Mr. P says, "Watch this!" as he lifts the garage door that?s wide enough and tall enough for an RV, ?Now this is what I live for? this is my big screen TV!? When the door is lifted the Sangre de Cristo Mountains come into full view and the rolling, open hills that make up the southern foothills of the Wet Mountains play out in front of the stunning mountain range. Inside that ?big screen TV? door is a large open space with outdoor carpet laid upon the dirt floor, a picnic table and lawn chairs, a big grill and plenty of coolers filled with cold drinks. ?Have a seat and watch what I get see every day I?m here.? Mr. P says with a smile. The view is stunning and the well treed property drops away in front as to afford privacy without blocking the wildlife watching and big views. Also inside the sturdy metal building is a 480 sq. ft. finished living area with a kitchen/dining area, a living room space, full bath, 1 bedroom, doors and windows, hot water heater and more. There is also a smaller finished guest room on the opposite side of the building for those who need a little more comfort than an RV or camper allows. On the north side of the building there are additional sites for RVs with hook ups for septic. Property has an 8 GPM water well, septic system, it is fully fenced and ready for the next owner to enjoy as it is or improve upon. The 35.5 acres are mostly treed but the top side has pasture, and the ?theatre? is located in the best spot to take advantage of it all. This is a solar property, currently run from a generator but could easily be converted to a solar panel system.
National Forest is near and the access is seasonal unless owner plows for snow in winter or uses a snow mobile. Most of the furnishings stay with the property, some go with the seller.
The quaint rural setting known as Westcliffe is a place where you can slip under the radar to spend long summer days enjoying the high meadow mountain weather while visiting with the company of the many friendly residents. The town of Westcliffe Colorado is adjacent to the historic mining town of Silver Cliff Colorado.
Westcliffe Colorado and Silver Cliff in Custer County, sit at approximately 8000 ft., and are surrounded by the majestic Sangre de Cristo mountain range ascending to 14,000 foot heights, to the west and the Wet Mountains to the east. The Collegiate Mountains can be viewed to the north, and the Spanish Peaks are located in the south.
This particular stretch of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is known as the Sangre de Cristo Range and is famous for its unparalleled views and endless miles of lush wilderness trails and mountain meadows bursting with wild flowers.
Westcliffe, situated in a broad, high mountain meadow is an easy scenic drive, only 3 hours from Denver, one and a half hours from Colorado Springs, a short forty-five minute jaunt from Canon City via the scenic Hwy 50 along the Arkansas River and from Pueblo, Westcliffe sits at the west end of Hwy 96.
If you choose to fly in, Custer County hosts a small airport located approximately 9 miles south along Hwy 69 in Westcliffe.
The Ute Indians were attracted to the Wet Mountain Valley by the plentiful water and abundant game. In the mid 1500?s Spanish explorers entered the western edge of Custer County in search of gold, silver and the fountain of youth. Over three hundred years later Europeans finally found the precious metals they sought ? we are still looking for the fountain of youth.
The Zebulon Pike expedition was ordered to explore the Rocky Mountain area. In 1807 Pike and his men followed the Grape Creek tributary of the Arkansas River and discovered the Wet Mountain Valley at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The expedition camped for a time in the valley, and then headed south where they were captured by the Mexican Army. Hunters and trappers, such as Kit Carson and George Fremont, followed Pike to the valley in search of the wild game the valley is still known for today.
Silver and gold are what really put Custer County and the Wet Mountain Valley on the map. The first discoveries in the Hardscrabble area in 1863 were followed by rich finds in Rosita, Querida and Silver Cliff. The mine in Rosita attracted over 1500 residents by 1870 only to be played out by 1875. Notorious swindler Walter C. Sheridan stole all the money from the Rosita Bank that year and the miners left to work in the nearby Querida mine. Searching for new sources of silver, the miners moved on to the Silver Cliff area when the Querida mine began to fail. In Silver Cliff three very prosperous mines (the Guyser, the Bassick and the Bull Domingo) continued to produce into the early 1900?s. At its height in 1880, Silver Cliff joined Denver and Leadville as one of the three fastest growing cities of the time boasting a population of over 5,000. With the discovery of gold and silver, the railroad was not far behind. In 1881 The Denver & Rio Grand Railroad completed a line to the area, following the same Grape Creek path which Zebulon Pike had followed seventy-five years earlier. The line ended at a station in Westcliffe, just west of Silver Cliff. By 1890, however, much of the ore had played out even in Silver Cliff, and the town dwindled. Westcliffe, because it had the railroad, continued to prosper and was eventually named the County Seat.
The rest of the story of Custer County began in 1870 with the arrival of a large group of German immigrants who had originally settled in Chicago, but were convinced to leave their factory jobs there to settle the Wet Mountain Valley as farmers. Lack of experience and farming skills caused many of the farms to fail, but in the same year Edwin Beckwith purchased land and brought over 1500 head of cattle from Texas. The fine grazing land, and the ability to raise high quality hay, began an agricultural business which continues to flourish in the valley to this day. By 1880, Beckwith had over 13,000 head of cattle on his property, and was elected a State Senator.
Custer County, which was formed in 1877, is presently the 10th smallest of the 64 counties in Colorado. Its tranquil valley, spectacular mountains and thousands of acres of National Forest make the county a magnet for hikers, climbers, and nature enthusiasts of all kinds. The San Isabel area and the Wet mountain Valley remind visitors of what Colorado once was, and what Custer County still is. Custer County is visited yearly by people from all over the world, for not only the views of the mountains, but for the many recreational activities found here; such as, hiking, fishing, camping, horseback riding, bird watching, and technical climbing, as well as the Wildlife preserve and observatory it has held intact.
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