The city of Caribou, immediately adjacent to Caribou Ranch on the Continental Divide, was a thriving frontier boomtown founded in 1870. The population grew into the thousands until the mines played out and the silver act was repealed in 1893. “The Switzerland Trail,” a narrow-gauge railroad (necessary because of the need to make shorter turns to negotiate the numerous switchbacks required on this treacherous mountain rail line) operating from 1904 until 1919, criss-crossed through the back country of Caribou Ranch, bringing supplies to the mines and towns that were supplying 80% of the world’s tungsten, as well as large quantities of silver and gold. In addition, tourists came to Colorado in tremendous numbers to ride these trains. An all day excursion from Denver was a highly regarded scenic trip with the mountains, canyons, and lakes of the area providing some of the most beautiful vistas in the west. One of the primary stops on the “Cardinal and Eldora” portion of this line was Bluebird, the name of both the silver mine and the town. The remains of both still exist on Caribou Ranch, accessible only with four-wheel drive vehicles that can negotiate the now trackless roadbed of the Switzerland Trail. A flood in July 1919 destroyed many bridges and took out large sections of track. Only a few citizens remained after the turn of the century, and today, even the ruins of the ghost town have been destroyed, primarily by the winds coming off the Divide.
Caribou Ranch was first homesteaded in the 1860’s and has been a working cattle ranch, guest ranch, movie location, Arabian horse ranch, and a private home. Included on the Ranch property are the remnants of silver mines and ghost towns as well as the world’s largest privately-owned waterfall. While the Ranch operated under many names since the pioneer days (Tucker Ranch, Lazy VV Ranch, and others), the Caribou name was restored decades ago as a tribute to the miners, horsemen, farmers, cattlemen, and settlers who helped shape the destiny of the region, leaving behind the wilderness that, today, is Caribou Ranch.
In 1971 twenty-six year old music producer Jim Guercio purchased Caribou Ranch and started the renowned Caribou Recording Studio. Caribou Ranch was the first of the “destination” recording studios where rock legends like Elton John, Chicago, John Lennon, Rod Stewart, Amy Grant, Kris Kristofferson, Phil Collins, Stephen Stills, The Beach Boys, and many others came to record.
Caribou Ranch has a deeded base of over 4,000 contiguous acres, ranging in altitude from 8,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. Grazing permits cover approximately 75,000 additional acres, the majority of which lie within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area which surrounds Caribou Ranch on the North, South, and West.
The pioneering tradition continues today at Caribou Ridge Under the ownership of Nassar Development LLC, a family owned Design/Build Fine Home Building Company, where the Nassar Family recognized the opportunity to create a resort like community in the Rocky Mountains surrounded by Boulder County Open Space, Hiking and Biking Trails, 4 Wheel Drive Roads, Skiing, Snowmobiling, Casinos, and the famous Peak to Peak Highway.