Blessed with tremendous views of the dramatic San Juan Mountain Range, Piedra Valley Ranch is distinguished by an unequalled combination of size, recreation, wildlife, scenery, and immediate proximity to a mountain resort community. Located within ten miles of Pagosa Springs and the Stevens Field Airport, the ranch is easily accessed and provides the rare opportunity to possess a large and exceptionally private holding within a few minutes of the amenities and conveniences of town. This vast 9,600± acre retreat is comprised of a single contiguous block that shares nearly nine miles of common boundary with the San Juan National Forest. The diverse landscape includes thousands of acres of aspen and pine forest, timbered mountain slopes, lush meadows, and open pasture interspersed with forested bluffs and ridges. A private lake, numerous ponds, and miles of creeks provide excellent water resources for livestock, wildlife, and recreation. The ranch is appropriately improved with a six-bedroom owner’s residence and lakeside cabin complementing the natural landscape. A separate cow-camp house and shipping pens round out the improvements. In addition to limitless recreational amenities including excellent big game hunting and angling, native grasses in multiple pastures provide cattle with strong summer pasture. With no existing conservation easement, the ranch is open to a wide variety of future uses.
Piedra Valley Ranch enjoys a striking and exceptionally private setting that is distinguished by some of the most remarkable vistas in Colorado. Undulating topography gives the ranch its expansive character and provides a rare combination of seclusion and ease of access. The landscape is such that there is a natural buffer allowing one to see out but not in. Indeed, the immediate proximity of Pagosa Springs is forgotten once one enters the ranch.
This property is large enough that it enjoys two distinct topographical and biological zones. The western half of the ranch is more mountainous with over 4,200 acres of ponderosa pine, spruce, fur, and aspen covered terrain. The lower elevation eastern side is more open with well-grassed pastureland comprised of broad valleys with numerous ponds, long ridges, and rolling hills with ponderosa and oak-laden slopes. Beginning at the northeastern corner of the ranch, elevation starts at 7,800 feet and rises gradually to south and west, topping out at 8,870 feet at the timbered summit of Corral Mountain as well as along the slope of Middle Mountain at the southwestern corner of the property.
The main residence is located in the southern portion of the ranch. Sited atop a small bluff at the base of Corral Mountain, it is oriented to take in sweeping views of the ranch and snow capped peaks to the north and east. Despite its broad viewshed, the home is privately sited and sheltered to the west and south by stands of ponderosa pine.
Access to the ranch from Piedra Road (also known as County Road 600) is through a locked gate at the southeastern corner of the property. Once inside the gate the road heads west, passing by a large pond that is home to an abundance of waterfowl. From the pond the road leads into stands of towering ponderosas and a driveway leading to the main residence. Beyond the turnoff to the driveway the primary internal road runs south to north through the core of the Piedra Valley Ranch. Running the length of the property through a series of long parks, it also effectively bisects the ranch into the western and eastern halves.
The eastern portion of Piedra Valley is largely comprised of undulating grasslands, bluffs, and long ridges interspersed with numerous draws harboring ponds. Favored by wildlife and livestock, this easy but diverse terrain holds rich grasses and a number of water resources including two small creeks and a stream. Plumtaw and Cottonwood Creeks enter the property at separate locations along the eastern fenceline. Both creeks harbor small trout and run west through the property for roughly one third of a mile before converging and forming the head of O’Neal Creek. From this point of origination, O’Neal Creek meanders through open grasslands in the northeastern corner of the property for over four and one-half miles. Draining to north and west, O’Neal Creek is a low gradient tributary of the Piedra River that holds small trout. The head of O’Neal Creek is located just below the shipping pens and cow-camp house – both of which are conveniently located off of County Road 600. The road follows the eastern and northeastern perimeter of the ranch except where it separates the cow-camp house and small and separately fenced pasture from the main property. Ant Hill, a local landmark, is located south of the cow-camp house and just inside of the eastern edge of the property. Though enveloped with oaks and pine, this notable nob is aptly named as its shape resembles that of a large ant hill.
One of the most notable features of Piedra Valley Ranch is the Oak Mott. Located at the center of the property but in the eastern half, the Oak Mott is a long ridge with a series of benches, draws, fingers, and hidden valleys. A favorite bedding ground for the ranch’s resident elk herd, the Oak Mott provides wildlife with a favorable mixture of good grass, dense stands of oak, ponderosa pines, and open meadows. Because of its importance to the resident elk herd and proximity to nearby water sources, the Oak Mott is considered the ranch’s sanctuary area and no hunting has been permitted on or around it.
Along its southwestern boundary, the ranch adjoins the San Juan National Forest and corners high on the timbered eastern slope of Middle Mountain. Devil Creek enters the property from the national forest along the western fenceline, separating Middle Mountain from Corral Mountain as it flows south and east through a series of ponds in a narrow canyon. Set below stands of pines and cliff faces, the ponds provide angling for rainbow and brook trout and are easily accessed by ranch roads. As the canyon drops in elevation, the pine and aspen forest gives way to stands of mature ponderosa pine and open parks.
From Devil Creek, elevations rise north up to Corral Mountain and thousands of acres of aspen, oak, fir, and spruce forest. Corral Mountain serves as the western flank of the ranch and runs south to north within the property for nearly 4.5 miles. The top of Corral Mountain is essentially a forested mesa with easy terrain that is interspersed with open parks. An internal road runs the length of Corral Mountain and provides access points from the north and south, with an additional spur coming in from the center of the mountain to the east. As it runs to the north, the road follows the property fenceline that separates the ranch from the national forest lands to the west. No vehicle use is permitted on the national forest lands to the immediate west of the ranch which further insures privacy. At the northwestern end of Corral Mountain elevations fall off dramatically to the west and into a deep canyon through which the Piedra River courses. Here, the internal road provides access to a number of overlooks set atop cliff faces. From these perches one can look down into the Piedra River and across to the snow-covered peaks of the South San Juan Mountain Range to the north.
The northern tip of Corral Mountain breaks off into broad slopes separated by a series of rugged canyons. A side road branches off of the main thoroughfare here and runs north to the national forest property line. This offshoot provides ownership with a convenient point of walk-in access to the Piedra River.
From the eastern rim of Corral Mountain one can survey the ranch and appreciate its sprawling and varied terrain. Beyond the far eastern fenceline views extend to Pagosa Peak and nearly 20 miles beyond to the rugged rock faces and alpine peaks comprising the Needles, Blackhead, and Squaretop Mountain. The eastern slope of Corral Mountain is heavily timbered at its higher reaches but transitions into stands of aspen, oak, and ponderosa pines at lower elevations. O’Connell Lake sits along the northeastern base of Corral Mountain. This impoundment is over 11 acres in size and has long been utilized by ownership and guests for angling. The lake cabin sits atop a knoll immediately north and above the lake in a ponderosa forest.