Big Bear Ranch

Guffey, Colorado (Park County)
$9,850,000
1,200 +/- Deeded Acres

A spectacular mountain property less than an hour and a half from Colorado Springs and the bustling Front Range.

Located in a relatively unknown, hidden and pristine part of Colorado, the spectacular Big Bear Ranch spans a broad mix of topography and vegetation including mountain hillsides, open prairie, and inviting forests.
Featuring
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  • Spectacular 360-degree panoramic views 
  • Pristine aspen and mixed-conifer forests, and healthy montane grasslands
  • Beautiful 9,000 sq. ft. main family residence
  • impeccably maintained ranch improvements and working structures
  • Thriving and diverse wildlife habitat
  • Resident herds of deer, elk, and big horn sheep
  • Tremendous hunting potential 
  • Western stable and equestrian barn
  • An hour and a half from Colorado Springs
Introduction
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Located in a relatively unknown, hidden and pristine part of Colorado, the spectacular Big Bear Ranch spans a broad mix of topography and vegetation including mountain hillsides, open prairie, and inviting forests. Graced with a beautiful 9,000 sq. ft. main residence and a balance of well-maintained working improvements including a 2,000 sq. ft. manager’s residence and 1,000 sq. ft. guest house, the ranch is an ideal family summer retreat and fall hunting property.   While private and secluded, the ranch is easy to get to and sits an hour and a half from Colorado Springs and less than an hour from necessity shopping.

Lay of the Land
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Overview

This high mountain ranch spans a broad mix of topography and vegetation including mountain hillsides, open prairie, and inviting forests. The land is naturally diverse with broad open grasslands, interspersed with healthy, carefully managed aspen, and mixed-conifer spruce, and pine forests. There are 100’s of acres of open prairie for horseback riding, ATV’ing, and grazing cattle. The pastures are all gated and fenced, with plenty of forage and livestock ponds. Wildlife is plentiful, healthy, and diverse on the ranch, with large herds of elk, deer, and big horn sheep.  Numerous other species of critters can be found throughout the year including black bear, mountain lion, bobcat, wild turkey, badger, coyote, eagles, and a variety birdlife. The surrounding area is sparsely populated and borders thousands of acres BLM lands on the south side of the property.

Improvements

The ranch is graced with three primary residences, the highlight of which is the main family home: a beautiful, gracious, custom 9,000-square-foot log structure. Perched on the top of a western-facing plateau at 9,200 feet, the house commands spectacular panoramic views in every direction.  The master suite is private at the upstairs level, along with one overflow bedroom. The main level enters into the kitchen, living, dining, and cocktails rooms, along with two bedrooms. Downstairs, a central large recreation room and kitchenette connect four bedrooms and a large bunk bed room; all-in the home can sleep 20 guests. Serviced by CORE Electric Co-op (“on grid”), with a backup generator, 2,000 gallons of propane, and a deep water well. Starlink provides high-speed internet, and the home is Crestron and Lutron-controlled.

The “Ridge House” or Manager’s home is located a short mile from the main house and is a quaint 2,000 square-foot / 2-story / 2 bedroom home with its own extraordinary southerly views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

“Little Bear” is the original settlers’ family homestead, and sits down in a protected valley just over a mile away from the main residence. The original ~1,000-square-foot home is a rustic single-story log structure with 2 bedrooms, a living room, and kitchen. It can be used year-round. 

All of the original corrals, loafing sheds, blacksmith shed, day bunkhouse, and additional outbuildings on the ranch have been carefully restored and put back into use.

Location

The ranch sits between 9,000 and 10,000 ft in elevation in a relatively quiet and unknown corner of Colorado on the backside of Pikes Peak thirty miles west of the storied historic mining town of Cripple Creek.  Once part of the vast historic Nash Family Ranch, the property sits atop a high aspen forest and grassland and commands an astounding view of the numerous mountain ranges of central and southern Colorado.

Locale

The town of Guffey is just 6 miles away, with a grocery/coffee market, restaurant, bakery,  charter school, library, antique shop, distillery, and post office. Roughly 800 area residents are served by the Guffey post office where neighbors look after each other and care for the community.

Primary shopping and domestic necessities are found either in Cañon City (30 miles) or Woodland Park (43 miles).  In addition to a number of fine restaurants and excellent coffee, both communities host major grocery chains, big-box retail, and full-service medical facilities.  The historic mining and tourist town of Cripple Creek is located 30 miles east of the ranch.

History

The property was originally part of the historic Nash Family cattle ranch that was homesteaded, circa 1900, and totaled 40,000 acres at its peak. The hearty souls who settled the country and the other area ranches served the sprawling Cripple Creek mining district (30 miles east) through the many booms and busts of the ensuing decades. The owners have restored most of the many original homestead buildings on the ranch for historical preservation including the  “Billy Witherspoon Bachelor Cabin” located near the front entrance to the property.  Originally built circa 1910, the cabin has been caringly preserved as a museum exhibit where guests can visit and imagine life from a time gone by.

Sporting Features
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Overview

Given its remarkable location, Big Bear Ranch Ranch is a recreational paradise. The ranch enjoys a host of year-round activities accessible directly from/on the property, with hunting, fishing, backcountry skiing, snowmobiling, boating/floating, horseback riding, hiking, and access to miles of BLM and nearby USFS and trails. With a diversity of habitat types including sub-alpine forests, montane grasslands, and hidden riparian side drainages and quiet valley bottoms, the ranch is a sportsperson’s dream.

Hunting

Big Bear Ranch has not been heavily hunted for the last twenty years and managed much like a wildlife refuge or preserve.  The ranch and neighboring properties are year-round home to a large resident herd of elk, numerous deer, and a band of big horn sheep.  Located in the always productive Game Management Unit (GMU) 581, the ranch qualifies for Landowner Preference tags during the fall hunting seasons.

Fishing

Excellent gold-medal fishing can be found in all directions in less than an hour from the ranch at Spinney, Eleven Mile, and Antero reservoirs as well as the renowned fly-fishing on the Arkansas River only twenty miles away.

https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/ElevenMile/Pages/Fishing.aspx

https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/ArkansasHeadwatersRecreationArea

Recreation

Some of the best mountain climbing and whitewater rafting in the U.S. surround the ranch in all directions.   Pikes Peak and many of Colorado’s famous “Fourteeners” for hiking, 4×4’ing, and mountain biking are within an hour’s drive to Buena Vista or the FairPlay / Alma areas. The Arkansas River offers Class 2, 3, 4, and 5 professionally guided floats that run every day during the summer.  More accessible and still adventurous fishing/biking/4×4 options are available even closer, between Divide and Woodland Park. In the winter, Breckenridge skiing is about 90 minutes away (with Keystone and A-Basin just beyond).

Horses

With an unlimited amount of forest trails and open fields to explore, horseback riding is, and has been, an active part of the Big Bear Ranch experience for decades. A tack barn, stables, and catch-pens are located at the turn into the main house residence. There are dedicated seasonal pastures and corrals for year-round care near the Manager’s home and “Little Bear” guest residence.

Ranch Attributes
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Ranch Operations

For the last two decades, Big Bear Ranch has been assembled and managed as a recreation property, wildlife sanctuary, and a year-round family retreat.  There has been a full-time year-round onsite manager who attends to the ever-changing seasonal chores and needs of guests.  A great deal of effort has gone into forest health and management/mitigation of fire risk with active seasonal forest thinning and clearing efforts in addition to a rotational grazing program. The pastures are leased seasonally for cattle grazing in addition to the horses that are kept year-round on the ranch. There has been little to no hunting on the property for more than twenty years.

Water Rights

There are four domestic wells, a number of springs, and half a dozen livestock/wildlife ponds on the property.

Fire Mitigation

The ranch is in remarkable shape.  Great care and expense have been given to forest and rangeland health conditions, with active thinning and clearing of understory, and seasonal grazing to reduce vegetative fuels and mitigate fire risk. The main residence has been landscaped with vegetation setbacks, gravel skirting, and a high-pressure emergency sprinkler system encircling the entire compound.

Mineral Rights

While the seller intends to convey any/all rights they own on the property, buyers will need to do their own due diligence re: mineral rights.

Aesthetic Value

There is a special positive energy about Big Bear Ranch that can only be conveyed in person.  The combination of the spectacular setting, the healthy condition of the land, and the comfortable and inviting accommodations makes for a unique experience all its own.

Conservation/Investment Value

Given its remarkable location, varied developable terrain, tremendous habitat, and wildlife resources, Big Bear Ranch has both significant development and conservation potential.  Utilizing Colorado’s generous conservation tax credit allowances, Big Bear Ranch is an attractive long-term investment opportunity.

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Woody's Thoughts on Big Bear Ranch

The minute you arrive at Big Bear Ranch you notice it’s a special place. Between the spectacular views, the beautiful landscape, and the obvious loving care the property has enjoyed, there is a unique positive energy that radiates every corner of the ranch.

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