving shed, maintenance buildings, and staff housing. There are 400± acres of irrigated pastures and hay meadows, as well as a three-acre organic garden with greenhouses and irrigation.
Locals call Storm King Peak “Buckhorn Mountain” for all the mule deer and elk that live, range, and shed their antlers here. Likewise, its namesake ranch has a well-earned reputation for trophy-size mule deer and large elk. The property, located in Colorado Game Management Unit 65, has been professionally managed for guided hunts. Accommodations for hunters include a bunkhouse and two cabins.
The ranch also has two lovely custom-built homes, in addition to guest facilities and staff housing. The two-story owner’s home has 3,290± square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, two wood-burning fireplaces, and a separate studio apartment. The manager’s home has 6 bedrooms and 4.5 baths in 3,278± square feet and a separate 1,023± detached apartment.
And while the Buckhorn Mountain Ranch offers privacy and seclusion, it is also conveniently close to some of southwestern Colorado’s favorite winter recreational venues and towns, including Ridgway, Ouray, and the ski slopes at Telluride.
Just the Facts
- Acreage: 6,573± deeded / 6,003± leased acres
- Elevation at headquarters: 6,700 feet above sea level
- Address: 72420 Buckhorn Road, Montrose, CO 81403
- Counties: Montrose and Ouray
- 14 miles south of Montrose
- 19 miles north of Ridgway
- Ranching facilities: corrals, riding arena/horse paddock, calving shed, 20K-lb scale, maintenance facilities, irrigation equipment
- Owner’s home: 3,290± sq. ft., 4 beds/3.5 baths, 2 fireplaces, 2-car detached garage
- Manager’s home: 3,278± sq. ft., 6 beds/4.5 baths, 4-bay detached garage
- Bunkhouse, three cabins, six heated hunting blinds
- Staff housing: two 1,848± sq. ft. modular homes
- Colorado Game Management Unit: 65
- Airport: Montrose Regional Airport, 16 miles from ranch
Buckhorn Mountain Ranch extends almost six miles east to west and more than five miles north to south and encompasses altogether more than 10 square miles of deeded acreage. To the west, the Uncompahgre Plateau rolls toward the Utah border and some of the most spectacular sunsets ever to turn the sky blaze orange. Storm King Peak rises in the east. The magnificent San Juan Mountains frame the southern horizon. On the ranch itself, the vistas sweep from the ridge above Scotty’s Draw to Waterdog Peak.
The Buckhorn Mountain Ranch has spectacularly diverse terrain and a wide variety of vegetation that changes dramatically over a 3,000-foot rise in elevation. Near ranch headquarters, the land is largely flat to gently rolling with open pastures and a few scattered cedar groves. Domesticated grasses, including orchard and brome, grow in the valley, while Kentucky bluegrass grows in the riparian areas along creeks and draws. Irrigated hay meadows in the southeastern portion of the ranch are lushly green spring through summer.
Oak brush and pinyon pine grow between 7,000 and 8,500 feet above sea level, while aspen groves and lodgepole pine forests cover the hillsides at the higher elevations.
The ranch spreads across Montrose and Ouray counties and is surrounded largely by BLM lands and private property. Buckhorn Lakes Park, a popular recreational area owned by the city of Montrose, borders the ranch on the southeast.
Montrose (Pop. 19,123) offers excellent shopping, dining, and health care just 14 miles north of the ranch, while the quaint and artsy Ridgway (Pop. 932) is 19 miles south.
Major carriers provide daily nonstop flights from the Montrose Regional Airport to Denver and other western and southern cities, depending upon the season.
The Telluride Regional Airport serves general aviation flights and has a single, jet-capable runway.
The San Juan Mountains are famous for their rugged peaks, steep canyons, and deep river valleys. Southwestern Colorado is also home to thirteen peaks above 14,000 feet above sea level, known by climbers as “Fourteeners.” This region also claims the headwaters of the famous Rio Grande, San Miguel, and Dolores rivers.
Much of Colorado’s mining history was written here with famous gold strikes at the Idarado, Camp Bird, and Smuggler Union mines. The 19th century mining towns of Telluride, Ouray, Durango, and Silverton have been reborn as vibrant centers for art, music, and tourism. Winter sports, including skiing at Telluride 58 miles south of the ranch, and ice-climbing in Ouray, are major engines for the local economy.
The Montrose area averages 245 sunny days a year with rainfall totals normally between 10 and 14 inches. High temperatures in July reach into the upper 80s, while January daytime highs average 39 degrees with nighttime lows near 0 degrees.
The ranch receives about 18 inches of snow a year at lower elevations, whereas the upper elevations may receive more than 5 feet of snow in a season.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Deeded Acres: 6,573±
BLM Leased Acres: 6,003±
Total Leased Acres: 6,003±
Total Acres: 12,576±
Acres of Irrigated Pasture: 400±
Acres AG Total: 400±
* All acreages are approximations.
Montrose, a county seat, has been a hub for agriculture and commerce since the early 20th century and the completion of the Gunnison Tunnel, which brought water for irrigation to the Uncompahgre Valley. Humans have lived here, though, for more than 3,000 years as evidenced by the petroglyphs at the Shavano Valley Rock Art Site. Today, Montrose is a regional center for health care, retail, and entertainment.
Historic and happening, Telluride is home to superb winter skiing, a thriving cultural arts scene, world-class restaurants, and more than a few artists, writers, and actors. A former mining town named after tellurium, a metalloid element never actually found here, Telluride is today at the center of southwestern Colorado’s cultural and winter sports scene. A free gondola connects Telluride to Mountain Village at the base of the ski area.
Ouray likes to call itself the “Switzerland of America” and in fact, this former mining town nestled in a valley surrounded on three sides by steep peaks is as quaintly beautiful as it is historic. Two-thirds of the town’s original Victorian buildings have been preserved. People come to Ouray for ice-climbing and for the natural hot springs.
The Black Canyon of the Gunnison near Montrose is, as the National Park Service notes, “big enough to be overwhelming and still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time.” With its steep cliffs and rock spires, the canyon tests hikers while fishermen, boaters, and kayakers find challenges on the river.
The “Gateway to the San Juans,” Ridgway supports an eclectic arts scene. True Grit, starring John Wayne, and How the West was Won were filmed in and around this historic mining town and former railroad stop.
Home to two of the America’s most famous national parks, Moab is less than three hours west through the Paradox Valley and over the La Sal mountains.
Arches National Park, located just five miles north of Moab, boasts the world’s largest concentration of natural sandstone arches—more than 2,000 in all—along with an awe-inspiring variety of natural geological formations.
The vastness and amazing diversity of Canyonlands National Park, 32 miles from Moab, boggle the mind and offer endless opportunities for hiking, camping, and whitewater rafting through Cataract Canyon.
This beautiful two-story house has the look of a log home but is stick-built with log slabs inside and out. Within its spacious and well-designed 3,290± square feet are 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and large, comfortable living spaces. A covered porch wraps around two sides of the house to take advantage of the spectacular view of the San Juan Mountains.
Built with the highest quality materials, the home has 10-foot, tongue-and-groove ceilings with rustic, hand-hewn beams salvaged from an old sawmill. The floors are made from 5-inch oak planks. Two large wood-burning fireplaces built of native stone stand at each end of a large combined living and dining room. Interior walls are Italian plaster throughout, and the windows are wood clad.
The spacious gourmet kitchen features hickory cabinets, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances, including a Subzero® refrigerator and a 48” Viking® stove with a double oven and Thermador® vent.
The main-floor master suite has a lovely loft, a large walk-in closet, and French doors that open onto a private deck with an incredible view of Mt. Sneffels and the San Juan Mountain range. The en-suite bathroom has a Travertine® marble floor, steam shower, and large double vanity.
On the second floor there are three bedrooms, including a suite with an attached bath, and two bedrooms that share a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.
The basement has a built-in wine cellar, gun vault, and a utility room with cabinets.
Other features include a main-floor laundry room, interior and exterior entertainment centers, radiant floor heat, evaporative cooler, a security system, a wind generator with a battery backup, and a detached heated, two-car garage.
There also is a 747± sq. ft. studio apartment above the garage with a kitchen, bath, heat and airconditioning.
The 3,278 sq. ft. manager’s home has 6 bedrooms and 4.5 baths. The exterior is board and batten and the interior features engineered wood floors for durability and easy maintenance. The home also has a security system and supplemental solar power.
A stone fireplace with a wood-burning insert anchors the large central living and dining room.
A main-floor bedroom, ideal for guests, has a full bathroom and private entrance.
Other features include a main-floor laundry room with half bath, bronze hardware, an evaporative cooler, and a supplemental solar system that provides power to the workshop and a third of the house.
The country kitchen features a dining island and GE Profile® stainless steel appliances.
The master suite with private bath, four bedrooms, and two additional bathrooms is upstairs.
The 1,911± sq. ft. detached garage has in-floor heat and four bays, including two for private vehicles and two for ranch vehicles.
There is also a 1,023± sq. ft. apartment above the garage with a small kitchen, living/dining room, full bath, separate bedroom, loft, hot-water baseboard heat, and wall air conditioning.
Alpine Hunting Cabin
This rustic cabin, located at 8,900 feet above sea level, has bunk beds to sleep five, solar-powered heat, a wood-burning stove, a three-quarters bath, and a small kitchen.
This tidy cabin has bunk beds and a fireplace but no running water or electricity. Located on the 700-yard shooting range, it has been used primarily for storage and daytime shelter.
The bunkhouse, which features original hardwood floors, has a full bath and sleeps six.
Two 1,848± sq. ft. modular homes built in 1979 provide housing for ranch employees.
Three acres of the ranch have been set aside to grow organic produce. Buckhorn Gardens has an extensive irrigation system and four greenhouses, including a 150’x20’ walpini, and a greenhouse constructed partially underground to keep plants cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Garden produce is sold at local farmers markets and to wholesale customers in the area.
Montrose District Court, Water Division 4 (Case No 03CW151), 12/22/2003
∙ 70.0 acre-feet in Buckhorn Lake Reservoir No. 1
∙ 155.0 acre-feet in Buckhorn Lake Reservoir No. 2
∙ 1.25 C.F.S. for supplemental irrigation of 50 acres
∙ .05 C.F.S. for stock water
Buckskin Ditch, Buckhorn Reservoir, Beaton Creek and Scotty’s Draw
∙ All interest in the Buckskin Ditch and 7. C.F.S. allowed to flow therein, Priority No. 3
∙ Undivided 7/8 interest, Buckhorn Ditch, Priority No. 1
∙ 6.25 C.F.S., Buckhorn Ditch, Priority No. 1
∙ All interest in the Buckhorn Reservoir, Priority No. 1
∙ All Seller’s interest water rights of Beaton Creek
∙ All Seller’s interest water rights of Scotty’s Draw
∙ All other water rights owned by the Seller pertaining to the described real property
Drinking water and supplemental water for livestock is provided by the Tri-County Water Conservancy District in Montrose, County.
Water for irrigation comes from Buckhorn Lakes through a system of natural drainages.
There are three irrigation storage ponds with head gates, as well as numerous stock ponds for cattle and wildlife.
Large aspen groves have been set aside as sanctuaries for the deer and elk to encourage animals to migrate onto the ranch from adjoining public lands. Ranch employees also groom trails and cut back scrub oak and sagebrush to promote the growth of native grasses and the tender new shoots the animals love to eat. As a result, Buckhorn Mountain Ranch, which conducts guided hunts, is known for its exceptionally large deer, such as the 197-inch buck shot early in the 2015 season and elk of 300 inches-plus.
The ranch is located in Colorado Game Management Unit 65, which is an open unit for elk tags with deer tags available by draw. The ranch typically receives up to 5 private land vouchers and historically harvests no more than 10 bucks off the property in a year to encourage herd development.
“The whole place is real good for animals. It doesn’t matter where you go.” – John Deti, hunting manager for the Buckhorn Mountain Ranch
Ranching here is done the cowboy way—mostly on horseback. Contiguous pastures at steadily increasing elevations enable the cowboys to move the animals easily from one grazing area to the next. The cattle winter in the hay fields at lower elevations from January until May 1 when the animals are turned out into the leased BLM land where they graze for a month through Dry Gulch and past Bitter Springs before moving onto the deeded acreage at Blue Gate pasture. Throughout the summer and early fall, the cattle work their way across Beaton Creek up to Waterdog Peak and the high country on the north side of the property where they stay until the first snowfall.
“The land is all contiguous. The cattle can move in a natural manner through the ranch from spring to summer and summer to fall and fall to winter. They don’t have to be loaded and hauled and wrestled around.” – Robert Pulliam, Buckhorn Mountain Ranch manager
The irrigated acreage includes 300 tillable acres and 100 acres of pasture. In 2015, the meadows produced 408 tons of cut hay with 240 acres of grass left uncut in the pastures.
The ranch has excellent corrals and working facilities, all designed for ease of handling cattle. Each pasture has a gate near a corral, so that cattle can be worked on the range.
The main horse barn has a concrete floor for feed storage, three stalls, and attached metal pens for foaling or training. A riding arena and a sheeted round pen also are attached through the corral system.
Other ranching facilities include a heated shop with hot water, 20,000-pound scales, outbuildings, and a calving shed.
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