The historic Prairie Canyon Ranch is bisected by Cherry Creek and lies just south of Castlewood Canyon State Park in the Cherry Creek Corridor priority area. Two miles south of Castlewood Canyon on State Highway 83, the ranch was purchased by Douglas County with assistance from Great Outdoors Colorado.
The ranch is characterized by rolling grasslands, mixed pine and Gambel oak forests, rocky outcrops, narrow canyons, riparian areas and lush hay meadows. Hawks, pronghorn, coyotes, deer, elk. leopard hogs and great blue herons are known inhabitants. The ranch was acquired because of its diverse wildlife habitat, unique ranching history and scenic qualities.
Douglas County manages the property as a working cattle ranch. Access to the property is for organized groups including educational tours for school groups and horse rides. Public access is by appointment. Prairie Canyon Ranch is managed as a working cattle ranch to preserve historic values and protect wildlife habitat, while it also provides unique educational opportunities for students of any age. Topics of study could include plant and animal ecology, Colorado history, agriculture, aquatic studies, geology and geography.
Year protected: 2000 (five-year phased purchase beginning in 1996)
Acres – 978
Land Category: Agricultural Open Space/Historic Area
Conservation Tool: Fee simple purchase
Cost: $3,031,662 Douglas County / GOCO $300,000
Partners: Douglas County, Great Outdoors Colorado, Castlewood Canyon State Park and Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
Location: Two miles south of Castlewood Canyon State Park on the east side of State Highway 83 in the Cherry Creek Corridor