Lower Lake Ranch is located on two original homesteads settled by Anton Glasmann and Samuel Cunningham in 1863. The Cunningham Homestead home is the ranches oldest surviving structure dating back to the 1860’s. By 1878, Anton Glasmann had established what would become Colorado’s oldest Guest Ranch originally named Lionshead Guest Ranch. It was situated under Lionshead and divided by Elk Creek. Anton had hired a young couple Jon and Elizabeth Jensen from Norway that had originally settled in America with all of their family in Chicago in the mid to late 1800’s. After Cunningham abandoned his homestead, a homestead that was next door to Anton's ranch, Jon Jensen & his wife saw an opportunity to settle the Cunningham homestead and incorporate it into Anton's business. They only had to maintain and operate their new ranch land for 5 years. Under the Homestead Act of 1863, homesteaders were required to settle, develop, and cultivate their land for 5 years, however for some pioneers that type of life was too harsh so homesteads were abandoned leaving the next homesteader the opportunity to develop the land. These pioneers began the American Dream to own part of America. Jon Jensen and his wife took advantage of the Homestead Act, when they claimed the Cunningham abandoned lands and began their dream with the Jensen Ranch. Jon charged $15 per car load of guest in the early years, then he changed his operation to daily and weekly Guest Fees, with his wife as the cook and he was the ranch manager. By 1900, a new opportunity occurred, when Anton passed away. Jon and Elizabeth Jensen purchased Anton's Lionshead guest ranch from Anton’s heirs. With Lionshead Guest ranch incorporated into the Jensen Guest Ranch, Jon now owned and operated the Oldest Guest Ranch in Colorado and Park County. That young Norwegian couple that landed at Ellis Island in New York from Norway, then traveled with their parents and siblings to Chicago, and then they bravely moved and settled in Colorado, they achieved the American Dream, they created the Jensen Guest Ranch comprised of 3500+ acres in less than 30 years. Through the Years, The Jensen ranch has had many names. After Jon's death in 1921, his 20 year old single daughter Alice Jensen operated the ranch and continued to host the guest ranch operation. Early newspaper articles wrote "No man can out ride Alice Jensen, she rides her horse like she is part of her horse". Alice was destine to meet a man with similar love of land and horses. During a group event held at the ranch by the Denver Athletic Club known as the DAC Vacation getaway she meet Elmer Berg. They were married a year later in 1924. With Elmers business savvy he developed the Guest Ranch operation to a whole new level, hosting some of Colorado's oldest Companies annual Picnics, Building the First Indoor Banquet Hall, Restaurant, building more guest cabins, and helping form organizations; like the The Round-up Riders, an exclusive horseback riding club where in 1948-49, held their First Rodeo and Banquet ceremony, at the New Ranch Banquet hall, it was named the Ending Ride Banquet. Elmer Berg with 4 other business men began their riding club because they recognized Colorado landscape changing with the development of Roads and fences that would soon change where horseback riding across Colorado was possible. In 1946 these 5 Coloradans fly over the State in a private plane and had an idea they should create "The Roundup Riders", to see the State before it was too late.
Elmer and Alice described their ranch as the Upper and Lower Ranches along Elk Creek. Today, their Upper Ranch is part of The Staunton State Park, and the original Lower Ranch homestead is known as Lower Lake Ranch.
The Elk Creek Valley from Hwy 285 west to Mount Evans was originally comprised of large cattle and haying ranches. The 8000’ altitude allowed for great summer cool climate and moist valley land to produce mountain hay a high nutrient product for cattle and livestock.
Hormone free, grass feed beef sales is still available at the ranch. Sold by the pound and cut.
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Today Lower Lake Ranch is the Lower ranch land and the Upper ranch land is now part of the Staunton State Park. These mountain properties are still used for grazing cattle and outdoor recreation by guest. Picnics by the creek or along a secluded mountain trail. Premier Fly Fishing in one of the numerous Lakes or the excitement of catching a Brooke in Elk Creek, riding your horse over the thousands of acres in the adjacent State Park, or just reading a book and relaxing from technology, (There is limited cell service and no Wi-Fi) the ranch still offers the same great experience and memories as it was originally created for. 2018 marks the ranches 155th anniversary of being a very special Mountain location for Guest to enjoy each other, enjoy wildlife, enjoy outdoor recreation like fly fishing & hiking along beautiful mountain ranges and to Smell the Great mountain Air and hear Quiet!
In a world that offers change all the time where our minds are busy and cluttered with information overload, the Ranch sets its self away, offering tranquility and a great place to reconnect with family and friends. Families that have enjoyed the ranch over its history, arrive and are greeted by staff with the same enthusiasm as the Jensen’s greeted their guest over 100 years ago. Guest have the opportunity to stay in their same awesome cabin with its original outside appearance, but updated inside and individually decorated in Western-Victorian themes. Each cabin room has its own Private Bathroom, a Coffee Bar with Microwave and small refrigerator and Comfortable Pillow top bed and much more. When Guest enters their rooms there is always a “WOW”! Moment and then it becomes a time to slow down and enjoy the mountains. For over 150 years the ranch has offered a Peace of the Mind, a rest for the moment at a mountain setting where you can hear the birds and see the wildlife. Even the wildlife knows the ranch is a safe place, the Bald Eagle fly’s in all the time, the families of deer graze, sleep, and visit daily, the Elk share their bug galling when looking for their new mate, and the Canadian geese arrive every year in March for nesting on the Lake Island a safe place from the foxes and coyote’s.
Lower Lake Ranch staff loves showing off the ranch, telling the history, and love seeing Guest enjoy themselves.