BEST LIST: The BEST of “The BIGS” – Analyzing The Biggest Ranches Currently For-Sale in Colorado

The BEST of “The BIGS”

Analyzing The Biggest Ranches,

Currently For-sale in Colorado

This month, I’ve taken a look at all the Recreational Ranches on the market in Colorado that are larger than 5,000 acres.  There are 19 of them and they represent 12% of the Ranch Market.

Really, how do you determine, how good of a deal one of the BIGS is?  You do it by comparing them to the larger market in general, and then more specifically, comparing them to themselves, critically, with a ton of data.

Generally speaking, the larger the ranch, the more the price tag and the less the price per acre ($ACRE). And while the price per acre ($/ACRE) of any of these large ranches may be among the least in the marketplace, the sheer size of some of these ranches causes the listing price itself to be among the highest in the market.  Therefore, it’s critical to evaluate the bunch of them together to determine which of the large ranches represent the greatest values.

Further, It is important to understand the ZONES concept as described “How To Use BEST LISTS button on the upper right section of every page on the website.  There you find descriptions and qualifications for each of the zones.

First we assemble some general market condition facts that help to set the scenario, a context for value.  As I always say: “You can’t identify which properties are the great values, without an understanding of the entire market and their place within it”. 


  • 156: Ranches on the market in Colorado currently;
    1. 19 Ranches in the market are over 5,000 acres;
    2. 34 Ranches on the market are priced > $10,000,000
    3. 15 of the 19 Ranches that are > 5,000 acres are include in >$10,000,000 group.
  • 15 of all 19 properties > 5,000 acres; are really good to great hunting properties; in HZ-1 or HZ-2.
    1. 10 are in HZ-1; Trophy Big Game Hunting on Private Ranch. Of them:
      1. 1 is in Value Zone-1 (Closest to Resorts & recreation centers)
      2. 4 are in Value Zone-2 (middle distances from resorts/recreation centers)
  • 5 are in Value Zone-3 (way farther out from recreation centers)
  1. 5 in HZ-2; Great Big Game Hunting
    1. 2 of them are in VZ-2
    2. 3 of them are in VZ-3
  • Of the 4 Ranches in HZ-1 (Best Hunting Experiences), that are ALSO in VZ-2; the Motherwell, BTU, and Monument Butte are ALL located in the same area; a NOTED area for great hunting and recreation.
  • The MEDIAN $/ACRE of entire Ranch market: $3,000/ACRE
  • The AVERAGE $/ACRE of entire Ranch market: $5,100/ACRE
  • The AVERAGE $/ACRE of the 19 BIGS: $2,200/ACRE
  • The AVERAGE SIZE of the BIGS: 16,000 ACRES

The analytics that form the basis of this BEST LIST, are designed to consider all manner of data.  Everything is considered, including many different types of location parameters (Value Zones, Hunt Zones, Fishing Zones as an example), price, $/ACRE, ranch assets, Federal Boundaries, improvements, elevations, water rights, big-game hunting, fishing, production, conservation easements, etc.  All of the TOP 6 BIGS have great hunting, a mandatory element for list inclusion.

Sorted here in order of their $/ACRE values, the Top 6 BEST VALUES are not ranked relative to each other. Though grouped into a very comparable context, each of these properties is quite different. To distinguish between them you will first consider price compatibility with your budget. They all balance out in the market; they are the best for a reason, so really it’s just a matter of budget and property preferences to make a choice.  Here are the:


  • Wolf Springs Ranch, Huerfano & Custer Counties; / $49,000,000 / 55,486 Acres / $829/ACRE; (VZ-3, HZ-1)
    1. The largest by far, and 8th lowest $/ACRE of the entire ranch market
    2. Income producing;
    3. Top 2 of BIGS in VZ-3, near the top of the class;
    4. Well below all market Medians and Averages, including in this group of 19
    5. 62% BELOW $/ACRE average of all the BIGS
    6. And 84% less than the average $/ACRE of the entire Ranch Market
    7. Top 5 value in all HZ-1 Ranches
  • Monument Butte Ranch, Moffat County; / $28,500,000 / 21,793 Acres / $1,262/ACRE; (VZ-2, HZ-1)
    1. THE lowest $/ACRE of all HZ-1 ranches in VZ-2;
    2. 17th lowest $/ACRE of the entire Ranch Market (156 Ranches)
    3. 4th lowest $/ACRE of all 84 VZ-2 Ranches in the market
    4. The Top, Number 1 Value of the BIGS in HZ-1;
    5. Top 5 value of the BIGS in $/ACRE, regardless of Value-Zone location;
    6. Best Value in VZ-2 of all the BIGS
  • LK Ranch, Rio Blanco; / $10,000,000 / 7,100 Acres /$1,408/ACRE; (VZ-2, HZ-1)
    1. The lowest price of the 6 best BIGS;
    2. Well Below all Averages and Medians for this group and this entire market;
    3. Top 2 value of all the BIGS in VZ-2;
    4. 21st lowest $/ACRE of all ranches in VZ-2 (84 Ranches);
    5. Top 7 value in all the BIGS overall $/ACRE;
    6. Top 4 value in all of HZ classifications.
  • BTU Ranch, Routt County; / $25,000,000 / 13,935 Acres / $1,794/ACRE; (VZ-2, HZ-1)
    1. Top 3 Value of HZ-1 BIG ranches in VZ-2;
    2. Top 6 Value in all HZ-2 Ranches;
    3. Well below averages and medians of the entire market and the BIGS;
    4. 39th best $/ACRE value of all ranches in the entire Ranch Market (156 Ranches)
  • Motherwell Ranch, Routt County; / $45,000,000 / 10,350 Acres / $3,382/ACRE; (VZ-2, HZ-1)
    1. The nearby ranch of 2,500 acres sold recently for $3,150/ACRE; not nearly so improved;
    2. It is the most improved of the bunch of BIGS, it has the best improvements (not overdone at all), it has the most alpine land, the most River (3.3 miles), the biggest lakes (the only lakes), 4,000 acres high-fenced Elk Timber…
    3. 2,500 feet of elevation gain;
    4. 3 miles of the East Fork of the Williams Fork River
    5. 3 Mountain Lakes of 10-20 surface acres EACH
  • Big Creek Ranch, Routt County; / $46,000,000 / 5,034 Acres / $7,946/ACRE (VZ-1, HZ-1, FZ-1)
    1. If you want large ranch acreage right next to a popular mountain resort in Colorado, there is only one. This is it.
    2. Priced WELL below the Average $/ACRE of ALL of VZ-1 Ranches on the market, which is: $12,684/ACRE (37% lower than that!)
    3. FISHING: 5 of the 19 Fishing ranches on the market in RZ-1 (The Best) are ALSO in VZ-1 (The Best), and
      1. Big Creek Ranch is THE ONLY RZ-1 Ranch >1,000 acres in VZ-1 in Colorado; at 5,034 Acres
      2. And it is the LOWEST $/ACRE of the 5, by about $2,000… the next being $10,000/ACRE (Big Creek is $7,946/ACRE)
  • Priced WELL below the Average $/ACRE of ALL 69 Fishing Ranches on the market today, which is: $10,520/ACRE; (24% lower!)
  1. HUNTING: Only ONE property on the market is in Value Zone 1 and Hunting Zone 1 and Fishing Zone 1… THIS IS THE ONE.

These are the best of the biggest; the top 6 of 19 BIGS; for many of the same reasons; the most important is that they each pack some real value into their prices, relative to the rest of the market. In every analytic breakdown, these are the BIG ranches that consistently showed near the top in value in every comparative assessment.

This is the cream of the crop at the top.  If interested, please call and I can produce even more compelling arguments and discuss the specifics.

{Michael Landreth, ALC, of Landreth Ranch & Land Co,
is a Nationally Recognized Ranch BUYERS-BROKER and expert on Colorado Ranch Properties, who works with Buyers only.}