SOLD - Apishapa River Canyon Ranch
Historic Colorado Cattle Ranch
The Apishapa River Canyon Ranch is situated along several canyons and the Apishapa River in southeast Colorado only two hours from Denver. The ranch consists of over 13,000 total acres and is the location of several late prehistoric villages which date back to 1200 AD. For years, the ranch was known as the Munsell Ranch, operated by Howard Munsell whose family moved there in 1928. Over the years, Howard would bring folks through to see the ancient ruins set along the Juan Baca, Bass, South, Berry, Buck and Hudson Canyons. The ranch is fenced and cross-fenced into eleven pastures with eight wells, windmills and solar power, including a new well with water storage-generator backup and underground pipeline system. In addition, the ranch has several springs and seasonal ponds along with water from the Apishapa River. The ranch has been a year-round cow/calf operating ranch running 250 to 300 pair and has excellent cattle handing facilities.
Apishapa River Canyon Ranch is set along the Apishapa River Canyon just north of the Apishapa State Wildlife Area with elevations from 4,800' along the river bottom to 5,200' along the canyon rim. The ranch consists of 11,682 deeded acres and 1,320 acres of State of Colorado leased acres - all contiguous. The ranch has several canyons that run through it including the Juan Baca, Apishapa, Bass, South, Berry, Buck and Hudson. Except for the canyons, the terrain consists of rolling grasslands with juniper and scattered prickly pear and cholla, indicative to southeast Colorado, with a variety of grasses that provide good grazing throughout the year. The ranch is fenced and cross-fenced into eleven pastures named Ridge, Point, Berry, Basin, Butler, Hickson, Juan Baca, Two Mile Strip, Windmill, Saddle Horse and House Pastures. Water is supplied in every pasture from six windmills, one well with a solar pump, and one well with a generator that supplies water to three stock tanks through underground pipes. In addition to the wells, the ranch has several springs and intermittent ponds along with the Apishapa River. The ranch has been a year-round cow/calf operating ranch running 250 to 300 pair and has an excellent set of working corrals. There is one older home located at the working corrals.
The Apishapa River Ranch is the location of several prehistoric villages which date back to 1200 AD. Many published books provide historical data and intriguing detail and photography of ancient rock art and petroglyphs in and around the region including a publication titled Apishapa Canyon Archeology by James H. Gunnerson published in 1989. One of the main discoveries documented in the book was a site referred to as the "Snake Blakeslee" named after the then landowner, nicknamed Snake by his cowboy friends. Today, the site still exists with vertical stone columns which represent the two clusters of contiguous rooms and several single outlying structures. By contrast, the site along the Juan Baca Canyon is of a different kind of construction and is estimated to have been created in the mid 1600's. All of these sites were based on good proximity to water, protection and wildlife.
For many years, the property was known as the Munsell Ranch, operated by Howard Munsell who was born in Fowler, Colorado in 1927. His family came to the area in a covered wagon from the oil fields of Texas; his Uncle with Company B, Third Regiment of the Colorado Calvary. During his ranching days on the Munsell Ranch, Howard Munsell brought folks out to tour its numerous canyons and historic sites.
Wildlife and Recreation:
Apishapa River Canyon Ranch and the surrounding area is rich in wildlife habitat and home to many different species including deer, antelope, big horn sheep, scaled quail, dove and many bird species including songbirds, water fowl and raptors. Just south of the property, the well-protected Apishapa State Wildlife Area offers a quiet and tranquil location for wildlife viewing and photography, fishing, hiking and trail riding. Fabulous opportunities for exploring southeastern Colorado's best hidden treasures exist all around the ranch. Carrizo, Vogel, Picture, Picketwire and Apishapa Canyons scatter the southeast Colorado prairie drawing individuals from all over the world who come to explore the ancient rock art and petroglyphs. The Great Sand Dunes Monument and the 2.5 million-acre San Juan National Forest, characterized by high-desert mesas and alpine peaks, offer excellent sight-seeing and camping opportunities along with thousands of miles of back roads and hundreds of miles of trails to explore. The Purgatoire River (also referred to as the Picketwire River) in the Comanche National Grasslands is home to the largest dinosaur track sites in North America and contains more than 100 trackways by more than 1,300 individual dinosaur footprints and draws amateur horticulturists and anthropologists from all over the world. Each destination makes for an exciting day-trip or weekend getaway for adventure-seeking off the ranch.
Currently the Apishapa River Canyon Ranch is leased for grazing which a new owner could continue or run your own livestock. Most of the ranching activities are done from horseback and all neighbors help each other come branding time. A very rural agricultural area, the Apishapa River Canyon Ranch has a lot of possibilities in ranching, recreation and the possibilities for a conservation easement.