Boyer Ranch

Production and Cattle Ranch in the Wet Mountain Valley

View the blog post of Westcliffe Going Dark for the Milky Way

Since 1942, two generations of Boyers have ranched in the Wet Mountain Valley, rimmed by the magnificent Sangre de Cristo Mountains and surrounded by 10,000-14,000 ft. peaks. With approximately 12,505 total acres (11,380 deeded and 1,125 state of Colorado leased acres), the Boyer Ranch is located six miles south of the charming town of Westcliffe and runs south for an additional eight miles. Just an hour and a half from Colorado Springs and minutes from the jet capable Silver West Airport, the ranch is an assemblage of homesteads from the late 1800s and is well watered with over 18 CFS of water rights, seasonal streams, multiple runoff ponds, three artesian wells filling two large ponds and 10 wells. The ranch irrigates 700 acres – putting up an average 1,200 tons of premium high-altitude, native grass hay each year. Historically running 500-550 cow/calf pairs, the ranch has recently been used as a hay/grazing ranch running 900-1,000 yearling cattle for six months, selling all of the hay. Improvements consist of two modest homes and a bunkhouse, two wood barns, several loafing sheds, three large steel hay barns, shop/garage, and a good set of working corrals and scale. Large numbers of antelope range freely on the ranch with elk migrating through at various times along with turkey and occasional black bear. One artesian pond is stocked with trout and the ranch is close to National Forest and several mountain trailheads.

Location and Area: The Boyer Ranch is located on the southwest side of State Highway 69, six miles south of Westcliffe, one mile south of Horn Road and runs a distance of eight miles south to the County Line and Promontory Divide. From the south end of the ranch, Interstate 25 and the town of Walsenburg are 42 miles. Pueblo is accessed via State Highway 96 and is east of the ranch 60 miles. Denver is a 2.5 hour drive from the Boyer Ranch and Colorado Springs is only a 1.5 hour drive away. The property has excellent, year-round access off Highway 69 which is bisected by gravel County Roads 105, 106 and 111. The jet-accessible Silver West Airport in Westcliffe is located across State Highway 69 at the north end of the ranch and features a 7,000’ x 55’ paved runway at 8,300’ elevation and offers private jet charter transportation.

Custer County is centrally located in Colorado, east of the Continental Divide in what is known as the Wet Mountain Valley surrounded by the majestic Sangre de Cristo Mountain peaks to the west and the Wet Mountains to the east. Westcliffe, the County Seat, is a rural community of 4,000 residents with a thriving art scene, historical attractions and numerous shops and restaurants.

Property Description: Boyer Ranch consists of 11,380 deeded acres, 1,125 State of Colorado leased acres* for a total of 12,505 acres. 700 acres towards the northern end are flood irrigated putting up an average of 1,200 tons of premium mountain grass hay. The Ranch is generally triangular shaped with State Highway 69 forming the eastern perimeter that is eight miles long, five miles across at its widest point, and is fairly well blocked and contiguous. The ranch is in the bottom of the Wet Mountain Valley, all of it useable, with flat to rolling terrain and several creeks including Cottonwood, Antelope, Foster Gulch and Froze Creek. Fenced and cross fenced into eleven pastures, the ranch irrigates hay meadows with early priority date water rights through various diversion points and weirs for hay production. This, combined with the expansive south pastures raises a good balance of warm and cool season grasses. The grassland portion of the ranch has been managed for short duration grazing, with rapid rotation of pastures occurring over a period of 5 months. In addition, the ranch is well watered for livestock from ten wells and 3 artesian wells, one of which supplies two ponds. These wells are strategically located with over eight miles of underground pipeline and over twenty-three stock tanks.Climate: Boyer Ranch’s location, east of the Continental Divide in the Wet Mountain Valley, provides four-season enjoyment and good moisture on an average year. The climate is ideal – cool, clear with average winter low temperatures of 10 degrees, average winter highs of 43 degrees. The area has plenty of summer sunshine, 300+ days a year, low summer temperatures average 40 degrees and average highs 78 degrees. Fall is the most beautiful season with golden aspen groves intermixed in the lush pine forests against the backdrop of the first snow that crowns the mountain range surrounding the Boyer Ranch.
Boyer Ranch ranges in elevation from 8,000 – 9,100 ft and the surrounding Custer County area is semi-arid with low humidity and average annual precipitation of 14-15 inches. Due to the large number of sunny days and low humidity, winter weather is pleasant most of the time despite the ranch’s higher elevation. The first snowfall on and around the ranch typically occurs in late September or early October with timely rains during late spring and summer months.Improvements: The main headquarters of the ranch are near the north end of the property approximately one-quarter mile off of State Highway 69.
Main Residence: The main residence at the ranch headquarters is one-story with 1,888 sq. ft and built in the 1930’s the house features a steel roof, wall-to-wall carpeting and wood paneling accents inside, a forced-air furnace and wood-burning stove. The home has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths, living room, mud room and office. There is an oversized, 1,071 sq. ft., detached two-car garage with concrete floors, storage loft, with a steel roof and manual overhead drive-through door.
Bunkhouse: The 810 sq. ft. bunkhouse consists of 2 bedrooms and 1 bath with full kitchen, a steel roof, electric baseboard heat and wood-burning stove.
Machine Shop: 1,008 sq. ft. non-insulated machine shop with a metal roof, concrete floor, horizontal sliding doors, oil stove for heat, and a large work bench with electricity.
Hay Sheds and Root Cellar: The hay shed is 54’ x 60’ (3,240 sq. ft.) and is open-sided with a steel frame and steel roof. In addition, the ranch headquarters improvements also include a small storage shed with metal roof and concrete floor, another small wood-frame storage shed and a root cellar with metal roof.
Headquarter Corrals and Scale: The corrals are built using large telephone posts and rails configured into one large pen with a circular working tub in the center along with a vet shack and scale building. The scale is a Howe brand with an 8’ x 12’ platform in a fully enclosed GI metal building and the corrals are adjacent to several large catch pens to bring cattle in from various pastures.
White Corrals: In addition to the corrals located at ranch headquarters, there is a set of shipping corrals with a loading chute constructed of wood posts and rails in the south pasture.
Horse Barn: Located on the north end of the main corral, is a 36’ x 42’ 100-year-old horse barn, wood-framed with wood siding and metal roof. The barn has a hayloft, interior plywood wall finish, mostly dirt floors with one end having a concrete floor. In addition, one side of the barn has a 15’ lean-to/shed used as a vet room on one end and equipment storage on the other end.
Turn-of-the-Century Buildings: The property also features a set of older structures built in the early 20th century including a 1,820 sq. ft., 1.5 story, stucco-sided house with steel roof built in the 1930s. In addition, there is a wood-framed barn/granary, older metal roof and the interior set up with heavy commodity bays for storage along with a mill/mixer and two-car frame garage. There is a small, old log storage shed with wood floor, a 9,900 sq. ft. steel-framed hay storage shed, open on two sides and a third, newer steel-frame, two-sided hay shelter. Two additional long and narrow livestock shelters exist between these other Turn-of-the-Century buildings.
Log Cabin: Situated among Cottonwood Creek is a small log cabin approximately 16’ x 20’ in poor condition which could be refurbished.

Water Rights: Boyer Ranch is well watered with early priority water rights diverted from Froze and Cottonwood Creeks some of which date back to 1870’s and 80’s and total over 18.38 CFS. There are 10 drilled wells and 3 artesian wells-one which feeds two ponds. Most of the wells range between 50-180 feet and produce from 5-15 gallons per minute, with two of the wells at the higher end of the ranch at 350-525 feet which produce 14-15 gallons per minute. See brochure for list of Adjudicated Surface Water Rights.Operational Considerations: Boyer Ranch has good potential for income generation; currently the ranch is leased for grazing and hay production along with a separate gravel lease. While historically run as a cow/calf operation running 500-550 pair and feeding the hay crop, the ranch currently grazes 900-1,000 yearlings for 5 months and sells all the high quality hay, averaging 1,200 tons (some years 2,000 tons) for a premium price primarily to horse owners. Subject to management, annual moisture conditions, gross income from all sources on the ranch is estimated to average $300,000 to $320,000/yr.

Wildlife and Recreation: Westcliffe is perfectly situated for all kinds of day trips to sites including the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Royal Gorge, Lake Pueblo State Park and Monarch Mountain Ski Resort. In addition, St. Andrews at Westcliffe is a public nine-hole golf club open all year and the Custer County tourism board hosts year-round, highly attended events and festivals including the nationally known, blue-grass High Mountain Hay Fever Festival, the acoustic and folk music festival, the High Peaks Music Festival, as well as Classical Music Festival and the Wet Mountain Western Jubilee.

Most of the Sangre de Cristo and Wet Mountain ranges are part of the San Isabel National Forest. Within this expansive forest system, there are literally hundreds of miles of hiking trails directly around the Boyer Ranch. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains offer endless breathtaking camping and fishing sites and access to some of the most amazing cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, horseback riding, road and mountain biking and snowmobile trails in the United States. For avid anglers, the area is surrounded by trout-filled mountain lakes, rivers and streams and the nearby Arkansas River features some of the nation’s best white water rafting available. Hunters, birdwatchers, and wildlife photographers will find deer, elk, Rocky Mountain sheep, turkey, mountain lion, bear, antelope and an endless amount of birds and waterfowl that make the area their home or migrate through the region.

Utilities/Real Estate Taxes: Electricity on the Boyer Ranch is provided through Sangre de Cristo Electric and telephone service is provided through CenturyLink Communication. Water is by private wells, sewer by septic and leach field. Custer County real property taxes in 2012 were $6,602.80.

Conclusion: Boyer Ranch has a steady income history, includes valuable water and mineral rights, and would make an ideal conservation easement candidate.

*State Lease Assignment: Boyer Ranch has a lease on 1,125 acres of adjoining state trust land (AG-44647 and AG-45483). These leases 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 Leases. The assignment of the leases is not guaranteed to the purchaser. The State Land Board may charge a fee for the approval of the assignment.

Photography by: Lynn Branam, Outpost Gallery, Westcliffe, CO