The 4,231-acre∓ Three Meadows Ranch outside Carbondale CO, with its pristine, rolling meadows, lakes, and forests, is a scenic, recreational retreat property that has been painstakingly assembled over many years by the current owner, resulting in one of the largest private holdings in the Roaring Fork Valley and by far the largest current offering on the market anywhere near Aspen. Sitting high above the valley floor, unobstructed views from this very private property range from dramatic fourteeners like Capitol Peak, to the dominant Mt. Sopris, to the numerous other snow-capped peaks of the Elk Range. Completely self-sustaining with off-the-grid power, a residential compound comprised of inviting cabins, bunkhouses, a barn with bunk loft and media room, caretaker quarters, an observatory, and bountiful wildlife, all come together in an exceedingly quiet and natural setting that will have an owner and guests harkening back to a simpler, tranquil time, while close proximity to some of Colorado’s most delightful mountain towns and high-speed connectivity on-property allow one to still be “plugged in” to the contemporary Rocky Mountain lifestyle.
Improvements generally consist of a comfortable, not overly-improved residential compound for a family and guests, with a main house, two bunkhouses, a guest cabin, and a barn with game room and media room, all on the upper ranch. There’s also a caretaker’s house, shop, and various outbuildings on the lower ranch. This property can be a totally turn-key purchase, as nearly all of the furniture and equipment can be included.
Overview of improvements:
- Main Cabin: Consists of a main kitchen, eating area, bathroom with new shower and sauna, living room, one loft bedroom that sleeps four, wood stove, solar power with ability to power 3 additional cabins with 10 kw generator, and gas forced air heat
- Round Top Cabin: Well-appointed with full kitchen, 2 bedrooms, half bath, gas forced air heat; Telescope dome for star-viewing is associated with this cabin
- Bunkhouse 1: Cozy cabin with room to sleep 2, half bath, gas forced air heat
- Bunkhouse 2: Sleeps two, with gas forced air heat, hot water, and full bath
- Main Barn: Bunk style sleeping for eight in the finished loft, with game room and media room; wood stove and gas furnace
- Power Building: Primary power source with 20 batteries supplied by solar (generates up to 20 kw)
- Camo House: One bedroom/one bath nestled in the trees with kitchen, gas forced air heat, and hot water
- Loafing Barn: Currently used for equipment storage with drive through doors at either end, exercise room, and upstairs office
- Lake Building: Solar-powered cabin located on the reservoir with one bedroom, full kitchen and one bathroom
- General: Two 1,500 gallon cisterns; One 500 gallon buried propane tank and four 1,000 gallon buried propane tanks; Four individual septic systems, one each for the Round Top Cabin, Main Barn, Main Cabin, and Camo Cabin; Multiple wells to serve all buildings
- Caretaker’s House: This building is an on-the-grid, manufactured home with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a pellet stove (and a well to supply up to 3 lots)
- Shop: On the grid, 3,500 square foot building with huge area for maintenance heated with pellet stove downstairs; Upstairs includes office, ¾ bath, washer, dryer, and electric baseboard heat; two small adjacent storage buildings as well
- Other associated outbuildings
Summertime temperatures are in the 70s and 80s. Fall temps range in the 60s and 70s during the day, with evening temperatures dropping into the 40s and 50s. Wintertime temperatures range from highs in the 30s to 40s during the day and dropping into the teens and 20s at night. Average annual precipitation is approximately 16.5 inches. Most of the Cattle Creek area is south-facing, so snowfall melts early in the spring, and the area is known for its milder, manageable winters.
Three Meadows Ranch sits at 7,200 to 8,600 feet in the upper reaches of the Missouri Heights area above Carbondale, between Basalt Mountain and Cottonwood Pass, adjacent to national forest lands. Missouri Heights is home to rural, mostly-south facing properties perched above the Roaring Fork Valley with big views of the snow-capped Elk Range. The Upper Cattle Creek section where Three Meadows Ranch is located is home to some of the last large private landscapes in the greater Roaring Fork Valley and because of this spaciousness, is home to bountiful wildlife that come off the adjacent national forest lands in the Red Table Mountains, seeking refuge in the ranch’s lower elevation aspen groves, gambel oak, sage, and lakes.
The Roaring Fork Valley is known as the home to Aspen, the world-class resort and cultural center, as well as historic, smaller towns like Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs, each with its own unique character and shops and restaurants, so the new Three Meadows owner will have many fantastic choices as far as where to have their off-property fun, just 15 to 45 minutes away.
Three Meadows is conveniently located between two commercial airports with Aspen Pitkin County Airport under 45 minutes away, and the Eagle County Regional Airport in Eagle (servicing Vail and Beaver Creek) approximately one hour. Commercial service is also available 2.5 hours away at DIA and private jet service is 30 miles down the road at the Garfield County Airport in Rifle, Colorado, and also in Aspen.
Several world-class ski resorts are within a short drive. Aspen/Ajax Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass are all located in and around Aspen, and Beaver Creek and Vail Resorts are less than 90 minutes away. Glenwood Springs also has a fun local family ski area, Sunlight, that is only a thirty minute drive from the property.
Three Meadows Ranch is located in GMU 444, where over the counter hunting tags are generally available for elk, mule deer, and bear. Large elk herds, in particular, often come down from the higher elevations on the back side of Basalt Mountain in the Red Tables down through this property to visit its large expanses of open meadows, aspen groves, gambel oak, and sage.
Of course this area is renowned for downhill skiing, so skiers will appreciate all the winter options one has within 45 minutes of the ranch. Snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are also enjoyed on property, while in the summer, other recreation includes hiking and mountain biking on-property, and white water rafting (in Glenwood Canyon) and boating (Ruedi Reservoir is 30 minutes away) elsewhere.
Three Meadows Ranch is surrounded by gold medal fishing resources. The Roaring Fork, just 15 minutes away, is known as one of the best trout fisheries in the state, as is the Frying Pan, just 25 minutes away, and the Colorado River below Glenwood Springs, for those who may want to float a larger river.
The property is well-suited to be developed for horses, with ample pasture and irrigated fields, and on-property gravel roads, jeep trails, and cow paths to serve as terrific riding trails.
While currently operated mainly as a scenic, recreational retreat, with its exceptional water resources and 27 miles of fence separating numerous pastures with a total of nearly 300 acres irrigated, the Three Meadows Ranch can also function as a seasonal grazing area for running a couple hundred head of livestock.
Located in an area known for its large landscape private ranches, Three Meadows Ranch is currently unencumbered by a conservation easement, and so presents a terrific, potentially lucrative opportunity for preservation.
List of Equipment – ask broker for lengthy list
List of water rights for Three Meadows Ranch:
- Heuschkel Ditch No. 1: Priority No. 40, decreed in Case No. 395, District Court in and for the County of Eagle, Colorado, for 3.5 cfs from Cottonwood Creek for irrigation, with an appropriation date of May 20, 1898 and adjudicated on July 17, 1902.
- Heuschkel Ditch No. 2: Priority No. 41, decreed in Case No. 395, District Court in and for the County of Eagle, Colorado for 1.5 c.f.s. from Cottonwood Creek for irrigation, with an appropriation date of June 24, 1900 and adjudicated onJuly 17, 1902.
- The Heuschkel Enlargement and Extension of the Heuschkel No. 1 Ditch and Heuschkel No. 2 Ditch (including the Smith Park Ditch): Priority No. 90, decreed in Case No.559, District Court in and for Eagle County, Colorado, for 1.2 cfs from Cottonwood Creek for irrigation, with an appropriation date of April 19, 1904 and adjudicated on July 20, 1912.
- Smith Park Reservoir, Reservoir No. 8: Priority No. 90, originally decreed on July 20, 1912 in Case No. 559, District Court in and for Eagle County, Colorado for 200 acre-feet for irrigation with an appropriation date of April 19, 1904. By Stipulation and Court Order entered in Case No. 94CW385, Water Division 5, 100 acre-feet of the Smith Park Reservoir water right was rehabilitated by the creation of two reservoirs, and the remaining 100 acre-feet of the Smith Park Reservoir water right was included in the Revised Abandonment List for Water Division No. 5. This is the existing large reservoir you see in many of the beautiful images for the ranch.
- Shadigee Ditch: Priority No. 42, decreed in Case No. 386, District Court in and for Eagle County, Colorado, in the amount of 2.0 cfs for irrigation, with an appropriation date of July 14,1898 and adjudicated on July 17, 1902.
- McNulty Reservoir No. 2: Decreed in Case No. W-1753, District Court in and for Water Division 5, State of Colorado, in the amount of 72.0 acre-feet for irrigation, domestic, and piscatorial uses, with an appropriation date of July 20, 1916.
- Cottonwood Spring No. 1: Decreed in Case No. 93CW224, District Court in and for Water Division 5, State of Colorado, in the amount of 0.05 cfs for domestic, livestock watering, and wildlife purposes, with an appropriation date of November 8, 1940.
- Cottonwood Spring No. 2: Decreed in Case No. 93CW224, District Court in and for Water Division 5, State of Colorado, in the amount of 0.01 c.f.s. for livestock watering, and wildlife purposes, with an appropriation date of May 1, 1967.
- Polaris Reservoir: Decreed in Case No. 97CW097 (W-222) 100 acre-feet absolute with an additional 337 acre-feet conditional dated June 21, 2000. Filled by the Best Ditch, with 20.6 c.f.s., application #W-438 decreed on March 24, 1972. This reservoir is unbuilt, but a great opportunity for a new owner to increase the storage on-property with a new reservoir potentially twice the size of the existing Smith Park Reservoir.