Custer County’s first cattle arrived in the late 1800s, creating an industry that would define the region.

With thousands of acres still dedicated to hay and cattle, ranching is as key to the county as ever. Our ranchers are leaders in our community, offering venues for community events, educational opportunities and more.

Ralph and Donna Hood first came to Westcliffe in 1998. Captivated by the Wet Mountain Valley’s scenic landscape, they purchased A Painted View Ranch and committed themselves to honoring the ranching lifestyle. Through equestrian events, music and community service, they continue to fulfill their mission while creating a ranch the entire community can be proud of.

Trailblazer Gary Ziegler bought Bear Basin Ranch in the 1970s and has since added many firsts to his resume. Ziegler was not only one of the first to use his personal property for outfitting and outdoor education, he was also the first to run a paddle rafting company on the Arkansas River. Though he continues to lead horse and mountain bike trips around the world, 4,000-acre Bear Basin Ranch is his home as well as home to one of southern Colorado’s most popular outfitting businesses.