SOLD - Owl Creek Ranch

Colorado - Jackson County - Walden

Colorado Production & Recreation Ranch with 10 miles of river

Owl Creek Ranch is an impressive production and recreation ranch with ten miles of the Michigan River located in the ranching community of North Park. Consisting of 9,831 contiguous deeded acres, the ranch has grazing lands which include a 7,631 acre BLM lease and a state lease of 520 acres.* A superb cattle operation, the ranch will run 1,200-1,500 cow/calf pairs, 75 bulls and 100-200 replacement heifers and is well watered producing over 5,500 tons of premium mountain grass hay. There are seven locations of improvements which include a custom 5,451 sq. ft. main residence on the river, ten additional residences, multiple barns, four sets of cattle working facilities, one roping arena and equipment buildings throughout. There is abundant wildlife including elk, moose, deer, antelope and a host of small mammals with outstanding private fishing for trophy brown trout. Due to its many water resources, the ranch has an extensive bird population including waterfowl, game birds, raptors and songbirds.

Location and Area:
Owl Creek Ranch is located approximately five miles southeast of the scenic mountain town of Walden - the county seat of Jackson County, in an area referred to locally as North Park. North Park is a quaint ranching community and one of the state’s leading producers in high-quality, high-protein native grass hay. With a total population of 1,336 and encompassing over a million acres with 64% in public land, Jackson County provides an immense amount of unspoiled land to enjoy some of the very best, year-round, outdoor recreation activities on and surrounding the property.

An easy commute via excellent, well-maintained County and Highway road systems, Owl Creek Ranch is 110 miles west of Fort Collins and 174 miles from Denver providing direct access to larger city amenities including state-of-the-art hospitals, universities, international air service as well as an endless variety of dining, retail and cultural activities. The small, family-friendly community of Walden rests on a high glacial plain at the headwaters of the North Platte River. Historically a favorite Ute hunting ground, Walden is just 20 miles from the Wyoming border, convenient to the remote Mt. Zirkel Wilderness and Routt National Forest which surround Walden and provide hunting, fly-fishing, cross-country skiing, camping and horseback riding opportunities. Walden has an excellent K-12 school system, an airport with a 5,900 ft. paved runway, medical services, shopping and dining. Steamboat Springs is located 58 miles west, Winter Park is 73 miles southwest and Laramie, Wyoming is 64 miles northeast.


Area Topo

SOLD - Owl Creek Ranch

Colorado - Jackson County - Walden

Download PDF Brochure/Flyer


Ron Morris



Property Description:
Blocked up and contiguous, Owl Creek Ranch is private with good interior ranch roads. Highway 14 angles through the southern end of the ranch with the Michigan River, about 10 - 20 feet wide, meandering through the center of it for approximately 10 miles lined with willows and a scattering of cottonwood trees. The river bottom is the location of some of the hay meadows with the river valley well defined by bluffs and ridges rising 20 to 40 feet above the valley floor. Land above the river valley is characterized as level to rolling with some rugged terrain in a few areas. The more level ground along the river and ditches is devoted to irrigated hay meadow while most of the steeper land is grazing pasture land. 2,797 acres are in flood-irrigated hay meadow, 2,344 acres are in irrigated pasture, 3,486 acres are upland grass/sage grazing land and the remaining 45 acres as farmsteads. Total acreage of the ranch consists of 9,831 deeded acres, 7,631 BLM leased acres and 520 State of Colorado leased acres.* The ranch varies in elevation ranging from 8,140 - 8,520 ft and is surrounded by spectacular mountains which climb to over 12,000 ft and provide breathtaking views of the Rawah Range on the east, the Never Summer Mountains on the southeast, and Mount Zirkel-Park Range to the west featuring the majestic Continental Divide.   

There are seven sets of improvements, supporting eleven dwellings along with nearly 40,000 square feet of outbuildings and four sets of working corrals - all with automatic waterers and one roping arena. Three of the improvement sets are in the bottomland near the river with two of the farmsteads south of the river valley and two north of the river valley. All utilities are housed underground and the ranch’s internal road system is well maintained for easy access throughout the property and to each improvement.   In addition, Owl Creek Ranch has approximately 73 miles of fencing (33 miles of it interior fencing, most of which has been recently updated) providing control of irrigated areas and ideal pasture rotation.

Michigan River House (owner’s home) - Michigan River House, a luxuryhome, is located near what is referred to as “Ranch Headquarters” and consists of 5,451 sq. ft. on two levels with two bedrooms, four baths, office and library, three wood-burning fireplaces, wood stove, cedar and stone siding, hardwood floors, custom cabinets, marble countertops, radiant heat, elevator, and wet bar. A pedestrian bridge over the Michigan River provides a unique entry-way to the main residence’s front door and an exterior door from the lower level opens onto a balcony overlooking the river and main entrance.   

Guest House - Built of similar materials as the main house, the Guest Home consists of 1,155 sq. ft. with two bedrooms, two baths, a central kitchen and sitting rooms. Lawns and gardens around the Main Residence and Guest Home are well landscaped with an irrigation system, mature trees, and planters. An outdoor entertainment area and barbecue with river improvements exists along three-fourth miles near this housing complex.

River Bend - The River Bend improvements consists of a renovated 800 sq. ft. home with two bedrooms and one bath, an 800 sq. ft. barn, an old cabin and a stocked fishing pond nearby.

Ranch Headquarters - The Ranch Headquarters operation consists of a 2,664 sq. ft., two-level manager’s home with four bedrooms and three baths with a detached, 672 sq. ft. two-story garage. In addition, there is an 860 sq. ft. bunkhouse with three bedrooms and two baths, a horse barn, shop, storage shed and a set of corrals.

Sage Hen Improvements - The Sage Hen improvements consist of a newer 2,910 sq. ft., two-level home with a charming wrap-around porch, three bedrooms and two and one half baths, as well as an 1,800 sq. ft. one-level home with three bedrooms and two baths - both landscaped overlooking a three-acre stocked fishing pond. In addition, there are two machine sheds, the large one is 4,000 sq. ft. and includes a calving stall component with heated tack room and a complete set of corrals with capacity for 350 head, hydraulic chute and automatic waterers.

North Ranch Improvements - The North Ranch improvements consist of two houses; a 1,944 sq. ft. split-level with three bedrooms, three baths and a 1,248 sq. ft. home with three bedrooms and two baths. In addition, there are two large hay sheds, one steel-frame machine shed with shop, three-sided steel shed, calving area shed and 400-head capacity steel corrals with hydraulic chute.

West Ranch Improvements - The West Ranch improvements consist of one, single-level 1,920 square foot home and 1,557 sq. ft. modular home. In addition, there is a large, 3,328 sq. ft. calving barn with electricity, warm room, office with full bath including shower, and a five-stall horse barn with tack room. At the west end of the West Unit is a 3,024 sq. ft. calving barn, two large steel-constructed machine sheds and steel/wood corrals for up to a 1,000 head with hydraulic chute, loading ramp, and a 20-ton scale.

Water Rights:
Owl Creek Ranch is well watered and includes over 221 CFS worth of water rights which date back to the late 1880’s. The primary source is the Michigan River with delivery through the Bostwick, Wales, Martin, Mathews, Curtin, Cleveland, Macfarlane, Meadow Creek, Boston and Taylor ditches. The ranch owns 1,100 units of the Michigan River Water Conservancy District (Meadow Creek Reservoir) which accounts for 34% of the total reservoir. In addition, the ranch has several springs and six ponds which vary in size from one to three acres.   Contact the listing Broker for a detailed list of the water rights.

Operational Considerations:
Well organized and in great condition, Owl Creek Ranch is ready for the next owner to stock and operate with little to no deferred maintenance. The property is an outstanding cow ranch which will run 1,200-1,500 cow/calf pair, 75 bulls and 100-200 yearling heifers, with complimenting facilities, water, hay production and grass lands. In addition, the ranch averages 5,500 tons of premium high-protein grass hay and has produced excess hay on most years. During the irrigation and hay production months, most cattle are turned out on leased grazing lands then they are brought back utilizing the well-fenced pastures for proper forage control.   Historically, the ranch has had some of the highest selling calves at the National Western Stock Show. Owl Creek Ranch had annual bull sales in 2011 and 2012 which produced outstanding returns. The herd dispersal sale which occurred November 1, 2012 at the ranch set sales records. For further information, go to

Wildlife and Recreation:
Wildlife populations are abundant on the ranch and include elk, deer, moose and antelope. North Park with its vast amount of public lands has long been a favorite for the sportsman. In addition to big game and due to the amount of live water throughout the ranch, there is an abundance of waterfowl, hawks, eagles and a variety of songbirds. The Michigan River not only attracts wildlife and provides irrigation but is a valuable fishing resource. A comprehensive fishery assessment report was completed in 2009 by Flywater, Inc. - a team of experts in fishery improvements, habitat and management. From several sites along the ten miles of river through Owl Creek Ranch, Flywater, Inc. studied and determined that the population of brown trout is equivalent to gold-metal waters established by the Colorado Division of Wildlife. In addition, several of the ponds on the ranch have been stocked with fish. Owl Creek Ranch’s north-central location makes it convenient to several of the best ski resorts in the state including Beaver Creek, Vail and Steamboat Springs and provides four distinct seasons for year-round alpine entertainment.

Climate and Weather:
The North Park area is a semi-arid mountain setting with generally low humidity and receives 250 days of sunshine, annual precipitation of 9-14 inches and snowfall ranges from 56 to 121 inches per year. The growing season is from June 10th through September 1st with average high temperatures in July at 77 degrees, lows at 39 degrees and average January highs of 28 degrees and lows of approximately 3-5 degrees.

Utilities, Real Estate Taxes:
Electric service, provided by Mountain Parks Electric, has been brought in underground and most of the farmsteads have sprinkler systems. Phone service is by CenturyLink with internet service by The ranch has propane service from Ferrellgas and current real estate taxes are $27,096.49 per year.

Conclusion and Comments:
Owl Creek Ranch is one of the premier ranches in North Park, established and operated by the late Donald Culver. He took great pride in its operation and productivity and was especially proud of the cattle he produced. The cow herd has been dispersed but Owl Creek Ranch is now ready for the next owner and is in top condition ready to stock. Rarely do you find a ranch in such good shape with quality improvements, working facilities, ditches and head gates, hay meadows and pasturelands. Owl Creek Ranch is a reputation production asset in top condition, ready to stock and rich in resources, wildlife and recreation amenities.

*State Lease Assignment: Owl Creek Ranch has a lease on 520 acres of adjoining State Trust Land. This lease may be assignable to the purchaser subject to the written approval of the State Land Board. The State Trust Land is not included in the purchase price nor is there any value in purchase price associated to the lease. The assignment of the lease is not guaranteed to the purchaser. The State Land Board may charge a fee for approval of the assignment.

Download Documents:

Fishery Assessment