This 518± acre northern New Mexico offering provides outstanding fly fishing on over one and one-quarter mile of professionally enhanced Chama River and five stocked ponds in the attractive and easily accessible Chama River Valley. The centerpiece of the property is its diverse section of live water that is home to healthy populations of large wild brown and rainbow trout. Here, tasteful improvements, beautiful views, big game hunting, and productive hay meadows are complemented by proximity to Santa Fe and Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Located six miles south of Chama, New Mexico, Cañones Creek Ranch represents the opportunity to acquire a high-quality angling property that is turn-key and ready for immediate and easy use. The ranch enjoys a private setting yet is close to the amenities of town and has year-round access via paved US Highway 84. Internal access is provided via private ranch roads and a bridge that provides access to both banks of the river.
The Chama River enters the property at the north end and flows south for one and one-quarter miles – with both banks of the river located within and controlled by Cañones Creek Ranch. Cañones Creek, the namesake of the property, is a seasonal stream that flows through a portion of the ranch. The confluence of the stream and the Chama River is located just below the northern property line. From the cottonwood-lined banks of the Chama River, the property gently rises to the east in a series of lush hay meadows and benches. The terrain and topography here is easy with trout ponds conveniently located within easy striking distance of the river. Across the ranch’s private bridge to the west, the property is buffered by the slopes of a bluff that drop down to the river and an additional trout pond. Roughly one-quarter of the property is located on the west side of the river and this portion of the property is in more of a natural state. The eastern side is largely comprised of lush hay meadows. Located at the edge of the cottonwoods and hay meadow is the pavilion, which sits on a lush lawn along the banks of a large pond.
Gated access off of the highway comes in at the northeastern corner of the property. A private drive leads south to the house and shop with guest apartment. The improvements are well located on a bluff overlooking the balance of the property. Views up and down the valley and east to the mountains are outstanding.
Cañones Creek is an outstanding sporting ranch with a set of angling amenities and tasteful and complete structures that is rarely found in the Southwest. The one and one-quarter miles of professionally enhanced Chama River is an outstanding live water resource that is complemented by five trout ponds, productive hay production, abundant wildlife, and big views. Just six miles from Chama, where one can find all the conveniences of a small town, this is truly a unique New Mexico ownership opportunity.
The upper Chama River Valley sits at the western base of the Brazos Mountains in northern New Mexico. The Brazos Mountains comprise the southeasternmost portion of the greater San Juan Mountain Range where it dips down and into northern New Mexico. Though equal in beauty and recreational opportunities to its counterparts in southern Colorado, this area is largely undiscovered. The Chama River flows north to south with large stands of cottonwoods lining its banks. This bosque or cottonwood forest is in turned lined with rich hay meadows that rise to the east into bluffs and foothills at the base of the Brazos Mountains. Views to the east are dominated by rugged peaks and mountain slopes comprised of a mosaic of aspen and pine forests. The headwaters of countless tributary streams and creeks emanate from the slopes of the Brazos Mountain and flow west to their respective confluences with the Chama River. From its headwaters just a few miles to the north in Colorado, the trout-laden Rio Chama continues south for nearly 130 miles to its eventual confluence with the Rio Grande. To the south and west, the terrain becomes more arid with the dramatic red cliffs and bluffs, and high desert country that is synonymous with New Mexico.
The primary communities in the Chama Valley are Tierra Amarilla and Chama – both of which have long enjoyed a strong ranching and agriculture-based culture. As such, the area is controlled by large private holdings, smaller ranches, and expansive tracts of state and federal lands. Thanks to its mountain location and limitless recreational opportunities, the Chama Valley has also quietly gained notoriety as a four-season mountain destination. An historic 1880s railroad town, Chama is home to the Cumbres & Toltec narrow-gauge railroad, which provides scenic train rides through the mountains of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado via a historic coal-fired steam engine. In addition to the year-round recreational opportunities, Tierra Amarilla, Chama, and the greater Chama Valley have become a locale where hunters from around the world gather to pursue trophy elk and mule deer.
Located at an average elevation of 7,500 feet, the ranch is an area of New Mexico that receives an average of nearly 300 days of sunshine. The Chama Valley enjoys a favorable year-round climate with summertime temperatures reaching into the high 70’s and low 80’s, with daytime winter temperatures ranging between the mid 30’s to mid 40’s. The average snowfall in the higher elevations of the area is nearly 100 inches with annual precipitation of 22 inches.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
The ranch is not encumbered by conservation easement. Given its water, rich lands, and agricultural components, it is very likely that Cañones Creek would be an ideal candidate for future protection via a conservation easement.
Perched on a bench overlooking the property is a fitting 100-year-old adobe home that has been completely remodeled and updated with modern amenities. This 2,100 square foot adobe home has three bedrooms and one bath and is well-suited for hosting family and friends. A large open kitchen provides ample room for meal preparation, and the living room, which is a natural gathering place, features an open fireplace. Additional rooms include a large mudroom complete with storage closets, a large laundry room, and a fishing and hunting room complete with fly fishing bins and stocked with all the gear required by a day of fishing.
Adjacent to the home is a newly-constructed 1,950 square foot guest apartment with an enclosed garage and shop, as well as a covered carport. The studio guest quarters here enjoy a large open floor plan with a corner fireplace, full kitchen, and full bathroom.
Rounding out the suite of improvements is a trout pond pavilion with picnic tables and grilling area, historic barn, and a high and low house skeet shooting range. Internal access is provided via private ranch roads and a bridge that provides access to both banks of the river.
The property controls one and one-quarter miles of frontage on both banks of the Chama River. Originating high in the San Juan Mountain range, it flows through mountain forests before dropping down into the Chama Valley, where it is lined with cottonwoods and meadows and flows through many privately held ranches. From here, the river reaches El Vado Reservoir and then drops into canyonlands and becomes higher gradient before winding down to its eventual confluence with the Rio Grande. A 24.6-mile section of the river has been designated as a Wild and Scenic River, and the New Mexico State Record brown trout was caught in the river below El Vado Reservoir.
The ranch has adjudicated water rights on the Cañones and Barranco acequias (ditches) which are utilized for flood irrigation of 302.5± acres of hay meadow. Further water rights information is available upon request.
In addition to outstanding angling, Cañones Creek provides ownership with onsite big game hunting. The ranch is located within New Mexico’s Game Management Unit (GMU) 4, which is widely regarded as a top destination for excellent elk and trophy mule deer hunting. Elk and mule deer are drawn to the property’s hay meadows in the fall and will seek cover on the western side of the river. The adjacent Jicarilla Apache Reservation is famous for trophy elk and world-class mule deer hunting. Deer and elk from the Reservation regularly utilize the cover, feed, and water of Cañones Creek Ranch – thereby providing ownership with some quality hunting opportunities each season. The ranch is enrolled in the Private Land Elk License (E-Plus) program and typically receives four bull elk authorizations from the state each year. Private land only deer licenses are also easily obtainable by utilizing the ranch’s designated authorization code and applying through an application process. Merriam’s turkey and waterfowl also inhabit the property and provide additional opportunities. In addition to the game animals, the ranch provides habitat for a large number of songbirds, raptors, and additional small wildlife.
Quality live water properties with a significant quantity of fishable water are increasingly difficult to acquire in New Mexico. With both banks on one and one-quarter miles of professionally enhanced Chama River and five trout ponds, this holding provides a unique package of trout water for its size. The Chama River flies below the radars of many anglers, but those that know it hold it and its large trout in high regard.
The one and one-quarter mile entire stretch of Chama River flowing through the ranch has been professionally enhanced. Resembling a classic freestone stream, it meanders below tall stands of mature cottonwoods and alongside open meadows and steep bluff slopes. The river provides diverse aquatic habitat with deep plunge pools, gentle glides and riffles, as well as boulder, grass and willow-lined banks. In addition to a healthy population of rainbows, this section of river is home to wild brown trout that can exceed 20 inches in length. Fly fishing with dries, streamers, and nymphs is excellent depending on the season. A newly constructed private bridge provides easy access to both sides of the river.
The Pavilion Pond is not only a favorite gathering place and one of the most attractive sites on the ranch, it provides angling for brook and brown trout, as well as rainbows reaching in excess of 24 inches and 8 pounds in size. Each pond has been professionally stocked with rainbow, brown, and brook trout and strategically placed throughout the ranch in order to provide anglers with unique settings and angling experiences.
The newly built skeet shooting range features a high and low house and provides ownership with an additional activity for all to enjoy. In addition to the onsite fishing and hunting, there are countless opportunities for boating, hiking, backpacking, camping, and winter recreation just minutes from the ranch gate.
The ranch is currently managed as a balanced sporting property with a productive hay farm operation using substantial water rights on 302.5± irrigable acres. The property is perimeter fenced; however, there is currently no livestock operation on the property. The current ranch manager believes it could sustain 100 pair of mother cows throughout the summer and early fall grazing season. New ownership could also likely derive income from the property by leasing fishing rights or access to one of New Mexico’s many fly fishing outfitters.
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