On the Cover: N3 Cattle Company

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LAND Fall 2019
N3 Cattle Company is featured on the cover of the Fall 2019 issue of LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.

The N3 Cattle Company is located just south of Livermore, and east of Oakland and San Jose; it is easily accessed from San Francisco, the Peninsula and the East Bay. The Ranch is completely private and uniquely preserved, healthy and wild as it has been for hundreds of years. It is a vital and rare haven of original California landscape and wildlife. The property encompasses 80 square miles of diverse terrains, flora, fauna and important watersheds and creeks. N3 has been a working cattle ranch for 85 years and offers a rare look at a way of life quickly disappearing. Sprinkled with a dozen rustic cabins, the ranch also hosts one of the most famous, sustainable hunting operations in the state. Its owners are fourth-generation ranchers and are respected members of the ranching community (see History).

View N3 Cattle Company listing on Lands of America


The N3 Cattle Company consists of 131 parcels totaling approximately 50,500 acres in four counties: Santa Clara County: 19,935± acres; Alameda County: 16,880± acres; San Joaquin County: 9,095± acres; and Stanislaus County: 4,590± acres. Headquarters borders East Bay Regional Park and is accessed off Del Valle Road. There are eight additional access points from Mines Road. It is a 15-minute drive to Livermore, 40 minutes to Oakland International Airport and one hour to San Francisco and San Jose. The ranch consists of steep canyons, rolling oak-woodlands, annual grasslands, shrub canyons, rugged rock outcroppings, secluded meadows, 70 run-off and spring-fed ponds and impressive watersheds. The ranch impacts the following watersheds: Upper Alameda Creek, Arroyo Del Valle and Arroyo Mocho. The elevation at Headquarters is 750 feet, and the ranch rises to an impressive 4,089 feet at Eylar Mountain. This makes for dramatic water-filled canyons, variable climate and astounding vistas. There are 200 miles of well-maintained dirt roads. The ranch is enrolled in the Williamson Act and has no conservation easements. *APNs available upon request 


The 50,500-acre N3 Cattle Company has been owned and managed by the Vickers/Naftzger family over 85 years and three generations. The first purchases were made in the 1930s and 1940s by Clara Vickers Naftzger. Her son Roy Edgar “Ted” Naftzger, Jr. significantly expanded the ranch, making purchases from the 1950s through the 1980s. Ted’s daughters have been operating the ranch for the last 20 years.

The Vickers/Naftzger family has been cattle ranching for 135 years in Arizona, California and Oregon. Clara Vickers was born on her parents’ cattle ranch in Arizona Territory in 1886. Her father John Van Vickers (“Vickers”) and his wife Anna came West from Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1880. They had early success in copper mining and started the Chiricahua Cattle Company (the “Triple C”) in 1883 in the Sulphur Springs Valley. The Triple C grew to be the largest ranch in the area, running 30,000 head on 1.7 million acres. Vickers formed the Cochise County Livestock Association to organize grazing areas and branding and to combat rustling, pricing schemes and rising railroad freight pricing. He landed a contract to supply the U.S. Army with beef and also moved into the slaughter business in California. In 1892, a severe drought hit Arizona ranches, and by the late 1890s, homesteaders moved into the area, further diminishing the rangeland. In 1898, Vickers moved to California to further speculate in land, ranching and oil. He continued to run the Triple C until its sale in 1909.

In 1901, Vickers and a fellow cattleman from Arizona Territory, Walter Vail, purchased Santa Rosa Island and started a cattle ranch under the name Vail & Vickers. Santa Rosa Island is the second largest of the Channel Islands at 54,000 acres. Walter Vail died in 1906 and J.V. Vickers in 1912. Their children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren continued Vail & Vickers as a successful island cattle operation for 100 years until the federal government condemned the island for a national park in 1998.

In addition to Vail & Vickers and the N3 Cattle Company, Clara Vickers Naftzger and her son Ted purchased the historic Whitehorse Ranch in 1961. Founded in 1869 by John Devine, Whitehorse is 63,000 deeded acres, and combined with BLM land, spreads across 500,000 acres in Southeastern Oregon. In 2006, after 45 years of ownership, the Naftzger family sold Whitehorse Ranch. It remains an operating cattle ranch; this year marks its 150th year.

As a broker of ranches for the last 13 years, I have seen some beautiful and amazing ranches. I have never seen 50,500 acres under the same ownership. What makes this ranch so special is not only the diversity of wildlife, but also the amazing biological diversity. Evergreen and deciduous oaks, bay laurel, buckeye, sycamore, juniper, elderberry and gray and coulter pine are plentiful. The plants and shrubs are too numerous to list, but include blackberry, manzanita, sage, California poppy, Indian paint brush, lupine, vetch and blue-eyed grass. This is a big ranch, and the steep canyons and elevation changes makes it feel even bigger. If you flatten this ranch out, I am sure it would be over 100,000 acres. Besides the immense size, the single most incredible part of the ranch is its location. The N3 is just 14 miles from downtown Livermore. A town of 100,000 people and 60 wineries nearby, it is turning into quite a destination spot. San Jose is just 34 miles and San Francisco is 50 miles. Imagine owning 50,500 private, perfectly preserved acres in the Bay Area. Wow, make it a dream come true.”

Todd Renfrew, Listing Broker


The charming and vibrant town of Livermore is just a 15-minute drive from N3 headquarters. With a population nearing 100,000, Livermore is the most populous city in the Tri-Valley Area of the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. The three valleys from which it takes its name are Amador Valley, Livermore Valley and the San Ramon Valley. The Tri-Valley Area is comprised of five cities: Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon and Danville. Livermore’s historic downtown has been significantly revitalized in recent years. With 60 wineries and 100,000 acres of planted grapes in the valley, Livermore is a well-known destination for fine food and wine.


The N3 Cattle Company is truly a recreational wonderland for sports and nature enthusiasts of all kinds. The 200 miles of private roads are ready for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and ATVing. There are hundreds of miles of trails to explore N3’s 80 square miles. For the hunter, there are a dozen hunting camps located throughout the ranch, all with cabins, water, propane and skinning sheds. The privacy and abundant water provide optimum habitat for trophy black tail deer, tule elk, wild pig, turkey, quail, dove, rabbit, ground squirrel and raccoon. N3 is home to a host of predators including coyote, bobcat, grey fox and mountain lion. For the bird watchers, there is no shortage of amazing variety, such as red-tailed hawks, golden and bald eagles, vultures, great horned owls, roadrunners, scrub and stellar jays, red-winged blackbirds, thrashers, sparrows, finches and many more. A pair of bald eagles has nested at Headquarters for the last 10 years. The large reservoirs are loaded with bass and catfish, and many ponds were stocked with trout for decades. Right by Headquarters, the Arroyo Del Valle is known to have trout. Ducks, geese, herons and other waterfowl can be found in the larger ponds and along the creeks. Miles of trails and beautiful scenery make the camping, hunting, fishing, swimming and horseback riding fantastic experiences, all with complete privacy and never leaving your own ranch.


This is a serious cattle ranch and can be run as a stocker or cow-calf operation. The ranch is broken up into 25 main pastures, each with its own water supply. The ranch has five corrals spread throughout the ranch, and because of the road network, cowboys can drive with a truck and stock trailer to most of the ranch. The ranch is fenced and cross fenced. The current owners run cattle year round and lease 17,000 acres to a third party. Depending on the rainfall, the ranch can accommodate 650 cow-calf pairs year round, 1,500 cow-calf pairs seasonally or 3,200 stockers seasonally. The current owners also lease 4,000 acres from neighboring East Bay Regional Park. This ranch is not for the faint of heart; steep canyons and roads make cattle dogs a necessity. If you want to relive the old west, N3 Cattle Company is the ranch for you.


Headquarters has a four-bedroom main residence, a one-bedroom annex and a bunk house. In addition, there is a horse barn, a hay barn, two shops and various sheds. There are four additional cabins nearby Headquarters used for employee housing. Headquarters and the employee quarters have electricity. Another 14 cabins are scattered throughout the ranch, most of which have been used for hunting. They all have good water sources and utilize propane.

View N3 Cattle Company listing on Lands of America

50,500± Acres | Santa Clara, Alameda, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties, California | Property ID: 7135858

California Outdoor Properties Inc.
CaliforniaOutdoorProperties.com | Todd@CAOutdoorProperties.com
(707) 455-4444 Office | (707) 455-0455 Fax
707 Merchant Street, Suite 100, Vacaville, California 95688


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