Immense Grand County ranch listed for $9M

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The ranch of your dreams – surrounded by Arapahoe National Forest and complete with ski hill, reservoir and landing strip – could be yours for $9 million.

The 300-acre King Mountain Ranch in Grand County hit the market earlier this month. The grounds, which can hold about 100 guests in several buildings, will need several million dollars in renovations to return to their former luster.

The property was built out in the 1960s by a onetime oil wildcatter as his private playground.

“My father was at one time the largest oilman and the wealthiest in Colorado, and in 1969 he had built up this ranch to use it for entertaining friends and businesspeople,” John King Jr. said.

His father bought the ranch in 1959.

King, who lives in Denver, said he grew up going to the ranch, which is surrounded by Arapahoe National Forest and sits below Mount Parkview. His father lost the property in foreclosure in 1970 when his oil business failed.

“It had a history of a lot of famous people going to it: movie stars, astronauts, politicians,” King said.

Lance Gutersohn, a real estate agent in the Granby area listing the property, said it would be ideal for a wealthy family in search of a private retreat or a developer looking to subdivide it into lots.

“The buyers that make the most sense are someone who wants to develop it for profit or someone whose dream is like John King Sr. and who wants to turn it into a family or corporate retreat,” Gutersohn said. “There’s really nothing quite like it anywhere as far as seclusion and what it has to offer.”

The ranch has a private ski hill and at one time had a little chair lift, King said. It also has a skeet range, tennis courts, indoor bowling alley and pool.

And it has private trail access to the Arapahoe National Forest.

“We estimate it will take a couple million bucks to get it back to a class act,” Gutersohn said. “It’s almost all cosmetic: it needs paint, has some water damage and some animal damage. It’s definitely in disrepair.”

Gutersohn is selling the property for Baljit Nanda, who runs a mushroom farm in Alamosa County.

Nanda did not return half a dozen messages left at his farm.

Nanda bought the property in 1995 in a trustee sale, according to county records, and had been operating it as a dude ranch until about four years ago.

Many of the rooms are still furnished, and it appears the ranch was shut down suddenly.

The property is also tied to one of Colorado’s worst airplane tragedies: In 1975, a California family was traveling in two private planes from Stapleton to the Granby airport for a Christmas vacation at the ranch, when a storm blew in over the mountains.

Californians Marjorie and Robert Petersen were on one small plane that diverted to avoid the weather, according to news reports from the time. Their 9- and 10-year-old sons were flying with their friends on another plane that crashed on an 11,800-foot mountain. Rescuers couldn’t reach the wreckage for a few days.

King said he has flown in and out of the property hundreds of times and landed on the paved landing strip.

“It was designed to allow for a King Air to land and take off,” he said. “That would mean a twin engine prop or Cessna or King Air.

“But it’s tricky, because it’s a box canyon, and so you had a lot of crosswind. My father was a pilot from the time he was 14.”

King said he doubts future owners will be able to use the strip.

“The insurance companies refused to insure the ranch if the runway was kept active, so it was not used again,” he said.

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