This photo above was taken on the Ranch in late September looking to the West. "Eagle Rock" stands high amongst the Aspen and Pine trees and can be seen from the main Ranch compound (hence the name) Eagle Rock Ranch. The famous Flat Tops Mountain Area is visible in the background. Below you will see a few Black & White photos of the Ranch from circa 1950. Many changes have been made since then, but Eagle Rock still remains a permenant landmark in this area.
The lower portion of Eagle Rock Ranch is located at an altitude of 8,200 feet, and runs east to a higher elevation of approximately 9,800 feet. The Ranch is situated in a wide-open valley by the name of Wheeler Basin which was named after the William Earnest Wheeler who was born into a farming family in Illinois in 1857. In 1880, the Denver census listed W.E. Wheeler as a telegraph operator. Nine years later in 1889 W.E. Wheeler along with his bride, Cora Louise Scribner were homesteading in Yampa, Colorado. Cora and William Wheeler had five children together. Two children died at birth and the three surviving children, Clinton Charles Wheeler, Kendall William Wheeler and Julia M. Wheeler.
By the early 1900’s modern farm equipment was being introduced to this community. Clinton Wheeler (the eldest Son) was one of the first in the area to obtain a tractor large enough (20 horse power) to clear the brush and rock from the fields. That same year the Wheelers and neighboring ranchers began cutting the road from the town of Yampa to the original homestead located on the eastern edge of the Ranch.
Much can be said for the Wheeler’s and those who came to homestead this part of the West. Wheeler’s, like many in the area, worked the land. They produced barley, potatoes, strawberries, lettuce, and hay for the family cattle and ranching operations. They harvested timber, worked in the many saw mills and mines in the Yampa area.
In the winter months, the Wheelers supplied block ice to Steamboat merchants which they actually harvested from the lakes on the Ranch. Even then, the clear lakes at Eagle Rock Ranch were being used for recreation and fishing as well. In 1915, Mr. S.E. Land of the State Fish and Game commission made visit to the original “Wheeler Lake” located (behind the main ranch house) to observe the unique fishery.
The news papers from this era are filled with accounts of social events, comments and stories of the Wheeler’s and their family. The Yampa cemetery is located west of town and marked with the Wheeler, Scribner, and other extended family members who settled this area. Today, there are still relatives of the Wheelers in the Yampa area. Much of the detailed history of the Ranch will come from those family members who we are in contact with.
Like many others who called the Yampa Valley their “home” the Ranches in South Routt County all have a story and they should be remembered. The Wheeler's original homestead can still be seen at the eastern edge of the property. A restoration project is being planned with hopes of restoring the original building site.
Eagle Rock Ranch was originally part of larger operation, which eventually was divided into various tracts and passed from family to family in the Yampa area. Much of the ranch history includes many "stories," even one, which tells of a large portion of the original Ranch changing hands as the result of a gambling debt in the early 1900's.
In its current configuration, Eagle Rock Ranch encompasses approximately 744 + acres of private land much of which is surrounded on three sides by National Forest lands with unending timber, grass lands and aspen trees.
The water flow coming through the Ranch originates in Wheeler Basin which drains approximately 7 – 8 square miles of snowmelt. Numerous springs that surround the Green Ridge area to the east also contribute to the flow long after the snow is gone. The snow melt and deep springs supplies the irrigation ditches, rearing ponds and lakes with cool mountain water for our fishery. With careful management, the Ranch now affords its guests a unique fishing and hunting, experience amidst its flowering meadows and lush woodlands.
The Ranch is located only 2 miles from Hwy 131 but you will find solitude and peaceful surroundings. Common sights are deer and elk grazing, coyotes catching mice in the meadow, ducks and teal feeding in the lakes and beautiful bald eagles are soaring above while hunting for fish.