Selection of an Ideal Site

It might be instructive for anyone seeking a spectacular mountain home to consider the actual site selection criteria considered by the current owner of Mount Thomas.

(1) 200 – 300 acres, a manageable, definable property that gives ample room for expansive usage while still preserving the feel of “private property.” 

Mount Thomas has approximately 300 usable acres, with approximately 280.1 acres being deemed taxable and with approximately 278 considered “forested” for Forest Agricultural Tax Status. It also has some 7 miles of varied roads, paths and driveways also serving as recreational trails.

(2) Commanding views of mountains, valleys, vistas that are always changing, seasonally and eternally. 

From multiple locations on Mount Thomas, there are sweeping views of the Continental Divide, neighboring valleys and adjacent areas of Golden Gate Canyon State Park, to which the property has a direct private entrance.

(3) A combination of mountains, forest, and meadowland, woven together in a natural tapestry that soothes and excites. 

Mount Thomas has this topographical diversity, with stunning points of visual interest and beauty from virtually every location.

(4) Unspoiled natural scenery and abundant wildlife, of the character that brings one closer to genuine wonder. 

Perfectly groomed forests of pine and aspen, lush meadows rich with wildflowers, spectacular mountain peaks, bountiful and colorful plants, diverse animals and countless species of birds are all part of the Mount Thomas environment.

(5) Open water, rare in the mountains, but providing variation from otherwise semi-arid terrain, nurturing wildlife and providing recreational opportunities in summer or winter. 

On Mount Thomas, a natural basin was excavated by the owner, is spring fed and augmented by snow melt from the mountain to provide a year round recreational pond, complete with a rustic pond house in the round, featuring a massive stone fireplace, kitchen facilities and high-tech sanitary facility inside a rustic “outhouse.”

(6) A history of lands not hunted for many years, where bountiful wild animals and birds roam freely and without fear of humans. 

The peaceful history of Mount Thomas invites and plays host to frequently foraging elk, whitetail and mule deer, moose, coyote, mountain cotton tail rabbit, golden-mantled squirrel, chipmunks, Steller’s Jay, bluebirds, nutcracker, flycatchers, warblers, sparrows, red tailed hawk, Cooper’s Hawk, great horned owl, golden eagles, wild turkey, red fox, bobcat, as well as many other species, and an occasional bear and mountain goat, an infrequent mountain lion, and from spring through fall, countless colorful hummingbirds. 

(7) Remote enough to commune with nature, but still providing essential creature comforts, such as water, power, high speed internet, telephone, septic, and television. 

Far above the noise, traffic, crime, commotion and unceasingly demands of modern urban living, Mount Thomas is a natural oasis along the eastern slope of the majestic Rocky Mountains, with a commanding view of the Continental Divide, which has been painstakingly developed with all required utilities, including telephone, satellite television, high speed internet service and houses linked with fiber optic cable, 4 wells, multiple potable water cisterns and reservoirs holding over 19,000 gallons, irrigation and water feature equipment, 18,000 gallons of underground fuel storage with dispensers, and plentiful electrical infrastructure.

(8) A buffer against adverse adjacent development, with the penultimate protection being a governmentally regulated park. 

The sheer size, elevation and terrain of Mount Thomas, together with its border on the north and east by Golden Gate Canyon State Park, assure that there can be no adjacent development which will ever block or impair its magnificent vistas.

(9) For ease of access, for owners and guests, within 75 minutes of a major airport, like Denver International Airport, so that it does not take a full day of travel to arrive or depart. 

Mount Thomas is within that radius, making it far easier and more manageable to utilize for both owners and guests than more remote locations.

(10) Accessible in all seasons, by all weather roadways.

 Mount Thomas is easily accessible even during winter months by major roadways (plowed as needed): Interstate 70 to State Roads 119 to 2 from Denver; State Roads 93 to 72 to 2 from Boulder; and State Roads 46 to 119 to 2 from Golden.  

(11) Having minimal governmental and bureaucratic oversight, in other words, no local government that stifles one’s sense of independence. 

Mount Thomas is located within Gilpin County, which has a generally laissez faire character and far less local bureaucracy than most Colorado counties.

(12) Security and emergency assistance, as needed and desired, but not otherwise. 

Mount Thomas benefits from the highly responsive Gilpin County Sheriff’s Department, and an excellent on site staff currently headed by a former U.S. Marine.

(13) Compatible neighbors and land uses, and neighbors committed to environmental protection and privacy rights. 

Mount Thomas has 8 neighboring privately owned properties, each of which is low density residential, and the owners of which appear to be environmentally conscientious and conservation oriented. Its other neighbor is Golden Gate Canyon State Park, the preeminent state park in the Colorado system.

(14) Adequate retail, commercial and entertainment bases within reasonable commuter distances. 

At typical travel times, Mount Thomas is within 25 minutes of major grocery stores, 10 minutes from the new Gilpin County community fitness center, within 15 minutes of Black Hawk casinos, restaurants and other night life, within 15 minutes of Central City historical attractions and stores, approximately 35 minutes to Golden and 50 minutes to Boulder, about 55 minutes from Denver’s cultural center, including the Denver Performing Arts Center, Denver Art Museum, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Zoo, Union Station, Coors Field (home of the Rockies), Pepsi Center, and Mile High Stadium (home of the Broncos). Snow skiing is available less than 30 minutes away at Eldora (part of the Ikon Ski pass), while Arapahoe Basin, Winter Park Resorts, and Breckenridge Resort are about 90 minutes away, Keystone Resort is about 100 minutes away, and Vail is about 105 minutes away. Denver International Airport (DEN) is approximately 75 minutes away, while Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (BJC) is only 45 minutes away. 

(15) Freely developable, with no existing conservation easements or other restrictions on what can be done with the land. 

Mount Thomas has no conservation easements, encumbrances or deed or other restrictions. It is currently enrolled in a voluntary forestry conservation program, for which the cost of continuing maintenance is almost completely offset by tax credits.

(16) Low property taxes. 

Gilpin County, having low local bureaucracy and being less populated, and also benefiting from the tax base of casino gambling in Black Rock, has very low property taxes.

(17) An atmosphere of genuine independence and autonomy. 

Traces of the Old West, the pioneer spirit and rugged individualism persist, as well as the opportunity to truly be master of one’s own private domain on Mount Thomas. If a new owner desires complete self-sufficiency, the current owner’s collection of heavy equipment is also available for purchase.

(18) Clean mountain air. 

About 8,600 to 9,325 feet above mean sea level, Mount Thomas has a comfortable oxygen level and is reasonably easy to acclimate to, but above the altitude of most pollution, mosquitoes, snakes and other pests.

(19) Comfortable temperature and humidity in the summer, cold but without oppressive snow in the winter, and moderately temperate in spring and fall. In short, pristine and heavenly seasonality throughout the year.  

Mount Thomas is at a nearly perfect altitude for regulating temperature, humidity and precipitation for human comfort.

(20) Solvable logistical challenges. 

When the owner first acquired and assembled the property, it was more of a blank slate with daunting and expensive challenges. Through over 20 years of development, including the utility infrastructure, forestry program, pond and trail development, and the challenges of large scale custom construction on a mountain, there are now truly outstanding improvements that are turn-key and ready to enjoy. At the same time, with the existing infrastructure and improvements, a new owner will have the ability to easily customize and add personal touches.