When Kathleen Eck moved to Lake Creek 25 years ago, the valley just west of Edwards looked much as it does today: a largely undeveloped tract of lush ranchland along a burbling creek stretching out to the Sawatch Range, with New York Mountain and Gold Dust Peak scraping the sky.
“Lake Creek has a wide valley floor that is still conducive to ranching,” says Eck, a broker with Slifer, Smith & Frampton who lives in a rustic log cabin with her husband, the renowned Vail physician Dr. Jack Eck. “There still are horse properties, a lot of haying, and ranchers still run sheep up here in the summer. This really is Colorado mountain living.”
Eck notes that Lake Creek tends to be a place where longtime locals (herself included) gravitate to from other parts of the valley.
“This is where they want to be,” she says, because it’s a throwback to a simpler time, the way the whole valley used to be.
Homes and buildable land here are some of the most desirable, inspiring notable architecture. The Walden House, a 12,000-square-foot home on 175 acres atop Lake Creek’s Whiskey Ridge designed by New York starchitect Annabelle Selldorf, is currently on the market for $44 million. Another Lake Creek listing, the Casteel Creek Retreat, a sprawling estate on 439 acres with five residences, 23 bedrooms, and 34 bathrooms, happens to be one of the most expensive properties for sale in Colorado, with an asking price of $78 million.
One of Eck’s neighbors is Bud Knapp, the founding publisher of Architectural Digest and Bon Appétit magazines, who purchased several tracts of ranchland in Lake Creek in the 1990s and hired a team of woodworkers and stonemasons to handcraft a retreat showcasing traditional building techniques and architecture inspired by Alpine chalets and National Park Service lodges. Today, Knapp Ranch operates as a working farm dedicated to sustainable agriculture and forestry, an homage to the pioneers who homesteaded the valley.
“It’s as rural as you get while still in proximity to Vail and Beaver Creek,” says Eck. “On a night with a full moon on the snow, you don’t need your headlights to drive up the valley. You’re 5 or 10 minutes from Edwards, but you feel like you’re a million miles away.”
Number of active listings on the market, at press time: 5
Median home price of active listings: $6.9M
Number of homes sold in 2020: 13
Median price of homes sold: $2.65M
Average number of days on the market: 264