With 69,126 deeded acres, Red Top Ranch represents one of the largest and best known operating cattle ranches in Colorado. Conveniently located near the I-25 corridor and the Front Range, and situated just southeast of Pueblo, the ranch is in close proximity to the Front Range and cattle markets. Lying in the Great Plains and Central Shortgrass Prairie Ecoregion, the ranch is recognized nationally for its significant ecological grasslands with its flat to rolling prairie, mesas, sandstone breaks, and sculpted canyons. It is also a repository of fascinating geologic, archaeological and historic heritage sites including prehistoric rock art, and pioneer homesteads. With a cattle operation rated for 1,200 cow/calf pairs, the property offers extensive water infrastructure and important natural habitat for big game, birds, and plants.
Red Top Ranch represents one of the largest contiguous tracts of privately owned ranch land in Colorado. Located in southeastern Colorado, the ranch is located approximately 25 miles southeast of Pueblo, Colorado and 20 miles southwest of Fowler, in the Arkansas Uplands of the Central Shortgrass Prairie Ecoregion. This area is ranked very high nationally for its significant grasslands, especially given its size and contiguous acreage. It is composed of 69,126 deeded acres of which 92% is situated in Pueblo County, 3% in Las Animas, and 5% in Huerfano County. A county road runs through the heart of the ranch providing direct access to Pueblo to the north, and Highway 10 is just 8 miles south of the headquarters.
Red Top Ranch has a combination of mostly flat to gently rolling prairie, small mesas capped with limestone, and sandstone breaks, creating a mosaic of well incised canyons. Vegetation and ecological systems consist primarily of untilled and important native shortgrass prairie, cholla shrublands, pinyon-juniper savannas, cliffs and canyons, wetlands, riparian vegetation, and seeps and springs. It is within the watershed of Mustang Creek, tributary to the Apishapa River.
The ranch is accessed via county maintained roads which run north to south across the ranch with very good access to State Highway 10 which adjoins the southern end of the property for 5.25 miles.
All buildings are located at the headquarters and are centrally located along a county maintained road just 8 miles north of State Highway 10. Improvements include three residences, an office, four barns/sheds, corrals, chutes and pens. There are additional livestock gathering and shipping facilities near Long Jack Reservoir near the south end of the ranch.
The property generally has an arid climate typical of this portion of the Great Plains with low humidity, with most of the annual participation of 12 inches occurring during the summer months.
Wildlife & Ecology
The ranch is home to a wide range of mammals including: trophy mule deer, pronghorn antelope, elk, mountain lion, bear, and bobcat, as well as unique species of birds and amphibians, like long-billed curlew, scaled quail raptors, mountain plovers, upland sandpipers, burrowing owl, Cassin’s sparrow, lark bunting, grey vireo, curve-billed thrasher, horned lizard, and plains leopard frog. A total of 191 vascular plant species have been identified on the ranch, of which 87% are native species that comprised over 95% of the cover.
Red Top Ranch is the largest and best known ranch in Pueblo County. The ranch is home to a year-round cattle operation, including breeding and calving, and it is conservatively rated for 1,200 cow/calf pairs.
The property is well suited for cattle grazing and recreation with several streams and drainages crossing the ranch, a nice mixture of grasses and cover, and a canyon system on the southwest portion of the property. Forested vegetation consists primarily of pinion junipers. In addition, there are several miles of underground water pipelines with wells, windmills, and tanks. Red Top Ranch has been operated as a cattle ranch for several years, and has utilized 8,445 acres of State Lease and 1,598 acres of BLM lands. The ranch has been fenced into over 20 pastures ranging in size of 700 to 9,500 acres. Elevations range from 4,600 to 5,680 feet above sea level on the property.
This operation is pure grassland and does not run on irrigation. There are several livestock wells and springs filled by the ranch with numerous water improvements to serve the livestock, including ponds, reservoirs, tanks, cisterns, and miles of buried water lines. Broker will provide more details to qualified prospects.
Situated in the southeastern Colorado’s canyonlands country, the property includes unique sandstone canyons with miles of streams and riparian areas creating a vast canyon wilderness, that form a mosaic of interconnected canyons and mesas. The ranch is watered by Doyle, Madden, Petersen and Lone Creek drainages, which provide a good mix of vegetation and cover throughout the property.
The ranch includes fascinating geologic, archeological and historic heritage, including prehistoric rock art and abandoned pioneer homesteads. The canyon systems on the ranch provide excellent game habitat and are ecologically significant to the area.
Preservation of shortgrass prairie is a high conservation priority in Colorado. There are three conservation easements that encumber the ranch, two held by The Nature Conservancy (21,893 + 31,705 acres) and the third held by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (13,608 acres). 1,920 acres lie outside of these conservation easements. Note, these easements do permit continued agricultural practices such as cattle grazing, and allow for new residences and accessory dwellings to be constructed.
Please contact broker for more details regarding the terms of these easements. You can view a map of the conservation easements here.