Top 7 Colorado Ranches Near or Adjoining the White River National Forest

Conservation | Colorado ranches

In August 2021, the White River National Forest completed its acquisition of the historic 488-acre Sweetwater Lake Ranch, a deal that will protect wildlife habitat and create new recreational access. And within the past week, it was announced that the Colorado ranch will soon become Colorado’s 43rd state park

The park will be jointly managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), White River National Forest, and the Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT). According to CPW Deputy Regional Manager Jacob Bray, no other state park has a shared management plan like this, but this could be a model going forward.

The Conservation Ranch Deal

The Conservation Fund, with the help of EVLT, bought the lake and surrounding land last year to stop potential development while the Forest Service waited for funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to make a purchase.

What is the Land and Water Conservation Fund?

The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 and takes money from the federal government’s offshore oil and gas revenue, and puts it in a fund for conservation programs. Last year, the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law which secures funding for the program going forward. 

In honor of the White River National Forest’s addition of the Sweetwater Lake Ranch, also soon to be known as Colorado’s newest state park, here are other ranches on the market that directly adjoin or are in close proximity to this national forest that is famously home to the largest elk herd in North America.

Colorado Ranches for Sale

Adjoining the White River National Forest

Elk Creek Ranch

Meeker, Colorado
(Rio Blanco County)

Starting at $1,900,000

15,000 +/- Total Acres

Adjoins the White River National Forest on the southern and eastern boundaries.

This private sporting club is one of the most premier and exclusive fly-fishing and hunting communities in the world. Tucked away in northwestern Colorado and along the banks of the legendary White River, Elk Creek Ranch is comprised of 15,000 total deeded acres and has access to more than 30 miles of pristine and private trout water. 

Eagle’s Nest Ranch

Vail, Colorado
(Eagle County)


80 +/- Deeded Acres

Surrounded on three sides by Holy Cross Wilderness and White River National Forest.

Eagle’s Nest Ranch offers the opportunity to own an end-of-the-road, exceedingly private mountain retreat within 25 minutes of world-class skiing, dining, and resort life at Beaver Creek and Vail, Colorado. The property sits at the head of Lake Creek, one of the Vail Valley’s most iconic locales. The property is traversed by ¼ mile of West Lake Creek, offering private high mountain fishing; and the deeded property itself, with its irrigated hay meadow, is frequented by deer and elk. Home to a two-bedroom cabin.

Pass Creek Ranch

Silverthorne, Colorado
(Summit County)


1,292+/- Deeded Acres

Bordering the White River National Forest for 3 miles.

This is one of the most coveted river valleys in Colorado with world-class fly fishing and spectacular panoramic views of the Gore Range all within 20 miles of skiing and 80 miles of Denver. Bordering the White River National Forest for 3 miles, this Colorado ranch offers exclusive Blue River frontage, lush irrigated fields, and exquisite improvements.

Available Colorado Ranches

Less Than 5 Miles from the White River National Forest

66 Ranch

Meeker, Colorado
(Rio Blanco County)


153 +/- Deeded Acres

The White River National Forest is southeast of the property and directly adjoins Elk Creek Ranch, where a new 66 Ranch owner will enjoy membership at this premier sporting club.

66 Ranch is the ultimate luxury sporting compound situated in the heart of northwest Colorado’s upper White River Valley. The White River Valley is extremely secluded and private, yet boasts a quiet reputation for being the ideal recreational paradise with premier fly-fishing and big game hunting. The property comprises 153 private acres, about a mile of both sides of the esteemed White River with side channels, braids, deep runs, and pools, in addition to a 4-acre pond. The ranch is immaculately managed and improved with the complete package of custom structures including a one-of-a-kind 5-bedroom, 5-bathroom barn-dominium style home, river-camp, ranch shop, and various other outbuildings.

Dallenbach on the Frying Pan

Basalt, Colorado
(Eagle County)


137 +/- Deeded Acres

The White River National Forest is less than a mile upstream from the property and directly accessible via public land.

With a half-mile stretch of rare, totally private river, this ranch has the best of the rural Wild West with the convenience of quaint downtown Basalt only 2 miles away. No conservation easement and abundant water resources give this expansive rural acreage that is virtually surrounded by a state wildlife area a myriad of opportunities.

Full Throttle & Turnberry Ranches

Carbondale, Colorado
(Garfield County)


616 +/- Deeded Acres

Infinite recreation can be quickly accessed only 3 miles away in the White River National Forest.

Combining Turnberry Ranch and Full Throttle Ranch presents an intriguing trophy assemblage opportunity comprising 616 +/- deeded acres in total.

Full Throttle Ranch is a turnkey 222-acre horse ranch with a luxury home and working infrastructure, while Turnberry Ranch, located above Full Throttle, is where awesome Mt. Sopris and Elk Range views, additional water rights, and 394 more acres can be had.

These two Colorado ranches were historically operated together and complement each other, as Turnberry possesses the big views that the Missouri Heights area is known for, as well as a lot of irrigated acreage, and Full Throttle has an existing residence and ranch operations area.

Farm on the Colorado

Glenwood Springs, Colorado
(Garfield County)


1,123 +/- Deeded Acres

The Farm is located about 4 miles southwest of the White River National Forest, making it easy to find additional sporting opportunities.

The Farm on the Colorado is prime investment-grade, developable real estate, but with nearly two miles of a top-notch Colorado River fishery, a 10-acre waterskiing lake, and quality hunting, it’s also a sporting ranch to be enjoyed while you position the property to meet your goals.

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