Headquartered in Paso Robles, California
Rancho El Toro

Rancho El Toro

$21,000,000 SOLD
Gilroy, California
12,000+ acres

One of the largest ranch offerings in California, Rancho El Toro presents over 12,000 acres of vast, rolling land with unspoiled views of creeks, springs, canyons and tree-studded hillsides. With over 7 miles of highway frontage, Rancho El Toro is situated on Highway 152 midway between US 101 and Interstate 5. A traditional, owner-operated cattle ranch, Rancho El Toro offers a turnkey cattle operation with a carrying capacity of 600 cow/calves and 1,000 stocker cattle complemented by ranch headquarters, owner’s residence, appurtenant structures, and abundant hunting and recreational opportunities.

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The Facts

  • 12,221± acres under Williamson Act Contract
  • 7.29± miles of Highway 152/Pacheco Pass Highway frontage
  • Cattle ranch historically operated as a combination cow-calf operation  and stocker ranch running 500 cows with calves and 800 head of stocker cattle during the winter. 
  • Improvements include owner’s residence, original ranchhouse, ranch employee house, hay barn, horse barn, shop, two chutes, scale and corrals.
  • Water supplied via a combination of 35 springs/ponds, one reservoir and two wells.
  • Potential for year-round cattle operation.


Rancho El Toro is a cattle ranch comprised of 12,221± acres under Williamson Act Contract. Historically operated as a seasonal cow/calf and stocker operation, Rancho El Toro has traditionally run 500 cows with calves and 800 stocker cattle, but possesses the potential to become a year-round cattle operation. Acquired by the current owners in 1971, Rancho El Toro was named after their home town: El Toro in Orange County, California, where the family started in the cattle and farming business during the 1800s.

The Ranch offers bountiful recreational opportunities including fishing in the bass-stocked ponds and deer, turkey and pig hunting. Rancho El Toro also possesses the potential to be developed into an outdoorsmen’s lodge and hunting retreat.

Water is plentiful and supplied via a total of 35 springs and ponds, seasonal creeks, reservoir and two wells. Ranch improvements include owner’s residence, original ranch house, ranch employee’s house, hay barn, horse barn, shop, two chutes, cattle scale and two sets of corrals.

Location & Access

Positioned in both Santa Clara and Merced Counties, Rancho El Toro is located 65 miles southeast of San Jose, situated on the north side of Highway 152/Pacheco Pass Highway mid-way between US 101 and Interstate 5. The Highway forms the southern boundary and offers 7.29± miles of highway frontage and five access points.

Numerous municipal, small aircraft airports lay within a 40 mile radius of the Ranch, including Los Banos Municipal Airport, City of Hollister Municipal Airport, San Martin Airport, the closest of which is in Hollister, approximately a 35 minute drive. Commercial air travel is available at Mineta San Jose International Airport about 70 miles northwest or San Francisco International airport approximately 100 miles northwest, offering domestic as well as international flights.

Climate & Rainfall

Rancho El Toro enjoys a favorable climate with summer highs averaging mid-eighties and evenings in the low-fifties. During winter months, the average high is sixty-one degrees, with nights in the high-thirties. Rainfall averages 18 inches per year, with maximum precipitation occurring in the winter months.

Acreage, Zoning & Taxes

Rancho El Toro is positioned in both Santa Clara and Merced counties and is comprised of 38 parcels totaling 12,221± acres. The property taxes for the 2015/2016 tax year were approximately $36,000.

The parcels positioned in Santa Clara County are zoned Agriculture Ranch Lands and are under Williamson Act Contract. The two Merced County parcels comprise 31± acres, are zoned Agriculture, and are not under Williamson Act Contract.

Santa Clara County APNs
898-11-003 898-11-022 898-11-032 898-13-006 898-47-002 89849-003
898-11-004 898-11-023 898-13-001 898-13-007 898-47-003 898-50-001
898-11-008 898-11-027 898-13-002 898-13-031 898-47-004 898-50-002
898-11-016 898-11-028 898-13-003 898-14-016 898-47-005 898-51-001
898-11-020 898-11-030 898-13-004 898-14-026 898-48-001 898-52-003
898-11-021 898-11-031 898-13-005 898-47-001 898-49-001 898-52-006
Merced County APNs
078-010-001 078-010-004


Since being acquired by its present owners over 45 years ago, Rancho El Toro has been operated as a seasonal cow/calf and stocker operation, retaining one full-time employee. Fully stocked in the winter and running very few cattle in the summer, Rancho El Toro, on an average year, runs 500 fall calving cows and 800 yearlings.

Cows are normally run during the Fall/Winter seasons on the section of the Ranch east of the Pacheco Reservoir where the terrain is mostly open, rolling hills. The portion west of the Reservoir is steep and brushy where steers tend to perform much better than cows. The herd is then shipped to Oregon for grazing during spring and summer.

Though dependent on rainfall, the season is generally October to April. Calving typically starts November first and the crop has historically been 92-94% with an average loss of 2%, calculating an overall calf crop of 91%.

Rancho El Toro is equipped with 2 sets of corrals—one at the top of Pacheco Pass and one set at the Headquarters.  The Pacheco Pass corrals are a combination of steel, wood and wire.  There is also a loading chute and manual Powder River squeeze, but no water or scales. The set at the Headquarters are all steel and complete with scales, concrete loading chute, hydraulic squeeze and water in every pen.  The maximum cattle able to be weighed, sorted and shipped at one time is roughly 700 big yearlings.


Water is supplied via a combination of springs, small ponds, seasonal creeks, reservoir and two wells. All of the houses and corrals at the Headquarters are watered gravity flow via spring fed water storage tanks.  The rest of the ranch is watered with stock ponds, most of which are built on springs and hold water year round.

There are a total of 35 springs and ponds throughout the Ranch, though more abundant in the easterly portion. The two creeks that cross the ranch, North Fork of Pacheco Creek and Cedar Creek, run seasonally but both hold pockets of water year round.

Providing the ranch’s largest drainage area, North Fork Pacheco Creek passes through the middle of the ranch. Cedar Creek, near the western boundary, also provides drainage. In addition, there are various seasonal creeks on the eastern half of the Ranch.  

The Pacheco Pass Reservoir, which stores runoff for downstream water recharge from the North Fork Pacheco Creek, is situated in the center of the ranch and is owned and operated by the Pacheco Pass Water District. Formed by a dam on the North Fork Pacheco Creek, the Reservoir contains a 6,000± acre feet capacity and encompasses 200± acres. Constructed in 1939, the concrete-faced, earth filled dam is located in northwesterly portion of ranch headquarters. While there is no public access to the Reservoir, Rancho El Toro utilizes it to water cattle.

Located near the western boundary, the two wells supply water to a few troughs and Bell Station, a 74±-acre commercial parcel not included with the Ranch offering. The Seller intends to retain an easement to the well providing water to Bell Station. The older of the two wells is shallow with a submersible pump. Positioned nearby, the second well is drilled to the same depth.


Rancho El Toro is improved with owner’s residence, original ranch house, ranch employee house, hay barn, horse barn, shop, corrals and cattle equipment.


Built in 1971 and recently modernized, the owner’s residence is a 3,826± square foot custom home designed by James Pruitt. Surrounded by brick patios presenting stunning views of the picturesque countryside, the three bedroom, four bath home with office also possesses a 1,425± square foot garage, complete with walk-in refrigerator and freezer, connected by a covered patio.

The original ranch house, built in the late 1940s, comprises 1900± square feet including 360± square feet of enclosed porches.  Presently utilized for employee housing, the home includes 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a detached, covered carport. Built in 1969, the employee house/cabin comprises 1,000± square feet. Both of these homes have been extensively renovated.


There are three barns. The oldest, nearly 100 years old, is a 2,900± square foot structure that also doubles as a shop.

The hay barn, the largest of the three structures, was built in 1976, comprises 3,000± square feet and has a 1,800± square foot shed attachment. Constructed on a concrete slab foundation, there is also a 16 foot x 16 foot roll up door providing high dock loading.

The horse barn, also built in 1976, is 2 stories comprising 1150± square feet. The upper loft measures 20 feet x 32 feet and is used for hay storage. The lower level contains the tack room and 3 horse stalls.


There are two sets of working corrals. For shipping convenience, one set is situated at the Headquarters and one is located at the top of Pacheco Pass in the southeasterly portion of the Ranch.

The Headquarters corrals, encompassing 28,000± square feet, are all steel and include scales, concrete loading chute with metal walkways, hydraulic squeeze and water in every pen. Built in 1974, the circular, cattle loading, serpentine chute provides dock-high truck loading at the scales and includes a circular holding area. Installed in 1973, the cattle scales are 10-ton mechanical scales with 8’ x 22’ platform.

The Pacheco Pass corrals are a combination of steel, wood and wire. Finished with a loading chute and manual Powder River squeeze, there is no water or scales at this set of corrals.


With gated entries and interior ranch access roads throughout, Rancho El Toro is perimeter and cross fenced, being divided into 13 pastures and a few smaller holding fields.

Recreational Considerations

Rancho El Toro is rife with wide open spaces where wildlife abounds and recreational opportunities are plenteous. Deer, pig, quail and wild turkey hunting is bountiful and there are endless trails for hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, horseback riding, camping, picnicking, and photographing. There are also two seasonal creeks that traverse the Ranch and numerous stock ponds filled with bass for fishing.

Roughly four miles from the Ranch’s northwesterly border is Henry W. Coe State Park, the largest state park in northern California, and the second largest in California. Encompassing more than 87,000 acres of wilderness, the park is home to a wide array of flora and fauna. Within Coe Park boundaries are long stretches of the Pacheco and Orestimba Creeks, the headwaters of Coyote Creek, and a 23,300-acre wilderness area, open year-round for visitors.

Soil & Topography

Ranch El Toro soil is predominately comprised of Vallecitos Rocky Loam, a shallow soil with slopes averaging slightly less than 30% possessing moderate natural fertility and a moderate to high erosion hazard. The secondary soil is Gaviota gravel loam which possesses slopes of 30-75%.

The majority (roughly 70%) of Rancho El Toro vegetation is a mixture of soft chess, filaree, burclover, wild oats, and a few remnant perennial grasses. The balance of foliage is comprised of ripgut brome, fescue, lupines, and silver hair grass in addition to other native grasses and wild plants. Tree cover is made up of white oak, live oak, scrub oak, laurel, cherry thickets, and buckeye.

Rancho El Toro’s terrain is a beautiful balance of rugged and varied with lofty ridges and steep canyons. The western section is steeper and brushier than the high rolling land in the easterly part of the Ranch. Elevation varies from the 1,800± feet in the northeast to 400± feet near the center of the Ranch at the Pacheco Creek and Reservoir.

The enclosed information has been obtained from sources that we deem reliable; however, it is not guaranteed by Clark Company and is presented subject to corrections, errors, prior sale, changes or withdrawal from the market without notice.