HPA Summer Tour – July 14, Saturday – Chico River Basin

HPA Summer Tours 2018!

From Starsmore to the Mining Museum and from historic commercial districts of Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City to Chico Basin Ranch (on a Saturday!), the HPA is thrilled to present a diverse line up of fascinating historic places throughout the Pikes Peak region this summer.  Comfortable walking shoes, layers, rain gear and cameras are always recommended.  (A small flashlight is even recommended for later evening tours.)


July 14, Saturday, at 10:30 AM – Chico Basin Ranch

NOTE:  This will be held on a Saturday morning; Carpooling is highly encouraged because of distance

Address/ Directions:  22500 South Peyton Highway, Colorado Springs, CO 80928

ROUTE A:  Take I-25 South to Exit 122; turn left over the freeway.  Take Hanover Rd to the ‘T’ junction at the Hanover School.  Turn right and follow Peyton Hwy to the main gate, to 22500 S Peyton Hwy (about 45 minutes) or,  (continued on next page…)


ROUTE B:  Take US-24 east along Platte Ave to CO Hwy 94. Continue east until you reach Peyton Hwy, turn south at the CenturyLink building. Continue to 22500 S. Peyton Hwy (about 45 minutes).

(Use only these two routes to the Ranch with your GPS. Other routes via Google and Apple Maps do not work!)

Once you pass under the entrance to the Chico Basin Ranch, go past the waving cowboy straight down the main road to the Headquarters—no turns after passing over two cattle guard grids.

Carpooling in high clearance vehicles is highly recommended!  When on the ranch property, we will be traveling on a dirt road to two distinct areas.  Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and mosquito repellent.  Bring water, sunscreen and a lunch.  Our tour will likely last a couple of hours.

The Chico Basin Ranch is a working cattle ranch owned by the Colorado State Land Board.  The cattle raised on the ranch are grass fed.  Working cowboys tend the cattle primarily using quarter horses born and trained on the ranch. The Ranch also has a horse sanctuary for old or injured horses, and it is a wildlife preserve.  The Chico Basin Ranch works with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory to band migratory birds.  The day we were there, we viewed a list of more than 300 bird species which had arrived between the April 23- May 23 and September 5-October 5 migrations.

The Chico Basin, a land of shortgrass and cholla cactus prairie, has deep roots in Colorado history. It was on a popular pre-ranching route/ hunting ground for Native Americans, and later, pioneers.  The Chico was a shortcut from the Arkansas River to the Front Range mountain passes, and by 1865, Charles Goodnight was trailing his cattle from Texas into the Chico Basin area along the Goodnight-Loving Trail.

The 1870s-1890s were characterized by homesteading (Homestead Act of 1862) followed by purchases of large tracts of land by various land companies.  In 1992, the State of Colorado consolidated land purchases (Box T and surrounding areas) to create the current Chico Basin Ranch which it holds in trust due to its ecological importance.  In 1999, the Duke Phillips family was awarded a 25-year lease to manage the land as an 87,000-acre working ranch with a conservation and education focus.

We will first visit Ranch Headquarters. There is an original adobe house on the property (ca. 1871),the outside of which we will view, and a pond.  We will visit the ranch house, the tack area, the leather goods shop and maintenance Quonset (we may or may not be able to go inside depending on what kind of work is in progress).

We next will drive to the bird banding area.  A thick-walled original adobe structure (also 1871) dominates the area. There will be picnic tables set up under the trees.

TOUR GUIDE:  Samantha Bradford.  Sam oversees outreach and conservation on the ranch and is a Ranchlands Management Guild graduate as of 2017.

COORDINATOR:  Cathy Mundy, 719-471-8244, cathy.mundy@icloud.com

Disabled Access:  No                      Restrooms:  Yes, Port-a-Potties