- This private wildlife preserve is in one contiguous block & offers a rare opportunity to hunt bighorn sheep
- Stunning scenery that includes 55 miles of picturesque canyons, nine miles of the Purgatoire River, & other streams, springs & ponds
- Trophy-quality bighorn sheep, mule deer & antelope with landowner tags through Ranching for Wildlife Program
- Ample over the counter elk tags, and hunting for turkey, black bear & mountain lion
- Modern homes with territorial inspired vernacular architecture, barns and corrals
- Archaeological sites and biological diversity with over 865 species of flora & fauna identified
- Traditionally operated with up to 500 mother cows. There are multiple pastures, each with a water source, allowing for good year-round rotation.
- High quality conservation values
- Private grass airstrip and airplane hanger/shop
With nearly 50,000 deeded acres, the JE Canyon Ranch represents one of Colorado’s largest private ranches and wildlife preserves on the market today. Situated in southeastern Colorado’s canyon country, the property includes unique red rock canyons that rival those in southern Utah. Nine miles of the Purgatoire River run through the ranch, as well as other streams and riparian areas, creating a vast wilderness that form a mosaic of interconnected canyons and mesas. It is a premier wildlife ranch with tags available for trophy mule deer and bighorn sheep, elk and numerous other animals. It is also a repository of fascinating geologic, archaeological and historic heritage sites including prehistoric rock art, and abandoned pioneer homesteads.
Offered in cooperation with Corwin Brown & Associates, Inc.
JE Canyon represents one of the largest contiguous tracts of privately owned ranch land in Colorado and is one of the premier hunting ranches in the West. Consisting of approximately 49,555 contiguous deeded acres located in southeastern Colorado, it is 50 miles northeast of Trinidad via State Highway 160. The entrance is on the south side of the property, about 14 miles north of Highway 160 along county roads.
The ranch is bordered on three sides by picturesque canyons with the largest being 9 miles of the Purgatoire River and Purgatoire Canyon to the north, Doss Canyon to the west, and 6 miles of the Chacuaco Canyon to east. The ranch has three main topographical features with the level open and flat short grass prairie and upland mesas to the south near the entrance at 5,400 feet. The ranch slopes off down into the steep-sided red rock canyons of the Purgatoire River, Chacuaco Creek and many other canyons at 4,500-4,700 feet. The lowest part of the ranch is in the river bottoms near Red Rock Canyon at 4,000 feet. The ranch has well over 55 miles of canyon within the boundaries of the property, as well as numerous springs and pools. Juniper and pinon trees are dominant species in the canyons, with aspens and cottonwood trees in places and short grass prairie on the upper mesas.
The nearly 50,000 deeded acres today represents efforts by several landowners starting in the 1940’s to assemble numerous parcels into one of the premier ranches in Colorado. The ranch is rich in cultural history from paleontological to the present and home to fascinating geology, archeological and historical heritage including prehistoric rock art. The ranch and surrounding area have attracted archeological expeditions starting in 1931 to the present from Denver University, Columbia University to the recent Colorado Rock Art Field Projects supported by the Colorado Historical Society.
There are remains from of habitation sites from the Late Prehistoric stage and evidence of Apache and then nomadic tribes including the Comanche and Cheyenne. Several expeditions travelled through the ranch by Spanish and Mexican explorers looking for trade routes. With the defeat of Mexico by the US in 1848, the area was primarily used for ranching. Details concerning the prehistoric rock art findings and other reports related to historic cabins and dwellings are available to qualified buyers.
The ranch is well improved with extensive homes, guest and entertainment facilities, barns, cattle facilities, and an airplane hanger and landing strip.
- Owner’s home constructed in 2001 with four bedrooms, two baths, office, living room, kitchen, utility room, wine cellar and pantry.
- Guest home, unique rock home constructed in 2002 with one bedroom, kitchenette and bath.
- Guest entertainment complex constructed in 2009 with large dining area, commercial kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, cooks quarters and storage heated by solar and radiant floor heat.
- An employee home constructed in 2004 includes three bedrooms and two baths, large living room and kitchen.
- A large ranch shop with three bays and overhead doors was remodeled in 2012.
- Fuel storage constructed in 2003 including two 1,000 gallon above ground, double walled storage tanks complete with electric pumps and fuel meters.
- Morton calving barn constructed in 2001 complete with hospital/staff room and OB stall. Extensive pipe corrals large enough to accommodate 600 pairs at one time. Complete with sorting alleys, working tub, squeeze chute, scales and over 100’ of feed bunks. All corrals and traps have all season watering facilities. Adjoins, old historic rock barn in excellent condition and used for hay and equipment storage.
- Second employee home constructed in 2006, with five bedrooms, three baths, full basement, two car garage, also includes one bedroom, one bath detached bunkhouse.
Guest and Hunting cabins
- Remodeled in 2002 includes a three bedroom, one and one-half bath guesthouse with adjoining detached two bedroom stone bunkhouse.
Airplane Hanger and Shop
- Hanger and shop 100×100 metal building constructed in 2001 includes electric hanger door, paved driveway, bathroom, and lounge area with cook stove.
- Includes a 5,000’ plus grass landing strip with FAA approved GPS location number.
For additional photos of the improvements, view this web album.
The ranch participates in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Ranching for Wildlife program (RFW), a unique hunting program in Colorado that entitles large ranches (minimum 12,000 deeded acres) with certain privileges and opportunities and provides access for public hunts. The ranch participates with two other adjoining ranches in the Purgatoire Ranches group. This is the only participating group in the State to receive tags for bighorn sheep, an extremely rare hunting opportunity. JE Canyon receives tags for the coveted bighorn (Unit S61), trophy mule deer (Unit 147), antelope (Unit 147), and turkey. The ranch sets their own hunt dates for their private hunters and public hunters hunt during the set state seasons. The ranch also selects what sex of each species they will hunt and how these will be distributed between private and public hunters.
For the 2015 hunting season, JE Canyon has the following rights:
- Bighorn Sheep- 1 private ram tag every other year, and one public hunter on alternate years. JE Canyon will host a public hunter in 2014, and will receive 1 landowner tag in 2015.
- Deer- 6 private buck tags with a hunt season from late November through December 15. Public hunts are for 3 doe and 1 buck hunter. JE Canyon can increase the number of private buck tags to up to 12, which would increase allocation of additional public hunts. Includes mule deer and whitetails.
- Antelope- 3 private buck tags.
- Spring and fall turkey hunts, multiple bearded hunts, one of only three RFW properties offering turkey hunts.
- Tags for elk, bear and mountain lion can be purchased over the counter.
Cattle ranching has been an integral part of the ranch beginning with the earliest settlers to the present. The ranch interior is fenced and cross-fenced into numerous pastures and traps with each pasture/trap having its own water supply. This allows for the year round rotation of the cowherd from summer on the upper mesas to winters along the river bottoms. The normal cowherd consists of up to 500 mother cows, replacement heifers and bulls.
The ranch is well watered for livestock, wildlife and fire protection. It includes a 70,000 gallon water storage facility on the high point of the ranch that is connected to 3 wells. The system delivers potable water to all homes, barns and hanger. It also distributes livestock water though approximately 50 miles of underground pipelines to approximately 40 water tanks. In addition, there is live water in the 9 miles of the Purgatoire River, the 5 miles of Chacuaco Canyon, and other streams, making this one of the best-watered ranches in Las Animas County. The extensive water line system allows for fire hydrants at each set of improvements, barns and the hanger.
Due to the location in the canyons of the Purgatoire River most of the boundary fencing are natural canyon rim rocks and only 7 miles of fencing are required on the south side of the ranch.
All mineral rights owned by the ranch owner will be conveyed. The mineral ownership appears to be very fragmented with federal reserved minerals and severed private interests. There has been no indicated interest in the mineral leasing or exploration for years.
“JE Canyon is like having your own private wilderness,” said Renee Rondeau, Colorado Natural Heritage Program (CNHP). The biological diversity of the ranch is well documented in a bio blitz conducted in June 2010 by CNHP and the Denver Botanic Gardens, where 865 species of flora & fauna were identified. These findings were published in “JE Canyon Bioblitz” and can be purchased through Blurb Books. The ranch was also featured in John Fielder’s “Ranches of Colorado” and in “Colorado: Lost Places and Forgotten Words.”
In 2000, the present owners placed a conservation easement on about half of the eastern portion of the ranch with Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust. The easement limits the number of additional homesites to five, but retains the normal recreational, hunting and agricultural operations on this portion of the ranch. The remaining half within the Purgatoire River Canyons are free from any conservation easement.