Strawberry Creek Ranch is an easily-accessible, 2,361± acre property in northwest Colorado near Meeker that boasts three sources of income – hay production, hunting outfitting, and grazing – as well as a charming, turn-of-the-century Victorian main residence and a ranch operations area featuring sturdy steel pipe fencing. This well-watered and productive ranch irrigates nearly 400 acres of hay meadows on the valley floor and transitions gently upwards to rolling sage and piñon-covered hills in the west that are home to the bountiful big game for which the Meeker/Flattops region is so well-known. Strawberry Creek Ranch is also convenient to all that western Colorado offers, including the resort/recreational amenities of Glenwood Springs (under 60 minutes), Steamboat (90 minutes), and Aspen (two hours), and is serviced by commercial airports in Hayden/Steamboat (60 minutes) and Grand Junction (75 minutes), as well as well-managed private jetcraft operations in Meeker (10 min) and Rifle/Garfield (40 min). It is rare to find a ranch in western Colorado at this per acre price that possesses Strawberry Creek Ranch’s value-laden combination of agricultural production and recreational hunting.
Strawberry Creek, after which the ranch is so named, is a small, perennial stream that bisects the ranch and supplies most of its water. It is a tributary to the White River, with that river forming the primary drainage for the area’s defining watershed, covering almost 4,000 square miles in this part of northwest Colorado. The ranch lies within rural Rio Blanco County, which is characterized by its agricultural economy, recreational opportunities – especially hunting and fishing – and scenic western vistas, with the high alpine country of the Flattops to the east, and more arid, lower elevation canyon and sage expanses to the west. At 6,100 feet, Strawberry Creek Ranch essentially sits in the transition zone between these two landscapes, providing it with a pleasant, agriculturally-productive, four season climate, and a lot of recreational options all year long.
Located in northwest Colorado near Meeker, Strawberry Creek Ranch is easily accessible near the intersection of two well-maintained, paved rural roads, CO Hwy 64 and County Rd 7, just a five-minute drive from town. Meeker has a couple restaurants, a grocery store, medical center, lodging, and a well-managed airport (with a 6,500-ft runway, suitable for most aircraft). It is less than sixty minutes from the ranch to Glenwood Springs and ninety minutes to skiing in Steamboat Springs, both perennial members of “Best Sporting Towns in the West” lists. It is also two hours to world famous Aspen/Snowmass and its resorts and thirty minutes to Rifle and big box retail and an I-70 interchange, making the ranch also convenient to the private Rifle/Garfield County Airport (40 min) and Grand Junction (75 min). The Hayden/Steamboat Airport, approximately one hour away, is the nearest commercial airport with connections to major cities. Denver is a four-hour drive.
Structures on the ranch include a charming, turn-of-the-century brick main residence with four bedrooms that is surrounded by large shade trees. Two other humble modular homes are elsewhere on the property and rented occasionally, often to hunters in the fall. The ranch operations area near the main residence has numerous accessory ag buildings and equipment – garages, sheds, barns, and corrals.
- Annual Rainfall (in.): 14.0
- Annual Snowfall (in.): 85
- Precipitation Days: 84
- Sunny Days: 238
- Avg. July High (deg F): 85°
- Avg. Jan. Low (deg F): 9°
After a busy summer and early fall of moving and applying irrigation water and growing and harvesting hay, the ranch’s focus shifts to hunting. Located as it is in northwest Colorado in the foothills of the western slope of the Flattops, this region is home to North America’s largest elk herd as well as mule deer, moose, bear, wild turkey, and upland birds. The ranch is in Colorado Game Unit 11. The current owner leases out the brunt of the property’s uplands hunting operation to a local outfitter, but also hold on to three of the six landowner hunting vouchers they currently receive for hunting privately on-property (the three other vouchers are for hunting on public land elsewhere in this Unit).
The property is well-suited for horseback riding, with ample pasture and irrigated fields for growing hay for the animals, and nearby dirt roads and jeep trails to serve as terrific riding trails, on-property and off, especially into the beautiful uplands to the west. Corrals with turnout areas are also present in the ranch operations area. Metal pipe fencing conducive to horse operations is used throughout the ranch operations area.
On-property, horseback riding and snowmobiling are popular, in the summer/fall and winter, respectively. Meeker is also convenient to all the recreation that western Colorado offers, including downhill skiing in Steamboat (60 min) and Aspen (2 hours). World-class fly-fishing is mere minutes away on the White River, especially the vaunted stretch of water upstream of and east of the town of Meeker, where there are several public access points. The Yampa near Steamboat Springs and the Colorado River at Glenwood are also top-notch trout fisheries, with both also being home to some of the most exciting whitewater stretches in the West, too.
This ranch has historically been a well-known cattle/hay operation, with the current owner more recently leasing the hay production and grazing to a local producer. Most of the valley floor portion of the ranch is irrigated meadow, with hay production occurring on approximately 400 acres with the 9.2 shares of Niblock Ditch water the ranch controls (over 22 cfs). Approximately 800 tons of hay is produced annually on this ranch in most years. A center pivot is employed in one of the ranch’s pastures.
The primary water right that supplies the 350-plus acres of irrigated ground for Strawberry Creek Ranch is 9.25 shares out of the Niblock Ditch, which totals over 22 cfs. Several wells are also on-property that serve the main residence and the ranch operations area.
Mineral rights on the ranch are not in the possession of the current owner. No drilling is present in the immediate area, with the historically-active energy production area of Rio Blanco County beginning further to the west of this property.
Strawberry Creek Ranch is not currently encumbered by a conservation easement, but the property’s size, high-quality irrigated meadows, and productive wildlife habitat make for a strong combination of conservation values that no doubt help it qualify should a new landowner wish to preserve this acreage with a conservation easement. Contact the listing agent for details on Colorado’s popular and potentially lucrative conservation easement program.