A truly expansive holding set amongst a community of large and famous ranches, Dawson Elk Valley Ranch is comprised of 50,658± deeded and contiguous acres. The ranch is located in beautiful Colfax County where it rises from the most western reaches of the Great Plains to the front range of the rugged Cimarron Mountains. This region’s wildlife habitat and elk herds are of great renown and best exemplified by this property and its unmatched size and location. The lifeblood of the ranch is the Vermejo River, which bisects the property for 11 miles. Numerous canyons, tributary creeks, and lush valleys feed into the river – all converging at the heart of the ranch. The lowest elevations along Highway 64 are found at the bottom of the river valley at approximately 6,150’. The elevation rises as the property climbs through a series of valleys and ridgetops, achieving 2,000’ of elevation gain at the backdrop of Ted Turner’s 560,000± acre Vermejo Park Ranch, which is famous for many of the same features offered at Dawson Elk Valley. The mountainous and timbered northern reaches of the ranch, locally known as the Sangre de Cristos, yield to mesas and valleys which in turn, give way to the river valley and lower prairies. Such a combination of diverse habitat types clearly supports a rich biome and diversity of game. The ranch is located within New Mexico Game Unit 55A, a newly designated “Special Management Zone.” This Special Management Zone occupies an area of quality elk habitat that is largely held by private landowners. As such, private land elk authorizations are now allocated through a negotiation between the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and ranch managers. Because of its flourishing resident elk herd, the ranch has been able to obtain all of the authorizations it has needed – though ownership has conservatively hunted the ranch. Large numbers of mule deer, black bear, coyote, bobcats, mountain lion, Merriam’s turkey, and the occasional white-tailed deer reside on the property. Offered with the ranch is a 50% interest in the privately held York Canyon Branch rail line. The line traverses nearly 37 miles from I-25 just west of the community of Maxwell, passing though the ranch for 11 miles, and terminating in the Vermejo Park Ranch. It is a rare opportunity for such a unique asset to be on the market within a ranch offering of this quality. Dawson Elk Valley Ranch is rich in history, ecological and physical assets, and diversity of game and habitat.
Just the Facts
- Approximately 50,039± contiguous acres in Colfax County, NM.
- Adjoins the 560,000± acre Vermejo Park Ranch
- 15 miles to Raton Airport offering a 7,620’ runway and full services
- Vermejo River descends through the ranch for 11 miles
- World-class elk hunting
- 50% interest in 36.9 mile York Canyon Branch rail line
- 50% of seller’s owned minerals and 100% of executive rights convey.
- All owned water rights convey.
- Estimated 110 million tons of high BTU low-sulfur coal reserves convey
An expansive legacy holding in the heart of a community of large and famous ranches, Dawson Elk Valley Ranch is comprised of over 50,000± contiguous deeded acres in northeast New Mexico. The ranch is in historic Colfax County where it rises from the most western reaches of the Great Plains to the rugged Cimarron Range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The lowest elevations along Highway 64 are found at the bottom of the river valley at approximately 6,150’. The elevation rises as the property climbs through a series of valleys and ridgetops, achieving 2,000’ of elevation gain. The Vermejo River is the lifeblood of the ranch as it enters the north boundary from the 560,000± acre Vermejo Park Ranch and dissects the property from the north to the south boundary. This region’s wildlife habitat and elk herds are renowned.
Hall and Hall has had the privilege of selling some of the most iconic ranches in New Mexico. The Dawson Elk Valley Ranch deserves the same consideration, especially for the elk enthusiast or investor wanting a preeminent ranch in such a preferred location. A 50,658± acre offering set in the Sangre de Cristos, with unparalleled access and resources will likely never be rivaled again.
Located west of Interstate 25 and along Highway 64 between Raton and Cimarron in Colfax County, the ranch sits at the entrance to New Mexico's front range. The Raton Airport is only 15 miles away and offers a 7,620’ runway and full services.
Colfax County was originally inhabited by ancient Indians and later modern Apache and Ute tribes that were eventually pushed to the west part of the County by the more aggressive Plains Indians. The county was first occupied by European trappers and mountain men that led to the development of the Sante Fe Trail. Mining and ranching ultimately led to the settlement of the area and the Sante Fe Trail was a primary thoroughfare for ranchers to take cattle to market. As a result, several very large and famous ranches are still located in Northeast New Mexico today including the Vermejo Ranch, Chase Ranch, Bell Ranch, TO Ranch, CS Ranch, Philmont Ranch, Ojo Feliz Ranch, UU BAR Ranch, and Buena Vista Ranch among others.
As of the 2010 census, the population of Colfax county was 13,750. Its county seat is Raton. A large portion of the County lies in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Geography ranges from prairies, to pinon forests, to alpine meadows. The County contains numerous state parks, ski resorts, national forests, scenic vistas, and outdoor recreational activities.
Perhaps no other ranch we have represented has a more interesting history, and less evidence of its history, than the Dawson Elk Valley Ranch.
Once a booming turn of the century mining town of 9,000, Dawson boasted a four-story Mercantile Department Store, a modern hospital, movie theater, swimming pool, bowling alley, baseball park, pool hall, golf course and opera house. Mine owner Phelps Dodge spared no expense, determined to make Dawson a model city and the ideal company town. The company provided spacious homes with modern utilities to its mine workers and provided schools that won numerous state championships in athletic events.
The coal mines were eventually shut down in 1950 and Phelps Dodge razed or moved almost all buildings at the location and completed a thorough remediation of the town and mine sites. Virtually all that remains is a cemetery for those that died in the mines or while living in Dawson.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
There is a 50% interest in the nearly 37 mile York Canyon Branch Spur Rail Line. The currently idle and privately held York Canyon Branch railroad spur runs from I-25 just west of the community of Maxwell and passes though the ranch for 11 miles and terminating in the Vermejo Park Ranch. It is a rare opportunity for such a unique asset to be on the market within a ranch offering of this quality. Contact broker for additional details.
Current improvements on the ranch include a newer three bedroom two bathroom manager's house, a historic four bedroom house, wells and windmills for livestock and wildlife, extensive ranch roads, and a few outbuildings at the historic headquarters.
The lifeblood of the ranch is the Vermejo River, which bisects the property for 11 miles. Numerous canyons, tributary creeks, and lush valleys feed into the river – all converging at the heart of the ranch.
The Vermejo River also serves as the source of the ranch's adjudicated water rights. Historically purposed for the lower ranch valley, this water is a notable supplemental asset. Due diligence and quantification is currently underway.
Half of the oil and gas rights, along with all of the executive rights will convey with the purchase. The ranch is located over a widely recognized gas field and adjacent to the producing Vermejo field.
There is an estimated 110 million tons of high BTU low-sulfur coal reserves remaining on the property.
The ranch is located within New Mexico Game Unit 55A, a newly designated “Special Management Zone.” This Special Management Zone occupies an area of quality elk habitat that is largely held by private landowners.
Private land elk authorizations are now allocated through a negotiation between the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and ranch managers.
Because of its flourishing resident elk herd, the ranch has been able to obtain all of the tag authorizations it has needed – though current ownership has conservatively hunted the ranch.
Large numbers of mule deer, black bear, coyote, bobcats, mountain lion, Merriam’s turkey, and the occasional white-tailed deer reside on the property. These species tend to be trophy quality, but reside in modest numbers.
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