Thunder Ranch consists of approximately 36,200 acres with 8,170 deeded acres and 28,030 leased BLM and utah State lands. The deeded acreage consists of 3,450 acres in Utah near Jensen along the Green River (the “Headquarters Unit”) and 4,720 acres in Colorado just over the border along Blue Mountain (the “Blue Mountain Tract”).
The Headquarters Unit is just north of Jensen, Utah near the entrance to Dinosaur National Monument and is less than 15 miles east of Vernal Utah. The Colorado state line is approximately 12 mile east of the property. This parcel is known as one of the top hay producing ranches in this particular region of Utah and is comprised of 2,145 acres of sprinkler irrigated farmland (alfalfa and corn) and 1,000 acres of natural riverbottom land. The riverbottom land is characterized by numerous large cottonwoods and willows. The Utah topography is generally flat, river lowland with an elevation of 5,200 feet. The property is bordered on three sides and is almost completely surrounded by 5 miles of the famed Green River. The river provides a natural boundary, enhancing the feeling of privacy and seclusion. The gentle, pastoral nature of the property is starkly contrasted by the 2,000+ foot sheer red sandstone cliffs of the Dinosaur National Monument across the river to the north and east. Because it is a designated National Monument operated by the National Park Service, this stunning backdrop will remain for all time – as it has for millennia – rugged, wild and undeveloped.
The Headquarters Unit has historic water rights of over 40 cfs. This Utah ranch has three pumping stations situated along the river and water is pumped directly to 17 pivots on the ranch. Directly adjoining the ranch is the Jensen grazing allotment which consists of approximately 6,844 acres of BLM and Utah State lands. Just south of the Headquarters Unit is the Walker Hollow allotment that provides an additional 10,491 acres of BLM and Utah State lands and a small 26 acre deeded parcel along the Green River.
Just 15 miles east of the Headquarters Unit is the Blue Mountain Tract. This 5,020 deeded acre parcel situated in Moffat County is typical of northwest Colorado country, with gently rolling grass and sage rangeland coupled with natural cedar and pinions with small stands of aspen and pine interspersed. There are several small streams, springs and natural ponds. The elevation ranges from 5,500 to 8,000 feet with the average of about 7,500 feet. This parcel is approximately 10 miles due north of US Highway 40 at Dinosaur, Colorado and is accessed by the Harper’s Corner Road, a paved Park Service Road which is also the Colorado access into Dinosaur National Monument. This parcel is surrounded by other larger ranches and federal lands. Most of ranches in this area of Utah are cattle operations that provide summer range.
Utah’s Blue Mountain Tract adjoins two contiguous BLM allotments: the Basin Springs Allotment located in Colorado with 5,332 acres of BLM and 700 acres of Colorado State land, and directly adjoining to the west in Utah is the Miners Gulch Allotment with an additional 4,380 acres of BLM land and 282 acres of Utah State lands. The Blue Mountain deeded parcel has power to the old cabin near the Park Service Road.
- The Headquarters Unit contains many improvements including six homes all in excellent working condition. The majority of the homes are near the main ranch compound and adjoin the barns and operational improvements. There is a 4-bedroom owner’s home that rests on a bluff just above the nature reserve and Utah’s Green River. The ranch includes a 5-bedroom manager’s home/office, a bunkhouse/lodge, and three other homes ranging in size from 1,000 to 2,000 sq. ft. The ranch can very comfortably sleep up to 30 people at a time.
- In addition to the homes, the property is fabulously endowed with new or newer-condition operations improvements including: Quonset buildings, equipment shops, garages, hay sheds, storage sheds, dryer bins, scales, corrals, fencing, and extensive irrigation equipment including pump houses, pumps, pivot systems and irrigation lines. The Headquarters Parcel has electrical and phone service, wells and septic systems.
- Utah’s Blue Mountain Tract has an old cabin, some 56 miles of barbed wire fencing, an 8’x 12’ cattle scale and several steel pipe corrals.
- A comprehensive list of improvements is available upon request.
In 1869, Explorer John Wesley Powell led the famous Powell Geographic Expedition to explore the Green and Colorado rivers. He set out in May from present day Green River, Wyoming accompanied by 10 seasoned mountain men. Along the Green River, Powell was especially impressed by the canyons formed by Utah’s Split Mountain anticline just a few miles upriver from Thunder Ranch. He penned this foreboding chasm stretch the “Gates of Lodore.” Today whitewater enthusiasts revere the Gates of Lodore for their Class 3 rapids and canyon beauty. One can imagine Powell’s relief as he emerged from the dangerous Utah’s canyon waters and onto the kinder gentler waters and topography of present day Thunder Ranch.
Before Powell’s time, the area was inhabited by the nomadic Freemont Indians. The Freemont people lived in the canyons and were famous for their rock art pictographs and petroglyphs. Many of these drawings can be viewed via a short walk on the adjoining National Monument and BLM lands.
Within a couple miles of the ranch within the Dinosaur National Monument lies the historic Josie Bassett cabin and homestead. Josie Bassett Morris was a hardy Utah woman who lived alone in the small remote cabin she built, with no plumbing, water, or electricity from 1924 until she left in 1963 at age 89.
One of the major benefits of this property is that it is only 15 minutes from Vernal, Utah. Vernal (pop. 7,900) is the Uintah County seat and has all the modern conveniences of the city including: hospital, Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, grocery stores, numerous restaurants and hotels, and a commercial jet airport with daily non-stop service to Denver, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The ranch is adjacent to Dinosaur National Monument. Dinosaur National Monument consists of 210,000 acres of sandstone rock containing some of the world’s best dinosaur fossil beds and dramatic canyon scenery. The park visitor center is less than 5 minutes from the ranch headquarters.
Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area and lake are 40 miles north of the ranch.
Thunder Ranch enjoys a typical high desert, semi-arid climate with low humidity and abundant sunshine year-round. Average annual moisture is around 10 inches, with average summertime highs in the 80s and wintertime lows in the teens. Annual snowfall is around 16 inches.