L Cross Ranch

La Garita Colorado production ranch

The beautiful L Cross Ranch is nestled into the foothills of the La Garita Mountains, part of the Rio Grande National Forest, on the west side of the San Luis Valley. This reputation ranch consists of 6,200 deeded acres together with 60,515 acres of grazing permits and runs 500 pair of black baldy cattle and up to 450 yearling cattle depending on the year. Abundant water from Carnero and La Garita Creeks provides over 147 cfs of water rights and 100 cfs of winter recharge rights dating back to 1869 in priority along with 6,400 gpm on four irrigation wells. Four center pivots put up 2,000 tons of alfalfa with an additional 2,500 acres flood irrigated and 300 acres in native grass hay. A very balanced ranching operation self sustained with its own feed base. Improvements consist of a 4,000 sq.ft. main residence newly remodeled in 2009, 1,500 sq. ft. log home, shop, horse barn and ranch office situated in a beautiful valley on Carnero Creek. The working facilities are located at the northeast section of the ranch and have a manager’s home, bunkhouse, calving barn, livestock sheds, 500 head feedlot and a complete set of corrals and scales.

The L Cross Ranch is located near the small community of La Garita, Colorado. The ranch lies at 8,000 feet on the west side of the San Luis Valley with a spectacular view of the Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range. The ranch is approximately 190 miles or 3.5 hour’s drive southwest of Denver via US Highway 285. The general area is known as the San Luis Valley and is located in south central Colorado about 60 miles north of New Mexico state line.

Other towns in the general area of La Garita are Center which is approximately 15 miles southeast and Del Norte which is approximately 12 miles south. Monte Vista and Alamosa are 24 and 45 miles away respectively. Each of these towns has a grocery store, bank and hardware store and general services. Alamosa is the largest town in the San Luis Valley and is the location for a variety of shopping, restaurants, hospitals, four year college and assorted services, all accessible via good paved highways. Grade school and high school is available in Center, Del Norte or Monte Vista with the ranch located within the Center school district.

The L Cross Ranch is located within two hours of three major ski areas. Wolf Creek, which historically has more snow than any ski area in Colorado, is the closest and can be reached in less than one hour. Monarch Ski area is approximately 90 minutes from the L Cross and Crested Butte ski area is about two hours away.

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is located about an hour to the east and can be viewed from the ranch. The La Garita Wilderness area is located just a few miles to the west of the ranch and is reachable in a couple hours by horseback.

Saguache County has two airport facilities. The first is located west of the town of Saguache and has a dirt surface. The other is known as Leach Airfield and is located just a few miles north and east of Center. It has a 7,000 ft. newly paved runway with automatic landing lights.


The view to the east of the ranch is the beautiful and fertile San Luis Valley comprised mainly of center pivots raising crops of potatoes, alfalfa and brew barley. This vast agricultural area is bounded on the east by the beautiful Sangre De Cristo mountain range. The San Luis Valley is known as the largest alpine valley in the world at an altitude of 7,500’. The ranch itself begins at 8,000’ and goes up to well over 12,000’ elevation on the Forest Service permits.

The north and western boundaries of the ranch are mainly of government-owned land; national forest and Bureau of Land Management. The government land is broken up into livestock permits controlled by the L Cross Ranch, all of which are contiguous. L Cross Ranch has 4 BLM leases, 2 Forest Service leases and a State Land Board lease. Altogether these leases comprise over 60,000 acres on which the L Cross livestock graze annually.

The nearby communities are mainly agriculture based, which offers the largest number of jobs in the local communities followed by governmental agencies such as the Forest Service, BLM and Fish and Wildlife agencies.

San Luis Valley floor annual precipitation is around 8 inches, whereas the area at the base of the mountains, where the L Cross Ranch is located, is between 12-14 inches annually with annual snowfall of 50 inches. Average summer highs temperatures are around 78 degrees with lows at around 43 degrees. Average winter highs are around 46 degrees with lows at 12 degrees. The growing season averages approximately 120 days in length.

Acreage Description:
The L Cross Ranch contains approximately 6,200 deeded acres together with 26,316 acres of National Forest Service land, 11,460 acres of BLM land and 22,919 acres of State of Colorado leased lands for a total of 66,715 acres. The initial views upon arrival to the ranch are of the alluvial fans of La Garita and Carnero Creeks. These are large flat areas where most of the 3,000 irrigated acres lie and most of the crops are grown. If arriving in the summer, you will note the presence of the four center pivots which grow alfalfa hay on an annual basis along with grassy meadows which raise abundant hay crops. Traveling east on County Road G you will see the La Garita mountains which begin at the ranch. In the distance you can see Boot Mountain and Bowers Peak which climb to 13,000 feet and are usually snow covered. These peaks are the back side of L Cross Ranch forest service permits. As you continue west on the ranch, traveling alongside Carnero Creek, you gradually gain elevation through denser mixed forest. The L Cross Ranch has about 8 miles of Carnero Creek which provides irrigation and fishing for cutthroat trout. If you travel northeast of the ranch into the BLM land you would find grassy foothills covered with pinion and Juniper trees. This area is known as the Biedel Canyon area and it is the largest of the L Cross Ranch BLM grazing allotments. Within the allotments are old abandoned hidden cemeteries and other remnants of the gold mining period of the past. The western portions of the BLM permits are roadless areas and great for deer and elk hunting.