Located in northwest Colorado, the 54,176 +/- deeded acre Cross Mountain Ranch represents one of the largest and most diverse recreational and operating ranches on the market today. A wildlife preserve stretching over four counties and 168,000+/- acres of leased National Forest, BLM, State and Park Service lands, the ranch is home to North America’s largest elk herd. It is an ecologically diverse landscape with several miles of river frontage on the Yampa, Little Snake and Williams Fork Rivers and numerous other streams, lakes and ponds. With valuable and historic water rights and within forty-five minutes from the resort town of Steamboat Springs and twenty minutes from a commercial airport, Cross Mountain Ranch is an incredible legacy ranch and investment opportunity.
Portions of Cross Mountain Ranch can be purchased separately:
- Osterhouse Ranch (1,874 +/- acres) – SOLD!
- Egry Mesa Ranch (3,935 +/- acres) – $12,400,000
- Pyramid Peak Ranch (2,579 +/- acres) – $9,800,000
- The Lower Ranch at Cross Mountain (27,566 +/ acres) – $25,000,000
- The Upper Ranch at Cross Mountain (26,610 +/- acres) – $49,750,000
Cross Mountain Ranch offers the opportunity to own two distinct ecosystems ranging from the alpine landscapes of the Upper Ranch located in the scenic and pristine Williams Fork River Valley on the north slopes of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area to the riverine and high desert country of the Lower Ranch along the Yampa River, one of the last largely natural and untamed river ecosystems in the entire Colorado River drainage. Collectively, the ranch encompasses 222,176 +/- acres (54,176 deeded, 168,000 leased).
With elevations ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 ft., the property borders and has access to hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands including Dinosaur National Monument, Routt and White River National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and Colorado State lands. Cross Mountain Ranch leases approximately 168,000 acres of these public lands for livestock operations and recreational purposes. The Upper Ranch alone borders the Routt National Forest for just under 19 miles providing unlimited opportunities to recreate and explore the Routt and White River National Forests as well as the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, while the Lower Ranch is surrounded by BLM and adjoins the Cross Mountain Wilderness Study Area and the acclaimed Dinosaur National Monument.
The Upper Ranch
Located in the scenic Williams Fork River Valley on the north slopes of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area, the Upper Ranch of Cross Mountain Ranch is just 30 miles west of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The 26,610 deeded acres are located in Routt and Garfield Counties. This pristine area, illustrated by its adjacency to Colorado’s second largest wilderness area, has some of the most prolific stands of aspen, spruce, pine, and fir trees in Colorado, and its scenic beauty is enhanced by the water rights and streams that irrigate numerous hay meadows and pastures and fill the numerous lakes and ponds. The riverine areas are lined by cottonwoods and willows and the remaining lower lands punctuated by grassy pastures, oak brush and sage. The Williams Fork River flows for 2.5 miles in the high country, offering world-class stream fishing.
The Lower Ranch
An ecological and geological jewel, the Lower Ranch lies west of Craig, Colorado near Cross Mountain and the entrance to the Dinosaur National Monument in Moffat County . The ranch is named after the nine mile long and 8,000 foot high Cross Mountain that towers above the irrigated fields and pastures of the ranch. This portion of the overall ranch consists of 27,566 deeded acres that adjoin and are intermixed with thousands of acres of Bureau of Land Management and State land, on which they hold grazing permits for sheep and cattle. In addition to habitat for livestock, the area is also known for its critical range for big game including elk, mule deer and antelope and is home to one of the largest migratory elk herds in North America.
Located in an astonishingly beautiful and serene river corridor adjoining thousand foot high yellow and red sandstone canyon walls, the Yampa River winds its way through the property for 11.8 miles and the Little Snake River for 5.85 miles, and the confluence of the Yampa River and Little Snake River occurs on the property as well. The ranch is blessed with valuable water rights and owners are entitled to pull water directly from the river to irrigate meadows and pastures that rest alongside the rivers. These rights are recognized as some of the most senior water rights on the Yampa River Basin and by themselves represent a long-term investment opportunity.
The main headquarters are located on the Upper Ranch with winter operations running concurrently out of the Lower Ranch. Numerous homes, lodges, cabins and working facilities are located throughout the vast property to accommodate owners, guests, staff and livestock, with pasture fencing and perimeter fencing between private ownership boundaries. A majestic 9-bedroom, 9.5 bath, 11,000 sq. ft. main log lodge with stocked trout ponds adjoins the wildlife sanctuary near the center of the Upper Ranch, and an LL Bean designed hunting lodge is near the eastern boundary of the Upper Ranch, providing comfort near prized hunting grounds.
The Ute Indians called Cross Mountain Ranch home and the area was a crossroads for river expeditions led by famous explorers like John Wesley Powell, Kit Carson and John Fremont. The ranch’s cultural past is evidenced by the prehistoric and Native American artifacts and pioneer homesteads found throughout the area and tales of the river expeditions and trappers who roamed the rivers and surrounding mountains. This area of Colorado has been steeped in history, legend and lore, all of which testified to the romance and wildness of the early settlement of this part of the West.
The current owners are sensitive to the vast historical influences of this special property and have maintained and improved all aspects of this unique ranch. The foresight and vision of the late Ronald Boeddeker, with his wife Kitty, have installed a deep conservation ethic and love for America’s rich western heritage in their family, who have been exemplary stewards of the land and its legacy as a result.
Located in northwest Colorado, Cross Mountain Ranch is easily accessible off of US Highway 40 and numerous county maintained roads, as well as internal ranch roads. The Upper Ranch is only 45 minutes away from world class skiing, shopping and fine dining in Steamboat Springs, and the Yampa Valley Regional Airport is just 20 minutes away. The Lower Ranch is closer to the cowboy town of Craig, the county seat of Moffat County, where one can find all the conveniences of town including grocery, hotels, and medical care.
The Yampa River is one of the last largely natural and untamed river ecosystems in the entire Colorado River drainage. The river canyon is extremely popular with white-water boaters and the river contains unique and endangered fish species. Adjoining the ranch to the west downstream on the Yampa is Dinosaur National Monument with its colorful sandstone canyons and cliffs rivaling those of the Grand Canyon and encompassing some of the nation’s richest archaeological resources.
Spanning western Colorado and eastern Utah, Dinosaur National Monument exists in a cradle of North American history. Captured here is one of the world’s largest concentrations of fossilized dinosaur bones. and includes over 210,000 acres of scenic river canyons, mountains, basins and archeological sites. The area includes an interesting blend of wildlife, wilderness, solitude, and history that has changed little over the last 1,000 years.
Climatically and biologically the Lower Ranch is part of the Great Basin Desert, but its weather, plants and animals are more diverse than the term desert suggests. Surrounded by high elevation peaks the climate is Mediterranean with high relative humidity and moderate seasonal moisture. Summer temperatures can range from 60 to 90 degrees but in the winter the temperatures can drop from 32 degrees to zero. Sunlight warming the canyon walls contributes to thermal warming of the soils and bedrock as the base of cliffs. This is desert or semi-desert and it is dry with average annual precipitation from a low of 10 inches to up to 13 inches depending on altitude. The Upper Ranch is at a higher elevation in a montane ecosystem, and therefore is known for cool winters and refreshing summers. With an average of 244 sunny days per year, the July high is around 85 degrees, while the January low is 7. This area does receive more precipitation than the Lower Ranch, with annual precipitation averaging around 26.5 inches.
Cross Mountain Ranch offers an ideal habitat for trophy elk and mule deer, and home to a diverse population of wildlife species including antelope and mountain lion. The ranch and surrounding area have impressive bulls and bucks due to the quality of the forage that enhances antler growth. Hunting is not permitted within Dinosaur National Monument but regulations do permit hunting on the deeded private portions of the ranch. One of the largest herds in North America, the White River Elk Herd, calls Cross Mountain Ranch home. Surveys made by Colorado Parks and Wildlife counted close to 7,000 head within the herd.
The ranch receives 100+ elk tags and 25 mule deer tags on the Upper Ranch as part of its participation in Ranching for Wildlife. In return for this extraordinary number tags, the ranch allows public access to harvest a limited number of cow elk, bulls and mule deer bucks during prescribed hunting periods chosen by the ranch. The ranch leases out the hunting for a substantial amount of income and more details can be provided to qualified prospects.
The high desert lower portion of the ranch contains critical range for big game offering trophy hunting for elk, mule deer, and antelope. The Lower Ranch is located within Unit 10, a draw only trophy area and also Unit 11 that offers over the counter archery and rifle tags for elk. The Lower Ranch receives 1-2 elk tags every three years in Unit 10 and 1-5 deer tags in Unit 11. This section of the ranch is also home to herds of antelope, and receives 2-3 tags in Unit 11 and 13 annually. Hunting is permitted on the thousands of acres of BLM land that adjoin the Lower Ranch.
Steamboat Springs, or “Ski Town USA”, is less than an hour from the property and home to world-class skiing and snowboarding. Steamboat boasts over 2,965 acres of downhill terrain and an average annaul snowfall of 344 inches.
Routt National Forest adjoins the Upper Ranch and provides recreational opportunities by way of a network of trails. Owners of Cross Mountain Ranch have the ability to hike, bike, camp, and horseback ride year-round not only on their private retreat, but on over a million adjoining acres of the Routt National Forest. In the winter, activities such as snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing can be enjoyed as well.
Recreation on the Water
The Yampa River is the last undammed tributary of the Colorado River system, and its free-flowing waters surge through cauldrons of big, untamed Class III and IV rapids. For three months a year (May-July), the Yampa River flows free with fresh, surging run-off from miles above carrying paddlers through colorful canyons. The 1,200-foot-deep vertical-walled Cross Mountain Canyon, renowned for its white water and Class V rapids adjoins the ranch and one can put in just above the canyon and take out below all while staying on the property. The put in access for the coveted rafting trips down the Yampa River to the confluence of the Green River is within the Monument.
The least dammed river in the Colorado Basin, the Yampa flows 250 miles from the Flat Tops Wilderness to the Green River, in Dinosaur National Monument. Along the way, it nourishes one of the finest riparian corridors in the West, including extensive cottonwood forests along the middle and lower river. This rich corridor of the lower Yampa is home to elk, mountain lion, coyote, mule deer, beavers and numerous songbird species.
Upper Ranch Fishing
Fishing opportunities are abundant on the Upper Ranch at Cross Mountain across multiple rivers and streams that provide a diversity of riffles, runs, deep pools, pockets, braids and undercut banks for the fly-fishing enthusiast. It enjoys miles of private rivers and creeks and ponds including over two and a half miles of the renowned Williams Fork. The clear waters of the Williams Fork River are one of the best brown trout fisheries in Colorado. This classic mountain stream is fishable year-round and home to Mayflies, Caddis, Terrestrials, and small Stoneflies.
Cross Mountain Ranch is a diversified operation comprised of four uses: agriculture, livestock, hunting/fishing and recreation. The ranch has a carrying capacity of 2,000 mother cows and 10,000 sheep with the combination of 222,176 acres of deeded and leased ground with the support of the hay production. Along with deeded 78,017 acres of designated grazing land, the ranch also has a public land grazing lease that permits 12,696 AUMs on over 168,000 acres of adjoining National Forest, BLM, and State leased land.
The Lower Ranch is primarily used as winter pasture for 5,000 sheep and 1,000 plus head of cattle, while the Upper Ranch is used for grazing the remainder of the year on the adjoining public land grazing allotments.
This prominent legacy ranch has all the amenities of a sustainable and profitable working cattle and sheep ranch. Along with lodging located in the Upper Ranch at the historic Pyramid Peak Guest Ranch and in the Lower Ranch at the historic Victorian Sevens Ranch there are also numerous barns, shops, livestock handling facilities, and manager and employee housing for day to day operations.
Water is king on Cross Mountain Ranch and offers 12 miles of the Yampa River, 6 miles of the Little Snake River, and 2.5 miles of the Williams Fork River, as well as numerous additional streams, creeks and alpine lakes. Most importantly, the ranch is blessed with valuable and historic water rights that irrigate hundreds of acres of meadows and pastures that rest alongside the rivers. There are 102 individually identified water rights including a total of 479.83 acre feet of storage and 108.24 cfs of direct flow rights. These rights are recognized as some of the most senior water rights on the Yampa River Basin and by themselves represent a long-term investment opportunity. More details are available to qualified prospects.
This is truly one of the most unique ranches in the West and it is spectacular in its beauty, geology, history, recreation, and wildlife habitat. In December 2014, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, along with multiple other organizations, established a 16,000-conservation easement to protect key sage grouse habitat on Cross Mountain Ranch. This effort was a part of the larger state-wide attempt to preserve grouse habitat supported by Governor John Hickenlooper, who said, “Thanks to the family of Cross Mountain Ranch and their neighboring ranch families, we’re seeing the power of voluntary conservation to keep the vast sage grouse lands intact where it matters most in our state and nationally.”