If you could build your fantasy Colorado mountain vacation home, what would you include? Plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, of course. Entertaining space. Maybe a private ski hill? How about an ice rink, complete with a Zamboni?
Kremmling’s High Plains Ranch, on the market for $39.5 million, checks all those boxes and many more. Denver private equity investor Charlie Gallagher dreamed big—actually, make that huge—as he developed the family compound for his 27 children and grandchildren to enjoy over the past 17 years.
Consisting of four separate buildings on 6,900 acres, High Plains Ranch centers on the main family home, 16,000-square-foot High Plains Lodge. Designed by Kibo Group Architecture of Missoula, Montana, and built by Englewood’s Diamond Homes, the lodge marries the classic cabin aesthetic—large timbers and massive fireplaces—with the conveniences (think: modern kitchens and bathrooms) luxury owners require. All bedrooms have en suite baths, and the kitchen features a separate catering kitchen for in-home entertaining. Throughout, windows frame postcard-worthy views of the Gore Range, Indian Peaks, and Longs Peak. But we’d take our book and a mug of coffee straight to the four-seasons porch or wraparound deck. (Don’t worry—in case of inclement weather, there are three cozy reading nooks indoors too.)
Despite all the lavish amenities, what really defines High Plains Ranch is its remote, breathtaking location, says Michael Kennedy, broker/owner of ranchseller.com and also Gallagher’s son-in-law: “For me, the highlight of the place is the setting.” He’s enjoyed the ranch with his family but says that these days, with the grandchildren starting new lives on both coasts, the ranch is underutilized by the Gallaghers. “I know it can be overwhelming; it’s almost like sensory overload,” Kennedy says. “But this property has everything you need 24/7, 365 days of the year. It’s a winter wonderland, but it’s also really amazing in the spring, summer, or fall.”
High Plains Ranch was part of 19,000-acre Grand River Ranch, which Gallagher bought in 1999. Originally owned by Dan Ritchie, the ranch was donated to the University of Denver, from which Gallagher purchased it for $24.3 million. Gallagher held aside nearly 7,000 acres for High Plains Ranch; with the remainder, he developed a private ranch concept. Parcels ranging from 160 to 2,700 acres were sold for between $1.75 million and $10 million, and within that development, Gallagher built a central lodge, stable, and clay-shooting range and provided full-time ranch managers. The new owners of High Plains Ranch can certainly snowmobile, hunt, ski, and sled on their own land, but Grand River Ranch’s perks will also be available.
The entire ranch—a two-hour drive from Denver and five minutes from McElroy Airfield in Kremmling, which services large private jets—is turnkey, sold with all furniture, accessories (minus personal items and some artwork), furnishings, vehicles (a fleet of snowmobiles, two snowcats, that Zamboni), and paintball equipment. Did we forget to mention the paintball course?
“Yeah, that kind of evolved,” Kennedy laughs. “We were bringing up the paintball stuff and playing with the kids and then decided, ‘Hey, what we really need is a real course up here.’”
Thanks to a separate 10,500-square-foot party barn, the Nevada House Saloon—which features a built-in bar, stage, and an upstairs bunkroom—large-scale entertaining needn’t encroach on the family’s private space. Farther out on the property sits the Outpost Ski Cabin, for warming up after schussing that private hill or having lunch during the fall hunting season. Finally, High Plains Ranch comes with all the necessary tools, housed in the recreation headquarters, for Colorado’s famous outdoor lifestyle.
“You can literally ski, snowmobile, or hunt for hours and hours and never leave the property,” Kennedy says. “We’ve really loved this place, and now it’s time for a new family to come and make lifelong memories.”