Slate Creek Ranch

$16,900,000 Steamboat Springs, CO 1,028± Deeded Acres

Executive Summary

Conveniently bordering the town of Steamboat Springs, yet amazingly private and pristine, Slate Creek Ranch offers the rare combination of a large undeveloped mountain property and a location within minutes of world-class resort town amenities. The 1,145± acre ranch stands out for its development potential, resulting from an unparalleled blend of proximity, scenery, water rights, intact mineral rights, wildlife habitat, public land adjacency, stream-fed ponds, paved road access and modest but usable improvements. Encompassing a diverse landscape ranging from irrigated meadows and pastures around the ranch headquarters to oaks, aspen groves and pockets of dark timber up the mountain, this well-cared-for ranch has become a sanctuary for wildlife. Although incredibly convenient due to its location within five minutes of the amenities of Steamboat Springs and the town airport, the ranch is remarkably secluded by virtue of its size, geography and significant boundary with national forest and BLM lands that are difficult for the public to access. The ranch is aptly improved with a four-bedroom main home on a knoll with commanding views of the ranch and the nearby ski slopes. The main house is complemented by a guest house, manager’s home and barns, outbuildings and cattle working facilities. Slate Creek Ranch is both an exceptional recreational ranch ready for immediate enjoyment as well as a long-term investment property with multiple options ranging across the spectrum from significant development opportunity to a landmark conservation easement. 

General Description

Slate Creek ranch offers one of the most picturesque settings in the Rocky Mountain West. The framed ranch entrance on County Road 129 provides a panoramic view of a large part of the ranch, which only improves as one drives up the fenced lane to ranch headquarters through irrigated meadows and ending at the main home. The lower elevations of the ranch are a combination of irrigated meadows and pastures together with open parks of native and improved grasses. The middle section of the property is a series of parks interspersed among colorful brush, aspen groves and spring-fed drainages. The higher elevations of the property transition to mountainous slopes covered with oak, aspen and a variety of coniferous trees.Slate Creek essentially bisects the ranch, running from the higher elevations on the east side of the property southwesterly through the ranch. A series of small ponds have been placed along the creek providing tranquil picnic spots, potential premium homesites and storage of irrigation water. Many of the ponds are stocked with fish. Complementing the ranch are an owner’s home, manager’s home, two guest or rental homes and an extensive set of well-maintained barns, shops and other storage buildings. An extensive trail network provides access throughout the property. The ranch is protected on its east and north boundaries being adjacent to national forest and BLM lands.“The varied topography and diverse vegetation of the ranch creates an extraordinarily picturesque and private setting.”

Broker's Comments

The Slate Creek Ranch is an extraordinary property that ranks very high across the board in desirable attributes.  The combination of stunning scenery, easy access, privacy, live water, healthy wildlife habitat, diverse vegetation, water rights, accommodating slope and aspect, and, proximity to amenities contribute to the property’s appeal.  Slate Creek ranch is one of the very few remaining large acreages unencumbered by easements with such close proximity to one of the west’s most attractive resort communities.  The ranch is priced well below the sale price of a nearby similar property and is an attractive value when compared to property in other resort communities. This represents an exceptional opportunity to purchase and enjoy a remarkable ranch today at a value based on its agricultural and recreational characteristics, and then own a one-of-a-kind property whose future value may increase significantly based on its suitability for luxury development.

Learn about the locale


Slate Creek Ranch is located on the west side of Steamboat Springs and is also adjacent to Routt National Forest. This is truly a “best of both worlds” location; exceptionally convenient access to town with views overlooking the Yampa valley and the Steamboat Ski Resort, yet with enough size and topography for surprising privacy.The ranch is accessed directly off paved Routt County Road 129 (RCR 129), which leads to the magnificent Elk River valley. Downtown Steamboat Springs is less than 10 minutes from the ranch home. Steamboat Springs Airport (Bob Adams Field) is located across the road from the property. Yampa Valley Regional Airport, which has scheduled commercial flights, is approximately 25 minutes west of the ranch.


Slate Creek ranch is an exceptional real estate holding in that it contains 1,175± acres of undeveloped land with a private setting adjacent to one of Colorado’s premier resort communities. Bordering the northwestern city limits of Steamboat Springs, a mountain ridgeline of national forest and BLM lands form the east and north boundary of the ranch. This topography and Federal lands isolate the ranch from any negative city impact.The south and east neighbors are a mix of rural residential and small agricultural tracts. The majority of the ranch is very private with two county roads impacting only the western-most side of the property, leaving the main body of the ranch with no public roads. The town of Steamboat Springs is a charming community with approximately 10,000 residents. Steamboat is a unique Colorado mountain town; influenced by, but not dominated by the ski area. The town still maintains its western heritage and retains its small-town character. Steamboat is removed from the congested I-70 corridor and the front range of Colorado such that it is not and will not likely become as developed as other Colorado resort areas. Many of the people who live, work and play in Steamboat do so because of the diversity and quality of the recreational activities the area is known for. The Steamboat Ski Resort is world famous for its champagne powder and great tree skiing. The town boasts good schools, wonderful restaurants and a variety of shopping as well as the regional health care center.


With elevations ranging from approximately 6,800 to 8,100 feet, Slate Creek Ranch exhibits the attractive characteristics of the Colorado mountain climate – warm sunny days with low humidity and cool nights.  Average summer temperatures are in the upper 70s and low 80s, with lows in the 40s and 50s.  Winter typically means temperatures ranging from the teens at night to 30s during the day.  Snow will accumulate during the winter months, though the Yampa Valley traditionally receives quite a bit less than the surrounding mountain ranges. 

Aesthetic Considerations

The varied topography of the ranch makes it remarkably scenic.  The mountainous upper slopes lead to undulating meadows at lower elevations.  This aspect provides highly aesthetic views of the ski area, Yampa Valley, surrounding peaks and distant mountain ranges.  The ranch and surrounding mountains are breathtaking throughout the year, regardless of season. 

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Acreage (Deeded & Leased)

  • Irrigated Meadow/Pasture: 280± Acres
  • Rangeland: 850± Acres

Deeded Acres: 1,028±
BLM Leased Acres: 245±
Total Leased Acres: 245±
Total Acres: 1,273±

Additional Information

Conservation and Investment PotentialThere are a number of critical factors which make Slate Creek Ranch an excellent candidate for future residential development, conservation, or a combination of the two. In addition to the location, scenery, water resources and intact minerals previously discussed, the ranch enjoys multiple access points directly off the paved county road and is currently served by electric and telephone lines. The ranch is presently zoned Agriculture-Forestry, and enjoys low property taxes. Future land use options include use-by-right density of 1 per 35 acres, equating to 32 individual parcels. Another option in Routt County is a Land Preservation Subdivision which increases density but clustering development and preserving open spaces. This has been used successfully throughout the county and could provide up to 42 parcels on Slate Creek Ranch. Higher density development could potentially be approved through a zone change, PUD or Transfer of Development Rights. Slate Creek Ranch is not currently encumbered by conservation easement, however, the ranch’s scenic values and wildlife habitat, combined with its tremendous development potential, make it an excellent candidate for a future conservation easement. Current ownership has considered a variety of options for the property, including development, and has thoughtfully taken steps to secure the water to allow for future growth. Whether for conservation or as a development investment, the long term value of the ranch is significantly enhanced by its convenient location so close to Steamboat Springs, scenic landscape, excellent paved road access and water resources.


The ranch contains an attractive set of buildings used for its cattle and hay operation, as well as an owner’s home, guest and rental homes. The well-constructed agricultural buildings are situated at the front of the ranch just off Road 129. These structures include a large livestock barn with open pens off the back side, two-story barn/equipment shed/shop, three open-sided equipment sheds, hay sheds, livestock-working facilities and game-processing building. A ranch manager’s house with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two-car garage is located nearby.The main home is located on a ridge above the ranch headquarters overlooking a small pond with views of the ski area and valley below. This home is approximately 5,900 square feet on two levels with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms, two kitchens, three fireplaces and three-car garage. The home was built in the early 1990s and has been remodeled several times, most recently in 2013. A comfortable modern two-story guest house, located at ranch headquarters, contains approximately 1,900 square feet with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, living room and kitchen.

Water Resources

One of the most important assets of western ranches is water resources. In addition to the natural creeks and springs, Slate Creek Ranch has excellent water rights from diversions and storage rights on the property as well as rights from an organized ditch company.The ditch rights are 334.5 shares of the Woodchuck Ditch Company. These shares represent approximately 38% ownership of the company. Slate Creek Ranch is believed to be the largest owner of shares in the company. These rights have good priority dating back to the late 1800s, with water typically available through the majority of the summer.There are ten adjudicated storage reservoirs on the property. These vary in size from 1.6 to .02 surface acres. Several springs and wells have also been adjudicated. The largest pond on the ranch has an absolute water right decreed in the amount of 33.07 acre feet. Additionally, the ranch recently acquired a conditional water right to enlarge the pond to hold a total of 365 acre feet of water which was decreed for irrigation, stock water, wildlife watering, fishing, recreation, augmentation and for domestic use in up to 77 residences. Slate Creek flows through the ranch for approximately two miles. This is a small spring-fed creek with flows that fluctuate during the year. The creek historically flows year round, and though it is too small to hold fish, it feeds a series of ponds that are well suited for fishing. In summary the property has very good water for irrigation, livestock, domestic and recreational uses.

Mineral Rights

Slate Creek Ranch is believed to have all minerals intact.  This would assure full control of any mineral development by the owner.  Seller offers to convey any and all appurtenant owned minerals with the sale of the ranch.


Property taxes for the ranch are approximately $11,827.

Learn about the recreational amenities

Wildlife Resources

Slate Creek Ranch is well suited for the wildlife enthusiast as well as big game hunter.  The location, habitat and limited travel through the ranch create attractive conditions for a variety of wildlife.  The grasses, protective cover vegetation, and water in particular, draw elk, mule deer and grouse. Black bear and mountain lion are seldom seen but exist in the area as well.  The property location, varied topography and vegetation, combined with the interior trail system provide an environment for family-oriented or wilderness-like hunting in one’s own backyard.  Mule deer and elk are seen on the ranch year round.  The protected nature of the property and its location adjacent to both national forest and BLM lands serve to attract significant numbers of elk and deer, especially in the fall.  The many aspen and oaks make for stunning scenery in the fall, whether big game hunting or watching wildlife.

Recreational Considerations

A multitude of recreational opportunities are available within the boundaries of Slate Creek Ranch as well as in the immediate vicinity. The proximity of the ranch to the ski area, Steamboat Springs, Yampa River, Routt National Forest and Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area make it very convenient to take advantage of the abundant nearby recreational opportunities. The focal point of winter recreation is the Steamboat ski area. With nearly 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, Steamboat is one of Colorado’s largest areas and most family-friendly large resort.Other winter activities are snowmobiling on nearby extensive trails systems, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Summer activities are even more abundant with outstanding fishing, boating, and exploration of vast national forest and wilderness acreages adjacent to or within a short distance of Slate Creek Ranch.

Learn about the general operations

General Operations

Historically Slate Creek Ranch supported a year-round cow/calf operation. Its irrigated meadows provide an adequate winter feed base which is complemented by irrigated pasture and rangeland. More recently the property is used for summer and fall grazing with few if any animals kept year-round. This allows the high quality meadow hay to be sold as a cash crop.The ranch irrigates approximately 280 acres. A portion of the irrigated land is harvested for hay with the balance utilized for grazing. Typical hay production is 200 tons per season from one cutting. Slate Creek could be operated as a year-round or seasonal livestock ranch or as an equestrian property. On a year-round basis it would support about 100 head of cattle.

Leases and Permits

Slate Creek Ranch has a grazing allotment on a 245-acre parcel of BLM land located on the east side of the ranch.  The permit is for 48 AUMs.

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