MacGregor Ranch readies for 150th anniversary – Estes Park Trail-Gazette

As the oldest continuously operating cattle ranch in Northern Colorado, MacGregor Ranch is a piece of living history. Converted to a nonprofit trust in the early 70s, a board now runs MacGregor Ranch so that all who visit can step back in time and see how the ranch operated.

The main part of the ranch is nestled under the Twin Owls formation in a piece of property adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. The operation is home to 50 to 70 Aberdeen Black Angus cattle, depending on the time of year, along with horses and chickens.

“Muriel MacGregor, who died in 1970, put it in her will that the ranch was to be put into a trust and maintained,” said Morgan Morris, Office Manager at MacGregor Ranch. “Her main goal was to preserve the land, keep it functioning as a cattle ranch and preserve the herd. That was important to her because these cows are still in the same line of cattle that her father, Donald, started in 1919. He cultivated the cows so that the entire herd was Black Angus by 1937.”

The main portion of the ranch is about 1,200 acres off of MacGregor Road. Total, it’s about 2,400 acres including an area in Piper Meadows up by Crozier Mountain and Dry Gulch.

The MacGregor Ranch was one of the first homesteads in the Estes Valley. One of the homes on the property now serves as a museum which is open in the summer.

“Coming out of COVID, we are still just doing tours by reservation only,” Morris pointed out. “It’s all set up online. People can go on and book their tour. They’ll get a gate code and can come on to the property. The tours are led by out volunteer docents.”

Morris is spending much of her time taking inventory of the vast array of historical artifacts that exist on MacGregor Ranch. These irreplaceable items include photographs, check registries, journals, diaries, diplomas, postcards and a family Bible with records of birthdays and marriages.

“There is such a crazy amount of history out here,” Morris commented. “If you’ve been here before, come again because you will learn something new every time. One of my goals is to create rotating exhibits for the museum.”

The MaGregor Ranch still processes and sells some beef every year in June and January. This June’s meat is already sold out. The next sale will be in January of 2023.

McGregor Ranch is planning to put together an event to mark its 150th anniversary.

Editor’s note: In honor of the upcoming 150th anniversary of McGregor Ranch, each Wednesday’s print edition of the Trail-Gazette will include a historic photograph or postcard from the MacGregor Ranch collection. Look for this new feature called “MacGregor Memories.”

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