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When you think of the word “ranch,” it probably brings to mind memories of old Western movies with cowboys on horses, herding huge numbers of cattle from one field to another.
Believe it or not, much of this is true! Ranches are extensive farms, especially the Western United States, where herds of cattle, sheep or horses are raised. In most cases, these ranches are usually occupied by the owner, residing in the ranch house.
Interestingly, Texas has the most cattle in the United States followed by Nebraska, then Kansas. Texas accounts for roughly 13% of the cattle inventory in the United States. It’s a safe bet you will find a lot of ranches in the state of Texas.
But who owns the biggest of them all, the largest ranches in the United States?
Here is a list of the 10 largest ranches in the US.
1. The King Ranch
- 825,000 acres in Southern Texas
- This ranch is massive, larger than the state of Rhode Island
- It is the biggest ranch in Texas and one of the largest in the world
- Approximately 35,000 head of cattle and more than 200 Quarter Horses are raised on the ranch
- Rather than one enormous field with livestock to graze, animals are raised in specific areas of the ranch
- Its owners have changed with the times and diversified their operations in order to meet the demand from various markets
- These include raising cattle, land on which to hunt, growing turf grass, land for quarter horses and farming crops
- Believe it or not, there is also a hardware store, tree nursery business and saddle shop on this property
2. The Waggoner Ranch
- This historic North Texas ranch encompasses 510,527 acres
- Located 13 miles south of Vernon, Texas
- It spans six counties across Northern Texas
- The land was used primarily to raise crops, beef cattle and horses as well as for oil production
- It was notable for being the largest ranch under one fence in the United States
3. Hughes Ranch
- Hughes Ranches, LLC is a family operated ranch located south of Norwood, Colorado and offers exclusive private land hunts for elk, mule deer and black bear
- While much of the Hughes ranch is kept for personal use, the family also sells cattle and hunting leases
- The Hughes fortune was made in oil and gas by Dan Allen Hughes Senior
- The Hughes family has been using conservation management practices to balance the production of high quality Angus beef and maintaining a safe, protected habitat for wildlife
- While primarily a cow/calf operation, Hughes Ranches, LLC is a licensed outfitter with the State of Colorado and offers fair chase hunting
4. Nunley Brothers Ranch
- Headquartered near Sabinal, Texas, the Nunley Brothers ranch lands spans from South Texas up to the Hill Country, and out West toward Alpine
- The brothers run a large cow-calf operation of the breed known as Santa Gertrudis
- The Nunley brother’s grandfather, Red Nunley, started the operation over 70 years ago and partnered with a Texan named Dolph Briscoe Senior to breed his herd
5. Deseret Ranches
- This is the biggest cattle ranch in America
- The ranch belongs to The Mormon Church in Florida, covering about 300,000 acres of land, or the equivalent of 450 square miles, across the Brevard, Orange, and Osceola Counties
- The land has been made commercially productive for beef cattle, citrus, and timber
- Deseret’s landscape consists of pastures, citrus groves, wetlands, and woodlands
6. Independence Valley Farm and Ranch
- Located in Northeast Nevada, the Independence Valley Farm and Ranch is currently operating as a farm and cattle ranch
- It includes more than 47,700 deeded acres with an adjacent grazing pasture of more than 100,000 acres
- This property has a very unique potential for development of oil, gold, and geothermal opportunities, in addition to its farming and ranching operations
- There are 1,250 head of cattle grazing on the ranch
7. The IX Ranch
This enormous ranch comprised of more than 134,500 acres in Big Sandy, Montana, is valued at more than $66 million. It is truly in a class of its own.
The ranch is a new type of ranch that:
- Has responsibly stewarded natural resource
- Conscientiously helps feed the world
- Is certified as an ecologically safe protector of land
This ranch has the flexibility of grass-fed meat production with enlightened, award-winning animal welfare protocol, and ethical practices. The IX Ranch is a legacy ranch passed down to family generations for more than 130 years. The current owners are only the second owners in history. It has earned and maintains a respected reputation in ranch country.
The wildlife is abundant and diverse, with large populations of elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, antelope, mountain lion and five species of upland birds. It is also a scenic ranch with many habitat types from mountain country, with aspens and evergreens, to productive grass meadows between large and picturesque rolling hills. The ranch is also home to tens of thousands of miles of streams filled with trout, beaver ponds and reservoirs.
8. The Continental Divide Ranch
- This large working ranch is located in south-central Wyoming, near the town of Rawlins
- The ranch totals approximately 98,424 total acres and offers a wide range of eco-colonies including irrigated and productive hay meadows along the North River, to the Haystack Mountains, where there are acres of woodlands of pine and aspen
- There are around 5 miles of river frontage along the well-known North Platte River, providing excellent fishing
- The ranch provides habitat for many species of wildlife, including trophy mule deer, and elk, along with many south-central bird and game species
9. Walnut Creek & Lazy YU Ranches
- This ranch consists of 95,000 acres in Kingman, Arizona with grazing fields for 600 head of cattle
- The site also has a working vineyard. It is known as a desert to mountain ranch broken up into nearly 150 sections
- Its estimated value is $2.5 million
10. Howard Mesa Ranch
- At 58,561 acres in Williams, Arizona, this ranch’s land runs from level to a slow incline with a group of hills and small mountains along Cataract Canyon
- It is primarily a cattle ranch, with grazing fields that can hold 850 heads of cattle
- The ranch is well-watered by a pipeline, dirt tanks and seasonal water in Cataract Canyon
- The land includes several buildings including a main home, bunk house and many barns