Silver Springs Logo - Rico, Colorado - Mountain Views, Beautiful Scenery, & Town

1,146 Acres | 181 Parcels | Rico, Colorado

146 Mines | 6 Tracts | 29 Town Platted Lots

Solutions RE and Telluride Properties bring you Silver Springs at Rico – a one-of-a-kind development opportunity in Colorado’s scenic Rocky Mountains. With year-round access to recreational activities, Silver Springs provides unlimited opportunities for positively impacting Rico, Colorado!

This value-add development project has two primary components; local Rico development and a “portable” US Forest Service land exchange. Both options are possible and neither one is required. The Town of Rico offers an incredible opportunity to create a hub for outdoor recreation and high alpine enthusiasts. There is also an untapped geothermal reservoir that could generate power for the community to the point of Rico becoming energy sovereign!

Rico, Colorado - Mountain Views, Beautiful Scenery, & Town Overview

ABOUT Rico, Colorado

Nestled in the headwaters of the Dolores River valley and surrounded by the towering peaks of the San Juan Mountains sits the quaint and charming historic mining town of Rico. Settled in 1879, Rico, which means “Rich” in Spanish, is rather rich in the history that beckons through some of the old buildings in town and echoes through tales of past pioneers on the quintessential quest to get rich by “staking their claim.” Rico once supported over 5,000 residents, 23 saloons, 2 churches and 88 active mines.

The famous bonanza railroad, the Rio Grande Southern, used to roll through town transporting high amounts of silver traffic and was known as one of the most rugged and iconic narrow-gauge mountain railroads in the history of Colorado. The town sits high above sea level at an elevation of 8,827 feet with the Dolores River cutting straight through it offering nourishment to the surrounding area.

Market Commentary

The demand for residential real estate in Rico has resulted in over 100% price appreciation over the last 5 years. With approximately 30 new, young families relocating to Rico in the last 2 years, the energy and enthusiasm is palpable. Young entrepreneurs have taken note by also targeting the town as a place to set up shop.

There are some new, though small, housing initiatives that have recently experienced great success. In general, real estate sales now exceed supply in all segments and few additional supply options remain. The timing is ripe for the delivery of new housing supply to Rico, not to mention ALL of the Colorado mountain towns.

New housing is being developed, and some fresh perspective has just been added to the town’s administration with a recent political turnover. This offering presents an incredible opportunity for development, forest service trade, harvesting geothermal energy, and so much more. The chance to be a part of the resurgence of a small Colorado mountain town of this quality is truly rare in today’s market.

Additionally, there is a new complexion of interests that are represented in the town government in 2022.

At the time of this publication, there were 0 homes and 3 vacant lots listed for sale.

Silver Springs at Rico is an exceedingly rare opportunity to cause an effect on history. Rico has a rich history, but an undefined future. The creative investor will find multiple avenues to create value, community, and legacy.


Total Acreage – 1,146 acres
181 parcels of land comprised of:

  • 146 mining claims
  • 29 town platted lots
  • 6 tracts

Hotel & Resort

River Lodge Site Located On The Dolores River In The Heart Of Downtown Rico
• Approximately 3-acre site with undefined density or maximum floor area
• Current zoning and Master Plan are RPUD and Accommodations
• Use expected to be a hot springs hotel with both public and private access

Mountain Residences
• Hillsides on the East & West sides of town
• 304 units of density in Master Plan (outside of River Lodge site)

Recreation Amenities Including Chairlift (Skiing & Biking), Fly Fishing

Spa / Wellness

Membership Club

• Similar recreational / wellness oriented physical plant
• Ownership structure and income streams vary
• LLC membership and Interval Ownership are possible
• Also, private entry fee / annual dues concept

Homesite Development

• The previously envisioned plan for the future of Rico consisted of a River Lodge site, but also 304 homesites
across 5 “pods” on either side of the valley surrounding town. This plan was very close to completion when the
anticipation of what became the Great Financial Crisis of 2008 derailed it.
• In the time since then, some parcels of land have been sold. A homesite development and sales plan could be
proposed again.


The large, deep and hot geothermal reservoir located directly below the Town of Rico presents a substantial financial opportunity for a real estate development project. The most salient elements relate to the potential to build a hot springs resort hotel.

Hot springs hospitality assets operate in a small niche of the overall lodging market. Similar to ski-In/ski-out and ocean-front hotels, they command premium pricing both in terms of ADR (average daily rate) and price per key upon sale.

In addition, this meaningful resource is hot and deep enough to generate power for local resort and residential use.


Rico, Colorado, with it’s rich history, high elevation, geothermal deposit and easy access to the various high country outdoor activities, is an ideal location to create a special resort based upon health and wellness.

Outdoor activities, locally grown food, mineral hot springs and a serene landscape all will make Rico the ultimate locale for the nurturing of the mind, body, spirit philosophy that is so popular in today’s peace-starved urban markets.

There is a clearly defined location for a River Lodge site on the banks of the Dolores River and there is ample land in the surrounding areas of town to create cabins and other types of residences and housing.

There are multiple concepts for operational and ownership structures. For example, one option is a traditional nightly rental concept similar to that of a hotel. Another option is that of a membership concept where people can purchase either interval or LLC membership interests in the real estate. Still another concept is a blend of the two with a hotel ownership/operation and for sale cabins that get managed by the hotel operator post-sale.


  • Dunton Hot springs – 13 keys / Rates range from $900-$2,600 per night
  • Pagosa Springs – 79 keys / Sold 2018 $42,500,000 or $537,795 per key
  • Castle Hot Springs – 32 keys / Rates range from $500-$1,500 per night (farm-to-table 5-star restaurant, inclusive)


The Rico Dome geothermal reservoir is a deep and hot resource that has been studied by the Colorado School of Mines and has published valuable and enlightening information about this geologic asset. Not all geothermal resources are created equal. This one has been quantified and qualified; it is excellent!

Some geothermal reservoirs are sufficiently hot to create soaking pools for recreation, but that is all. Other geothermal reservoirs are much hotter and afford the luxury of creating energy. In this instance, heat is a function of depth. The deeper the deposit, the higher the heat.

Some hot springs, such as Dunton, are a lower temperature, perhaps 40 degrees Celsius, while others, like the Rico Dome, are 80 – 100 degrees Celsius and this affords excess energy that can be used to create transmissible electricity.


A common amenity for geothermal developments are greenhouses that allow a community to grow their own food. This concept dovetails with the energy sovereignty concept of allowing rural communities the ability to become more self-sustaining.

In this instance, with Rico, there is another compelling concept and this is one of microgreens and the farm-to-table movement. There is enough land and excess energy available to scale up an operation that grows local vegetables and greens for sale to restaurants in the region.


The depth of the Rico Dome is estimated to be approximately 3,000 below the earth’s Surface

  • The drilling cost is estimated to be $150 per foot– this amounts to $450,000
  • Drilling is approximately 45% of the total cost of a geothermal power generation system
  • Therefore, the total cost is estimated to be $1,000,000
    • Estimates taken from the 2018 Colorado School of Mines expedition report

Colorado Land Exchange

United States Forest Service Exchange

  • Limited to the State of Colorado

An Exchange Of USFS Land For Non-USFS Land

  • Not acre-for-acre, value-for-value

History Of Exchanges In Rico

  • 2006 USFS exchange nearly completed
  • Intent was to exchange hillside land for valley floor land
  • Was on “5-yard line” and was bureaucratically embraced
  • One in process today

Potential – All, A Portion Of Or None

  • No requirement to do an exchange at all
  • Could exchange any combination or number of claims

Possible to exchange 1,146 acres (less the 93 acres in town limits) in Rico for some number of acres in Telluride or other Colorado ski town.


The town of Breckenridge, Colorado successfully traded 567 acres near Rico for 52 acres of USFS Land adjoining the town of Breckenridge.


The Rico area was originally inhabited by natives including the Ute Indians. In the 1700’s Spanish explorers were in the area. In 1833, trappers like W. Walton of the St. Louis Fur Co. came and reported remains of Spanish smelters. Mining began about 1860.

At its peak in 1892 Rico boasted 5000 residents, 23 saloons, 2 churches, and 88 active mines. The railroad came in 1891 but the silver crash of 1893 ended Rico’s first boom. With a declining population and mining industry, farmers from Dove Creek did a ”midnight run” and moved the county seat from Rico to Dove Creek in the middle of the night. It was the farmers vs the miners, advantage farmers. The railroad that served the town was scrapped in the 1950s.

After a century of mining, the residents of Rico started to shift away from the boom-and-bust economy that follows mining. The town began to evolve to house some of Telluride’s workers, southern state summer residents and retirees.


Rico, CO – A Recreational Lifestyle Destination


Skiing is a sport that the locals continue to access literally out their front door. Currently, the skiing is backcountry, hike to access, but a snowcat has recently arrived in town. Additionally, there have been ideas discussed around installing a single chairlift from town to the top of Dolores Mountain. This could provide both winter skiing and summer biking access. The Telluride Ski Resort is a traffic-free, 30-minute ride away!


The recreation opportunities abound in Rico, both existing and potential. The Rico Trails Alliance is the steward of an extensive network of mountain bike trails that extend from the valley floor to the ridges and then beyond to other networks including the Colorado Trail, Hermosa Creek, Engineer Pass and Durango. These are truly epic trails and trail systems that sit at Rico’s front door.


Similarly, some exceptional fly-fishing can be found both upstream and downstream from the Town of Rico, which sits at the headwaters of the Dolores River. This river is a traditional freestone river and is on the list for wild and scenic designation due to its limited development impact, among other qualifications. Several Telluride outfitters maintain “private water” access leases in this valley for their guiding operations. This is a testament to the quality of the fishing and the close proximity to Telluride.


The hiking options from Rico are numerous and, literally, run in every direction. The Colorado Trail is located 2 miles east of town, there are several trails and peaks adjoining town to the east and the Lizard Head Wilderness is less than 10 miles to the north. The network of roads and trails is significant.

Hot Springs

As is more completely reviewed in the Offering Memorandum, Rico has substantial potential as a hot springs resort through the harnessing of the tremendous energy located beneath Rico and contained in the Rico Dome. This amenity provides a unique opportunity to closely align all of these recreation and lifestyle activities around a wellness resort concept. This could truly be the manifestation of the ultimate mind, body, spirit destination.


Rico, Colorado - Disposition Properties Parcel Map


Rico, Colorado - Town Master Plan Map


Rico, Colorado - Town Zoning Map


Rico, Colorado - River Lodge Map


Rico, Colorado - Recreational Map


Rico, Colorado - Regional Map


Solutions RE Logo
Mark King headshot

Mark King


Solutions RE

Telluride Properties logo
Eric Saunders headshot

Eric Saunders
Broker Associate


Telluride Properties

Offered at $10 Million

Contact Eric Saunders or Mark King to receive the full offering memorandum.

All materials and information received or derived from Solutions RE, Telluride Properties, its directors, officers, agents, advisors, affiliates and/or any third party sources are provided without representation or warranty as to completeness, veracity, or accuracy, condition of the property, compliance or lack of compliance with applicable governmental requirements, developability or suitability, financial performance of the property, projected financial performance of the property for any party’s intended use or any and all other matters.

Neither Solutions RE, Telluride Properties, its directors, officers, agents, advisors, or affiliates makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, as to accuracy or completeness of the any materials or information provided, derived, or received. Materials and information from any source, whether written or verbal, that may be furnished for review are not a substitute for a party’s active conduct of its own due diligence to determine these and other matters of significance to such party.  Solutions RE and Telluride Properties will not investigate or verify any such matters or conduct due diligence for a party unless otherwise agreed in writing.

Any party contemplating or under contract or in escrow for a transaction is urged to verify all information and to conduct their own inspections and investigations including through appropriate third-party independent professionals selected by such party. All financial data should be verified by the party including by obtaining and reading applicable documents and reports and consulting appropriate independent professionals.

Solutions RE and Telluride Properties make no warranties and/or representations regarding the veracity, completeness, or relevance of any financial data or assumptions. Solutions RE and Telluride Properties do not serve as a financial advisor to any party regarding any proposed transaction.

All data and assumptions regarding financial performance, including that used for financial modeling purposes, may differ from actual data or performance. Any estimates of market sales and/or projected sales that may be provided to a party do not necessarily mean that sales can be established at or increased to that level. Parties must evaluate any applicable contractual and governmental limitations as well as market conditions, supply and demand factors and other issues in order to determine sales from or for the property.

Legal questions should be discussed by the party with an attorney. Tax questions should be discussed by the party with a certified public accountant or tax attorney. Title questions should be discussed by the party with a title officer or attorney. Questions regarding the condition of the property and whether the property complies with applicable governmental requirements should be discussed by the party with appropriate engineers, architects, contractors, or other consultants and governmental agencies.

All properties and services are marketed by Solutions RE and Telluride Properties in compliance with all applicable fair housing and equal opportunity laws.

Solutions RE and Telluride Properties may provide certain due diligence documents to prospective purchasers. These documents are provided to make it more efficient for a prospective purchaser’s attorney to understand the conditions of the property, not because Solutions RE or Telluride Properties intends for you to rely on them. Do not rely on these documents.

Compare listings