About an hour’s drive west of Albuquerque, N.M., the Lobo Ranch spreads across 46,485± deeded acres of stunningly beautiful landscape marked by large mesas, rock formations, sandstone bluffs, expansive grasslands and open valleys. This working cattle ranch has outstanding recreational and historical attributes, including abundant wildlife and plentiful habitat, and hundreds of archeological sites and ancient petroglyphs.
With elevations that range from approximately 6,100 feet to more than 8,200 feet above sea level, the ranch encompasses several distinct ecosystems that are home to a variety of wildlife from Rocky Mountain Elk, mule deer and Barbary sheep to black bears, mountain lions, quail, turkey and upland birds. Seasonal pastures with excellent winter range along the southern and eastern valley slopes favor both cattle and elk. The current owner grazes approximately 300 animal units in an operation that is biased toward wildlife and range preservation.
Improvements include a 3,700-square-foot guest lodge with a large porch and patio with outdoor fireplace, a bunkhouse, manager’s residence, barns, equipment shop and a helicopter hanger. The ranch is accessible year-round via Cibola County Road 1, a county-maintained gravel road, north of Interstate 40 at the Laguna Interchange.
Just the Facts
• 46,485± deeded acres adjacent to the Marquez Wildlife Area
• 55 miles west of Albuquerque, N.M.
• Slightly more than an hour from Sunport, Albuquerque’s International Airport
• 53 miles from Grants, N.M., and Grants Municipal Airport
• Located on Cibola County Road 1, 15 miles north of Interstate 40 at the Laguna Interchange
• Elevation 6,100 ft to 8,200 ft above sea level
• Situated in Cibola (95%) and Sandoval Counties
• The Lodge, 3,700± s.f. with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths
• The Bunkhouse, 1,512± s.f. with 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths
• Manager’s residence, Modular home with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath
• Equipment Shop, 3,000± s.f.
• Hay Barn, 3,900± s.f.
• Helicopter hangar, 40’ x 50’
• Horse barn, 1,120± s.f.
• 20 water wells, including 4 solar powered pumps (quarterly meter reports)
through four year period ends in July file for extension
• 290 acre feet annually of unperfected water rights
• 25 miles of water pipeline
• Numerous earthen stock tanks
Wind, Solar and Minerals
• All mineral rights currently held by owner convey
• NextEra Energy operates a wind farm on a high mesa in the northeastern part of the ranch via a lease agreement with Lobo Partners, LLC
• Public Service Company of New Mexico owns and operates a 116.05-acre
solar farm on the ranch
• About 55 miles from Albuquerque Sunport International Airport
• 53 miles from Grants Municipal Airport
• Dirt airstrip on property approximately 2,600’ X 80’ - small aircraft usage
Lobo Ranch extends 12 miles north to south and nine miles east to west, encompassing more than 70 square miles of some of the most spectacular and varied landscape that New Mexico has to offer. From La Mesa del Canon Seco in the north to La Mesa de Lobo in the south, massive tablelands define the terrain of the ranch. From the caprocks, craggy cliffs descend steeply into secret, rocky canyons and wide valleys that roll into the grasslands beyond.
This is a geologically young and dynamic land formed by tectonic upheaval and volcanic activity during the Late Cretaceous Period and continually shaped by water, wind and weather in the millions of years since. Twisted sandstone spires and sedimentary cliffs worn into natural stairways, arches and amphitheaters mark secret places where ancient peoples carved their stories into the rock more than a thousand years ago.
To those ancient peoples and their descendents, this was—and is—a sacred land, marked by the guardian peak of Mount Taylor, which dominates the horizon west of the ranch.
It is a changeable place of brilliant sunlight and shifting shadows, of colors of every hue, delicate purple wildflowers, red rock fingers, green pine forests, fiery orange sunsets. It is a place of vast blue sky and endless stars, of billowing clouds and sudden summer rainstorms that leave the air impossibly fresh and crisp. It is a place revered by ancients and moderns alike, a land for all time.
Lobo Ranch is comprised entirely of deeded acreage. There are no state- or federally-owned lands within the ranch’s boundaries.
The ranch ranges in elevation from about 6,100 to 8,200 feet above sea level. Most of the mesa tops rise above 7,000 feet, including Mesita de La Madera at 7,730 feet.
The different elevations and diverse terrain of the ranch create discreet ecosystems and distinct seasonal pastures, which benefit cattle and game alike. The valleys slope generally toward the south and east, making for excellent winter range on the southeastern pastures. Summer pastures are generally at the higher elevations in the northern areas of the ranch. In all, there are about 10 pastures, with the largest about nine sections in size.
The current owner grazes about 300 animal units in an operation that is biased toward conserving range grasses and enhancing the wildlife habitat. In drier years, the number of cattle on the ranch has been reduced to preserve the native grasses.
Like the terrain, the vegetation is diverse, ranging from xeric scrubland to thick, healthy grasses. Predominant grasses include Grama, Sideoats, Sacaton, Galleta, Winter Wheatgrass, Pine Grass and Arizona Fescue. Browses include Four-wing Saltbrush (Chamisa), Winterfat and Apache Plume, as well as various rushes and sedges.
The higher elevations are forested with Ponderosa and Piñon Pine and Gambel Oak. Gray Oak and Mountain Mahogany also grow here.
In the western US it is increasingly rare to find large deeded acreage ranches, especially within reasonable proximity to a major city and regional airport. Most New Mexico ranches are heavily interspersed with state and federal leased land. The Lobo Ranch is rare in the sense that all the deeded land is in one contiguous block. Additionally, most of the property is extremely private and one could literally go days without seeing another person. The land itself is diverse and generously vegetated offering wildlife habitat and grazing for livestock. Punctuated throughout the ranch are several massive plateaus, deep canyons, arroyos, numerous drainages, massive rock outcroppings and steep ledges. The sunrises and sunsets over this landscape are absolutely exceptional and second to none in every way.
The current owners have reduced the total number of livestock, repaired existing water resource features and constructed new dirt tanks in strategic locations. Internal road infrastructure has been substantially improved as well. This ranch represents an opportunity to acquire a large, private piece of land well suited for recreational and agricultural interests that is not heavy on improvements and very well located.
Lobo Ranch headquarters are 55 miles or about an hour’s drive from Albuquerque, N.M., via Cibola County Road 1 and Interstate 40. A county road leads from the headquarters to State Highway 279, providing easy access year-round.
Laguna, N.M., a census designated place or CDP, gives the ranch its mailing address and encompasses the original settlement of the Laguna peoples, as well as the modern Laguna Pueblo, located south of the ranch.
The closest community is Bibo, N.M., (pop. 140), approximately 6 miles from the ranch and home to the Bibo Bar & Grill, a popular watering hole known for its green chili cheeseburger.
Grants, N.M., the county seat of Cibola County, is 53 miles west of the ranch.
Most of Lobo Ranch is in northeastern Cibola County with about five percent of the ranchland in adjoining Sandoval County. The Marquez Wildlife Area borders the ranch on the north.
Albuquerque International Sunport, the city’s large, full-service airport with non-stop flights to Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth and more than 20 other U.S. cities, is about an hour’s drive from the ranch. Grants Municipal Airport is about 55 miles west of the ranch. Recently the owners of the Lobo Ranch have constructed a dirt airstrip approximately 2,600 feet and 80 feet wide for small aircraft usage.
Cibola County, like most of West Central New Mexico, is ruggedly wild and sparsely populated, with fewer than 28,000 people living within its 4,542 square miles. The county, which extends westward to the New Mexico-Arizona state line, encompasses some of New Mexico’s most dramatic geological formations and archeologically significant sites – including the dramatic lava fields of El Malpais National Monument, the rock inscriptions and Puebloan ruins at El Morro National Monument, and the Acoma’s Sky City, arguably the oldest, continuously inhabited community in North America.
The Puebloan ruins of Chaco Canyon, just north of Grants in McKinley and San Juan Counties, are considered to be among the most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical sites in the United States.
The Marquez Wildlife Area, which borders Lobo Ranch to the north, is reputed to be one of the best public hunting grounds for elk in the state. The nearby Cibola National Forest, with more than 1.6 million acres of protected wilderness, offers endless opportunities for hiking, camping, hunting and fishing.
Albuquerque, a cosmopolitan city with a Southwestern flavor, is home to world-class cultural institutions, the University of New Mexico and highly regarded medical centers.
West-Central New Mexico has a semi-arid climate with annual precipitation ranging from 12 to 14 inches. Snowfall at the higher elevations averages about 18 inches a year, though accumulations are generally light. July through September are the wettest months when prairie grasses grow thick and tall and wildflowers erupt in a riot of color.
Cibola County averages 278 sunny days a year with summer high temperatures in the mid 80s, cooling to the 50s at night. Winter highs average in the 30s and 40s with lows in the teens and 20s.
Spring comes early at the lower elevations on Lobo Ranch with a growing season that lasts from early May through the middle of October.
The Blessing Place
Deep within the ranch, hidden by the mesa above and the trees of the canyon below, the soft sedimentary side of the cliff has worn away over the millennium to form a concave ellipse that looks for all the world like the acoustical shell of a large amphitheater. It seems a place made by nature for performance and ceremony. The ancients must have thought so too, for the walls of the cliff are covered with hundreds, if not thousands, of petroglyphs from wavy lines to round-bellied figures, some painted with a deep ochre, others barely visible now, each an enigma and a clue to the mysteries of vanished civilization.
For thousands upon thousands of years, people have been drawn to this land. Some came to hunt – the earliest ones passing through perhaps 10,000 years ago. Others to build magnificent cities atop the mesas. The Acoma’s Sky City, continuously inhabited for 800 years, is one of these.
The pueblos of Chaco Canyon flourished for almost 400 years. The Anasazi carved and painted the rock with mysterious, mystical symbols, concentric circles, zigzag patterns, people and animals. Boulders, cliffs and canyon walls on Lobo Ranch bear these marks. And then, sometime around 1350 A.D., the people who told their stories on the rock packed up and left. Where they went and why – whether because of drought, famine, war or all of the above – remain tantalizing mysteries.
Spanish Conquistadors in search of the mythical Seven Golden Cities of Cibola, for which the modern-day county is named, and Spanish friars in search of converts tried and largely failed to tame the land and its native peoples. Nuevo Mexico passed from Spain to Mexico and then in 1848 to the United States. Homesteaders and sheepherders arrived late in the 19th Century, followed by the cattle ranchers and large landholders of today.
Acreage (Deeded & Leased)
Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) owns 116.05 acres and a solar farm located within ranch boundaries, off County Road 1, north of the headquarters. PNM has right-of-way access through the ranch to the property.
NextEra Energy operates the Red Mesa Wind Energy Center under the provisions of a 30-year, renewable lease agreement with Lobo Partners, LLC. There are currently 64 wind turbines on the ranch. The amount of carbon emissions offset by the 102-megawatt wind power site is equivalent to taking more than 38,000 cars off the road every year.
The spacious and fully furnished Lodge is ideal for a year-round residence or a weekend retreat. Pine paneling and oak floors throughout create a warm and inviting environment that is both authentically Western and genuinely comfortable.
Within its 3,700 square feet, the Lodge has five bedrooms, including two currently used as an office and a game room, three baths, a living room, dining room and kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.
Two large decks with exceptional views of Lobo Mesa and a patio with an outdoor fireplace are perfect for enjoying New Mexico’s sunshine – and its starry skies.
All furnishings convey with the property.
Lobo Ranch is equipped for a productive cow-calf operation with barns, pens and workshops located primarily at the headquarters compound.
This 50 x 78-foot enclosed hay barn has 3,900 square feet under cover.
With 3,000 square feet, the equipment shop, which adjoins the hay barn, has ample space for equipment storage and work areas.
An 11 x 70-foot horse barn has three stalls and a tack room.
The helicopter hangar is 40 x 50 feet in size.
Ranch Manager’s Residence
Located about two miles from ranch headquarters, this Karsten Model RC2 modular home includes two bedrooms, one bath and a large deck with excellent views.
This frame and stucco residence has 1,512 square feet with a great room that opens onto a fully equipped kitchen. There are three bedrooms plus a loft and 1.5 baths. Located at headquarters, the house is currently furnished to sleep six and is ideal for staff, guests or hunters.
Lobo Ranch has unperfected water rights of 290 acre feet annually. The ranch has 20 water wells, including eight with electric pumps and four with solar-powered pumps (quarterly meter reports) through four year period ends in July file for extension. There are about 25 miles of pipeline throughout the ranch. The Lobo Ranch has recently been approved by the State of New Mexico, Office of the State Engineer of Albuquerque for a 4 year - “Proof of Beneficial Use” water right. The purpose of this water right is to develop 290 acre feet of unperfected water rights anywhere on the property to be used for domestic, irrigation, ranching and related uses. (Additional information available upon request).
The ranch also has numerous dirt tanks for livestock. The current owner has undertaken a program to improve and increase the number of tanks to expand the footprint of available surface water for both livestock and wildlife.
- All mineral rights owned by Lobo Ranch convey to the new owner.
- Lobo Ranch owns about 50% of the oil and gas rights on the ranch.
- The remaining rights are owned by Exxon Corporation and the Cebolleta Land Grant.
With its diverse terrain and varying altitudes, Lobo Ranch provides an excellent year-round habitat for elk. Large, resident herds of Rocky Mountain Elk calve in the ranch’s many oak stands and find a mix of cool season and warm season grasses on the mesa tops and at lower elevations. Mule deer are found throughout the ranch but are particularly attracted to the canyons that run east of Mesa Chivato. Dense woodlands of Ponderosa pine, piñon pine and juniper provide cover and protection for the deer.
Merriam’s turkey finds a roosting habitat in the Ponderosa pine forests of the canyons and the mesa. Cougars and black bear travel through the canyons, while the bluffs provide stalking habitat for the big cats. A Barbary sheep was harvested on the ranch in 2012.
These sheep, native to North Africa and introduced into New Mexico in 1943, can be found scattered throughout arid regions.
The ranch is also home to a wealth of birds from Hairy Woodpeckers, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Great Horned Owls to Golden Eagles and a variety of hawks.
“The elk who reside in the savannahs and woodlands atop Mesa Chivato on the west side of the ranch are a prime example of how the needs of wildlife are met. Elk are grazers and the mesa offers large grassy openings that support a mixture of cool season grasses … and warm season grasses…So, food quality remains high for longer periods.”
– William C. Dunn, Ph.D., Big Picture Conservation, L.L.C.
Lobo ranch is located in New Mexico Game Management Unit 9. Due to significant legislative changes in 2019, regarding the landowner allocation in the ELK Private Land Use System (EPLUS) we are not able, at this time, to give an accurate analysis of the total landowner allocation of tags. The ranch has completed the annual and required permitting process to remain the E-Plus System and in concert with New Mexico Game and Fish Department. The owners are waiting for the New Mexico Game and Fish Department for revised issuance of tags after the new system is implemented state wide. For additional information please visit New Mexico Game and Fish (http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/hunting/maps/elk-private-lands/).
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