Homesteaded in 1885 by the John Welsh Family, the property now known as 4 Eagle Ranch served as the center of a large cattle and sheep operation until early 1991. John Welsh, his wife Mary and daughter Sally came from Leadville, where they operated a dairy and served the mining community. The Welsh family, originally from Michigan, lived on the ranch until 1929. In later years, son-in-law George Hartman, who was Sally’s husband, ran the Welsh place. George and Sally had the big white farmhouse built in 1925. It still stands and underwent a major renovation in 2011 to become a guest house, now known as the Homestead House. The Carriage House, also built around 1925, used to house the Welsh family’s carriages and was turned into a dining and dance venue for groups and the public.
The Bowen family owned and operated the ranch from 1929-1955; the Perry Olsen family ran the ranch from 1955-1989; and the Denver Water Board bought the ranch in 1985. Once part of a 30,000-deeded acre ranch with a million acres of leased grazing rights, the property was one of the largest ranches in the Central Rockies with grazing rights all the way to the Eisenhower Tunnel. Our 1,100-acre spread is surrounded by hillsides filled with sage brush, mountain flowers and trails where the Ute Indians once made their camps.
In February of 1991, Tom and Tess Backhus transformed the ranch to accommodate groups, weddings and individual guests, providing a taste of both the true American West and Genuine Colorado. In May of 2010 the 4 Eagle Foundation purchased the Ranch from the Backhus’ and have been busy with upgrades since. The Foundation uses the ranch to offer a unique blend of outdoor activities, focused small group time and spiritual direction to enhance the potential of families, communities, educational, governmental and non-profit organizations. It is dedicated to developing leaders around the globe through teaching and mentoring the principles modeled by the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
4 Eagle Ranch is named for two reasons. The ranch is located 4 miles north of Wolcott on Highway 131 and the remains of an eagle’s nest are perched in the Ranch’s Cottonwoods which can be seen from both our wagon & sleigh rides. We are also located in Eagle County.
The Nelson Cabin (Circa 1890) is a log cabin relocated from Minturn, which served as a sheep barn on the Nelson homestead near the I-70 exit to Minturn. The Nelson Cabin is now used as a venue for our Sleigh Ride Dinners and private events. The original homesteader cabins, where the Welsh family first lived, are also still on the property and guests are encouraged to wander through them to see what it was like to live on a remote ranch in the 1800’s.