Overview of Pitkin County Colorado Ranches For Sale
- Population estimate, 2010: 17,148 15 persons/sq. mi.
- Square miles: 973
- Approximate driving time from Denver: 3 hours
- Commercial Airport: Sardy Field, Aspen
- Ski Areas: Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, Buttermilk
- Major Communities: Aspen (6,000), Basalt (3,900), Snowmass Village (1,800), Redstone (130)
- Elevations: 7000 to 14,000 feet
- Major streams: Roaring Fork River, Frying Pan River, Crystal River
- Average ranch/farm size: 348 acres (NAICS, 2007) vs. Colorado average 991 acres
- Pros: Easy access, abundant recreational opportunities
- Cons: Expensive property, continuing ski-industry growth
Many consider Pitkin County to be the most scenic of the Colorado high country, symbolized by the Maroon Bells, that make a presence on just about every Colorado calendar produced. Rugged peaks rise in ranges to over 14,000 feet that are separated by deep valleys filled with aspen forests and grassy meadows. Long renowned for champagne-dry powder snow, this county is the heart of Colorado ski country. As a result, many of the larger acreages are being subdivided to support ski-industry growth. “Hidden properties” are increasingly hard to find, but some still exist in the more remote portions of the county. The White River National Forest and several Wilderness Areas provide plentiful opportunities for solitude.
Due to the ski industry boom, this region is experiencing rapid, high-value growth. Many existing ranches are under pressure to be subdivided into ultra-expensive parcels. Available riverfront ranches on the Roaring Fork and Crystal Rivers are rare and pricey. Expect to pay a premium for being in the heart of Colorado’s outdoor recreation mecca.
Hunting: Healthy deer and elk herds populate this region, but development puts some pressure on their distribution. Mule deer favor the valley bottoms year-round, much of which is dominated by private land. Elk roam the higher terrain in the summer, and find winter habitat on the valley bottoms. Black bears are also found in many areas of the county. Given the amount of development and smaller-sized parcels, private hunting potential in this region is somewhat limited. Most public hunting takes place via trails into the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness or the Hunter/Fryingpan Wilderness.
Fishing: The Gold Medal Roaring Fork and Frying Pan Rivers are among Colorado’s finest, but finding sizable parcels of private property on either river is difficult and very expensive when located. Better potential for finding property exists on the Crystal River or smaller tributaries throughout the county. Brown trout and rainbow trout are common in the larger streams, and many 16-inch-plus are available. Smaller streams often have populations of brook trout. Excellent stillwater potential exists on properties that have springs or small streams.