Immense Anschutz ranch up for sale
The Wyoming property, which has 5,200 head of cattle, is larger than Rocky Mountain National Park.
By Margaret Jackson, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Financier Philip Anschutz is selling his 312,170-acre Wyoming working ranch, which has 5,200 head of cattle and yearlings, because its not being used for family gatherings as intended. (Special to The Denver Post)

Denver financier Philip Anschutz is asking $47.5 million for a giant Wyoming ranch he's owned since 1996.

The Overland Trail Cattle Ranch in Saratoga, which is bigger than Rocky Mountain National Park and spread over 312,170 acres, is a working ranch with 5,200 head of cattle and yearlings.  Crops include hay, alfalfa and grain to support the cattle operation.

The ranch is for sale because it's not being used for family gatherings as intended, brokers said.

Best known as the founder of Qwest, Anschutz is one of the biggest landowners in the United States.  He's also a major investor in railroads, sports teams and stadiums, and he's controlling owner of Regal Cinemas Corp., the largest U.S. movie-theater chain.

Overland Trail Cattle is wholly owned by the Anschutz Exploration Co., headed by president Bill Miller, according to people familiar with the property.  The exploration company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Anschutz Co., the businessman's primary investment vehicle.

The spread, one of the last large ranches in the West, includes nine modern homes, five barns, shops and bunkhouses.

A stone mansion built by Richard Savage in 1891 from rock quarried on the ranch still stands on the property, according to materials provided by Orvis/Cushman & Wakefield Ranch and Recreational Properties LLC, which is marketing the property.

Overland Trail Cattle Co. combined a number of Wyoming ranches into the present-day ranch, one of the largest single-unit cattle ranching operations in the Rocky Mountains.  It includes trout fisheries on the 22 miles of the North Platte that run through the property, with populations estimated as high as 3,000 fish per mile.

"It's a really nice, unspoiled hunk of nature," said John Watson, who is marketing the property with Rye Austin.  "Rye and I spent 11 hours on the ranch one day and another six hours the following day, and we really didn't see the same area twice."

Watson and Austin have shown the property to three prospective buyers and are showing it to a fourth next week.

The ranch's name comes from the Overland Trail, which traverses more than 35 miles of the ranch.  The trail was the U.S. government's only sanctioned western migration route between 1862 and 1868.

Stage stops included Bridger Pass, Pine Grove, Sage Creek and Emigrant Island, all of which are on the property.

Dated signatures were carved onto Pioneer Rock, the primary crossing of the North Platte River, by people waiting to cross.  There's even a "buffalo jump" - at which American Indians led the animals to slaughter - registered on the National Register of Historic Places.

Staff writer Margaret Jackson can be reached at 303-820-1473 or;c=542/105/1;s=76;d=16;w=720;h=300;