Willow Creek Ranch, 398+/- acres located north of Steamboat Springs, borders public land and has Elk River frontage. Easily accessed by paved county roads, the ranch is convenient to the quaint community of Clark. A magnet for nearly every type of Colorado wildlife, the ranch has ample tree cover, rock outcroppings, springs, and a pond. It is fenced for cattle; springs and a well provide water for livestock and wildlife. A comfortable 1,200 s.f. log cabin has views of the rugged saw-tooth Zirkel range along the Continental Divide. This intelligently planned cabin, water frontage, long national forest boundary, and paved year-round access are rarely found as one package.
A scenic drive along the free-flowing Elk River leads to the ranch. The river comprises much of the southern boundary and the north and west sides share a 2.75-mile boundary with the Routt National Forest. Just 2 miles from the ranch is the small community of Clark. The hub is a busy country store with deli, liquor store, and post office. It is a popular stop for locals and tourists as they set out to explore the million-plus acre surrounding national forest, numerous area lakes, rivers, and trailheads. Clark is also home to an award-winning K-8 charter school/preschool campus, fire station, and restaurant.
The land ranges in elevation from about 7,500 feet at the river to 8,200 feet at the northwest corner. Generally south-facing, the land consists of a forested ridge between the cabin and the pond. A driveway leads off of the paved road to the cabin that sits on the edge of a level, open meadow. The land then rises again to another tree-covered plateau. The cool forests shade the tall grass, attracting a variety of wildlife. The property is perimeter-fenced and a cattle lease keeps the taxes low. The pond is tucked in a private little valley and is surrounded by aspens and pines.
The 1,200 s.f. cabin was built as a self-contained retreat. It has a 1,000-gal propane tank; adequate to heat the cabin for 2+ years. It is serviced by underground electric and can also be powered by a propane generator. The generator is sufficient to operate the well, gas heat stove, appliances, and lights. A steep roof sheds even the heaviest of snow without shoveling and the metal resists ignition from wildfires. The main level master has a deck with downriver views. The loft, open to the great room below and sharing the same mountain views, has a half bath and is accessed by a beautiful wood spiral staircase. A very good producing well serves the cabin and the surrounding pasture.
The ranch is located in an area prized for outdoor recreation. The adjoining National Forest is not easily accessed by the public; it is roadless, rugged, and very private. The property is in GMU 14, currently an OTC unit for bulls during the 2nd and 3rd rifle seasons. Northwest Colorado is home to the largest elk herd in the United States and Willow Creek Ranch has its fair share of this herd. The ranch also attracts deer, moose, and bear along with numerous small game animals and birds. Hiking and riding along cattle and game trials can be extended for miles on to the Routt National Forest. The two-track roads on the ranch are perfect for mountain bikes and ATV’s. Trout fishing is also just a short walk down the hill to the Elk River or Willow Creek.
The ranch has been in the same ownership for decades and is being offered for the first time. It has historically been used for big game hunting and cattle grazing. The cabin has been used for spring, summer and fall recreation. It can be easily closed up for the winter and is also designed for year-round use.
The well supplies the cabin and is also piped to a water trough for the cattle and wildlife. Two springs are each adjudicated for 15 gallons per minute and allow for domestic, piscatorial, wildlife and livestock uses.
Willow Creek Ranch is one of those rare properties that combines live water, national forest boundary, and year-round access. It is convenient to the big-town amenities of small-town Steamboat Springs and necessities are just 2 miles away in Clark. The log cabin is built for today’s circumstances in mind; it can be fully self-contained and it is completely private. It is also ideal for easy recreational use with decks designed for wildlife-watching and magnificent Zirkel range views. The property is loaded with game animals that are attracted to the numerous water sources, forested mountains, and open grassy meadows. In the same family for decades, this is the first time the ranch has been offered for sale.