Cochetopa Dome Ranch
Private and remote mountain grazing property highlighted by public lands adjacency and extensive water rights.
- Premier high mountain cattle ranch with grazing capacity of up to 250 pairs seasonally
- 13 CFS of ditch and spring rights along with a 600 GPM artesian well provide ample water for irrigation and/or hay production on approximately 400 irrigated acres
- 4 miles of West Pass Creek flow through the property creating a lush riparian area and two ponds that provide habitat to brook trout, waterfowl, and a variety of other wildlife
- Over 11 miles of the ranch’s border is shared with public lands providing attractive hunting opportunity for multiple big game species in GMU’s 551 & 67
- Property backs up to the Cochetopa Dome, a significant topographical feature, landmark, and wildlife haven
- 450-acre BLM grazing is lease fenced into the property
- Improvements include an off-grid 3 bed, 1 bath cabin, heated shop, corrals, and a variety of outbuildings
Nestled at the base of Cochetopa Dome, its namesake, lies 1,612 acres of pristine high mountain grazing land. The ranch is secluded and tucked away in a scenic pocket of southwest Colorado’s rural Saguache County. While remote, the ranch can be accessed year-round along Highway 114 and is just an hour’s drive from Gunnison to the northwest and the town of Saguache to the southeast. The property is bordered on three sides by expansive public lands which allow outstanding big-game hunting access. The ranch is set in a well-watered valley that features miles of creek and multiple pond features that irrigate the pastures creating healthy grasses for grazing and wildlife. Along the southern boundary, the property transitions from irrigated pastures to timbered draws – integrating into thousands of acres of the Gunnison National Forest.
Cochetopa Dome Ranch consists of 1,612 deeded acres with an approximately 450-acre contiguous BLM grazing lease. The property is characterized by its superb high-elevation grazing resources as well as its location within one of Southwest Colorado’s quietest settings that is rich with hunting and fishing opportunities. The Cochetopa Valley is a large high elevation (~9,000 feet) volcanic basin that is mostly comprised of vast public lands and a mosaic of blocked-up private ranches, sweeping sagebrush hillsides, pine and aspen trees, lush irrigated meadows, scenic mountain vistas, and wonderful recreational access and wildlife habitat.
The ranch includes a very comfortable off-grid 3 bedroom 1 bathroom main cabin along with a 4,000 sqft heated shop, corrals, sorting pens, loafing sheds, and various historic structures. The north end of the property features an A-frame cabin structure that could be renovated as a guest or hunting cabin. Electricity is provided by a modern solar array, with a backup diesel generator. Heat is provided in the cabin and shop by independent propane. The headquarters receives water from a freshwater spring that flows year-round.
The ranch is located off of CO Highway 114, providing year-round county-maintained access. The property is 40 miles west of the town of Saguache and 31 miles south of the town of Gunnison.
The property is set within the Cochetopa Hills and at elevations ranging from 8,900 to 9,300 feet. This sparsely populated region features expansive public lands within the Gunnison National Forest which is bisected by the Continental Divide Trail and connects to the La Garita Wilderness Area to the south. There are extensive trail systems for both motorized and nonmotorized vehicles, allowing an owner endless opportunities for exploration and outdoor recreation.
This region was originally settled by the Ute Indians in the 17th century for its rich water resources and wildlife populations. Cochetopa’s Ute translation means “Pass of the Buffalo”, which was a large part of why the Ute chose to settle here. When early Spanish settlers began to survey the area they discovered Indian hunting trails had already been formed on what is now Cochetopa Pass. It wasn’t until the late 1800s when the San Juan toll route became the first route for wagons to make the trek from the San Luis Valley to Gunnison over what is now Cochetopa Pass.
Summertime high temperatures are typically in the 80s while winter lows average in the teens. Compared to surrounding areas, the valley receives less snowpack which aids in the ranch’s ability to run cattle earlier in the spring and later into the fall despite its high elevation.
Cochetopa Dome Ranch offers a variety of recreational values that you do not often expect on a high-country grazing property. Multiple live water features on and close to the ranch coupled with expansive BLM & National Forest land adjoining the property create hunting and fishing resources that make Cochetopa Dome a rare find for the outdoor-minded owner.
Cochetopa Dome Ranch offers high-quality hunting both on the property and on the public lands adjacent to the ranch. Elk are present year-round and take up a habitat on the adjacent Cochetopa Dome to the south and Razor Creek Dome to the north. Animals rely upon the ranch’s water resources and are drawn down from these heavily timbered National Forest lands to feed on the nutrient-rich grasses and water in West Pass Creek.
The ranch is enrolled and qualifies for two applications annually in both units 67 and 551. In previous years the owner has drawn up to 4 elk tags, and 3 mule deer tags. The current owners have harvested a bull elk every year since they purchased the property, typically right on the deeded ranch. GMU 551 allows for over-the-counter antlered elk tags in 2nd and 3rd rifle season while unit 67 is on a limited draw for all seasons. Antelope tags are also available through the draw in unit 551 and the current owner has harvested pronghorn right on the ranch. Outside of big game hunting, the pond features allow for some unique waterfowl hunting in a mountainous setting.
The property offers on-site fishing opportunities in the ponds and in some areas of West Pass Creek. Over the years, the owner has caught brook trout ranging in the 10-14 inch range, with some fish exceeding 18 inches. Cochetopa Dome Ranch is also within a 15-minute drive from outstanding public access fishing resources. Cochetopa Creek offers upwards of 10 miles of public access fishing just minutes from the property and offers an intimate setting with limited pressure due to its remote location within the Cochetopa State Wildlife Area. This is the perfect fishery for a beginner to learn to cast a fly rod as there is plenty of open space and limited trees and willows to contend with. On the other hand, an expert angler could be entertained by the amount of water and eager trout here for hours. The Dome Lakes, where a state-record Tiger Trout was recently caught, are also within a short 10-minute drive from the ranch’s headquarters and offer an outstanding still-water fishing resource. The pond features on the ranch have not been stocked by the current owner, but could be improved and stocked as an on-property fly fishing resource.
The ranch is within an hour’s drive from multiple gold medal trout fisheries, countless hiking, mountain biking, and off-roading trails. Numerous trailheads are within striking distance from the property and allow for ample wilderness adventures. Crested Butte and Monarch ski areas are both within less than two hours, making day skiing an easy trip in the winter months. The gently rolling topography of the property makes snowmobiling or snowshoeing on the ranch make for a perfect activity during winter.
The current owner, Rocking R Red Angus, is a direct-to-consumer registered Red Angus producer that is focused on raising the highest quality beef through modern and sustainable management practices. They selected the property for its high altitude, extensive water resources, and nutritious grasses that yield healthy gains on calves year after year. The property has historically operated as a seasonal grazing ranch with a capacity for approximately 250 cow-calf pairs from April thru October. Approximately 400 acres of the ranch are irrigated and have been utilized for hay production. With additional ditch improvements, there is an opportunity to expand irrigated acreage and create increased hay production or grazing meadows, depending upon an owner’s preference.
The property is both perimeter and cross fenced, with Highway 114 dividing the ranch into two portions. The portion of the property on the south side of Highway 114 includes the ~450-acre BLM lease and the majority of the irrigated acreage. This southern piece totals around 1,300 acres and is where the headquarters and most improvements are located. There are two ponds and a reservoir on this side of the property that are utilized for stock water and irrigation. These water features could be further improved as recreational or agricultural resources. There are three cross-fenced pastures that are set up for rotational grazing to enhance useability and preserve the nutrient-dense grasses on the ranch. The south portion of the ranch also features a 600 GPM artisanal well that has tremendous agricultural value and runs year-round.
The 250 acres on the north side of Highway 114 feature around 50 acres that are irrigated by a natural spring. This side of the ranch also adjoins both National Forest and BLM land and is situated in GMU 551, giving an owner another unit to draw big game tags from. The north end of the ranch can be accessed through an underpass, which allows an owner to move cattle to this side of the ranch without needing to cross the highway.
13+/-cfs of ditch and spring rights for irrigation, stock water, and domestic use as well as a 600 GPM artisanal well provide the ranch with ample water.
Along with the strong well, there are 5 springs scattered around the ranch that fill the ditches along with water diverted from West Pass Creek to irrigate the pastures and/or hay meadows.
For a complete list of water rights appurtenant to the ranch, inquire with the listing broker.
All mineral rights owned by the Seller will convey to a Buyer upon the sale.
The contiguous BLM allotment allows for 55 AUMs from June through September.
2022 taxes totaled $2,031
This region of Colorado is dominated by public lands and conserved ranches, while Cochetopa Dome Ranch is unencumbered by conservation easement; it would be a great candidate for a new easement. Several of the ranch’s neighbors have put conservation easements in place to preserve the integrity of the land in this highly protected region.
Cochetopa Dome Ranch is a solid mountain grazing ranch coupled with high-quality recreational values for both hunting and fishing in a tucked-away corner of Colorado that remains unspoiled.