Old Spanish Trail Ranch

$750,000 2,310 Acres Counselor , New Mexico Rio Arriba County

Ranch Property Brief

When one stands on top of the rimrock overlooking the canyons of the Old Spanish Trail Ranch, it is easy to visualize an encampment of Spanish soldiers around the spring at the homestead or a band of Apaches standing in the same spot watching for their quarry. This area, like much of the desert Southwest, is a rough unforgiving country with miles and miles of desert with little or no water. That fact alone makes the Old Spanish Trail Ranch special given the large spring located at the homestead and additional wet weather springs in various canyon branches.

The father of the current owner, over the years, found many artifacts from the Spanish days as well as Indian artifacts. This whole area is an archaeological gold mine. The story goes that the ranch was a stopping point in Largo Canyon for Spanish Soldiers traveling the old Spanish trail to Santa Fe. Thus the ranch name.

There is even evidence on the canyon walls of much earlier visitors. Petroglyphs on the canyon walls tell a tale of ancient travelers and even more recent ones. The Crow Canyon Petroglyphs lie only a few miles to the north and are an incredible place to visit. It is easy to imagine the same ancient people who created the petroglyphs at Crow Canyon stopping by the homestead spring and leaving their own mark on the canyon walls. If you have a love for history, Southwest history in particular, or ancient cultures, you will love this area and the Old Spanish Trail Ranch.

The ranch is awaiting a new owner to make it their home away from home for recreation, discovering old history and exploring, big game hunting (renowned New Mexico Mule Deer hunting) or building their dream hacienda for relaxing while enjoying the famous Southwest’s sunrises and sunsets.


The ranch is located 20 minutes north of Counselor, New Mexico in some of the most scenic mesa and canyon country of north western New Mexico.

  • Farmington, New Mexico – 1.5 hours
  • Cuba, New Mexico – 1 hour
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico – 2 hours
  • Jicarilla Apache Nation Reservation – 5 minutes


Access to ranch is via county maintained dirt road.

Elevation, Topography, and Vegetation

The topography of the ranch is typical of the area with rimrock mesas covered in pinyon pines and junipers and in places where canyons provide shade and water gambel oaks that giving way to sagebrush flats crisscrossed by deep arroyos.

The elevation of the ranch ranges from 6,500 feet at the sagebrush flats to 6,700 ft on top of the mesas.


There are no improvements on the deeded land. The old homestead is in disrepair and is located on the BLM. Current owner has indicated that the BLM may be open to a land swap for the homestead. Buyers to verify to their satisfaction.

Ag Uses

Historically the ranch along with the BLM lease was predominantly utilized as a cattle ranch. With some improvements, the ranch could run a few head of cattle.


This area offers numerous recreation activities (or leisure activities). If you love to explore, this whole area offers enough places to explore to last a lifetime. You will find something new every time you hike a canyon or traverse a mesa. There are new treasures out there just waiting to be found.

If you like an adrenaline rush, bring your dirt bikes, four wheelers, ATVs and UTVs and fly through miles of sandy and rocky roads and trails.

There is no reason for one to be left bored at the ranch given all the different activities available. Bring your adventurous spirit and blaze new trails.


Things to do:

  • Archaeology
  • Treasure hunting
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Four Wheeling
  • Hunting

……and much more!


The ranch lies in GMU 2C which is one of the best mule deer units in New Mexico. This area is known for producing world-class mule deer. Having said that, population densities for this arid desert region are very low as one would expect and therefore tag numbers are very low making odds of drawing a tag very low.

Odds for drawing a unit-wide rifle tag are as follows:

  • Resident – 1 in 216
  • Non-Resident –  1 in 1335
  • Guided Draw – 1 in 418

Now Consider owning a ranch which will allow you to put into the landowner tag drawing which increases the odds considerably and couple that with having the resources this ranch does that pulls in wildlife to the ranch and you have a winning combination for an avid mule deer hunter. There is game sign all over the ranch with trails all leading towards the homestead with excellent pinch points where game funnels when dropping of the rimrock.

Elk also frequent the ranch and elk tags are much easier to obtain in this unit.

If you love to trap or varmint hunt this area is well suited for both activities. Call coyotes, bobcats and fox or one can trap for them as well. They all love to travel the sandy washes of the area.

  • Mule Deer
  • Elk
  • Coyote
  • Bobcat
  • Fox

Water and Power

There is a large spring at the homestead and signs of several wet weather springs in the canyons. A high-power line crosses the property and there is electricity close to property boundary on east and west sides.

Acreage Breakdown

  • Deeded – 310 +/- acres
  • BLM Lease – 2,000 +/- acres


Seller does not believe to own any minerals. Any and all owned minerals to convey.

Broker Comments

Seller would consider selling north 90 acres and BLM lease separate. This is a phenomenal opportunity to purchase deeded ground in an area where there is very little privately owned land. In addition, with the resources nearby and potential for possible swap, a buyer looking in this area needs to give this ranch a hard look.


Listed By John Hayter Qualifying New Mexico Broker.

Area Map

Old Spanish Trail Ranch

Aerial Map

Old Spanish Trail Ranch

Counselor, New Mexico Land and Ranches For Sale

Counselor sits just over the Rio Arriba-Sandoval County line in Sandoval County. This unincorporated community is not much more than a few buildings and a post office on highway 550.  Just down highway 550 to the southeast from Counselor is the Apache Nugget Travel Center and Casino and to the northwest is Nageezi, New Mexico. The Jicarilla Indian Reservation lies to the east of this area and Chaco Culture National Historical Park lies to the southwest.

This area of Rio Arriba and Sandoval Counties is sparsely populated with most land and ranches being smaller deeded acre tracts with large BLM leases.

Rio Arriba County Land and Ranches

Rio Arriba is a large County in Northwestern New Mexico that was established in 1852. Tierra Amarilla (yellow soil in Spanish) is the county seat of Rio Arriba. The county has a wide variety of land and ranch terrain and vegetation ranging from arid desert sandstone areas to higher elevation cool ponderosa pine-covered mountains and lush mountain meadows. County residents and visitors can enjoy numerous points of interest such as.
  • Abiquiu Lake
  • Chama River
  • Puye Cliff Dwellings
  • Abbey Brewing Company
  • Project Gasbuggy

Sandoval County Land and Ranches

Sandoval County with Bernalillo serving as its county seat is home to part of Albuquerque and was created in 1903 by carving out part of Bernalillo County.

Some points of interest in Sandoval County are:
  • Bandelier National Monument
  • Santa Fe National Forest
  • Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
In both counties, water is a major factor when considering ranches and land for sale due to the very dry arid climate that most of the area is dominated by. Buyers will want to verify they will have water for the use they are considering. For example, a buyer will want to ensure they will have the right to drill a water well and also investigate water table depths in the area and also consult water well drilling companies.

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