Featuring

  • 2,085 acres (400 decreed to irrigation, 1,685 pasture)
  • Unparalleled views of the scenic Sangre de Christo mountains
  • Prime grazing land includes both dry land and irrigated pasture
  • Senior Water rights in the Freer, Beckwith and Kennicott ditch (FBK, 9.9 cfs,1875 priority) and Jarvis Swift Creek #3 ditch (1.75 cfs 1871, and 1.45 cfs 1875)
  • Productive designated wetlands and waterways supporting a diversity of water fowl and terrific seasonal duck hunting
  • Important wildlife habitat and connecting corridors for resident and migrating herds of elk, deer, and pronghorn
  • Decreed flowing/artesian wells serving an extended network of former hatchery ponds
  • Deed of Conservation Easement on 914 acres held by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
  • Commercial air service is an hour and a half drive to Colorado Springs, CO

The 2,085 acre Beckwith Ranch is a classic Wet Mountain Valley agricultural gem boasting senior water rights, hay production, quality grazing lands, and extensive wetlands habitat.  With the spectacular Sangre de Christo Range as backdrop, and graced by the iconic white-wash and red roof “Waverly Place” improvements, the historic Beckwith is important to the area’s long ranching heritage, and plays a crucial role in the land conservation legacy of the Wet Mountain Valley.

The southern half of the Beckwith is covered by a Deed of Conservation Easement on 914 acres held by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.  The easement calls for the continued historic agricultural use of the property and allows for two additional building sites on that portion of the ranch.

Improvements

There are actually no building improvements on the Beckwith Ranch. While the eastern property line of the ranch is graced by the iconic white-washed red-roofed buildings of the historic “Waverly Place,” (a favorite stop on a number of southern Colorado scenic driving tours), the buildings and respective 3 acres are owned separately by a local non-profit, Historic Beckwith with the mission of the long-term preservation of the buildings. The ranch has long been managed in conjunction with the neighboring adjacent ranches (see Ranch Attributes), though the historic building improvements include a large set of working pens which the ranch has access rights to use. The ranch is perimeter and interior fenced and generally serviced by two-track ranch roads.

Custer County zoning allows for one dwelling unit per 80 acres in this part of the valley, and the portions of the ranch covered by a conservation easement allow for two additional building sites (see Ranching Attributes) .

Location

The Beckwith Ranch, is five minutes drive west from the friendly and scenic town of Westcliffe, in Custer County, CO. The majestic Sangre de Christo Range looms just one mile to the west.

Locale

Westcliffe, CO (Pop 4255) is home to several great restaurants, a grocery, hardware, motels, movie theater, bowling alley, and most other major services.  Both Canyon City and Pueblo, Colo. with all services including hospitals, big box retail and many hotels and restaurants are a short hour’s drive from the ranch. Colorado Springs Municipal Airport with non-stop service to more than 11 major U.S. cities is an hour and a half drive.

The Wet Mountain Valley affords outdoor enthusiasts an incredible array of activities with hundreds of miles of the San Isabel National Forest and BLM lands in all directions. Numerous trailheads for hiking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, ATV and snowmobile access. Hunting and fishing are abundant both on an off the property; Dewesse Reservoir is less than a mile east of the ranch; the Arkansas River and the world famous Royal Gorge are a half an hour away and are renown for the excellent fishing, thrilling white water rafting, and incredible scenery. Ski Monarch is a short hour’s drive, and over what many argue is one of Colorado’s most scenic highways, the Great Sand Dunes National Park is on the other (west) side of the Sangre de Christo range an hour and a half drive from the ranch.

Climate

  • Rainfall (in.): 14.4
  • Snowfall (in): 49.4
  • Precipitation Days: 82
  • Sunny Days: 283
  • Avg July High: 85°
  • Avg. Jan High: 42°

Hunting

Beckwith Ranch is home to antelope, mule deer, elk, and a variety of upland birds. However the quiet secret of the property is the remarkable duck hunting available in the series of man-made ponds strung thru the heart of the property. Using the abandoned historic Ula Railway grade as a containment berm, a previous owner diverted naturally occurring artesian springs/wells into a series of stepped-ponds originally intended for a fish hatchery. The ponds provide excellent habitat for a diversity of both terrestrial and aviary wildlife, most particularly abundant waterfowl; ducks and geese use the ponds year round. It is a sportsman’s treat to walk the low side of the railroad grade jump shooting ducks in the Fall (no blinds or decoys required!).

Fishing

The ponds described above are also well stocked with both trout and small mouth bass; on any given day an angler can expect to catch either or both on the same outing. While the long network of ponds is in need of work (some of the ponds have begun to silt up) given the remarkable natural source flows, an opportunity exists to re-vitalize the waterway once again, creating a robust fishery resource.

Ranch Operations

Situated on Swift Creek, the Beckwith is a remarkably well-watered property with both surface and sub–surface flows that historically made it a true “haymaker.” Once part of the wet/irrigated portion of the renowned “Clevenger Place” (a huge ranch that stretched for miles), the ranch is now managed in conjunction with the adjacent Kennicot, Comstock and Rogers (Upper Kennicot), and Rusk ranches (~5,500 acres combined). While the ranch still puts upwards of 90 tons of hay annually, much of the water is now seasonally used to irrigate pasture.

Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the current owners created a series of constructed wetland ponds in a vast area of former bogs in the middle of the property. These ponds (not to be confused with the hatchery ponds) required the “dry up” of some of the ranch’s original irrigated hay ground to serve as augmentation flows for the evaporative loss from the new ponds. Again, most of the water on the Beckwith goes toward irrigating pasture for seasonal grazing.

Water Rights

The Beckwith Ranch holds senior rights in both the Jarvis Swift Creek #3 ditch  (1.75 cfs 1871 priority, and 1.45 cfs 1874 enlargement) and the Freer, Beckwith and Kennicott ditch (FBK 9.9 cfs, 1875 priority). A well-maintained network of ditches and stream channels flows through the heart of the property delivering water to 400 acres of decreed irrigation ground (both hay and pasture).

The Beckwith sits in a remarkable location on the complex hydrology of Swift Creek as it flows thru the Wet Mountain Valley. While the ranch no longer services the whole 400 decreed acres with all the above-described water, all the water still flows thru the property, creating a vast network of stream channels and ditches with sub surface and return flow dynamics making it a remarkably well irrigated and productive ranch.

Conservation Value

Saved from development in the early 1990s, the current owners bought the western half of the Beckwith from a Texas real estate developer intent on subdividing the property into 35-acre ranchettes. Working in partnership with the San Isabel Land Protection Trust and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, the owners of the Beckwith and five adjacent ranches formed the original body of the Wet Mountain Valley Ranchland Preservation Program, 10,000 acres of contiguous open space to forever remain in agricultural production (see map).

The southern half of the Beckwith is covered by a Deed of Conservation Easement on 914 acres held by the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust.  The easement calls for the continued historic agricultural use of the property and allows for two additional building sites on that portion of the ranch.

 

Beckwith Ranch

2,085 +/- deeded acres
Colorado
Custer County, Westcliffe

$4,000,000

Contact a Broker

O: 303-623-4545
C: 303-909-2486