Located in scenic southern Utah adjoining Capitol Reef National Park lies the remarkable Sandy Ranch, a historic cattle ranch with approximately 253,100 acres set in one of the most picturesque regions of the West. This legacy ranch stretches almost 40 miles wide from the high desert and the Henry Mountains in the east to the alpine highlands of Boulder Mountain, and south from the National Park entrance 45 miles along the famed Waterpocket Fold to the shores of Lake Powell.
Sandy Ranch is situated in Garfield County in south central Utah adjoining Capitol Reef National Park. It lies just north of Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, west of Boulder Mountain and the Dixie National Forest and lies along the east slope of the Henry Mountains in one of the most scenic areas in the West. The headquarters is located on the Notom Road Scenic Backway, 14 miles south of Highway 24 and the National Park Visitor Center, and approximately 30 miles southeast of the town of Torrey, Utah, the eastern gateway to the Park.
Approximate mileages to other towns from the ranch:
- Boulder, Utah- 65 miles
- Richfield, Utah- 85 miles
- Salt Lake City, Utah- 245 miles
- St. George, Utah- 260 miles
- Denver, Colorado- 450 miles
The ranch directly adjoins Capitol Reef National Park with its stunning scenery including the 100-mile-long monocline Waterpocket Fold, a fold in the Earth’s crust that towers as much as 2,000 feet above the ranch. In addition there are stunning red rock cliffs, deep winding slot canyons and white Navajo sandstone capitol shaped domes, only seen in this part of Utah. The surrounding area includes some of the most spectacular scenery in the West and includes the Dixie National Forest (the largest national forest in Utah), three national parks, two national monuments, wilderness areas and state parks.
The ranch has 600 acres of private deeded ground along the upper slopes of the Henry Mountains just beneath the 11,522 foot high Mount Ellen. The Henry Mountains were the last mountain range to be added to the map of the 48 contiguous U.S. states in 1872 and were named by John Wesley Powell. The ranch has considerable grazing land on Boulder Mountain just west of Capitol Reef National Park within the Dixie National Forest. This forest occupies almost two million acres and stretches for about 170 miles across southern Utah. it straddles the divide between the Great Basin and the Colorado River. Located on the eastern most part of the Aquarius Plateau, Boulder Mountain is the highest timbered plateau in not only Utah, but North America. It is a volcanic highland that occupies some 900 square miles north and west of scenic Highway 12 and includes alpine meadows, aspens, pines and spruce with elevations reaching over 11,000 feet.
This Utah ranch is an efficient and modern cattle ranch with housing for owners, guests and employees and numerous cattle handling facilities. The property currently runs 1,000 plus Black Angus natural cattle and all the stock and equipment is included in the sale. The headquarters includes the following:
- Manager’s home- 1,690 sq. ft.
- Guest home adjoining managers house -740 sq. ft.
- Large guest/employee house- 1,640 sq. ft. plus porch
- Smaller employee house- 1,285 sq. ft. plus porch
- Bunkhouse- 1,250 sq. ft. plus porch
- Employee bunkhouse- 1,920 sq. ft. plus porch and 440 sq. ft. guest house
- King Ranch historic/renovated cedar cabin- 1,200 sq. ft.
- King Ranch log bunkhouse- 1,250 sq. ft. plus basement and porch
- Shop with apartment- 5,000 sq. ft.
- Machine shed- 3,000 sq. ft.
- Livestock handling and other facilities include: livestock scales, scale house, squeeze shoots, calving barn, horse sheds, barns, and shelters, trailer homes and generator sheds.
Elevations range from 3,160 feet at the most southern portion of the winter BLM allotment near Lake Powell, to 5,500 feet near the headquarters and up to 10,000 on the upper reaches of the summer Dixie National Forest allotment on Boulder Mountain. Boulder Mountain is one of the largest high-elevation plateaus in Utah and is dotted with hundreds of small alpine lakes. Precipitation on the high desert portion of the ranch is as low as 7 inches with the summer rains occurring in July and August. The Boulder Mountain allotment receives over 35 inches of precipitation, most of it in the form of snow.
The vegetation ranges from Utah desert plants in the lower elevations, stands of low-growing pinyon pine and juniper at the mid-elevations and aspens, pine, spruce and fir at the higher elevations. Summer daytime temperatures range from 100 degrees in the desert to 70’s and the low 80’s on Boulder Mountain.
- The Henry Mountains Utah Mule Deer Unit is one of the top three mule deer units in the United States. This unit produces 180-200 inch bucks yearly with 200 plus inch bucks taken each year. It is a Utah Limited Entry Mule Deer hunt and is considered a trophy hunt.
- The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources does allocate tags to the ranch and other private landowners in the area.
- The Plateau Boulder Elk Unit is generally rated one of the top three bull elk units in the state of Utah. It is a Limited Entry hunt and is considered a trophy hunt.
- In 1941, Bison from Yellowstone National Park Wyoming were introduced to the Henry Mountains. Today there are around 325 Bison and the Henry Mountain herd is one of only four free roaming genetically pure herds remaining on public lands in North America. Over the years, the Bison heard and cattle have coexisted due to cooperative grazing practices. The numbers of Bison are managed by sport harvest and a once in a lifetime hunt. The average annual harvest is approximately 21 bulls and 34 cows offered through hunter choice permits, cow-only and high bidder conservation permits.
- The best fishing on the ranch can be found in Lower Bowns and Oak Creek Reservoirs as well as the many lakes and streams along Boulder Mountain, Utah.
- Boulder Mountain is one of two major high-elevation lake areas in Utah with approximately 60 fishable lakes on Boulder Mountain. Most of this lakes and streams are managed as fisheries and cutthroat and brook trout thrive in these undisturbed clear mountain waters, as do wild cut bows, browns and rainbows. The Utah State Record Brook Trout was caught on Boulder Mountain.
- Lower Bowns generally produces excellent fishing for rainbow trout. Fingerling-size rainbow trout are stocked each year and grow to catchable-size after spending one summer in the reservoir. Rainbows range in size up to about 2 pounds. An occasional brook tout or cutthroat trout can be caught after migrating into the reservoir from upstream.
- Significant Utah brook and cutthroat do thrive, however, in Oak Creek Reservoir.
- This Utah ranch is located in one of the most picturesque regions in the West and is virtually surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of public lands that when combined make up one of the largest publicly managed land masses in the lower 48 states.
- Besides the adjoining Capitol Reef National Park, the Henry Mountains, and the surrounding Dixie National Forest and BLM lands, there are three additional National Parks in close proximity, including Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Arches.
- Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are just south of the headquarters and adjoin the BLM grazing allotment.
- The upper reaches of Boulder Mountain and its many alpine lakes and streams can be reached directly from the ranch off the Forest allotment.
- 600 acres of the ranch lie on the slopes of the Henry Mountains that are comprised of two million acres of Utah backcountry beauty, running 60 miles long and 20 miles wide, and elevations ranging from 3,700 feet at the north shore of Lake Powell to over 11,522 feet at Mt. Ellen.
This Utah ranch has operated as a traditional cow-calf cattle ranch for over a century. Rich with water rights, lush hay fields and thousands of acres of BLM and National Forest grazing lands, it is a self-sustaining ranch capable of handling in excess of 1,000 cows. The sale will include current stock of cattle. Please inquire with broker regarding current inventory.
Directly adjoining the deeded headquarters are the winter BLM allotments (including Utah State lands) stretching from Highway 24 to the north down to the shores of Lake Powell. These allotments provide forage for 6,967 AUMs on over 170,000 acres. Elevations of these allotments range from 3,200 feet near the shores of Lake Powell to over 6,400 feet near the west slopes of the Henry Mountains. The permits generally run from November 1 to April 15, with the exception of one allotment that can be stocked as early as October 15. From the headquarters, a cattle stock driveway that has existed prior to the creation of the Park leads across Utah’s Capitol Reef to the lush summer grazing lands on the Dixie National Forest. This permit along Boulder Mountain consists of over 72,000 acres with elevations ranging from 6,400 feet to 10,000 feet on top of the mountain. This Forest Service permit allows 806 cow/calf pairs and runs from June 1 to October 14. All of these permits have range improvements in place with fences, springs, ponds and water troughs.
For a high Utah desert ranch, the property is rich with water. Currently the ranch irrigates approximately 550 acres, primarily using water that flows down from the highlands on Boulder Mountain, through Capitol Reef and ending up on the hayfields at the headquarters. Many of these water rights date back to the late 19th and early 20th century claimed by early settlers on the ranch. One of these pioneers, William Bowns, built two reservoirs, Oak Creek and Lower Bowns, in the early 1900s along the east slopes of Boulder Mountain in the Dixie National Forest. Oak Creek Reservoir is approximately 35 acres and holds 550 acre feet and Lowers Bowns is approximately 140 acres and holds 3,500 acre feet of water. When needed, the water is diverted through the Waterpocket Fold via Oak Creek Canyon. Headgates on both reservoirs can be managed electronically from the headquarters. At the eastern end of Oak Creek Canyon, a 45-foot high rock and cement dam and pipeline were constructed in the National Park to deliver the water to the Sandy Ranch. In addition to these storage rights, there are direct flow rights out of Pleasant Creek, Oak Creek and other tributaries consisting of 33.79 cfs, and also well rights and springs that supplement these rights. This Utah ranch has 2 pivots and 21 wheel lines using gravity pressure to irrigate the 550 acres of hay fields.