Canyon Creek Ranch

$9,900,000 Placerville, CO 3,247± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

The Canyon Creek Ranch in San Miguel County has 3,247± contiguous deeded acres and excellent big game hunting, all just 25 miles from Telluride, one of Colorado’s most charming resort and ski communities. From atop the East Iron Springs Mesa, the ranch boasts spectacular views of the Sneffels Range of the San Juan Mountains. About two-thirds of the ranch is comprised of gently rolling pastures and meadows, with the remainder in aspen groves, ponderosa pine and oak brush--excellent habitat for the large elk, deer, bear and wild turkey that abound here. Bordered for more than three miles by the Uncompahgre National Forest, the property is both secluded and easily accessible year around via a paved county road. Spring-fed ponds provide necessary water for livestock and big game. Improvements are functional and include a caretaker’s home, guesthouse, several outbuildings, and working corrals. The perimeter and some pastures are fenced. There is no conservation easement on the property. 

Three thousand-plus acres is considered a large holding in San Miguel County, and rarely does one of this size become available so close to Telluride, and almost never without a conservation easement. The Canyon Creek Ranch presents the discerning buyer with distinct opportunities in one of the most sought-after areas of Colorado.

Just the Facts

  • 3,247± deeded acres
  • 25± miles to Telluride
  • Less than an hour from Montrose Regional Airport and Black Canyon Jet Center
  • Adjacent to Uncompahgre National Forest
  • Spectacular views of the Sneffel’s Mountain Range
  • Mild terrain and gentle topography situated on top of East Iron Springs Mesa
  • Mixture of meadows, open pasture land and heavily timbered areas
  • Year-round county road access
  • Modest improvements include two homes and outbuildings
  • Located in GMU 61

General Description

Some years ago, famed nature photographer John Fielder deemed the Sneffels “one of the most glorious mountain ranges in Colorado.” That might have been an understatement, or certainly it seems so, considering the view from the Canyon Creek Ranch. The Sneffels – young, craggy, snow-topped and impossibly close – ring the horizon, punctuated by distinctive peaks: Little Cone, Little Peaks and Mount Wilson, the highest of them all. Utah’s San Juan Range rises in the west. High atop the East Iron Springs Mesa, the Canyon Creek has a 360-degree view of it all.

The terrain of the ranch itself is mostly level to gently rolling, with about two-thirds of the acreage in meadows and pastures. The remainder of the land is forested with aspen groves, ponderosa pine and oak brush.

Broker's Comments

There are a few destination locations in Colorado where it is becoming increasingly challenging to find and acquire large acreage recreational properties. Telluride and the surrounding area is an example of this. With its close proximity to Telluride, Canyon Creek Ranch represents an opportunity to purchase a substantial holding. The land is exceptionally scenic and very private, while adjacent to a national forest and vast amounts of wilderness to access. The property is minimally improved, there are numerous choice building sites, and the land is not encumbered with a conservation easement.

Learn about the locale


The Canyon Creek Ranch is located off Hwy 62 about 25 miles north of Telluride, near the community of Placerville. Montrose (pop. 19,217), a regional center for shopping and medical care, is about an hour’s drive north of the ranch.

Commercial carriers serve the Montrose Regional Airport with flights to Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Chicago, and Phoenix. The Black Canyon Jet Center, also in Montrose, is regarded as one of the best FBO facilities in the country.

The Telluride Regional Airport supports general aviation and commercial flights on seasonally-adjusted schedules.


There are good reasons that land in San Miguel and Ouray counties in southwestern Colorado has become so highly sought-after in recent years. The spectacular San Juan Mountains remain rugged and untamed.

The adjacent Uncompahgre National Forest encompasses almost a million acres and three distinct alpine wildernesses. And then there is Telluride (pop 2,303), a storied small town that lives a lot larger than it is. The historic 19th century mining community has earned a well-deserved international reputation for its star-studded Telluride Film Festival, superb ski resort, (recognized by U.S. News as one of the best ski destinations in the world), and eclectic restaurants, shops and boutiques.


San Miguel County enjoys about 243 sunny days a year, mild summers, and snowy winters. The area receives an average of 19 inches of rainfall each year with about 64 inches of snowfall -- more at higher elevations. January lows typically range around 16 degrees Fahrenheit while July highs can reach into the mid-80s.

Elevation on the ranch ranges from about 8,260 to 8,850 feet above sea level, with most of the terrain gently rolling or relatively flat.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

Deeded Acres: 3,247±
Total Leased Acres:
Total Acres: 3,247±

Additional Information

There is no conservation easement on Canyon Creek Ranch. However, because of development potential in the area, the property could be a candidate for conservation protection.


There are several beautiful sites that are ideal for building an owner’s home. Current improvements are modest and functional. There are two ranch-style homes, one built in 1901 which has 1,008± square feet, and a second built in 1910 with 1,327± square feet. Agricultural facilities include outbuildings and working corrals.

Water Resources

A two-acre pond at ranch headquarters is currently stocked with trout and offers fishing opportunities. There are also numerous spring-fed stock ponds, natural water catchments, and a seasonal creek flowing through the northern third of the property. The nearby San Miguel River, an undammed river flowing just over 90 miles, is also a favorite of trout fishermen. There are several fly shops in the area offering local and knowledgeable professional guides for hire.

Water Rights

There are no surface irrigation water rights.

Mineral Rights

All mineral rights owned by the seller shall convey to the buyer upon closing.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

With its sheltering aspen groves and surface water, the Canyon Creek Ranch is the ideal habitat for large and small game species, and birds. Located in Colorado’s GMU 61, renowned as one of the state’s best hunting units for trophy-sized elk, the ranch is a stellar hunting property. Migratory herds of 200-plus elk are common on the ranch, as are mule deer, black bear, and large flocks of wild Meriam’s turkey. The adjacent Uncompahgre National Forest offers an additional 955,229 acres of pristine wilderness to enjoy. For more information visit the Colorado Division of Wildlife website HERE.

Recreational Considerations

The Canyon Creek Ranch offers endless recreational possibilities for the outdoor enthusiast, both on the property and in the adjacent Uncompahgre National Forest. Hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and fishing in the summer combine with snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter to create the perfect year-round retreat. World-class downhill snow-skiing is just minutes away in Telluride.

The Telluride Ski Resort offers more than 2,000 acres of skiable terrain with its longest run more than 4.6 miles. While 41% of the trails are rated advanced or expert, the varied terrain presents plenty of opportunities for beginners and intermediate skiers.

The Telluride Film Festival, celebrating its 43rd season in 2017, premiers films (Juno, Brokeback Mountain) that routinely garner both critical and box-office success.

Ouray, which calls itself the “Switzerland of America,” hosts a winter ice-climbing festival and offers a wealth of summer outdoor activities. The former mining town is about a 50-mile drive from Telluride, though only 10 miles north as the crow flies.

Home to two of America’s most famous national parks, Moab is less than two hours west of Canyon Creek 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.

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.

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