With a fishery that is matched only by its scenic setting, Hidden Lake Ranch is a 760± deeded acre offering located 23 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. This powerhouse of a property is home to exceptional fly fishing on a private stretch of nearly three miles of fully-enhanced Weminuche Creek and six alpine lakes up to eight acres in size – each of which has been professionally stocked. The setting here, in the Upper Piedra River Basin, is defined by bodies of water and a meandering trout stream flowing through a verdant and diverse landscape capped by big views of the San Juan Mountain Range. From the meadows lining the banks of Weminuche Creek to the lakes and timbered slopes bordering the San Juan National Forest, one will find the ranch both beautiful and productive. In addition to its fishery, it should be noted that the ranch is well-suited for a number of additional recreational activities including big game hunting, horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking. The ranch’s proximity to Pagosa Springs, Durango, and the Wolf Creek Ski Area also ensure that ownership will enjoy limitless year-round recreational opportunities. With no conservation easement in place, the property is open to a wide variety of future uses.
Hidden Lake Ranch is an exemplary mountain angling property comprised of aspen and pine-covered slopes that descend into a valley floor with a meandering trout stream and lakes surrounded by lush meadows. Elevations on the ranch run from around 7,970 feet at the river valley to over 9,000 feet at the high point located along the southern boundary line. Comprised of 760± deeded acres, the diverse terrain and topography compliment the healthy riparian corridor and nearly three miles of live water at the heart of the property. The viewshed up and down the Weminuche Valley is beautiful and ties in views of nearby peaks and cliff faces.
Hidden Lake Ranch is the embodiment of a mountain fly fishing property that offers a unique combination of high-quality live water and stillwater fisheries. Blessed with natural beauty and exceptional views, the ranch represents the unique opportunity to acquire a trophy trout fishery that is private and within easy striking distance of the amenities of “town”. Hidden Lake Ranch can be enjoyed as is, or easily configured to a new owner’s specifications – regardless, this is a place that will be enjoyed by family and friends for many years to come.
Hidden Lake Ranch sits in the Upper Piedra Valley region of southern Hinsdale County, Colorado. Here, the ranch is adjacent to the San Juan National Forest and enjoys an outstanding viewshed which includes a number of the San Juan Mountain Range’s dramatic peaks. The property is located 23 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs and the Stevens Field Airport which, provides an 8,100 X 100-foot runway and updated FBO with a full range of services and amenities for private aircraft. Access is provided by a scenic drive on Piedra Road, which is also known as County Road 600 and National Forest Road 631. Just 23 miles to the east of downtown Pagosa Springs is the Wolf Creek Ski Area, an outstanding ski resort. Durango and commercial air service at the Durango-La Plata County Regional Airport are a one-hour drive to the west of Pagosa Springs. The Durango-La Plata County Airport offers daily direct service to Denver, Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth.
The Weminuche Valley is found in the Upper Piedra Valley, which is just north of Pagosa Springs. This area is nearly entirely comprised of national forest lands with only a small number of private holdings scattered across different river drainages. Despite its proximity to Pagosa Springs and abundant water resources, this locale been largely sheltered from development.
The Pagosa Springs area of southwestern Colorado is known for its valley setting, numerous rivers, mountain views, and geothermal hot springs. A welcoming and vibrant mountain community, Pagosa has attracted a friendly and diverse mix of residents, seasonal landowners, and visitors. In addition to its natural beauty and abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, Pagosa provides a full suite of dining and shopping options, as well as museums and an attractive river walk. The scenic downtown is complemented by hot springs resorts and spas along the banks of the San Juan River. Pagosa Springs is home to modern health care facilities and both public and private schools. It is home to roughly 1,700 residents with the immediate area having a population of just over 12,000. The San Juan National Forest consists of 1,869,931 acres and comprises nearly 50 percent of the lands in the area. In addition to the Weminuche, notable area fisheries include the East and West Forks of the San Juan, the San Juan, Piedra and Navajo River.
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 80’s and occasionally the low 90’s while average winter lows vary between the mid-20’s to mid-30’s. Boasting a remarkable year-round climate, the average snowfall is approximately 100 inches, with annual precipitation over 20 inches.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
760± deeded acres
The property is unencumbered by conservation easements.
Hidden Lake Ranch was originally operated as an elk hunting guest ranch and the historic improvements include a 100-year-old ranch house and guest cabins. The setting of the improvements is ideal and internal access has been improved with the new construction of a private bridge over Weminuche Creek. An internal driveway follows a buck and rail fence along the meadows and river where it leads to an open nook surrounded by dense timber and tucked into the base of the mountainside. The lodge has been remodeled to serve as the primary living quarters and it features a loft bedroom, modern kitchen, bathroom and a great room with windows that overlook the ranch and valley above.
The cabins are rustic and in varying conditions. An incoming owner could choose to restore the cabins and maintain the rustic cabin theme or clear the cabins to make room for a new home. The newly constructed bridge provides access to both sides of the river and the property provides a wide variety of building sites for an incoming owner to build a new set of improvements in a location of their choosing.
The pavilion is a new addition to the ranch. This popular gathering place is set on the banks of Martin Lake and has power and a covered pavilion with picnic tables. It is surrounded by an irrigated and manicured lawn, Adirondack chairs, a fire pit and a wooden pier spanning from the lawn over Martin Lake.
Water rights are provided from the Weminuche Creek via the C.R. Martin Ditch. The ranch owns and controls a ten cubic feet per second (cfs) water right with a priority use date of June 1, 1927. In addition to the ditch right from Weminuche Creek, the ranch holds 26.53 acre-feet of reservoir rights for purposes of fish propagation, domestic use, stock and irrigation with a priority date of January 1971.
Any appurtenant mineral rights by the Seller are offered with the sale of the ranch.
Recent taxes for the property were approximately $4,889.87.
It is rare to find a property of this size with this quantity of live and still water packed into it, and rarer still to find a property possessing a high caliber of angling within those waters. In short, Hidden Lake Ranch provides new ownership with the opportunity to enjoy a diverse and completely turnkey and private trophy trout fishery.
Hidden Lake: The namesake for the property, Hidden Lake is an alpine lake discreetly located within the cover of a healthy pine forest. Accessed by a well-maintained forest trail, anglers will enjoy this body of water that has been stocked exclusively with brook trout.
Weminuche Creek: Nearly three miles of fully-enhanced Weminuche Creek flows through the heart of Hidden Lake Ranch. This wade-friendly freestone mountain stream originates in the high country of the Weminuche Wilderness Area and is a tributary of the Piedra River. Located just upstream, this 500,000-acre wilderness area ensures that the creek will be charged with the clear, cool mountain water needed to support the terrestrial and aquatic insects that in-turn provide the strong forage base required by the ranch’s large trout populations. Weminuche Creek provides an amazing opportunity for the most discerning angler to catch multiple different trout species, including documented trout reaching 35 inches and 15 pounds in size.
Meadow Lake: This newly constructed pond is set in the middle of one of the many expansive and lush grassy meadows with big valley views. Meadow Lake boasts the same diversity of trout species as Martin Lake with healthy populations and several “monsters” lurking about that reach up to 14 pounds.
Martin Lake: The largest of the six stillwater fisheries on the ranch, Martin Lake, is an eight-acre lake with lush green meadows on one side and densely timbered hillsides leading down to the lake on the other. Known simply as “The Hog Pen” by those privileged enough to have fished it, Martin Lake boasts healthy numbers and species of trout including cut-bows, two species of brown trout, and four species of rainbows – with fish reaching 14 pounds have come to the net. After a long day of fishing, anglers, family and friends can gather and enjoy the well-designed pavilion located on the banks of Martin Lake. Here, guests will enjoy picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and a fire pit. A newly constructed pier next to the pavilion provides a great focal point for all to enjoy.
Sam’s Lake: Another guest favorite, Sam’s Lake, is loaded with big brown, rainbow and cut-bow trout. Sam’s has produced trout in the 10-pound range and there is no doubt that anglers of all skill levels will enjoy the opportunity to catch the fish of a lifetime here.
Henry’s Lake: Known as “The Kids’ Pond,” Henry’s Lake is set amongst the pines and open meadows above Martin Lake. It has been stocked with healthy numbers of rainbows with many of them in the two-pound range when introduced. The fish here are aggressive and provide non-stop action for beginners and children who are looking to have fun and/or improve their angling skills.
Mike’s Lake: Situated on the western-most edge of the property in an open meadow, this lake is a sleeper and features tremendous fishing for brown, rainbow and cut-bow trout.
Located in Colorado’s Game Management Unit (GMU) 77, Hidden Lake Ranch’s hunters have long benefitted from the quality and quantity of animals that utilize its lands for feed water, and cover. Additionally, hunters have enjoyed the ranch’s immediate backdoor access to the thousands of acres of surrounding public lands. GMU 77 enjoys an over-the-counter bull elk license designation with bull elk licenses for the archery and second and third rifle seasons available online or with license vendors. Though not currently enrolled, the ranch could be enrolled in Colorado’s Landowner Preference Program through which a new landowner could apply for landowner mule deer vouchers – it should be noted that all mule deer licenses in Colorado are only available through an annual application process. Hidden Lake was long operated as a fall base for hunters who paid to hunt both on the deeded acreage and the adjacent San Juan National Forest. This immediate area is well known for its trophy elk and mule deer, as well as its robust Merriam’s turkey populations.
Hidden Lake Ranch provides a multitude of recreational opportunities with its boundaries as well as on thousands of acres of adjacent national forest lands. In addition to hiking, mountain biking, and horse back riding, the ranch provides abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing and as well as proximity to trails for off-road vehicles and access to numerous local rivers, streams, creeks, and lakes.
Though operated as a sporting property, Hidden Lake offers an array of options for an incoming owner, including the opportunity for summer cattle and horse grazing and hay production. The ranch benefits from an agricultural tax designation and is completely perimeter-fenced and cross-fenced.
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