5 Things to Look For When Buying a Historic Colorado Ranch Property

Colorado ranch

Ranching has long been part of the American West’s and the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley’s stunning landscapes and rich heritage. The history of Wilder on the Taylor, a ranch situated between Crested Butte and Gunnison, Colorado, stretches back to 1893 when three young men each filed claims for 160-acre homesteads and were granted ownership after five years of occupying and working the land. Today, the iconic property covers more than 2,100 acres along the Taylor River and offers ownership in a ranch community.

Wilder on the Taylor introduces new mountain homesteads

The ranch community concept has proven so successful at Wilder on the Taylor that only a few riverfront homesteads remain available for purchase, prompting the first release of mountain homesteads on the south side of the ranch this summer. The mountain homesteads are surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains, have out-the-back-door access to the Gunnison National Forest, and overlook Wilder’s private stretch of the Taylor River, a picturesque hay meadow, and grazing cattle and horse herds.

All of the ranch’s homesteads are approximately 35 acres and feature a one-acre building envelope,leaving plenty of space for privacy, beauty and native wildlife. Owners have access to a private stretch of the Taylor River, Rarick Creek and several ponds for fishing; miles of on-property hiking, biking and horseback riding trails; and a base camp area with a safari-style enclosed porch, a catering kitchen, four restored riverfront cabins, picnic tables, fire pits, lawn games and more.

5 attributes to look for in a ranch community

When looking at ownership in a ranch community like Wilder on the Taylor, there are several things to consider.

  1. Location– Is ranching an important facet of the local community? In the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley, simply driving along Highways 50 and 135 make it immediately apparent that ranching is a way of life. Also, what surrounds the ranch? Being located in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains gives Wilder on the Taylor an unsurpassed beauty with the added benefit of being situated between two thriving towns, Crested Butte and Gunnison, which feature a huge array of cultural and recreational offerings.
  1. Stewardship – How has the land and surrounding environment been cared for now and in years past? Since the late 1800s, Wilder on the Taylor has been owned and managed by families that have make it one of the most iconic and well cared for properties in Colorado. Don and Shelly Sabrowski have served as ranch managers since 1995 and work closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to preserve migration corridors for elk, bighorn sheep, deer and other wildlife. Also, the building envelopes for every homestead were carefully chosen to respect the integrity of the ranch and these corridors, and Master Fishing Guide Lu Warner watches over the health of all the waterways.
  1. Legacy– Is it evident that the ranch community is proud of its history? There should be a current running through the ranch that plugs into the past and also provides ways to continue a legacy into the future. The captivating stories behind the ranch families who have owned the land and lived at Wilder over the years are documented in a recently published Wilder history book, which is being covered in a series of articleson Wilder’s website. Each family that purchases a homestead at Wilder on the Taylor receives the book and a fireplace tool with Wilder’s brand and is encouraged to build rich legacies of their own at the ranch.
  1. Amenities– What does the ranch community offer in terms of activities and services? Two of Wilder on the Taylor’s greatest strengths are the private fishing waters and extensive trails on property and nearby for exploring, which prompted the appointment of Warner as master guide for fishing and mountain biking and Don Sabrowski as master guide for cattle roundups and trail rides. Concierge/Chef Elena Marquez is available to prepare meals, coordinate transportation from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional Airport and grocery stocking for arrivals, and provide expertise regarding area events, restaurants and shopping.She also manages reservations for the four riverfront cabins that owners can utilize when building their homes at Wilder and for overflow when hosting family and friends. There also is the base camp area for relaxing, mingling and hosting get-togethers.
  1. Community – Is the ranch a good citizen and is there a sense of community among owners? Thursday Nights at Wilder are scheduled throughout summer and bring owners together at the base camp for cocktails, appetizers, dinner and conversation. These evenings have led to friendships, business discussions and outings to fish, hike and ride the trails. Wilder also is involved in several philanthropic causes such as annually hosting wounded soldiers and military veterans through the Fort Carson chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, welcoming wounded warrior groups and providing fund-raising auction packages for the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, and serving as a venue for several Tour de Forks dinners for Crested Butte Center for the Arts.

To find out more about Wilder on the Taylor and the Crested Butte land for sale, visit

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