Featured Listing: Black Willow Ranch

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Black Willow Ranch is featured in the Winter 2021 issue of Texas LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.

With plentiful live water, abundant wildlife, unsurpassed productivity, and vistas that showcase New Mexico’s high-desert beauty, the Black Willow Ranch beckons pioneering visionaries just as it did in 1862 when Enoch Tipton staked his claim. 

For more than 150 years, each succeeding landowner has burnished the rare jewel, enhancing its natural features and its infrastructure. Today, the 7,371± acre ranch, located in Mora County just 16 miles from Las Vegas, New Mexico, is one of the finest ranches in the Land of Enchantment.

The diverse, mid-sized ranch is surrounded by large ranches, ranging from 40,000 acres to 90,000 acres, stewarded by conscientious managers who are also good neighbors. Black Willow Ranch is—and will remain—cowboy country.

History. Home. Wildlife. Water. Land. Livestock. Life. Real living. Black Willow Ranch has it all—and it can be yours.

Land & Water

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains rise on the horizon, forming the ranch’s ruggedly beautiful backdrop. The elevation of 6,000–7,000 feet ensures a temperate climate year-round and perfect weather to explore the bottomlands, fields, foothills and canyons that define the landscape. 

The Mora River meanders through the ranch for about four miles, providing private access to both banks. The banks are stabilized with the namesake willows and 150-year-old cottonwoods as well as cool-season grasses such as orchard, broom and Timothy. Reclamation work and riparian fencing protect the water quality, which, thanks to 1,000 acre-feet of senior water rights, is used to irrigate about 330 acres of meadows and pastures for wildlife, cattle and horses. The irrigated land produces grazing, hay and food plots for elk and deer.

In dry country, water means life. Both livestock and wildlife benefit from the extensive water distribution system that includes gravity flood, gated pipe, custom check gate, pipeline systems, the historic 3.6-mile Tipton irrigation ditch and 20 dirt tanks. Tipton Creek also courses through the ranch.

More than 5,000 acres of upland pastures feature high-protein grasses including black grama, bluestem and Buffalo grass, mainstays of productive, native shortgrass prairies. As the elevation rises, the grassland transitions to stands of juniper, Ponderosa pines and piñon pines that provide shelter for wildlife and stunning seasonal color.

Miles of all-weather roads and three bridges rated at 70-tons cross the Mora River, making the headquarters and all corners of the ranch easily accessible year-round.


Abundant food, water and shelter/habitat equals abundant wildlife. Black Willow Ranch, located on a historic wildlife corridor, is home to an elk herd that at times numbers up to 800. The herd regularly produces bulls in the 320-inch to 360-inch class, and 400-inch bulls are not unheard of. 

As just one example of the attention paid to wildlife, Black Willow’s fences include pipe elk crossings, sited at critical points on their path. The crossings allow the elk calves, which are often born on Black Willow’s meadows, to crawl under the ranch’s fences. Because the calves can travel freely, the adults jump the fences at the intermittent crossings instead of pushing their way through them, saving both money and maintenance headaches and keeping animals safe from injury.

Other game species include mule deer, white-tailed deer, upland game birds such as wild turkey as well as migrating waterfowl. Beavers, badgers, bobcats and the occasional black bear or mountain lion are just a few of the ranch’s other wild denizens.

Cattle & Horses

Throughout history, Black Willow Ranch has been known as a source of outstanding cattle and athletic horses, even serving as an off-season turnout and layover for international polo horses. 

Today, heritage practices blend seamlessly with modern, convenient, practical and well-planned livestock handling facilities including pipe shipping pens, corrals with scales and a loading chute. Historically, the ranch has been used as a cow operation, but today, the land benefits from a seasonal yearling operation that utilizes a planned grazing system to maintain and reinvigorate the rangelands.

The equine facilities are equally fine. The custom-fabricated, stuccoed main barn features 12 stalls, tack rooms as well as a bunkhouse apartment. Seven horse-fenced, irrigated turnouts round out the offerings. Horses can be put through their paces in the 220’x300’ lighted roping arena, 120-foot round pen/arena or the 50-foot colt pen/arena.

Other ranch infrastructure, all stuccoed in territorial style, includes equipment barns, a utility shop and a hay barn.

Lifestyle & Living

Arguably Black Willow Ranch’s heart is its historic headquarters, where the Tipton House, which began as a log cabin and as the family’s wealth increased morphed into a traditional adobe, and the triple-adobe, gambrel Tipton Barn stand sentinel as they have since 1862. The two structures, painstakingly restored, earned a national historic preservation award—and set the tone for the ranch’s architecture.

Completed in 2015, the La Jara House now serves as the owners’ residence. Built in the territorial style to reflect time and place, the custom home emanates simple, ranch elegance. Touches such as diamond plaster interior walls, imported Italian light fixtures and wide-plank Douglas fir floors elevate the home far beyond the ordinary.

A nearby flagstone outdoor living area and well-designed landscaping just extend gracious living outdoors. A spacious ranch dining hall and game room as well as the BW Cantina and “El Bar” expand options for entertaining family and friends.

The 2,800± square-foot Ridge House features three bedrooms, 2.5 baths and stunning views. The Roundhouse accommodates staff.

While life indoors is comfortable and tasteful, life outdoors is invigorating and fun-filled. Regardless of the season, life on the Black Willow is best enjoyed outside. Kayak under the Mora’s canopy of deep shade. Rope, ride and wrangle for sport or alongside the cowboys on spring and summer roundups. 

Hike or saddle your favorite horse to ride the endless trails. Hunt big game in the high country or test your skills against upland birds and waterfowl. Keep your aim true at the long-range rifle range, the pistol range or the nearby Valmora Butte Trap and Skeet Range. Hop in the car and within 90 minutes or less arrive at one of New Mexico’s ski slopes: Taos, Ski Santa Fe, Ski Sipapu, Angel Fire or Red River.

Coming and going by plane is easy, too. Nearby Las Vegas has a private FBO and a 5,000-foot airstrip. Of course, Santa Fe and Albuquerque have commercial airports.

History. Home. Wildlife. Water. Land. Livestock. Life. Real living. Black Willow Ranch has it all—and it can be yours.

To stake your claim on one of the finest ranches in New Mexico’s acclaimed ranching history and experience Black Willow Ranch for yourself, contact Icon Global at 214.855.4000. The ranch is listed for $16 million. 

7,371± Acres in Watrous & Valmora, New Mexico
Offered at $16 million

View on Lands Of America

ICON Global
Info@icon.global • 214.855.4000 • www.icon.global

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