It is often said that the homesteaders and ranchers survived by employing “true grit,” and that the cowboys of the 1800s, running along the Santa Fe Trail, often dodged arrows from Native Americans and bullets from robbers and bandits. Long, hot, summer days moving cattle along the Cimarron River were ended with Cookie’s best rendition of supper, a couple of campfire stories, and only a few hours of sleep before the sun began to light the eastern horizon, and the day started all over again.
Over 150 years ago, this stretch of area would be known as the “Cimarron Cutoff” of the Santa Fe Trail, running from Kansas Territory en route to Santa Fe. Today, it is branded, along with all 1,600 head of cattle, as the Cimarron Valley Ranch.
Not much has changed in Southeast Colorado, except that arrows are sometimes found along the river bottom’s banks, and bullets are used for the harvesting of many types of wild game. Cattle still run miles of river bottom and grassy hills, but ranch hands no longer work the herd just on horseback, but by ATV as well. City lights are nowhere in sight, and vehicles only show up if company is expected. The 22 miles of Cottonwoods along the Cimarron Valley that run from Oklahoma into Colorado make up the central corridor of a ranch that boasts over 45,000 contiguous acres. Compiled of multiple historic ranches, “CVR” offers a variety of revenue streams and excellent resources, including tremendous water, ample species of huntable game, mineral and water rights, and natural resources that support cattle and wildlife.
During the filming of Cimarron Valley Ranch for property marketing, we gathered hours of footage of varying landscapes and followed listing broker Dax Hayden and the Managing Partner of the ranch Doug Adams throughout the property to hear the benefits and strengths of this magnanimous tract of land.
“This land is all contiguous, and we’ve assembled this ranch to take advantage of all the assets,” said Adams. In his years of development and investments in land, never had he seen the water that the Cimarron has to offer. “The main feature is the river and the accessibility of water here. The water development is unlike anywhere we’ve ever been. It’s just so easily accessible.” The irrigation being improved and increased on the ranches has enabled us to have more of everything—cattle, game, forage, habitat, and generally just a better operation.
The ranch is the most diverse ranch I have ever worked on. It is extremely rare to find a place where you can hunt and break, which we did break, twelve coveys in a half mile along a feed patch, with an average of thirty birds per covey.”—Dax Hayden, Listing Broker
Dax Hayden went on to echo Adams, “What we’ve been able to do is locate water in places where nobody knew there was water. It just makes everything more vibrant. The real reason has to do with the quality and handling of grass and the bottomland grazing pressure.” This is one of the main changes to the property since Adams and his family took ownership. In addition to the ten pivots and added irrigated acres already on the ranch, Adams has permitted ten more and plans to install them in the near future. Cross-fencing has been added to the river bottom so rotational grazing can be implemented. This addition will help not only the cattle, but the wildlife as well.
“The cattleman and the hunter, if there’s a blade of grass, the hunter thinks it’s for the wildlife and the cattleman thinks it’s for the cows. They generally butt heads on that. We’ve tried extremely hard to come up with a plan here to coexist. We take all the cows out of the river bottom May 1st through the end of hunting season. We plant and allow the wildlife to have plenty of food, and it has worked remarkably well,” said Adams. Hayden entirely agrees that the balance between the cattle and game is in perfect harmony. “The symbiotic relationship with the cattle and the wildlife is what the Cimarron Valley Ranch folks are so good at managing.”
Hayden went on in detail about the ranch’s habitat. “The amount of habitat potential is amazing. The river bottom for the 22 miles averages almost a mile wide, which is over 10,000 acres of pure habitat. It has very fertile soil with good water, and it’s in a great location for cattle and hunting,” said Hayden, who knows a thing or two about cattle and hunting properties. Since 1975, the Hayden team has been known for farms, ranches, and sporting properties, and driving value from the highest and best use marketing to potential buyers. Over 65 percent of their over 525 active properties have cattle or farm ground, while over 70 percent include hunting or recreation.
The cattleman and the hunter, if there’s a blade of grass, the hunter thinks it’s for the wildlife and the cattleman thinks it’s for the cows.”— Doug Adams, Owner
The Cimarron Valley Ranch boasts rare hunting opportunities that should not be discounted. “It is very rare to hunt rutting elk and deer in the morning and bobwhite and blue quail in the afternoon,” Hayden explained. Quail populations on the Cimarron are outstanding, and it is not uncommon to put up 20–30 coveys in a good day in the field. This wild quail hunting rivals anywhere in the country year in and year out. The availability of tags, location in two states, and world-class animals, makes this a highly unique offering.
There is something for everyone on this 45,000-acre ranch that rests between the Comanche National Grassland and Cimarron National Grassland. Rocky Mountain Elk have ventured out to their once native habitat in the plains. Over 300 head of local elk run up and down the river, and hunting methods of choice include archery, crossbow, and rifle, with over-the-counter licenses available for a Colorado “C” class license and a season that runs September 1st through December 31st, a much longer season than is typical.
Trophy white-tailed deer inhabit the river bottom, and mule deer come down from the grass and sage hills for feed and water. Over 15 custom, high-quality, elevated shooting houses have been built by Adams’ crew, and “senderos” have been put in along the river to allow for open shooting lanes in food plots and clear glassing of big game. “The ranch is the most diverse ranch I have ever worked on. It is extremely rare to find a place where you can hunt and break, which we did break, twelve coveys in a half mile along a feed patch, with an average of thirty birds per covey,” smiled Hayden. This is truly a sportsman’s paradise!
The cattle operation on this ranch is excellent, with the ranch running currently 1,600 mother cows year-round. This season has been exceptional so far. Kerry Cromer, the ranch manager and Hayden Outdoors Salesperson, has implemented a rotational grazing program with a focus on balance. “We have developed good irrigated ground and have implemented a program of planting mostly wheat and triticale on the pivots.” This has been excellent for pounds of gain on calves and decreased pressure on the grass. The strategy works, along with Adams, to maximize income on the ranch while producing excellent stock.
The Cimarron Valley Ranch is exclusively listed by Dax Hayden and Hayden Outdoors Real Estate with an asking price of $45,000,000. Serious buyers may contact Dax Hayden for a private showing at 970-674-1990.