Eagle County’s Lake Creek area drawing attention | VailDaily.com

Eagle County’s Lake Creek area drawing attention

The sale of the Casteel Creek property last year may bring new activity to Lake Creek

People are taking more interest in some of Lake Creek's larger properties. This view, from the Casteel Creek area, shows some of why people are finding country retreats in the area near Edwards.
LIV Sotheby’s International Realty/courtesy photo
By the numbers
  • $5.5 million to $7 million: Prices for land parcels at Casteel Creek up Lake Creek
  • 7: Lake Creek land sales between 2015 and 2020
  • 10: Lake Creek land sales from 2020 to early 2023

One of the biggest real estate sales of 2022 will drive even more activity this year.

Casteel Creek, a 457-acre parcel at the top of Lake Creek, sold last year for $40 million. At the time the sale was announced, the new owners — Baseline Property Group — also unveiled a plan to sell eight homesites. The parcels range in size from 83 acres to just less than 17 acres. Buyers will be part-owner members of a club that provides not only homesites, but access to existing amenities on the property, from snowmobiling, hiking and biking to access to the Coyote Lodge, a 28,000-square-foot entertainment and events center.

Ridge House, on the Casteel Creek property at the top of Lake Creek, recently came on the market with an asking price of $10.9 million.
LIV Sotheby’s International Realty/courtesy photo

One of those parcels is already under contract, with closing expected this week.

In an email, co-listing broker Barbara Scrivens of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty wrote that interest in the parcels is high enough that the owners have decided to market for sale a completed home — Ridge House. That 5,300 square-foot home is listed for $10.9 million.

While Scrivens is primarily interested in Casteel Creek, she noted that interest is growing in other parcels up the Lake Creek Valley. There aren’t many of those parcels, but they have been trading.

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Selling rare gems

Scrivens noted that seven Lake Creek parcels were sold between 2015 and 2020. In the slightly more than two years since, 10 parcels have traded hands.

Ron Byrne, the owner of the Vail-based real estate firm that bears his name, said Casteel Creek today is a little like the Diamond Star Ranch near Eagle when it was first marketed roughly 20 years ago.

That ranch is best known for its large, red-roofed barn, visible from U.S. Highway 6 and Interstate 70. There’s also a large, less-noticeable lodge near the valley floor and a number of estate-sized homes over the ridge on the south side of the valley.

Byrne said a similar “gentrified ranch experience” seems to be what’s happening up Lake Creek.

But there are some important differences.

A moose strolls through a meadow at the Knapp Ranch on Lake Creek. Both people and wildlife are drawn to the more open feel of the Lake Creek area.
Pam Boyd | Daily archive photo

Chupa Nelson, founder of RA Nelson construction, first built a home up Lake Creek in 1971 — the first of a few. With the exception of a couple of years living in Singletree — which he abandoned due to its more citified vibe — Nelson ever since has lived up the Lake Creek Valley.

Nelson said he’s recently seen some for sale signs in the area. Although “there’s not a lot of opportunity” on vacant parcels right now, Nelson said he understands the area’s attraction.

A sheltered area

“Lake Creek is such a special area,” Nelson said. “It has that open feel, with views and great sunlight. You’re protected from the wind.” The valley is also far enough away from Interstate 70 that highway noise doesn’t intrude, and the views are spectacular.

There’s also a good bit of access to surrounding U.S. Forest Service property. While there isn’t much traffic on the main road, much of it is from people driving or biking to and from trailheads, Nelson said.

People who buy either existing homes or vacant land “are buying into a lifestyle,” Scrivens said. While there’s plenty of wide-open space, residents are also just a few minutes from Edwards and its many amenities. Another few minutes in the car or on the bus puts people at the valley’s ski resorts.

Along with the rest of the valley, demand has driven price increases. Values have risen by an average of about 75% over the past three years, Scrivens said.

That’s no surprise, Nelson said.

In addition to easy access to Edwards, Avon and Vail, “You have that ability to find (more remote) recreation easily,” Nelson said. “You can get up into Beaver Creek or Arrowhead (from there),” Nelson said.

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