Quinlan Ranch

Rio Arriba County, NM | $35,000,000

Property info

Acreage  |  16,716.52±

Location  |  Rio Arriba County, NM

Status  |  Available

Price  |  $35,000,000


Sam Middleton

Email  |  sam@csmandson.com

Office  |  806.763.5331

Direct  |  817.304.0504


From mountain peaks with timbered forest lands descending in to wide valleys and open meadows, the Quinlan Ranch is a beautiful property with varied terrain. This widely known property lies in the heart of Northern New Mexico.

The property is positioned along a major migration route for elk and mule deer heading out of the Colorado high-country toward wintering grounds in Northern New Mexico.  This area serves as a wildlife haven for animals moving away from public hunting pressure in Colorado towards more desirable winter climate and large deeded ranches.

The property offers scenic panoramic views of the productive meadows, timbered forest lands, snow-capped mountain peaks in nearby Colorado, and the beautiful Chama Valley, all of which are visible from this offering.  This recreational giant is located approximately 3 miles west of Chama, New Mexico, with the southern boundary of the property bordering US Highway 84.  Several attractive mountain view subdivisions are located in close proximity to the ranch.

Elevations on the ranch are approximately 7,800 feet along the highway, with the property elevating to approximately 9,800 feet near the northwest side of the ranch at Chromo Peak.  The northern boundary of the ranch is less than one-half mile from the Colorado State Line, and much of the western boundary of the property follows along America’s Continental Divide.

Nearby Chama, New Mexico, which is located in the picturesque Chama Valley, is an 1880’s railroad town that has become a four-season vacation destination, offering exceptional trout fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, hiking, trail rides, and other recreation activities.  Chama is also known for the Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad.  Santa Fe, the state capitol of New Mexico, and a well known arts and leisure city, is approximately 100 miles to the south.  Pogosa Springs, Colorado is a convenient 45 minute drive from the ranch.  The Pogosa Springs Airport has facilities available for any size private plane, with an 8,100’ x 100’ landing strip.

The Quinlan Ranch has been under only two ownerships since 1912, when the property was purchased and operated by Ed Sargent, and later his heirs, the Quinlan Family.   Mr. Sargent was a pioneer rancher in Northern New Mexico, accumulating many thousands of acres of choice mountain property.  The renowned state-owned Edward Sargent Wildlife Area, which contains a 20,000 acre elk preserve, adjoins the Quinlan on the east for over eight miles.  Another nearby elk preserve, the Bill Humphries Wildlife Management Area, is located just southwest of the ranch.  It is estimated that 6,000 to 8,000 head out of the Southern Colorado San Juan elk herd annually pass through this tremendous holding along the historic migration path or the “Elk Highway”.

The terrain of the Quinlan Ranch is very diverse, with the southern end of the property offering open, grassy, rolling and hilly country with scattered canopies of Ponderosa Pine and Mountain Oak.  Livestock graze this area of the ranch on a seasonal basis.  Recently, to enhance the grazing of both livestock and wildlife, the owner has established productive improved pasture in portions of the creek bottoms.

As elevations increase, the south-central and eastern boundaries of the ranch become much more mountainous, with several pronounced canyons draining to the lower country.  These rugged and timbered mountain slopes and ridges have sand stone rock outcroppings throughout, with timber cover increasing with elevation.  Oak, Pine, Spruce, Fir, and Quaking Aspen can be found throughout the ranch, becoming dense in many of the higher elevations.


Several years ago, a timber survey of the property estimated the ranch has in excess of 4,300 acres of forest land with approximately 21 million board feet of commercial timber.

Willow Creek provides the major drainage through the ranch.  The creek’s headwaters begin in the northern portion of the property and drain in a south to southeasterly direction throughout the entirety of the ranch.

The central portion of the property is described as a wide, lush, creek bottom meadow that elevates to higher mountain country on the east portion of the ranch and also along the Continental Divide to the west.  This large meadow area has scenic forested mountain country skirting the productive meadows.

The property is very well watered by Willow Creek, numerous tributaries, many mountain springs, and 35-40 earthen ponds.  The larger ponds are stocked with trout and the fishing is reported to be excellent.  There are three good water wells on the property, and one of the wells reportedly produces approximately 80 gallons per minute.  The depth of water ranges from around 100 feet to approximately 600 feet.


Water is abundant across the ranch between the many ponds, mountain runoff creeks and live spring water. 

A water collection system along Willow Creek pumps water to two buried water storage reservoirs that contain approximately 10,000 gallons each.  From these storage reservoirs, water gravity flows to the high fenced game park and breeding paddocks.  Buried electric and phone lines are also installed in some of the buried waterline trenches.

Pending a water right transfer application now before the New Mexico State Engineer’s Office, the ranch has 82.8 acres of water rights at 1.5 acre feet per year.  These valuable rights are currently used to irrigate hay meadows and fill stocked trout ponds.

Morning coffee on the porch of the beautiful lodge is complimented by the distinctive sounds of elk bugling in the meadows.

A large, roomy, partial two-story hunting lodge has recently been completed on the south portion of the ranch.  This beautiful lodge features 11 bedrooms, 10 baths, commercial kitchen and a large “great room” with attractive river rock fireplace.  The lodge is a great place to entertain, relax, and house commercial hunters.

Trail rides are a favorite pastime in the Spring, Summer and Fall on the Quinlan Ranch.

In the summer months, it is common for trail riding clubs to attend functions offered by the ranch owner.  Two campsite areas have been developed, each equipped with a bath house structure, covered cooking area and covered eating area.

Hunting throughout this region of New Mexico is spectacular.  Native elk and mule deer grow to Boone and Crockett size, and the Quinlan enjoys an exceptional reputation for the quality hunting experience offered to the sportsman.  In addition to elk and mule deer, other game includes grouse, turkey, bear, and lion.

The number of elk permits issued by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is governed by a Special Management Plan.  Currently, the ranch receives 63 bull elk rifle permits and 24 bull elk bow permits; however, because of increased interest in hunting the Quinlan, the seller has overbooked the permit hunts and has purchased additional elk permits to satisfy the increasing customer demand.


An 8 foot high game fence area containing approximately 2,000 acres is constructed in a very rugged mountainous portion of the eastern side of the property.  The New Mexico Game and Fish Department granted the ranch a Class A Game Park Permit, which allows the ranch to raise their own private elk herd within the high fenced park.  Currently there are approximately 519 privately owned elk located within the park.  This privately owned elk population is comprised of approximately 160 adult bulls, 59 yearling bulls, 188 cows and 112 calves.

A 10,000 square foot barn was recently constructed.  This barn contains a state-of-the-art artificial insemination facility.  This truly first class set of handling pens is equipped with a hydraulic chute, sorting pens, alleys, and a maze of overhead cat walks for ease in handling the elk.  A more complete, well built facility probably does not exist anywhere.  Using these elaborate handling pens, the ranch is now raising trophy bull elk by artificial insemination.  Currently, the ranch is breeding approximately 125-150 cow elk per year by artificial insemination.  A fenced alley way runs from the barn to the numerous partially shaded paddocks, which cover several hundred acres.  The cow elk raise their calves in the paddock areas.  The ranch has five mature bull elk (400+ SCI), which are located within the game park paddocks.  These outstanding herd bulls are used as back up bulls in the artificial insemination program.

The Quinlan Ranch is offered jointly and exclusively by Chas S Middleton and Son along with Hall and Hall.

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