As one of the last remaining unbroken ranches in the Vail Valley, Hardscrabble Mountain Ranch offers the full spectrum of sought-after ranch attributes: 2 ½ miles of private fishing, trophy big game hunting, productive agricultural operations, water rights, and 7 ¾ miles of shared BLM border. Positioned in the heart of the Brush Creek Valley, directly between the town of Eagle and Frost Creek (formerly the Adam’s Mountain Country Club), the ranch is ideally located within a few miles of a commercial airport and a short drive from both Vail and Beaver Creek.
The property consists of all the ranchland owned by Frost Creek (formerly the Adam’s Rib Ranch), the renowned luxury ranch and golf community that is recently under new ownership. The previous owner began assembling the ranchland in the 1970s, creating one of the area’s largest blocks of continuous private land with a diverse landscape that includes irrigated meadows, rugged mountainsides, wetlands, creek bottoms, and scenic alpine views.
Situated completely in unincorporated Eagle County, but sharing its northern property line with the town of Eagle’s municipal border, Hardscrabble Mountain Ranch offers the privacy of a large-scale ranch combined with the conveniences of a nearby, lively small town. Eagle, the county seat, offers a variety of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment options, but in an understated style not found in neighboring resort communities.
The ranch is located just seven miles from Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), which offers direct flights to and from 11 major American cities including Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Beaver Creek Resort and Vail Mountain Resort are 24 and 33 miles, respectively, east of the ranch via I-70, and the Denver metro area is just two hours from the ranch, also via I-70.
Due to its elevation of 6,600 feet above sea level and its position in one of Colorado’s “banana belt” regions, the climate around Eagle is surprisingly mild, even at the peak of winter. These reasonable weather patterns allow Eagle residents to enjoy the best of both worlds – mild winter temperatures and snowfall at home, complemented by world-class skiing and deep powder just 24 miles away.
- Average winter high: 40° F
- Average summer high: 82° F
- Days of sunshine: 290+
- Annual Snowfall: 48+/- inches
- Annual Rainfall: 12+/- inches
Frost Creek Country Club & Community
Hardscrabble Mountain Ranch is bordered to the south by Frost Creek (formerly the Adam’s Mountain Country Club), a private, luxury golf community featuring a challenging and scenic 285-acre Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course. The 18-hole members-only course features eight lakes, a driving range, and practice chipping and putting areas, all surrounded by the spectacular topography of the Brush Creek Valley. The club also boats a luxury 40,000+ square foot clubhouse featuring a dining room, lounge, fitness center, pool, tennis courts, and other spa amenities. Club memberships may be negotiated as part of the ranch purchase price.
Interspersed throughout the golf course are dozens of fully developed, multi-acre homesites, as well as several recently built custom homes, many of which are available for immediate purchase. Detailed information regarding the Club and available real estate opportunities can be provided upon request.
The ranch boasts over 2 ½ miles of private trout fishing on Brush Creek, one of the area’s three major tributaries of the Eagle River. Beginning in 2008, portions of Brush Creek were enhanced and restored by FlyWater, one of Colorado’s leading riverine consulting and construction firms. Over the course of several years, the owners built over 60 structures using boulders and logs to further improve and develop the trout habitat. The riparian improvements have continued on an annual basis, creating a high-quality, technical fishery with a healthy population of rainbow and brown trout that average 12-15 inches in length.
The ranch’s private waters have long been coveted by local fishermen. A Vail Valley fly shop, Minturn Anglers, best summarizes the quality and appeal of Brush Creek’s fishing: “Another alpine gem starting in the lofty New York and Hardscrabble mountains… Brush Creek is a fantastic small stream and can put up a fight against any other small stream in Colorado.”
- Located in Game Management Unit 44, in the heart of one of North America’s most well-known trophy mule deer hunting areas (follow this link for more detailed hunting information).
- Colorado Parks and Wildlife has designated the ranch as Summer Range, Winter Range, and a Winter Concentration Area for both elk and mule deer.
- Elk and mule deer migration patterns cross the ranch in numerous places, and herds can be seen grazing the ranch’s meadows throughout much of the year.
- Portions of the ranch have been identified as Winter Range for turkey.
- Brush and Salt Creeks’ riparian corridors serve as excellent waterfowl habitat.
- 7 ¾ miles of shared borders with BLM lands drastically expand opportunities for hunting.
The ranch’s sizeable deeded acreage, combined with its proximity to hundreds of thousands of acres of public land, makes it a horseback enthusiast’s dream. BLM land borders the ranch, and White River National Forest is less than two miles away. For more rugged and adventurous riding, the Holy Cross Wilderness is located just a few miles southeast of the ranch.
A portion of the ranch has been designated as a planned unit development (PUD) with entitlements allowing for the construction of a large-scale equestrian facility and shooting club. These entitlements will allow a 40,000-square foot indoor riding arena, an outdoor arena, a ranch manager’s home, and other necessary improvements.
- Eagle County is known as the heart and soul of year-round outdoor recreation in the state of Colorado.
- Beaver Creek Resort and Vail Mountain Resort offer some of the most well-known skiing in the world.
- Just off the ranch’s western border, ranch owners can access over 50 miles of mountain biking trails on Hardscrabble Mountain.
- Sylvan Lake State Park is south of the ranch via Brush Creek Road, offering extensive opportunities for boating, biking, camping, snowshoeing, and other family-friendly activities.
- The nearby Eagle and Colorado Rivers offer numerous opportunities for kayaking, whitewater rafting, and other warm weather water sports.
- Despite its location just outside the growing town of Eagle, the ranch still functions as a highly productive agricultural operation.
- With approximately 350 acres of irrigated hay meadows, the ranch has historically produced over 700 tons of hay annually.
- Well-maintained ditch systems efficiently deliver plentiful irrigation to the lush hay meadows.
- The Eagle area’s relatively mild climate and low elevation have allowed for two hay cuttings per year.
- The ranch is completely fenced, which would allow a future owner to easily expand the livestock grazing operation.
- Well-maintained structures include three ranch houses currently occupied by ranch employees, a functional and picturesque barn, a shop, corrals, and various sheds and outbuildings.
Fully adjudicated water rights more than sufficient for the current hay production are included with the sale of the ranch. More details available upon request.
All mineral rights are owned by the seller and will be transferred at closing.
Simply put, Hardscrabble Mountain Ranch is a completely unique offering, the likes of which may never be seen in this area again. There are no ranches currently on the market that can boast such large unbroken acreage with such close proximity to a thriving town, a luxury golf course, a major interstate, ski resorts, and a commercial airport—not to mention miles of private fishing, big game hunting, and a productive agricultural operation.
More than 80% of Eagle County’s land is public, creating a base level of private land scarcity in an area known for its extensive and dense development. Limited land inventory in the Vail Valley has created excellent opportunities for both resort and primary residence development in outlying towns such as Edwards and Eagle. Cordillera (a high-end luxury gated community) and Eagle Ranch (a more moderately priced residential and golf community) are examples of the wide spectrum of development opportunities in the area.
The current owners have recently produced illustrative master plans for the entire property, which can be dowloaded here:
- Hardscrabble Mountain Ranch (full 1,540 acres) Master Plan
- Upper Hardscrabble Master Plan
- Lower Hardscrabble Master Plan
- Salt Creek Horse Ranch Master Plan
For additional information, follow this link to read a detailed analysis of the ranch’s compelling investment potential.
Hardscrabble Mountain Ranch controls a significant amount of the private land between the town of Eagle and the densely developed Frost Creek (formerly the Adam’s Rib Ranch), creating a unique opportunity for a conservation-minded buyer to permanently protect this critical corridor. The ranch is vitally important for its wildlife and riparian habitat, agricultural production, water rights, and scenic views, and it is a highly sought-after project for a number of land conservation groups. Significant state tax credits and federal deductions could be generated through conserving part or all of the property.