For Sale

Saddlehorn Ranch

$5,166,000 La Veta, CO 2,520± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

The Saddlehorn ranch is located four miles west of La Veta, an hour south of Pueblo and Pueblo Memorial Airport and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Denver, CO. Of the 2,520± deeded acres, approximately two thirds of the ranch is rugged mountain terrain, complemented by massive rock outcroppings, steep hillsides, and numerous drainages that transition into lower valleys. The eastern one third of the ranch is mild topography featuring a gentle rolling gradient interspersed with gamble oak, an abundance of grassland, and open meadows. Adjacent to the San Isabel National Forest and BLM land, and within a short drive of the Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area, the property is a natural fit for migrating and abundant big game and small animal species. Minimally improved, there is a current manager’s residence and operational corrals. Additionally, there are numerous building sites to choose from when studying a desirable location for a primary residence. The views from nearly anywhere on the ranch are exceptional and include the mighty Spanish Peaks, Silver Mountain, Mount Mestas, Rough Mountain, and the infamous Sangre de Cristos. After the unfortunate 2018 Spring Creek fire, roughly 75% to 80% of the ranch was damaged. The owner took immediate action and has invested over $600,000 in complete mitigation efforts to manage the damage via aerial seeding, mulching, removal of timber, planting grasses, repairing roads and waterways, while also constructing new roads. The regrowth is tremendous and there is still ample amounts of heavy timber in various areas throughout the ranch. We have put together a pricing model reflective of the diminution of the fire and well below a retail per acre value. The buyer for this ranch must be willing to take a long term perspective while regrowth takes place. This presents an opportunity to acquire an extraordinary recreational property with a significantly less barrier to entry in terms of its market devaluation while also presenting an opportunity for long term appreciation and witnessing mother nature work her magic.

Just the Facts

  • 2,520± deeded acres 
  • Adjacent to BLM and the San Isabel National Forest 
  • Located four miles west of La Veta, CO
  • An hour’s drive to Pueblo and Pueblo Memorial Airport 
  • Three-and-a-half hours’ drive to Denver and DIA 
  • Manager’s home and corrals 
  • Abundant wildlife including elk, deer, antelope, bear, turkey, and small game animals
  • 7,800 to over 9,000 feet 
  • Extremely private and easily accessible 
  • Remarkably diverse topography 
  • Extraordinary views of the Sangre de Cristos, Spanish Peaks, Mestas, Silver, and Rough Mountains 
  • Numerous private buildings sites
  • Four wells and six springs
  • Oak and Indian Creek are seasonal creeks traversing portions of the ranch
  • Significant percentage of ranch burned in 2018 Spring Creek Fire
  • Owner has invested in excess of $600,000 in mitigation efforts
  • Extensive new vegetation growth
  • New road construction and water bars 
  • Priced with consideration for fire damage

General Description

The Saddlehorn Ranch is uniquely private, secluded along the western edge of the property by the Great Dikes that spool out from the base of the Spanish Peaks, jutting up and shielding the ranch’s mild valley topography. These rugged granite outcroppings and steep hillside terrain make up two-thirds of the property and provide drainages that flow into the ranch’s lower third of valley terrain, creating rich soil for new vegetation along its gently rolling gradient. Specifically, the Oak Creek drainage runs through the heart of the ranch from its upper reaches and is almost entirely under the ownership of the ranch, giving it a rare naturally-resourced vitality for the area.

Regrowth after the 2018 Silver Creek Fire is well underway. Generous mitigation strategies have already seen an extraordinary payoff, including aerial seeding, mulching, removal of timber, planting grasses, repairing and constructing roads and waterways, and building drainage solutions. Large swaths of Gambel oak thrive along the grasslands along with ponderosa pine, blue spruce, white fir, and pockets of aspen. The fire, while burning part of the tree line, also cleared some of the heavy timberland for rapid restoration of the soil and undergrowth for foraging grasses. The restoration of grazing vegetation and trees has expanded the wildlife habitat, welcoming an even greater number of elk, deer, black bear, wild turkey, grouse, and smaller forest animals. 

Saddlehorn stands ready with prime building sites as almost every corner of the ranch offers spectacular, geologically-distinct views. Some 20 miles of newly-constructed inter-ranch roads provide ease of access, and water bars have been added to protect the roads and ensure less maintenance over time. The ranch also is equipped with quality operational corrals and a manager’s residence.

Broker's Comments

The Saddlehorn Ranch is a unique opportunity to purchase a mountain recreational property that has been exhaustively mitigated due to the damage caused by the 2018 Silver Creek Fire. Unfortunately, fire damage is a reality of ranch ownership in the west and at times can be severe. The owner has invested over $600,000 in mitigation efforts including aerial seeding, restoring roads, building new roads, extensive water restorative efforts, and several other equally important efforts to lessen the fire damage. We have also factored into the pricing model the diminution, from what we believe to be a substantial discount from a traditional market value. The ranch has tremendous regrowth, revegetation and often times mother nature will create a new haven for wildlife and native vegetation, which is exactly what is happening on this ranch. If one is looking for a long term hold and desires to watch mother nature work her magic in the years to come, Saddlehorn ranch is perfect example of a property being priced reflective of fire damage and perfectly geared towards long term appreciation. The end result, over time, will be new thriving and growing property. The natural beauty of this particular ranch is absolutely stunning, ranging from rugged mountainous terrain to lush valley bottoms to grass-filled meadows all coming together for a true rebirth. 

Learn about the locale

Location

The Saddlehorn Ranch is located in Huerfano County just four miles west of the charming town of La Veta, population around 1,000. Not far from the Scenic Highway of Legends, the ranch sits among remarkable western beauty beneath the great Spanish Peaks and adjacent to the San Isabel National Forest and other BLM land. Oak Creek and Indian Creek run through the property. Access to the headquarters feels private, off County Road 421 and Indian Creek Road. Nearby, the Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area is known for remote hiking, horseback riding and camping. 

Pueblo, population around 100,000, is just an hour south of the ranch for larger retailers, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and Pueblo Memorial Airport. Walsenburg, population around 3,000, is about a half-hour drive east for its local downtown shops; it also houses a small airport. Denver is a three-and-a-half-hour drive north of the ranch for Denver International Airport or a weekend getaway of shopping, dining and entertainment.

Locale

The Saddlehorn Ranch is suited for enjoying nature’s quiet rhythms within the gently rolling valley sheltered by majestic vertical granite formations known as the Great Dikes on the western edge of the property. Just down the road, the charming ranching town of La Veta offers groceries and goods as well as a historic downtown and seasonal celebrations such as Oktoberfest in the fall and the Spanish Music Festival in the summer. In the heart of Spanish Peaks Country, Saddlehorn is part of a larger region that celebrates its Western roots and is known for its natural wonders, scenic byways, and abundance of outdoor recreation. 

Spanish Peaks 

The Spanish Peaks mark the area with their distinct geological features that set the landscape apart from their sister mountains of the Sangre de Cristo range to the west. Great radial dikes spool out from the mountains like spokes from a wheel, creating stunning formations such as the impressive rock wall that lines the western boundary of Saddlehorn and contains Saddlehorn Rock for which the land was named. Mountain climbers, horseback riders, and hikers frequent the Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area for its trails that summit each twin mountain, looking out over the wilderness.

Highway of Legends

The iconic Highway of Legends scenic byway loops along Highway 12 from Walsenburg southeast to Trinidad. The drive showcases the beauty of the Great Dikes, radial rock formations spinning out from the Spanish Peaks, rising along the base of the peaks to Cuchara Pass and back down into the valley. Views of neighboring ranches and forestland are punctuated by historic remnants of the coal mine near Cokedale and highlight the specific Native American history and Spanish settlement of the area.

Skiing

Wolf Creek Ski Area is about a two-hour drive from Saddlehorn and is located along a high alpine ridge, boasting 430 inches of snowfall a year. Its unique microclimate, all-natural powder, and hike-to terrain makes it a destination for all levels of skiers.

Monarch Mountain is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the ranch for a relaxed day of skiing in the winter. Monarch is known for its abundant snowfall and convenient access for slope-goers looking to skip the crowds of larger resorts. A trip along Monarch Pass is also one of the most scenic winter drives in the state.

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park is just over the west side of the Sangre de Cristo range from the ranch, an hour-and-a-half drive away. The tallest dunes in North America, the area is popular with visitors for the rare experience of sand-sledding and sand-boarding while offering plenty of exploration among its surrounding mountain trails, creeks and impressive diverse scenery.

Climate

The Saddlehorn Ranch enjoys true Colorado seasons marked by low humidity and 250+ days of sunshine a year. Summers are warm with highs in the 80s and winters are snowy and cold in the low teens. Few views are as breathtaking as fresh snow cover draping the Spanish Peaks, transforming the ranch into a winter wonderland. The region sees around 20 inches of rainfall a year and about 50 inches of snow a year. Elevation of the area stands between 7,800-9,000 feet.

Learn more about the property

Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

The Saddlehorn Ranch consists of 2,520± deeded acres. Two-thirds of the property consists of rugged mountainous terrain along its western boundary while the eastern third of the ranch is marked by mild topography of gently rolling meadows, Gambel oak and grassland.

Deeded Acres: 2,520±
Total Acres: 2,520±

Improvements

The ranch holds vast potential for new improvements in its current regenerative state. Numerous sites for a primary residence are ideal for capturing stunning views of the Spanish Peaks, Sangre de Cristo, Mestas, Silver, and Rough Mountains. More secluded sites also run along Oak Creek. The scenic privacy of the valley sheltered by the majestic rock outcroppings make the property a dynamic location with options for truly unique building opportunities.

About 20 miles of inter-ranch, two-track roads have also been newly added and reinforced with water bars in strategic places to deflect runoff and maintain excellent accessibility for years to come. Other existing improvements include a manager’s residence and quality operational corrals that can serve a small herd of cattle.

Water Rights

The Saddlehorn Ranch sees seasonal flows with Oak and Indian Creeks running for about two miles through portions of the ranch. The upper regions of Oak Creek have six springs, with some holding water year-round. The ranch is also well-equipped with two quality wells and a large 16,000-gallon storage tank with a solar pump. Any and all seller-owned water rights appurtenant to the property are included in the sale.

Mineral Rights

Any and all seller-owned mineral rights appurtenant to the property are included in the sale.

Timber Resources

Fire Mitigation and Regrowth

The Saddlehorn Ranch is already experiencing tremendous regrowth, thanks to the immediate action taken by current ownership following the 2018 Silver Creek Fire. While roughly 75% to 80% of the ranch was damaged, more than $600,000 was spent in aerial seeding, mulching, removal of timber, planting grasses, and repairing and constructing roads and waterways. Collections ponds were developed to keep drainage intact, and perennial grasses were reseeded, quickly bringing back foraging animals like elk and deer.  

The burn also worked to clear some dense timber and release nutrients and minerals needed to enrich the soil, encouraging new undergrowth in the forestland. This naturally expanded the ranch’s wildlife habitat by drawing the return of even greater numbers of elk, deer, black bear and smaller forest animals. The increased wildlife migration has additionally worked to fertilize and till the soil, further enriching and strengthening revegetation. 

Large areas of heavy timber were untouched by the fire, and the previously-burned areas are seeing the arrival of smaller animals such as Abert’s squirrel and wild turkeys. This resurgence of grazing vegetation and increased wildlife is working to organically restore the land and usher in mother nature’s regeneration of the soil, vegetation, and wildlife.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

The Saddlehorn Ranch’s habitat has evolved since the fire, inviting an abundance of new wildlife to the area. The burn simultaneously released minerals and nutrients into the soil while clearing the dense timber for new undergrowth. This, along with the intentional reseeding projects, has allowed native grasses and foraging vegetation to spring back up, providing excellent grazing for elk and deer, which in turn have tilled and fertilized the soil. Wild turkeys, grouse, small songbirds, and even mountain lions and black bears have come back to the land in droves due to the rapid revegetation. Smaller animals such as the unique Abert’s squirrel and wild turkeys now reside in the once-burned area, expanding the wildlife habitat to occupy even more of the ranch than before the fire.

Hunting

Saddlehorn is ideal for hunters with its recently reseeded grasses drawing many elk, deer, wild turkey, grouse, and black bear for grazing. The land is quiet and remote, and its newly-cleared rugged timberline has brought an abundance of wildlife back to the parcel.

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