Cow Creek Ranch New Mexico: Imagine a private valley only an hour from Santa Fe, unmarred by the twenty first century, where elk grow fat on native grasses, mule deer fill the valley, and turkey, bear and mountain lion roam freely as they have for centuries. Imagine over 1000 acres of a mountain ranch with as rich a history as any in New Mexico, stretching back well over a century. And finally, imagine water in the form of an incredibly productive trout stream winding for 3.5 miles through this valley in and out of seven high mountain lakes that feature some of the largest trout and finest fishing in the West. What you’ve just imagined is no fantasy, it’s the Cow Creek Ranch, renowned by many as one of New Mexico’s finest trout fishing properties.
Cow Creek Ranch consists of 1054 deeded acres at the very southern tip of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, just east of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Situated at elevations from 8500 to 9000 feet, the ranch is near the headwaters of Cow Creek as it meanders its way from the springs of Elk Mountain down to the Pecos River. Once operated in the 1800s as a “boarding ranch” for wealthy English boys to learn Western ranching, the ranch transformed into a guest ranch in the 1930s, it reached its apex as a guest ranch specializing in fly fishing during the past couple of decades and was recently converted back to a family ranch.
The well-managed fishing resources of Cow Creek Ranch are second to none. 3.5 miles of Cow Creek, a small but productive stream, have been professionally enhanced to provide dozens of pools that support trout that average 16 to 20+ inches in length. The rich aquatic insect base in the stream keeps these fish healthy, and they are an enormous thrill to land on a fly rod. In addition, seven high mountain lakes and one brookie pond create a stillwater fishery that offers trout to 30 inches and in six varieties: rainbows, browns, brooks, cutthoats, cuttbows and tigers. With such variety, even the most particular angler cannot be bored for long at Cow Creek Ranch!
The historic improvements at Cow Creek Ranch are integral to its attraction. Everything on the ranch has been constructed with pine and aspen lumber that was cut and milled on the ranch itself, including the Lodge which has 11 rooms accommodating up to 25 guests. Sitting in the lodge’s great room or dining room is an experience that can only be termed “rustic luxury,” unlike anywhere else in the Rockies. A fully-equipped commercial kitchen enables gourmet meals to be prepared for large gatherings. A fly shop, great room, bar and large patio complete the amenities of the Lodge. In addition, the owner’s cabin offers two bedrooms, two baths, a great room and a wrap-around porch. Other improvements include a barn and corral suitable for equestrian activities, and two cabins for staff housing.
Nearly surrounded by National Forest land that leads to the Pecos Wilderness (one of New Mexico’s best kept secrets), Cow Creek Ranch is perfectly suited for many recreational activities, including horseback riding, hiking and wildlife photography. Hunting is available on the ranch and in the National Forest. Elk and mule deer are common, as are black bear, mountain lion turkey and waterfowl. The ranch qualifies for landowner elk tags and over the counter mule deer tags.
Privacy is a major asset at Cow Creek Ranch, yet it is only 40 minutes from Interstate 25 and only an hour from the cultural masterpiece of Santa Fe, with its theaters, art galleries and history that reaches back 400 years. At Cow Creek Ranch, you can wear out your arm on trophy trout all day long, and still make it to the opera in the evening!
We at Harrigan Land Company find Cow Creek Ranch to be the most unique among Rocky Mountain properties. Where else can you find such privacy, trophy stream and stillwater trout fishing and rich cultural attractions in one package? It’s hard to imagine those things anywhere, but they are not imaginary at Cow Creek Ranch. Operated as a relaxing family ranch, corporate retreat or returned to an exceptional fishing lodge, Cow Creek Ranch turns imagination into reality.
Cow Creek Ranch
Cow Creek Ranch