Cross L Ranch

Cross L Ranch | New Mexico
Property Types:
Hunting Land for Sale,
Land for Sale,
Mineral, Water, Wind Rights Land,
Ranches for Sale,
Recreational Land,

$18,500,000 | 34,412.89 ACRES | SOLD

Dwain E. Nunez

Jim Welles


  • Price: $18,500,000
  • Acreage: 34,412.89
  • ID: 79
  • Location: Folsom, New Mexico
  • County: Union
  • Status: Sold
Property Description

We are proud to have obtained an exclusive listing on one of the finest ranch properties in Northeast New Mexico, the historic Cross L Ranch. The ranch contains 28,009.42 deeded acres +/- and 6,403.47 New Mexico State Lease acres +/-.  This ranch is offered turn key with all cattle and ranch owned equipment.  The ranch is situated in the mesa country of Northeast New Mexico approximately 40 linear miles northwest of Clayton, New Mexico and 11 linear miles east of Branson, Colorado. The ranch is divided by State Road 456, which runs through the scenic Dry Cimarron Valley from Branson, Colorado to Kenton, Oklahoma. 


The Cross L Ranch was founded in 1871 by brothers Nathan, Jim and William Hall. A few years prior, the brothers drove a herd of cattle up the Goodnight-Loving Trail from their ranch near San Saba, Texas to Colorado. On the way they crossed through the Cimarron Valley and fell in love with its beauty and productivity. Here, they decided to one day make their home. That day came in 1871 when the brothers assembled 2,500 mother cows and drove their way to what would become the Cross L Ranch. 

For several years after the Hall Brothers’ founded the Cross L, they continued accumulating land in and around the Cimarron Valley. They built dams and irrigation ditches along what is now the Dry Cimarron River, which meanders through the present day Cross L. The White House, at the ranch headquarters was built in 1873.

In 1879, Jim Hall sold his interest in the Cross L and struck out to establish his own ranch. With 1,500 head of cattle acquired in South Texas, he drove the Western Trail to an area south of the Matador Ranch in Dickens County, Texas. Jim Hall purchased an additional 800 head of cattle from his brothers and branded them with a brand he called the a “spur”. With that, the famed Spur Ranch was founded and the Hall Brothers were responsible for founding two of the largest cattle operations in the Western United States.

In 1881 cattle prices were near all-time highs. Scottish investors seeking lucrative investment opportunities in America formed Prairie Land and Cattle Company. Prairie chose Kansas City banker William Clark to seek out large quality ranches. For $450,000, the Hall Brothers sold the Cross L. Ultimately, Prairie’s land holdings extended from the Canadian River, in the Texas Panhandle, to the Arkansas River in Colorado. Prairie’s land holdings were divided into three main divisions, the Cross L was the largest. In 1903, Prairie sold the Cross L Division, and over the years that Division was subdivided and resold. 


The Cross L Ranch has an extremely diverse terrain. The property is a combination of Dry Cimarron River bottom, wildlife filled canyons, and grama/buffalo grass mesa tops. State Highway 456 runs in an east/west direction through the central portion of the ranch, with approximately 40% of the property being to the north of the highway and the remaining 60% being to the south. This highway runs through the lower elevations of the property, being along Emery Vega and the Dry Cimarron River Bottom. It is estimated that Emery Vega and the Dry Cimarron River Bottom portion of the property comprises approximately 15% of the total acreage within the ranch. This area of the ranch is generally about a mile wide running along the highway. Immediately south of the highway and just to the north of the Dry Cimarron River Bottom, the ranch dramatically elevates to mesas and mesa points. It is estimated that approximately 35% of the ranch is comprised of high elevated mesas, with the remaining approximately 50% of the property being piñon, juniper and ponderosa pine rim areas and canyons.  

The upper portions of the elevated mesas have a gently sloping and rolling terrain, with elevations running from just above 6,000 feet to over 6,300 feet. The rugged side slopes and canyons have elevations from around 5,500 feet to 6,000 feet, and the elevations along Emery Vega and the Dry Cimarron River Bottom range from 5,300 feet to 5,500 feet.  

A large unnamed mesa is found on the northwest portion of the ranch, and another smaller mesa area, known as Island Mesa, is found on the northeast portion of the property. To the south of the highway, the largest mesa portion of the ranch is found on the southeast and far southwest portions of the ranch. Two smaller mesa points, known as River Mesa and Timber Mesa are located across canyons from the large mesa area. Numerous canyons drain towards the Dry Cimarron River Bottom, north of the highway. From west to east, these canyons are known as Rocky Arroyo, Cow Canyon, Horse Canyon and Halls Canyon.  

The mesa tops are accessed by several winding switchback roads. The terrain of the mesa tops is gently rolling and considered strong for livestock production. Areas of the mesa tops are fairly open with small scattered amounts of cholla cactus. Other areas on the mesas have a moderate to sometimes dense canopy of juniper, oak and piñon. Cottonwood trees are scattered all along the Dry Cimarron River, the Emery Vega and the bottomland areas have a moderate to dense canopy of cholla. As the ranch begins to elevate, the terrain becomes rocky throughout the canyons and on the mesa side slopes. Juniper, piñon pine, mountain oak brush and scattered areas of ponderosa pine are common in these areas. Mostly, the ranch has sandstone rock outcroppings; however, a volcanic lava flow has left the remains of malpai rock in a portion of the Dry Cimarron River bottom. 

The Dry Cimarron River enters the ranch on the west side of the property, north of the highway, and meanders in an easterly direction through the entirety of the ranch. Live water and/or holes of water can be found throughout this river. The Emery Vega is located near the west side of the ranch, south of the river, is a productive gently sloping bottomland. A portion of the Vega is irrigated with two center pivots and ditch irrigated with adjudicated water rights from the Dry Cimarron. 


The Cross L Ranch has two pivots and several tracts of flood irrigated land.  The water rights were adjudicated by court order in approximately 1933. The irrigation out of the Dry Cimarron River Basin is for approximately 410 acres or 616 acre-feet.  The ranch has 4 irrigation ditches that can be used to provide irrigation water to the farm land and 6 supplemental irrigation wells. Currently the pivots are using 4 of the 6 irrigation wells and 2 are back up wells.  


As discussed above, the Cross L Ranch has a diverse terrain, and is very scenic and productive. In the past, a Savory Grazing Cell System was used over major portions of the Cross L Ranch. This system utilized electric fencing, with approximately 30 smaller pastures south of the highway and 15 pastures north of the highway, coming to various water lots. While all of the electric fencing has been removed, the water lots remain. 

Currently, the Cross L Ranch is fenced and cross fenced into approximately 23 main pastures. South of the highway, there are 7 pastures on top of the mesas and 5 pastures below the rim. North of the highway, there are 5 pastures on top and 6 below the rim. The fences are overall in average condition. Because of the very rugged terrain on various portions of the ranch, true boundary lines of the property are not, and cannot always be used. In some places, canyon walls and rim rocks form the natural operating boundaries and pasture divisions of the ranch. 

The Cross L Ranch is very well watered. In addition to the Dry Cimarron River, the ranch is watered by five wells equipped with electric submersible pumps and one well with a solar pump. There is one additional well equipped with a solar panel but will need a pump installed. Depth to water ranges from approximately 50 feet to 300 feet. Well water cannot be located in all areas of the ranch, and for this reason, an extensive waterline network and water storage reservoirs have been constructed. The ranch is improved with approximately 35 miles of buried waterline, which is used to transport well water over many areas of the ranch. There are approximately 35 drinking troughs that are located along this waterline network, and nine water storage reservoirs, each holding several thousand gallons.

In addition to the water wells and waterlines, several dirt tanks have been constructed in places.  Past owners developed three springs on the very south end of Cow Canyon.  The water is piped into several drinkers and storage tanks as you head north in Cow Canyon.  


The Cross L Ranch is very well improved. The well-maintained ranch headquarters is situated off of the north side of the highway in the eastern part of the ranch. The headquarters is located in an attractive setting in the Dry Cimarron bottom. 

The improvements include the original Cross L Ranch house, or “White House”, constructed by the Hall Brothers in 1873. This home includes 24-inch thick adobe walls and has been home to the ranch manager for many years. Adjacent to the manager’s home is a small bunk house and large insulated metal shop building.

The owner’s home is elevated above the other headquarter structures and offers excellent views of the surrounding meadow and distant mesas. This brick structure includes two bedrooms and two baths. 

Below the owner’s home is a very attractive adobe two-bedroom guest house. This structure was originally constructed in the late 1800’s. 

At the north end of the headquarters is the Red Rock House. This is a two-story structure that contains six bedrooms and three baths.

The cattle working facilities on the Cross L Ranch are excellent. The headquarters includes the main shipping pens. The pens are of pipe and sucker rod construction with a hydraulic squeeze chute, scales and horse stalls with small apartment. There is also a good set of shipping pens on the upland plains on the southern part of the ranch.


The wildlife features of the Cross L Ranch are excellent, and the ranch has not been heavily hunted in the past. Game species include Elk, Mule Deer, Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Pronghorn Antelope, Turkey, etc. The Cross L Ranch is located in New Mexico Big Game Unit 58. The ranch receives 5 either sex elk rifle land owner permits, 2 either sex elk archery permits, 8 cow elk permits and 5 buck pronghorn antelope permits. All hunting is available for a new owner in 2018.

The Cross L Ranch is over 80% deeded. The state lease acreage is found in four remote blocks, the majority of which are not accessible to public hunters. The annual state lease cost was $7,586 in 2017 and is expected to reduce to $6,936 in 2018. This equates to roughly $1.10/acre.  


The ranch is offered turnkey and will include all livestock and equipment.  A detailed inventory list will be provided to a buyer at showing.


The Cross L Ranch represents the finest ranch operation currently listed for sale in Northern New Mexico. As an added bonus, 50% of the seller’s owned minerals will be conveyed. If you are looking for a quality, diverse, recreational and livestock ranch, this offering deserves your attention. Seldom does a ranch of this size and quality come on the market in this area of New Mexico. This fine, historic, ranch is realistically priced at approximately $660 per deeded acre or $18,500,000. To schedule a showing, or for additional information, please contact Sam Middleton.

Property Summary

Activities & Amenities
  • Arena
    Water Rights
    Water Well
    Work Shop
  • Bear
    Mountain Lion
    Mule Deer
    Pronghorn Antelope
Land Details
  • Total Acres: 34,412.89
  • Deeded Acres: 28009.42
  • Leased Acres: 6,403.47
Building Details