Spanning an enormous block of contiguous deeded land rising from the river valley to the mountain top, the Motherwell Ranch is distinguished by its unparalleled combination of exceptional privacy, diverse landscape, abundant water, plentiful wildlife and accessible location. Situated in the picturesque Williams Fork River valley in northwest Colorado, this landmark 10,350± acre property encompasses multi-faceted recreational and agricultural resources in one complete and balanced package. The ranch has no private inholdings and no public roads across it, which is rare for a property over 16 square miles in size, and results in extraordinary privacy. Yet the front gate is only 20 minutes from the region’s commercial airport and world-class ski resort amenities with full services are only 45 minutes away in Steamboat Springs, striking the perfect balance between accessibility and escape.
As the ranch climbs over 2,500 feet in elevation from bottom to top, the land transitions though a rich mosaic of diverse vegetation and terrain. The resulting landscape is not only wild and scenic, but remarkably usable and excellent as wildlife habitat. Water is everywhere on this ranch, including 3.3 miles of the Williams Fork River, four beautiful lakes, over 90 ponds, several creeks and significant water rights for irrigation. Big game hunting and trout fishing are outstanding, and a source of considerable revenue. The Motherwell is also an operating cattle ranch, benefiting from productive hay meadows, alfalfa fields and expansive grazing pastures.
Well-suited improvements for owners and guests provide comfortable accommodations without being overdone. Extensive equestrian facilities are complemented by livestock operation support buildings and private bridges over the river link to a comprehensive network of interior roads and trails. Thoughtfully assembled by current ownership through a series of private and public land acquisitions, the Motherwell has benefited from enduring stewardship that is now in its fourth decade. Additionally, there are no conservation easements on the ranch, leaving it unrestricted and preserving that option for the next owner.
· 10,350± deeded acres plus 90 acres BLM lease
· Over 16 square miles within the ranch boundaries
· Dimensions: 5 to 6.25 miles N/S, 3 to 4.5 miles E/W
· 2,565 feet of elevation change bottom to top
· Results in tremendous diversity and scenery
· Yet the land is also gentle and usable
· Cottonwood and willow lined river bottom
· Bordered by alfalfa, meadows and pastures
· Transitioning to oaks, aspens and conifer forests
· 3.3 miles of the river plus several creeks
· 4 mountain lakes and over 90 ponds
· Significant water rights dating back to 1800s
· Boundless recreational playground
· Sporting paradise for unlimited outdoor pursuits
· Year-round activities for all generations
· 500± acres hay meadow, alfalfa, irrigated pasture
· Abundant stock water and vast grazing pastures
· Approximately 250 pairs plus 250 stockers
· Exceptional habitat for wide variety of wildlife
· Large numbers of both resident and migratory elk
· Highly regarded fully guided hunting operation
Big Game Hunting
· GMU 12, home to massive White River herd
· Over-the-counter tag unit for elk
· 17 landowner applications for mule deer
· Both live water and stillwater fisheries
· Highlighted by native cutthroat trout
· Known for excellent dry fly fishing
· Entire ranch is one contiguous block
· No private or public accessible in-holdings
· No public roads through the ranch
· Extraordinarily convenient for a large mountain ranch
· 20 minutes to the regional airport
· 45 minutes to one of the top ski resorts in Colorado
· Situated in the secluded Williams Fork River Valley
· Set on the north slope of the Flat Tops Mountain Range
· Landmark ranch with outstanding curb appeal
· Extensive infrastructure improvements
· Over 60 miles of interior roads plus abundant trails
· Pipe fencing and three private bridges
· Lodge – 6,240± SF with 5 beds/6 baths
· Owner’s home – 4,544± SF with 5 beds/4 baths
· Cabins – three cabins plus “glamping” tents
· Extensive equestrian facilities
· 42-stall horse barn and roping arena
· Training pens, horse pastures, riding trails
· Multiple income streams
· Primarily recreation and agricultural
· Augmented by lodging and special events
· Decades of enduring stewardship
· Boundaries of the ranch expanded by over 6,300 acres
· 3,070± acres acquired from Routt National Forest
· Very rare to find all these attributes in one property
· First time ever offered for sale
· No conservation easements, future options open
The land serves as the foundation of any ranch, and the Motherwell is uniquely endowed with a stunning natural landscape. A high level of diversity is apparent even from the entrance gates along the county road that forms the northern boundary of the ranch. Framed by a backdrop of dramatic sandstone cliffs rising 800 feet above the lush river corridor, the epic view from here encompasses the ranch all the way up to the skyline in the distance. The topography initially descends gently to the south, across productive alfalfa fields and irrigated hay meadows to the cottonwood-lined Williams Fork River. Beyond the river, the land gradually transitions as it ascends 2,565 feet over five miles to the top of the distant lava cliffs defining the southern boundary line shared with the Routt National Forest.
Within the ranch’s 16 square miles is a rich mosaic of distinct biomes: lush riparian zones along the river and creeks, alfalfa and hay fields, pastures of native grass and sagebrush, oaks, aspen groves and subalpine coniferous forests. The terrain varies as much as the vegetation, with multiple basins interspersed by broad benches and timbered slopes, ridges and valleys, creek bottoms and verdant mountain parks. The upper third of the ranch was formerly a part of Routt National Forest and remains representative of the quality and character of the finest lands found in our nation’s forests.
Highly varied terrain and abundant water sources endow the ranch with prime big game habitat, making it ideal for observing wildlife and hunting. Large resident populations of elk and mule deer are boosted in autumn by even more White River herd animals migrating from the adjacent national forest. Historically the ranch has operated as a highly-regarded hunting destination for trophy elk and mule deer. Yet even with all its wild grandeur, the land of the Motherwell is also surprisingly gentle and usable. It is very accessible as well, with private bridges over the river linking to an excellent network of interior roads and trails to reach all areas of the ranch, including a variety of lookout points and potential building sites. All parts of this ranch are usable and play a role in its appeal, whether for recreation or agriculture.
The ranch primarily faces north – a fortunate orientation that presents spectacular vistas in every direction and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. The north-facing slopes also result in lush ecosystems laden with a multitude of springs, creeks, ponds and wallows. The higher elevations are highlighted by three beautiful mountain lakes, each over 10 surface acres in size. The lower ranch is anchored by 3.3 miles of both sides of the Williams Fork River, an excellent trout fishing stream. The river and creeks also provide valuable irrigation water for hay meadows and irrigated pastures, which complement the production of the alfalfa fields.
Fortunately for the Motherwell, for more than four decades its owners have grown the ranch by strategically acquiring over 6,300 acres of neighboring lands, including 3,070± acres from the Routt National Forest. Today all of the acreage of the Motherwell is contiguous and there are no private inholdings and no neighbors who have access through the ranch. It is not bisected by any public roads and there are no neighbors lying between the ranch and the national forest. There are three small parcels of BLM land surrounded by the ranch, however the public cannot access those through the ranch. In addition to affording maximum privacy for the owners, the lack of outside intrusion helps create a sanctuary for wildlife on the ranch. This unique situation is a discreet and very attractive characteristic of the Motherwell Ranch.