Located at 7,600 feet in elevation along the eastern face of the Wet Mountains, Elk Tooth Ranch contains 110 acres that borders the San Isabel National Forest. This is a picturesque ranch retreat featuring great privacy, year-round access, a modern custom home plus garage with loft and beautiful mountain views in every direction. Just two hours south of Denver or an hour from Colorado Springs, this is a spectacular mountain ranch setting to come to and relax, recreate, hunt and enjoy the Rockies.
Just off of Colorado Highway 165, a paved Frontier Pathway route, designated for following a corridor first traveled by the Ute Indians, then Spanish and American explorers. Travel to the ranch is filled with views of the same snowcapped mountains, jagged canyons, carpeted meadows and aspen-covered hillsides seen by the early explorers. The half-mile private driveway is accessed by a fully maintained, county road. Only three other properties lie between the ranch and the end of the road. The city of Pueblo offers two full service hospitals, shopping and an airport with runways that will accommodate any size aircraft, just 40 minutes away.
Tucked into a corner of the San Isabel National Forest, Elk Tooth Ranch lies along two steps of the forested hillsides as they retreat from the Wet Mountains. The upper step, along the county road, offers a magnificent building site with long views of the Greenhorn Peaks capping the Greenhorn Wilderness at over 13,000 feet. The middle step is a long, rolling meadow bordered by aspen trees and tall fir trees with wildflowers, a stock pond and the custom-built home and garage. On the lower shelf, at the bottom of a dramatic canyon, flows the Little Saint Charles Creek making a soothing sound easily heard on the porch at dark on a summer evening. The home was sited in a grove of ponderosa and fir trees to appear to have been in place for 100 years. At the turn of the 19th century, the lumber to build homes was milled on site. When the saw cut off the outsides of the trees to square up smaller boards, the semi-round parts retaining the bark were used to cover the outside of the buildings. The home on Elk Tooth Ranch used that historic technique, making the buildings appear as a natural part of the landscape. The well feeds a 4,500-gallon underground cistern, 3,000 gallons of propane are buried in two tanks to be out of sight, a 25 KVA backup generator with automatic switching in the event of loss of power and other, thoughtful additions make the property virtually worry free.
The home is surrounded on two sides by an 8 foot deep porch, screened-in to making the porch enjoyable during much of the year. The porch decking is Trex, a barefoot surface. Lots of windows and doors, left open between the porch and interior give summer a new meaning and, functionally, making the porch merely an extension of the house.
The home has two, en-suite bedrooms, each with a full bath. Western galvanized steel walls in the showers framed with teak wood were copied from a mountain resort built in Colorado in 1921.
The vaulted ceilinged great room has a living room, dining area and kitchen. The kitchen is modern with granite counter tops, first rate appliances and custom cabinets. A stacked washer/dryer unit is hidden conveniently in a closet off of the kitchen as is a large pantry.
The floors are light weight concrete stained to imitate stone flooring and are very easy to clean as everyone comes and goes.
The heating is provided by radiant, in-floor hot water heating making a fall morning very cozy on bare feet. A free-standing Vermont cast iron stove fed by the propane system offers the comfort and ambiance of a fireplace enhanced by the convenience of a thermostatically controlled flame.
The walls, inside and out, are filled with an injected foam insulation keeping heating costs down and making the home comfortable in the cooler months. All windows and doors are double pane for warmth. The walls between the bedrooms and adjoining bathrooms were double built so as to have no physical connection, permitting no noise to transmit from one room to another.
Evidence of the custom built nature of the home are trawled drywall throughout both buildings; professional mill work; 48” high wainscoting using bead board (further reminding one of the way homes were built 100 years ago); oiled bronze door hardware; stained solid wood paneled doors; and a 9 foot ceiling height except in the Great Room with its cathedral ceiling.
The garage is full depth, two-car with a loft for extra sleeping quarters, a great place to get away from the family or a spot for children. The garage has a ¾ bath, offering those who spend the night in the loft all the comforts.
There is a small shed near the garage that hides the 25KV backup generator from view and offers some storage for the typical garden and yard equipment.
4,500 gallons of water storage in a buried cistern assuring abundant showers even with a large crowd visiting over a weekend.
The ranch is 110 acres – divisible into 3 sites under Colorado law.
Private ½ mile private driveway is easily cleared in winter and laid out to maximize sun melt during snowy months. Year around access is easily assured using the typical snow clearing offered by many contractors.
Peer and beam construction provides a solid foundation.
The home was built by a seasoned native of Colorado who understood that redundant systems are the key to assuring no emergencies in the winter such as frozen pipes. The double heating in the home, furnace and Vermont stove, the generator ready to automatically switch in the event of a loss of power and 3,000 gallons of propane to run the generator (about a 2 year supply) relieve the owner of any worries. Knowing that rodents and bugs like to hide under the porch in the winter and invade homes, the house was built with barriers buried around the foundation to keep them out. Additionally, everything was chosen with an eye toward ease of cleaning and maintenance knowing that no one wanted to spend their vacation cleaning and repairing. The home has an alarm providing notice of possible fire or break in and it has a low temperature warning to alert the owner, if away, of loss of heating.
Recreation, Wildlife & Entertainment
Elk Tooth Ranch is in the pathway for a number of species migrating from summer to winter pastures and back. Elk are numerous. Deer are evident every time you drive the county road. A small lynx found its way to the drive one day, curled up on a rock and watched the goings on for a couple of hours. Uniquely, the Rio Grande turkey is abundant in the valley with spring being full of little clutches of young birds following the adults. The property is fenced to keep horses allowing them access to the stock pond that has abundant water year around. With access directly into the National Forest, the riding options are numerous. A rider can easily ride from the ranch to the San Carlos Trail and take it all the way to the neighboring town of Beulah. Just up the highway, about 15 minutes is the village of San Isabel with a rustic lodge offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The lake has good fishing for trout. A neighboring ranch raises American bison and viewing them is always a must for visitors who haven’t seen the iconic Western animal up close.
Colorado City and Rye, Colorado–Two small adjoining towns offer many churches, a good grocery store, several restaurants and a golf course.
Pueblo, Colorado–Just 40 minutes away, the city of Pueblo has a population of 100,000+ and offers two, well-regarded hospitals providing emergency care. Colorado State University, Pueblo and two junior colleges are located in the city. A highly-ranked zoo, several golf courses and Lake Pueblo with all of its boating opportunities offer entertainment close by.
Growing up in Colorado Springs, our family had a cabin we built in the Wet Mountain Valley above Westcliffe. Many, many wonderful memories were created there and we wanted something similar. We chose the land near Rye because it was beautiful; at exactly the right altitude to assure the beauty of the wildflowers and aspen trees; with easy access to I-25 and within about 2 hours from Denver. When looking for the land, we rejected anything requiring use of I-70 to avoid all of the traffic issues. We insisted on an end of the road location and access to the National Forest. When we are there, the rest of the world is on another planet.