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Wildcat Ranch: Exploring Dan Gilbert's 6,500-Acre Getaway

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When you're a whale in Detroit, there's no better place to get away from the flat, industrial landscape than the Rocky Mountains. And what glittery mountain town do whales love the most? Aspen. Dan Gilbert, Detroit's mega-whale, loves Aspen so much that he owns a considerable chunk of land just outside of it. In fact, if you took all of Dan Gilbert's Detroit commercial/residential space (including Greektown Casino and the Z-Site) and flattened it out, there would be about 68 acres, which is still a drop in the bucket compared to his 216-acre Rocky Mountain "homestead". Located in the exclusive Wildcat Ranch community just minutes from Aspen, this area is essentially a whale preserve.

Wildcat Ranch is comprised of 6,500 total acres of mountains, forests, and lakes divided into 14 separate homesteads, each hundreds of acres in size. Whales aren't the only creatures residing in the ranch -- bears, trout, and a heard of elk 200-strong live in harmony with the whales. Horses live here too, and several are available for community use on the ranch's 30 miles of trails. Whales are allowed to keep their own horses closer to home, which is likely not a huge stressor -- community's on-site "horse wrangler" is always available should Marshmallow get too fussy.


Whales needn't worry about whale watchers here -- the whole community is accessible by only three secured gates. Even if Dan personally invites you over for beers and a few episodes of 30 Rock, accessing the ranch isn't exactly easy. There is but one entrance for you, guest, and only the approval of the full-time Ranch Manager will get you through. We were disappointed to find that Dan's Rocky Mountain lair is not a miniature version of the Qube, but rather a larger version of a log cabin. Built in 1998, the house is actually constructed tongue and groove style, with four 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. According to the Pitkin County assessor, Gilbert paid $9M for the ranch back in 2004, which seems like a fair deal: His neighbor's homestead is currently for sale for $28.5M.
· Wildcat Ranch [Official]