It’s about elbow room, about views that go on forever, about horses and cows and maybe even pigs, about tapping into the old west, despite the intrusion of the new west, about space.

Space, views, cows and sagebrush. These are the things that keep the ranching dream alive in the Vail Valley. And, despite the growth of places like Edwards, Eagle and Gypsum, the dream remains alive. Even for those who maybe can’t afford the massive acreage, nooks and crannies abound, and owning a slice of heaven where privacy, space and views reign supreme.

“There’s a variety of stuff,” says local realtor Gil Fancher. Fancher, “Everything from Horse Mountain Ranch which has 40-acre parcels to luxury ranches in places like Bond. You can find properties with beautiful homes, full access to national forest to older working ranches.”

The common theme for all these properties, says Fancher is, “a little elbow room, a little privacy.”

“If you have three neighbors,” notes Fancher, “you might as well be in Denver. Believe you me, we are still a small town, but when you look at the population between East Vail and Gypsum there a lot of people.”

For Fancher the best spots are ones that combine high alpine environments with space, although he concedes that it’s a personal choice and that the high desert environment with sagebrush, cottonwoods and aspens is equally attractive. Still he admits, he’s a sucker for places like upper Lake Creek or the Tennessee Pass area south of the valley.

“My favorite is the Lake Creek valley because of the location,” he says. “It is close to services. Also if you’re looking to being a little outside of town Tennessee Pass is really nice. You are close to town, close to biking and hiking and skiing and hunting. With that said, Horse Mountain Ranch is also fantastic. And if you want to have horses pigs and chicken and goats you might want to look at the Colorado River Road.”

But, the bottom line, says Fancher, is space. Space to view the stars, space to ride your horses, space to run a cow or two, space to stretch out and space to find yourself. And in the Vail Valley, there’s still some of that left.

Ranches for the Rest of us:

Fancher admits that the ranches featured in this slide show, Eagle Mountain Ranch and Rocking TW Ranch are a bit rich for normal people, clocking in at $5,700,000 and $7,800,000 respectively. But that doesn't mean that you can't find your own room to roam. His suggestions include:

Horse Mountain Ranch and Willow Creek Highlands

Thse 40 Acre Estate Ranch Sites are 20 minutes from Beaver Creek and 35 minutes to Vail. Priced to sell; these parcels recently sold in the mid $200,000's but now are listed at $80,000. If your idea of heaven is some beautiful Colorado ranch land with abundant wildlife then you'll want to take a look at these properties.

Highland Meadow Estates

A current listing for a vacant parcel in area just outside of Eagle has just seen a price reduction to $425,000 and the property features a 35 acre lot with the opportunity to build your dream home with unobstructed, panoramic views of the Sawatch Range.

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