Located in one of the most scenic areas of southern Colorado is the 6,300± deeded acre Moonshine Ranch. Famously named after historical accounts of Al Capone’s days of bootlegging moonshine, the remnants of a turn of the century moonshine still remains on the ranch today. Most noted for its prolific rock upheavals and massive vertical dikes caused by thousands of years of plate tectonics, the incredibly charming town of La Veta is just 30 minutes from the ranch. Moonshine Ranch is a recreational paradise, remote – yet accessible, offering seclusion and privacy while being completely immersed in a true wilderness setting and home to abundant wildlife. The ranch landlocks 3,400± acres of BLM land increasing its total size to just under 10,000 total acres. Recognized for its exceptional wildlife habitat, natural ecosystem, shielding topography, and excellent management, the ranch is one of the finest big game hunting properties in the Western US. Improvements are not overdone, functional, and include a primary lodge, caretaker home, shop, cabin, and livestock facilities. This property offers a little bit of everything; rugged and undulating topography, water rights and irrigated land, several water catchments including ponds, dirt tanks and small lakes, numerous springs and seasonal creeks, a variety of vegetation, diverse landscape, extraordinary views, absolute privacy, and presents an opportunity to acquire a significantly sized ranch for the area. Important to note approximately 60-70 percent of the ranch was unfortunately burned in the 2018 Spring Creek Fire. The owner has invested over a million dollars in reclamation efforts including hiring a professional-grade fire restoration team, aerial and terrestrial seeding, mulching, refurbished roads, new culverts, and has implemented many other mitigation efforts to reestablish vegetation growth for wildlife. Additionally, the asking price of the ranch has been substantially reduced to its current asking price to reflect fire damage.
Just the Facts
- 6,300± deeded acres
- 3,400± acres of BLM (large amount of leased acreage inside boundary and controlled by ranch)
- Three hours from Denver and DIA
- La Veta is within a 30-minute drive, and Pueblo, featuring commercial air service is an hour away
- Accessed from County Roads 520, 530, 531, and 532
- Seasonal access ingress/egress agreement through neighbor off Highway 160
- 20 minutes from Green Mountain Wilderness Area
- 2015 owner’s residence featuring three bedrooms and three bathrooms
- 2013 manager’s home featuring three bedrooms and two bathrooms
- Cabin with room for eight featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms
- Large, 120’X70’ shop with heat, indoor walk-in cooler, and two bay doors
- Equipment storage and corrals
- 200± irrigated acres and water rights
- Owner rated 200 cow/calf carrying capacity
- Inclusion of mineral rights
- Exceptional natural landscape and incredibly diverse topography
- Outstanding views of Silver Mountain, Mount Maestas, Rough Mountain, and Sheep Mountain
- Elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bear, Merriam turkey, antelope, mountain lion, blue grouse and a variety of small game species
- Exceptional big game hunting** owner harvested 381 bull elk in 2017
- High volume of 340” bull elk and 180” mule deer bucks
- Located in Game Management Unit 85
- Several ponds and small lakes, water catchments, springs, seeps, and numerous seasonal drainages including South Oak and Yellowstone Creeks
- Elevation ranges from 7,500 to 10,000 feet
- Private, remote and secluded
- Highly unique area of Colorado in terms of aesthetic appeal due to prehistoric plate tectonics and massive rock upheavals
- Approximately 80 percent of the ranch was burned in 2018 mid-summer fires, owners have initiated extensive mitigation efforts with input of over $1,000,000 in restoration efforts
- New mulch, seeding, aerial seeding, removal of portions of dead timber, rebuilt roads and new culverts. (Additional information available upon request)
Moonshine Ranch is uniquely positioned to contain a landscape that is diverse and wild, with elevations ranging from 7,500 to 10,000 and the topography to match. The land is bordered by mountains to the north and south, as it sits within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and is afforded spectacular views of some of the most impressive peaks. These surrounding mountains lend privacy and seclusion to the area, even as the ranch is within a convenient distance to several towns. Near and notable mountains include Mount Mestas, Rough Mountain, Silver Mountain and Sheep Mountain.
Throughout the property, there is rich irrigation and plentiful water, with ponds, springs, creeks and seasonal drainages. There are meadows at all elevations and abundant trees, including cottonwood and aspen. Also, in addition to the 6,300± deeded acres, the land includes 3,400± acres of BLM, bringing the total acreage to just under 10,000.
Following the 65-70% burn of the land, the owner performed mitigation efforts including removing dead timber, rebuilding roads, adding new culverts and seeding. These efforts are not only restoring the land to its full and diverse beauty, they are also transforming it (see mitigation section for details).
In 2018, 65-70 percent of the Moonshine Ranch property was burned in a wildfire. Since the fire, the owner has put in extensive work to restore and replenish the land. The owner has invested over a million dollars in these restoration efforts, and the results have been rewarding. Here’s a brief look at the mitigation strategy:
- Consultation with a wildlife biologist with expertise in post-fire recovery
- Clearing of burnt timber that was no longer viable and/or caused a hazard
- Aerial and terrestrial seeding using natural grasses in the winter and the spring with tremendous results for thousands of acres
- Tree planting, particularly with evergreen species around the main house
- Erosion and flood control to divert and guide water, including natural water catchments and mulching
- Roadway restoration (regrading and reshaping)
- Full, extensive fence repairs
- New culverts in drainage areas
- Extensive testing, inspections and cleanings within the buildings to ensure superb condition and excellent air quality after potential smoke exposure
The wildfire and the subsequent restoration efforts have also made for stunning, positive changes. With the loss of dense evergreen forests, there are areas that have become meadows with tall grasses, and the number of aspens on the land quickly tripled.
Moonshine ranch presents a highly unique opportunity, for the right profile of buyer, to purchase an exceptional big game ranch that also features stunning scenery and iconic rugged mountain landmarks. Most importantly, the asking price of the ranch has been substantially reduced to reflect current market value as a result of fire damage caused in 2018. A fire is an obvious and unfortunate event, however, what comes with fire damage is new opportunity, revegetation, and long a term investment opportunity. The owners were and remain extremely proactive in terms of efforts put forth for overall mitigation efforts in an effort to restore the ranch. With an investment of over one million dollars in stewardship, mitigation and reclamation efforts; the vegetation has recovered extraordinarily well, and wildlife species are back on the property in abundance as evidenced by the photography in the brochure. Records and evidence of efforts made will be provided to prospective buyers to verify efforts made by the owners. The ranch has been priced and valued to take into consideration the damage caused by the fire and in concert with the efforts made to bring the ranch back; this property presents a tremendous opportunity to purchase a ranch for a long term hold, effectively manage the balance the wildlife populations and increase it’s value over time. The owners are motivated to sell and move on to a different phase of their life.
The ranch is located in the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range within Huerfano County. La Veta, CO is 20 miles’ distance from the ranch; Walsenburg, CO is 25 miles’ distance; and the town of Pueblo is one hour’s distance. The Denver metro area and DIA are around three hours north and northeast of the ranch.
The nearest town, at 20 miles’ distance, is La Veta, CO, which offers a full range of dining, entertainment and culture. The next nearest town, at 25 miles’ distance, is Walsenburg, CO, which offers a range of the same, as well as a hospital. The town of Pueblo is an hour from the ranch and features a superb recreational reservoir, Lake Pueblo, where visitors come to boat, fish, waterski, hike and explore. The Denver metro area and DIA are around three hours north and northeast of the ranch.
Huerfano County, the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the towns and sights near to the ranch serve to expand the appeal of this unique property. Though the land itself is private and secluded, the offerings within an hour’s drive allow for superb dining, recreation and entertainment – as well as easy access to services and home essentials. Huerfano County itself is known as “Southern Colorado’s Spanish Peaks Country” and draws tourists for any number of recreational activities, including hiking, mountain climbing and hunting.
La Veta: This town is within 20 miles of the ranch and offers a full range of dining, entertainment and culture. It has notable geological features, hosts festivals, retains a rich history and boasts a thriving art scene.
Walsenburg: This town, the county seat, is within 25 miles of the ranch and offers a similar range of dining, entertainment and culture, as well as a hospital. It is two miles from Colorado’s first state park, Lathrop State Park, and it is home to the year-round Walsenburg Golf Course.
Pueblo: This town is an hour’s drive from the ranch and features a superb recreational reservoir, Lake Pueblo, where visitors come to boat, fish, waterski, hike and explore. The town also features several museums, a convention center, an airport, a zoo and many more attractions.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Near to the ranch are several area attractions – many of which feature peaks visible from the property itself.
Sangre de Cristo Range and Wilderness: The Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range is a southern subrange of the Rocky Mountains in the San Luis Valley. It features several fourteeners, including Blanca Peak and Crestone Peak. In the central portion of the Range is the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness, which features abundant wildlife and is within both the Rio Grande National Forest and the San Isabel National Forest.
Highway of Legends Scenic Byway: This scenic byway runs between the towns of Walsenburg and Trinidad. It is an 82-mile journey on State Highway 12 through national forests, mountain ranges and more. It features views of the Spanish Peaks, the Cuchara Pass and the Cuchara Valley, the National Historic District of Cokedale and the historic town of Trinidad. It is well-known for its unique rock formations and historical lore.
Spanish Peaks Wilderness: A portion of this wilderness area is within the same Huerfano County as the ranch, and it is entirely within the San Isabel National Forest. The Spanish Peaks themselves are well-known summits in the region and are markedly different geological structures compared to the mountains of the Sangre de Cristo range.
There are several buildings and improvements on the ranch which add comfort, elegance and functionality.
The Main Lodge: The main lodge is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a rustic aesthetic. It was only just built in 2015 and offers more than suitable lodging for up to eight people. It features a spacious great room with vaulted ceilings, large windows for incredible views and a sizable deck for hosting barbeques and taking in the sights. It also has a large kitchen, basement, dining room and garage.
The Headquarters: The Manager’s Home, known as the Headquarters, is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom modular home with an attached deck, built in 2013.
The A-Frame: The Guest Cabin, known as the “A-Frame,” is a two-bedroom two-bathroom cabin with such amenities as a kitchen, laundry room and den. It features rustic wood paneling and is suitable lodging for up to seven guests.
Working Facilities: The facilities include a 70’x120’ shop with a heated floor and electric doors, a calving shed that was built in 2015, working pens and other cattle handling facilities. These facilities allow for comfortable work through the winter.
Infrastructure: The ranch has a great, updated network of interior roads for easily accessing various areas of the property, as well as full perimeter and pasture fencing. There are also several new strategically placed culverts throughout the ranch.
Moonshine Ranch has extensive water rights associated with the property. All water rights owned by the Seller of any nature whatsoever, appurtenant to, associated with or historically used on the property will be conveyed with the property. Among the water rights are: surface water and groundwater (tributary, nontributary and not-nontributary) water rights, whether adjudicated or unadjudicated, located on, over, under, or in any way directly or indirectly related to the property, including any and all springs, wells, exempt wells, well permits, ponds, reservoirs, ditches, rights of way, pipelines, headgates, dams, impoundments, outlet works, diversion structures, conveyance structures, measuring devices or structures, well heads and pumps located or in any way appurtenant to property. A full summary of these water rights is available and included herein. Contact the broker for further discussion.
The variety of wildlife found on this land adds substantially to the beauty and wilderness it affords. Animals are drawn to the consistent, year-round water sources and supportive habitat. These animals include elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, black bear, Merriam turkey, antelope, mountain lion, blue grouse and various small game. Plus, the three large bodies of water on the property allow for healthy fish stocks.
The ranch is in a perfect location for top-notch, trophy elk hunting. It’s in Game Management Unit 85 and has a high volume of 340” bull elk. It hasn’t been used for commercial hunting in nearly two decades and the owner has been careful to hunt conservatively in order to maintain the herd. There are also excellent populations of mule deer, with many 180” mule deer bucks, as well as Bighorn sheep, Merriam’s turkeys and black bears.
Fishing at the ranch is just as rewarding as hunting, as it features three large bodies of water, all of which are fed by running springs. These ponds have previously supported stocks of rainbow trout and made for quality still water fishing experience.
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