Wakara Ranch Colorado: As rare as white buffalo are Western ranches that combine solid cattle production with trophy hunting and world-class fly fishing, but all three converge on the Wakara Ranch, just ten miles upstream of Meeker, Colorado. Easily qualifying as one of the finest all-round large ranches in northwest Colorado, the 2,192-acre Wakara Ranch will capture your Western imagination and not let it go for years to come.
The Wakara Ranch sits on the banks of the magnificent White River, one of Colorado’s best kept trophy trout rivers. Fed by the fertile limestone geology of the White River Plateau, the White River is perfect habitat for rainbow and brown trout and native whitefish that are measured in pounds rather than inches. An exceptional biomass of insect and forage fish life produces Wakara trout that frequently reach 22 to 26 inches in length, and 4 to 7 pounds. Flyfishers in particular will delight in the long runs and riffles of the 1/2 mile of river on the ranch as hatches of caddis, stoneflies and mayflies are heavy for most of the summer months.
Scarcely a good cast away from the banks of the White rises a finely-finished, 5,093 square foot custom log home with four bedrooms, four baths and an oversized, detached three-car garage. With amazing views and an outdoor living area facing the river, this brand-new home is one of the showpieces of the White River valley. Further away from the river, the Wakara ranch boasts two very nice guest homes, two managers’ homes, two barns, three shops, hay storage, extensive corrals and several outbuildings to keep the hay and cattle operations humming.
Much of the ranch has been carefully stewarded for generations for high-yield hay production, with nearly 800 irrigated acres with substantial and very senior water rights. The Wakara Ranch is capable of producing up to two tons of hay per acre, and is perhaps the best-producing ranch in northwest Colorado. Controlling an additional 24,000 acres of grazing leases (13,000 on the Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area and 11,000 acres in the White River National Forest), the ranch can also run 500 cow/calf pairs year-round. Between the hay and cattle production and a commercial gravel pit, a steady income stream keeps the ranch self-supporting.
The White River country is home to the largest herd of elk in the United States, and many of these animals live year-round on the Wakara Ranch. On any given day, elk and mule deer can be seen on the ranch, including many animals of trophy size. Bull elk scoring 300-plus and 190-class mule deer are taken in this area annually. Antelope, though in lesser numbers than deer and elk, are also found on the ranch. Hunting in the Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area is limited to foot and horseback, making portions of this area best accessible from the ranch itself. The ranch qualifies for landowner deer tags and elk tags are available over the counter.
Water resources on the Wakara Ranch are excellent, including 40% of the shares of the Oak Ridge Ditch. These rights ensure continued excellent hay production, and the ranch also has the potential for developing trophy stillwater ponds to complement its superb river fishing.
Meeker, Colorado, just ten miles downstream via paved county road. retains an honest ranching character, where pickup trucks far outnumber BMWs. It hosts the Meeker Classic, a world-class sheepdog competition, each September, and is a hub for energy development in northwest Colorado. Meeker has a general aviation airport, Coulter Field, and lies less than an hour’s drive north of Interstate 70, only two hours from Grand Junction and 90 minutes from Steamboat Springs, the latter of which offers downhill skiing that requires no introduction.
If you’re seeking the “elusive trifecta” of a Western ranch with the best in fly fishing, big game hunting and agricultural production, we at Harrigan Land Company think that you’ve just found it on the Wakara Ranch. Let us know, and we’ll be glad to give you the opportunity to visit this exceptional property and let it capture your imagination as much as it has captured ours.