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Is BackCountry right for you? Three questions to ask yourself.

by | October 21st, 2015

No man is an island, they say, and neither is a home. It’s critical that your “perfect home” be in a community that’s equally in sync with your tastes and lifestyle. Because, after all, you do have to go outside sometime.

If you’re considering BackCountry for your future home, ask yourself these three questions. They’ll help clarify what’s unique about the community and if it’s right for you.  

1. How important is the outdoors to you?
If you moved to Colorado for its natural beauty and endless outdoor activities, then go ahead and skip to question #2. In other words, run, do not walk, to BackCountry—you were made for each other. Otherwise, let’s explore this idea a bit. First of all, depending on how it’s situated, your home can offer magnificent sunset vistas of the mountains and foothills, which are easily accessed thanks to BackCountry’s southwest metro location near C-470. Also, within South Rimthe community’s private wilderness of 467 acres, you can walk, run, or ride bikes and spot all kinds of wildlife. Keep going and you’ll head straight into the Backcountry Wilderness Area, home to 26 miles of trails, more critters such as deer, elk, and wild turkey, as well as regular Highlands Ranch-organized activities such as archery, horseback riding, hikes, camping, and hunting. And if you just want a nice and easy after-dinner walk, stroll on one of the many winding trails within the neighborhood or visit one of the six parks.
On the other hand, if the Discovery Channel gives you all the nature you want, consider Question 2.

BackCountry map Highlands Ranch Colorado

2. Do you like to know your neighbors?
Like anyone else, hermits are welcome to live in BackCountry—but they sure will miss out on a lot of fun. BackCountry is a gated community, which helps to create an exceptional sense of friendliness. (In other words, why not talk to strangers? They’re all your neighbors.) Residents are quick to tell you how warm and welcoming people are here. Amenities such as a resort-style pool, the Sundial House community center with its pub and lounge, and the outdoor amphitheatre and network of trails, promote easy, frequent connections between residents. And an active HOA is always cooking up community-wide events, such as summer concerts, golf tournaments, art shows, and holiday parties, as well as more intimate gatherings such as book club meetings and empty nester potlucks.

3. How do you like your architecture?
Chances are, you didn’t answer that with “corner-cutting and cookie-cutter.” That’s good, because you just won’t find that in BackCountry, which was conceived of as a community with exceptionally high standards. Architecturally, the community feels cohesive with a Colorado-inspired emphasis on stone, stucco, and other natural materials that complement the area’s natural beauty. Varied neighborhoods, and within those, multiple floor plans and elevations, keep streetscapes as interesting as they are beautiful. And by being selective with builders, the community aims to keep quality (and home values) high. Our current builders include Shea Homes, whose homes range in price from the $500s to $700s, and Paragon Homes, which offers semi-custom living priced from $1 million. Additionally, seven builders offer custom homes at varying price points.


So now that you’ve mulled over the possibility of living at BackCountry, maybe it’s time for a visit. Seeing the place—with its natural beauty, strong sense of community and high-quality homes—is the best way to definitively answer these questions, and any others you still have.      

A neighborhood for the ages. Every single one of them.

by | August 26th, 2015

Some neighborhoods are all about young families and kids. (You know, the ones with porches packed with strollers, bikes, and scooters.) Others cater to empty nesters, even requiring a minimum age of 55. But BackCountry is uniquely multigenerational, naturally attracting every age group—which creates an interesting and inclusive place to live.

BackCountry Parks and Trails

Why is this the case at BackCountry? Actually, a number of factors are at play. Families with children tend to choose BackCountry for its access to quality schools, the safety of a gated community, good-sized homes (with custom homes available), community center with pooland all the activities that come along with parks and trailsa wilderness areaand a very active HOA. But residents in middle and later stages of life appreciate the activity, community connections, and safety just as much—along with the Whispering Wind Collection of homes that feature main floor living and low maintenance.

Because of the diversity of homeowners, the BackCountry HOA is always brainstorming ways to reach out to all residents. For example, July’s Kids ‘N Canvas event offered a painting class for children ages 6-13, and this month’s Back-to-School Pool party spoke to youngsters’ hearts with snow cones and pool games. On the other hand, the book club, cooking classes, comedy nights, and wine tasting events appeal to the adults. And you’ll even find empty nester-focused events, including potlucks and mahjong and bridge games.

Summer concert series in BackCountry Colorado

But we have plenty of age group mingling, too. BackCountry’s year-round roster of community events brings together grandparents, parents, and children. Summer concerts truly earn an E for Everyone. Little ones love the face painting and other kid activities, while the grownups enjoy the music, food trucks, and socializing. (This summer’s first concert, Doobie Brothers tribute band, Black Water, earned especially high marks with fans from the 1970s.) The 250 or so all-age residents who attended the annual, July 4th-ish Patriotic Country Music Concert enjoyed music by Colorado legends Chris Daniel and the Kings, along with a cowboy performing rope tricks and a glitter tattoo “branding station.” Who could resist that?

Like BackCountry itself, the residents are anything but one-dimensional. And so, BackCountry amenities, events, and activities respond in kind.  

Paragon Homes Offers its Last Five Homes in BackCountry

by | August 14th, 2015

“Even though we’re technically building semi-custom homes, I think buyers will find that between our flexible designs and the scope of personalization we offer, they’ll be able to achieve exactly the home they’re envisioning and at a remarkable price point.”

That’s the description of Paragon Homes’ President Ed Venerable describing the five remaining opportunities to build one of his company’s Sanctuary Collection homes in the gated BackCountry community in Highlands Ranch.

“Whatever area of the home is most important to a buyer, the area they feel most passionate for, we create and execute a plan for a home that exceeds their wish list,” adds Venerable describing the process where buyers, along with the Paragon team, work within a footprint to create a home which reflects their individual tastes, wants and needs.


An example of a Paragon home – just five opportunities remain to create a home with the builder in the gated BackCountry community in Highlands Ranch.

The Sanctuary Collection homes range from 3,200 to 5,000 square feet and are priced between $1.2 and $1.4 million. The five remaining home sites are non-walkout, each about one-third of an acre and all backing to open space.

Described as Colorado mountain contemporary, Paragon’s home collection is comprised of seven designs – two ranch plans as well as five two-story residences – that are notable for their oversized entertaining spaces, chef-worthy kitchens and walls of glass that, as Venerable explains, “blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Courtyards with water features and fireplaces, exposed beams, walls of stacked stone, and spa-like master baths are among the features garnering praise in the Built Green homes.

Adjacent to the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area and located just south of the intersection of Broadway and Wildcat Reserve Parkway, the award-winning BackCountry neighborhood is a benchmark among the Front Range’s luxury communities.

BackCountry Beauty Mountains Trees

“BackCountry’s master design and vision, its rustic feel and atmosphere, and its dedication to quality and attention to detail really dovetailed with our company’s style and mission and is a big part of why we’ve enjoyed so much success here,” adds Venerable.

“The unmatched atmosphere in concert with our designs ensures the homes live comfortably for both entertaining and family life.”

Paragon Homes has been an award-winning, highly-acclaimed builder along the Front Range for more than two decades and counts hundreds of satisfied homeowners as clients.

BackCountry’s noteworthy amenities continue to progress and include the Sundial House, wilderness trails, the BackCountry Outdoor Pool and the community amphitheater.

The gated BackCountry community also draws from the fundamental strengths of Highlands Ranch’s highly-rated schools, convenient shopping, recreation centers, open space, trails, and a master planned hallmark approach for over three decades. BackCountry is situated on the last available land within Highlands Ranch. Easy access to C-470 puts residents minutes away from Highlands Ranch business parks, as well as Inverness, the Denver Tech Center, and other metro-Denver business hubs.

Begin your adventure by stopping at BackCountry’s Discovery Center, which can be reached by going south from C-470 on Broadway to just south of Wildcat Reserve Parkway onto BackCountry Drive and can be reached by calling 720-344-9600.  More information on BackCountry is available at

Mom, I’m bored. (Said no BackCountry kid ever.)

by | June 23rd, 2015

Okay so that’s wishful thinking, but it’s no exaggeration that BackCountry is an incredible place to be a kid. You see it in the way children ride their bikes freely and play in happy little packs, roaming from yard to yard and house to house. (Gated communities where people know each other promote that kind of easygoing vibe.) And naturally, the Sundial pool and abundant parks and open spaces are huge kid magnets in the summer. But BackCountry’s child-friendly planned events also play a critical role in keeping the young’uns busy, physically active, and connected with each other year-round.

BackCountry boasts an exceptionally active HOA, guided by full-time Lifestyle Director Britany Chambers and a committee of residents. Together, they plan special events that target the interests of all kinds of residents, including the young ones. Case in point, this kids-only science event featuring exotic animals and cool experiments that use everyday items.

backcountry science snake

backcountry science experiment

Or annual Easter Egg hunts with a special appearance by a very popular, cotton-tailed guest.

BackCountry Easter Bunny

BackCountry Easter egg hunt

Or an afternoon of star-struck hobnobbing with Rapunzel and Spiderman at a Superhero and Princess Party.

BackCountry Superhero and Princess party

BackCountry Rapunzel and Spiderman

So what’s on tap for kids this summer? Below, you can read about a couple of annual favorites followed by a complete summer calendar of activities planned with BackCountry’s youngest residents in mind. Get ready. It’s going to be a fun-filled summer for children at Backcountry.

Saturday, July 11, 5:30pm-8:30pm
This is high-quality family time, listening to live music, dancing and sharing good food in the BackCountry Amphitheatre with the gorgeous foothills as your backdrop. Performances include Chris Daniels & The Kings, one of the hottest country rock bands to hit the Colorado scene in years, and a real cowboy uniquely talented in rope-spinning tricks. Kids, get ready for pumpkin seed spitting, lasso jumping, and more fun activities to enjoy.

Saturday, August 1, 6pm
Far more picturesque than any drive-in parking lot ever, the Amphitheatre is the ideal summer evening setting for watching the Tom Hanks classic, Big. The movie starts at 8pm, but the pre-movie entertainment (including a real-life “Zoltar” machine offering silly fortune telling a la the movie), root beer floats, and popcorn will begin at 6pm.

Other summer events include:

  • Snow Cones & Pool Games, June 8
  • Ventriloquist, June 11
  • Family Concert at Amphitheatre & Food Truck, June 18
  • Tween Pool Party, June 23
  • Snow Cones & Pool Games, June 25
  • Reptile Show, June 29
  • Snow Cones & Pool Games, July 7
  • Kids Painting Event, July 14
  • Tween Pool Party with Water Wizard, July 21
  • Snow Cones & Synchronized Swim Team, July 23
  • Kids Educational Event, July 29
  • Back-to-School Party, August 6
  • Labor Day Luau, August (date TBD)


Two months, eleven parties

by | May 26th, 2015

Ten days after Larry and Val Hay moved into their new BackCountry home, while most of us would be struggling to unpack, they hosted their first party. And within two months—from November 1 to January 1—they had hosted eleven parties.

What’s that all about? While you’d never accuse these two of being introverts, apparently there’s something about BackCountry that makes people want to throw parties.

Friends at BackCountry

Val says, “We were never this big on entertaining before. But BackCountry is extra-friendly. It’s gated, so you know everyone you see is a neighbor. It’s just so easy to say ‘come over.’”

Larry agrees. “People walk by all the time, or we’ll just wave when people drive by and half the time they’ll stop to chat. Before you know it, we’ve invited them in and we’re sharing a beer or a glass of wine.”

a spacious Sunshower kitchen

Their home itself has also contributed to their entertaining ways. The Hays bought The Sunshower model, with an open flow between kitchen, dining room, and great room that allows for “lots of conversations going on,” says Val, and parties of up to 50—so far, anyway.

The kitchen itself is key, too. The Hays have an extended island—nine feet long, five feet wide—that they can fit lots of chairs around, plus three ovens and “a microwave that talks to you,” says Larry. This kitchen is a true playground for Val, whom Larry describes as an instinctive cook who can whip up anything from whatever’s in the spacious pantry.

Sunshower kitchen

But perhaps the biggest factor is the view, which is always the first thing they share with guests. Their home looks west into the mountains, giving them an epic, 45-mile view that includes Waterton Canyon, the Flatirons, Golden, and beyond. Fittingly, their kids gave them a telescope for Christmas. In fact, it was the view that sold them on the place.

One day, Val got a phone call at work from Larry asking if she had her checkbook. “Come over right now,” he said. He was standing on the site of their future home, gaping at the view. They reserved their lot that day, and then set about building a house to suit the spot. Which happened just as seamlessly.

Another Hay party

“We had a great experience,” says Larry. “We had lots of interaction with the superintendent and workers. Any concerns we had, they’d address right away. So by the time of the walk-through, our punch list was basically done.”

Val feels the same way about the design process. This was the first time she had a new home built and found it to be fun selecting among “so many selections.” She says, “Julie [the designer] was so helpful. We kept her running with our changes, but everyone was very patient. We are so happy with the way it all turned out.”

BackCountry entertaining

Now that spring is here, their parties can move out to the oversized patio, where guests can ogle at the views, sit around the firepit, and listen to the waterfall the couple had installed. If two months of winter inspired that many parties, can you imagine what summer will bring?

What Goes Into a Custom Home?

by | April 20th, 2015

You’ll find scenic views and gorgeous amenities at the Custom Collection at BackCountry.

Have you ever thought about going beyond selecting features and finishes in a new house to creating the home of your dreams from the ground, up? Many neighborhoods in BackCountry offer models that can be personalized to individual tastes. But if being more immersed in the process sounds inspiring, then custom is the way to go. Custom homes are one-of-a-kind. These homes are designed for specific homeowners, with their input and their needs in mind. Building a custom home is a once-in-a-lifetime experience—the home you’ve always dreamed of is created especially for you!

At BackCountry, we believe the perfect home requires more than impressive design and exquisite craftsmanship. Chemistry is an essential element in the process, so we put a strong emphasis on matching prospective new homeowners with the right builder. And we work with seven of the finest custom home builders in Colorado.

BackCountry’s Custom Collection features 94 homesites on seven streets. Lots range in size from 1/3 acre up to a full acre. Panoramic mountain vistas draw discriminating buyers to the Custom Collection, as these homesites are located at the southern edge of BackCountry and border our private open space, The South Rim. All homesites are within easy walking distance to our award-winning Sundial House and the other wonderful community amenities.

This recently completed home was built by Ades Design Builders Inc. Since construction of its first house 27 years ago, Ades Design has completed more than 300 custom homes in Front Range neighborhoods, with an emphasis in recent years on home-building in Douglas County. Ades Design is known for using newer technologies, including Built Green and Energy Star construction practices, and incorporating sustainable and recycled products.

Ades Design homes in BackCountry Colorado

Ades Design homes in BackCountry Colorado

Is the idea of too many choices a bit overwhelming? If you’re looking for some guidance and the best of the best in home building, be sure to check out our current inventory of available custom homes. These homes are built with the buyer in mind and all the custom features you’d expect, but with more input and direction from the builder. (So, more personalization, but fewer decisions!)

Take this new estate currently under construction by Terracina Custom Homes on Homesite No. 80, for example. Priced at $1.649 million, the five-bedroom, six-bath, two-story home will have 5,010 finished square feet and an additional 2,400 square feet of unfinished space in the basement, not to mention an oversized four-car garage.

Terracina Custom Homes in BackCountry Colorado

Terracina Custom Homes in BackCountry Colorado

Terracina’s President John Russo began driving nails on construction sites when he was just 10 years old. After studying Architectural Design, he started his own construction company, United Masonry, which he ran for 28 years. In 1993, John began building custom homes. Twenty years later, Terracina Custom Homes continues to thrive.

You can visit the Custom Collection in person during our office hours: Monday and Tuesday by appointment, or Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm. All homes in the Custom Collection are priced from $1.5 Million.

For more information on BackCountry’s custom lots and sales, or to see the current inventory of available custom homes, visit You can also call the Custom Collection Sales Director, Anne Shirer at (720) 344-4303 or email her at BackCountry’s Custom Collection is exclusively marketed by Keller Williams Executives Realty, LLC/Luxury Division.

Seven years. No itch.

by | March 9th, 2015

It’s been seven years since Roxie Mountain-Weed and Rick Weed moved into what was then a brand new community named BackCountry. And back then, in the days before the Sundial House, Discovery Center, or even a single model home, when all there was to see was a trailer and some drawings, this was a leap of faith.

But when they saw the views of the Front Range and downtown Denver and understood the vision for the community, they both instantly agreed: “This is it,” Roxie recalls saying. “It was kind of wild. But because of Rick’s work in land development, we knew Shea’s reputation. We wanted a Shea home, and we loved all the open space that was going to be attached to the community.”

new homes oudoor space colorado

Over the years, Rick, Roxie, and their three children (now in college) have logged quite a few miles on those trails in the 8,200-acre Backcountry Wilderness Area. Still do. One of Roxie’s favorite activities is taking a walk at sunset with her walking stick, “Moab,” and watching the deer and other wildlife come out. Other tried-and-true favorites include concerts and movie nights.

“There’s something wonderful about lying on the grass, under the stars, and watching a fun movie with all the little kids running around. And now you can run into Indulge [at the Sundial House] and grab something to drink. It’s just so cool here. Sometimes I just think…‘pinch me’!”

Seven years later, Roxie still speaks enthusiastically about their decision, noting how well the community has evolved. “We’ve lived here long enough to know that Shea keeps its promises and does everything well. The Sundial House turned out so beautiful and high-end, so far beyond our expectations. And I can’t say enough about the landscaping.” Their home still makes them happy, too. It feels a little big with the kids gone, but Roxie says she can’t see herself moving. “Actually, I should probably get out more, but I just love to be home!” The indoor-outdoor living features are among her favorites, with a wrap-around deck that can handle a party of 50, plus French doors off the morning room that create a huge extension of the house. Perfect for the Colorado lifestyle.

So, no, they don’t plan on leaving BackCountry any time soon. “I am so happy that I live here,” says Roxie. “Even after all this time, I still feel like I’m on vacation. It’s like I have a mountain home, but in the city. I just can’t imagine being anywhere else.”

Here’s a video of Roxie and Rick sharing their thoughts on BackCountry back in 2012.

Why BackCountry is so much fun.

by | January 28th, 2015

Kids Dancing BackCountry Highlands Ranch July 4
And who’s behind it all.

Bored while living at BackCountry? Not a chance on Britany Chambers’ watch. Britany is BackCountry’s full-time Lifestyle Director, and she’s always stocking the community calendar with special events.

“Right now I’m securing bands for summer events and bar nights,” Britany reveals. That kind of long-range planning makes for smoothly run, well-attended events, as do generous doses of creativity and community input. Once a month, Britany meets with BackCountry’s Lifestyle Committee of nine volunteer residents to share ideas and firm up details for the next few months’ events.

Fan favorites revealed

So, what are the most popular events in BackCountry? Depends on whom you ask. Families with small children favor the two events with, not surprisingly, the largest attendance: Visits with Santa (the traditional lap chat, cookies and milk) and a similar meet-up with the Easter Bunny, complete with fast-paced egg hunt. Up to 250 kids can show up for these events!

On the other hand, young couples and empty nesters favor all the date night options—happy hours, live music, and comedy nights, as well as cooking classes and special events like the upcoming Valentine’s Day Chocolate and Wine Pairing. The monthly Drive-By Dinners are a big hit, too, in which residents pre-order restaurant-prepared dinners and conveniently pick them up at the Sundial House.

Santa at BackCountry Highlands Ranch Colorado
“People work hard all week long,” says Britany. “So by the time the weekend comes, they can be really ready for down time, a date night, or just spending time with their kids.” Which is why she strikes a healthy balance between creating kid- and adult-oriented events.

Families, couples, and singles alike enjoy all-age events like the Fourth of July, with country music, dancing, food trucks, and Uncle Sam on stilts, and last summer’s Drive-In Movie Night, which featured live music, root beer floats, hand-jive lessons, and Back to the Future playing on a 20-foot blowup screen.

Perks of an active community

Compared to most other communities, BackCountry is exceptionally active. Having a full-time Lifestyle Director, outdoor amphitheater, pool, and the 12,000-square-foot Sundial House with pub, demonstration kitchen, terraces, and meeting and fitness rooms, promotes community cohesiveness.

“All these ways to gather creates a strong sense of connection,” explains Britany. “Which is especially helpful when you’re a new resident. In other neighborhoods, you might just meet the people on your block. But because of all the community events, here you meet people who live all around you. It’s much easier to connect with other families or empty nesters, and people who share your interests.”

All those connections make for a rewarding job for Britany. Before coming to BackCountry, she helped plan huge public events at Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield. But the smaller scale at BackCountry means she gets to know “all the great people here.” And, she says, “When I see people asking for an encore or not wanting to leave an event because they’re having so much fun, it feels great knowing I’ve done my job.”

The nest is empty. But the schedule is full.

by | October 20th, 2014

Last year’s Empty Nester Christmas party had a new rule. Only the men could do the cooking. The end result was scrumptious lasagna, less-stressed ladies, and the largest turnout yet—upwards of 50 people.

BackCountry is home to a wonderfully active network of singles and couples beyond the child-raising years. Lou Casteel, the informal head of this loose social network, counts about 80 residents on her email list. Each quarter, they meet for potlucks in the comfy sitting area and kitchen at the Sundial House. “It’s perfect,” says Lou. “You can get together with lots of people and no one has to clean their home.”

Other functions include a monthly Empty Nester Coffee, Monday games of mahjong, Thursday bridge, and couples’ canasta/hand-and-foot (plus potluck) one Friday a month.

BackCountry Colorado community group
Noting that four or five new couples joined the last quarterly potluck, Lou says they’re an especially good way for new residents to meet others who share the same interests. She should know, as she and her husband Steve are relatively new residents themselves, having moved to BackCountry from Pennsylvania about three years ago after retirement. They wanted to be near their kids and grandkids, and after looking for a year, they saw BackCountry online and instantly fell in love with it. “This place was so different from everything else we saw, with the views, open space, trails, and Sundial House,” says Lou. “We didn’t want our kids to feel like they had to entertain us all the time. We wanted a cool place where the grandchildren would be excited to come.”

Indeed, visiting grandma has proven to be a pretty cool thing to do, between the pool, picnics in the amphitheater, and events that include face-painting, games, and other high-energy, kid-friendly activities.

But grandkids aside, it’s been the perfect next step for the Casteels. Their home in the Luxury Villas includes a main floor master, and the front lawn is mowed and watered and snowy sidewalks are shoveled by the HOA. Without the maintenance to handle, there’s plenty of time for things to do, between the community-wide happy hours, comedy nights, and nearby activities. “Good shopping is close by, and so are the Highlands Ranch rec centers, which are wonderful. We like to take light rail to Rockies games. And there’s a group of six of us who enjoy going downtown and trying out new restaurants once a month.”

For Lou and Steve Casteel, retirement is proving to be a very busy time. But in a very good way.

BackCountry’s Father’s Day BBQ & Concert at the Sundial House

by | June 12th, 2014

BackCountry got into the Father’s Day spirit with Mustache Mania and golf-activity themes including live music and BBQ at the Sundial House.

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