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Smith Fork Ranch's scenic 250 acres are dotted with rustic log cabins, some original to the Bar X Bar Ranch founded in 1928. Photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse

Hot Property: A Sprawling, Ultra-Luxe Colorado Guest Ranch

Smith Fork Ranch, an upscale ranch comprising 300 acres on the Western Slope, is on the market for $8.275 million.

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The last time Smith Fork Ranch went up for sale, the 300-acre parcel in Crawford, Colorado was a virtual ghost ranch. The property, founded as the Bar X Bar ranch in 1928, had operated as a successful dude ranch until the 1960s, when a series of absentee owners allowed it to fall into a state of disrepair.

Its condition is quite different these days. Current owner Marley Hodgson, founder of the American leather goods company Ghurka, as well as Tommy Hilfiger Accessories Corp., invested millions to transform the dilapidated property into an all-inclusive luxury guest ranch that Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report named a Top 100 Hideaway. The Hodgson family had each of the ranch’s buildings—most built between the 1920s and 1950s—disassembled, then numbered each log to ensure the structures would be restored to their original forms. Their reimagined interiors honor the ranch’s history and rustic character while incorporating lots of luxurious touches, from cozy fireplaces to down comforters and fine linens.

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Now, the Hodgson family is ready to pass along the property to its next owner, who will have the option of continuing to operate it as a luxury resort, or transforming it into the ultimate private family compound.

For either purpose, Smith Fork Ranch is well suited. Its accommodations include the Old Elk Lodge, four-bedroom Mountain House, three-bedroom River House, and three original cabins, all filled with tasteful rustic furnishings. Onsite activities range from horseback riding, mountain biking, and skeet shooting to fly-fishing—on six trout ponds or three private miles of the Smith Fork of the Gunnison River—and hunting; the ranch holds the largest single U.S. Forest Service permit in the West Elk Wilderness (comprising approximately half of the entire tract).

Despite its isolation—the ranch is surrounded by the Gunnison National Forest—the property’s location is surprisingly convenient: just 2 hours from Aspen, 45 minutes from the Montrose airport, and a short drive away from the North Fork Valley’s orchards, vineyards, and wineries.

Add in significant water rights, an archery range, sporting clay center, wine cellar, and spa, and the $8.275-million price tag for this 29-bedroom, 25.5-bath, 22,735-square-foot property sounds like a great deal. We’re hoping a buyer with dreams of preserving its legacy as a guest ranch will think so too—so we can book a visit rather than just admiring it all from afar.

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