Overview of Rio Blanco County Colorado Ranch Property For Sale
- Population estimate, 2006: 6,180, 1.9 persons/sq. mi.
- Square miles: 3223
- Approximate driving time from Denver: 4 hours
- Commercial Airport: None in county, Yampa Valley Regional Airport (Hayden) and Walker Field (Grand Junction) within two hours. General aviation airports at both Meeker and Rangeley.
- Ski Areas: None in the county, Steamboat and Sunlight in neighboring counties
- Major Communities: Meeker (2300), Rangeley (2100)
- Elevations: 5000 to 11,000 feet
- Major streams: White River, North Fork and South Fork of the White, Marvine Creek, Douglas Creek
- Average ranch/farm size: 1537 acres (NAICS, 2002) vs. Colorado average 991 acres
- Pros: Sparsely populated country with abundant deer, elk and antelope populations and a very productive trout river
- Cons: Isolated, energy boom is in progress
Rio Blanco County is named for its primary river, the White, which bisects this county from the Flat Tops Wilderness area to the Utah border. The county is full of diversity, with the western portion dominated by arid juniper canyons and sagebrush hills, which the eastern portion stretches to the high plateau of the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and contains extensive stands of aspen, spruce and fir. The White River National Forest controls much of the high country in eastern Rio Blanco County, and much of the western portion is Bureau of Land Management land. A favorite haunt of Teddy Roosevelt, the White River Country has long been renowned for its exceptionally good hunting and fishing.
Cattle and sheep ranching remain very strong players in the economy of Rio Blanco County. Many ranches are large and may have remained under family ownership for more than a century. Prime ranchland exists all along the White River from above Meeker to Rangeley, and on nearby tributaries. With a few exceptions, these ranches have not yet succumbed to development through subdivision. Recently, an oil shale/natural gas boom has come to Rio Blanco County, and the impacts of this boom on the economy, population and wildlife of this county are yet to be determined.
Hunting: Teddy Roosevelt hunted mountain lions in Rio Blanco County in the early 1900s, and the area has retained excellent hunting for many species since. Mountain lion, mule deer, elk and bear populations are very good, and hunters find lots of elbow room here. Deer and elk herds range freely across ranchland in the eastern part of the county, and antelope herds frequent the much of the drier, western portion of the county.
Fishing: The White River is one the best unheralded trout streams in the West. With an excellent food base, rainbow trout, brown trout and mountain whitefish grow to large size in a short time. Many White River fish exceed 16 inches, and 20-inch fish are not uncommon at all. Ranches that straddle the White have generally maintained excellent riparian corridors, which undoubtedly contributes much to the river’s productivity. Tributary streams to the White are often small and brushy, but contain good trout habitat upstream of Meeker. Downstream of Meeker, the White quickly turns to a warmwater stream, and most tributaries from there to the Utah border do not support trout.