About Highlands Ranch Colorado
|The Highlands Ranch Windmill||Highlands Ranch Mansion and Outbuildings|
Highlands Ranch is a large master planned community in northern Douglas County, Colorado. It is south of Denver and Arapahoe County, south of C-470, west of I25, and east of US 85 (Santa Fe). Highlands Ranch includes three zip codes: 80126, 80129 and 80130. Its four modern recreation centers, highly rated schools, many natural areas and parks, and other abundant recreational opportunities make it one of the most highly sought after residential communities in the south metro area. Highlands Ranch may eventually be incorporated as a city, but is currently still just a large subdivision within unincorporated Douglas County.
Highlands Ranch Colorado Real Estate Basics
Homes and condos in Highlands Ranch are generally newer than many other Denver metro areas, dating from the early to middle 1980s, when Highlands Ranch first began to be developed, to brand new. Newer homes are generally located on the southern edge of the community. The farther south you go within Highlands Ranch, the newer the homes are.
Home prices in Highlands Ranch range from the low to middle $100s for condos and townhomes, from the low $200s to high $800s for detached single family homes in the major areas, and from about $1 million to $2-$4 million or more for large homes in the three private, gated single family communities of Falcon Hills, Highwoods and Backcountry. This wide range of prices and housing styles offers endless variety for your lifestyle and budget.
In the local MLS system, some Highlands Ranch homes for sale may have a city name of Littleton instead of Highlands Ranch. The city names for homes in the Highlands Ranch area are all mixed up in the MLS due to recent post office address changes, whether or not they are part of the Highlands Ranch Community Association, and inconsistent data entry by listing agents. To confuse matters even more, listing agents will often “second guess” subdivision names and/or omit subdivision names entirely. We try to adjust for these issues in our Highlands Ranch area and subdivision searches by using zip codes and subdivision filing numbers, in addition to the subdivision names. Still, searching for homes in specific areas of Highlands Ranch is an imperfect process.
Basically, if the home’s zip code is 80126, 80129 or 80130, it is located within the general Highlands Ranch area. However, some subdivisions are not included in or managed by the Highlands Ranch Community Association, so some of them may not have access to the Highlands Ranch recreation centers. This is because there are a few subdivisions and homes in homeowner associations other than Highlands Ranch, but are still within the boundaries of Highlands Ranch Colorado as defined by the US Post Office. In those rare cases, look for Highlands Ranch in the sub-area of the MLS listing, and look for a “Non-HRCA” note in our subdivision listings. Some of the area’s subdivisions not included in the Highlands Ranch Community Association include Intravest, Wildcat Ridge, Wildcat Vista, McArthur Ranch, and Province Center, or any home with a city name of Lone Tree. If you have any questions about this, and are concerned about living within the Highlands Ranch Community Association boundaries, and having access to its facilities, please contact us for additional information.
Highlands Ranch Colorado Demographics
- Area: 23.5 square miles
- Population: 128,300+ as of 2007, and still growing
- Median Family Income: $104k+
- Property Taxes: Approx $1,398 for a $100,000 home
- Sales Taxes: 5.10% (2.9% State, 1.0% County, 1.2% Misc.)
- School District: Douglas County
Highlands Ranch Local Governments
The Highlands Ranch Community Association (HRCA) serves as a quasi-governmental authority for most of the Highlands Ranch area, assessing and collecting quarterly homeowner association fees and special assessments, managing the four private community recreation centers, maintaining landscaping of public spaces and common areas, and enforcing a large body of HOA Covenants and Restrictions. However, there are a few areas within the Highlands Ranch geographic area that are not part of, and are not controlled by, the Highlands Ranch Homeowner Association. See notes above.
Highlands Ranch resides within unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado, in zip codes 80126, 80129 and 80130, and Douglas County provides police protection and other official governmental authority. The South Metro Fire Protection District, with one fire station in northern Lone Tree, one in central Highland Ranch and others in nearby Centennial and Littleton, provides fire protection services.
Highlands Ranch Colorado Schools
All schools in all Highlands Ranch areas are part of the Douglas County School District. The Douglas County schools have consistently been ranked among the top schools in Colorado. Highlands Ranch has four high schools and middle schools, and 10 elementary schools. Some of the Highlands Ranch schools also serve students of Lone Tree and Roxborough areas.
Highlands Ranch Businesses
While Highlands Ranch is primarily a residential community, Lucent Technologies, Avaya, Visa and other high tech companies have a substantial presence in the business park area just south and west of C470 / Broadway intersection. Home Depot, Target, Office Max, Staples, and many other major and minor retailers, including drug stores, bank branches and dining establishments of all kinds, are also located within the Highlands Ranch boundaries, and at major road intersections within the community. A new Super Target store is planned for Lucent Boulevard just north of Highlands Ranch Boulevard.
Highlands Ranch Commuting
Residents in Highlands Ranch have several “green” commuting options. The Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) operates two “Park-and-Ride” locations within Highlands Ranch, one at University Boulevard and C470, and another in the Town Center area on the south side of Highlands Ranch Boulevard between South Broadway and Lucent. These Park-and-Ride locations provide bus connections that include express routes to the nearby RTD light rail stations, one at Mineral Avenue and Santa Fe in Littleton, and another at Lincoln Boulevard and I-25 in Lone Tree. A recent RTD bond initiative has provided funding for extension of the light rail system from Mineral Avenue and Santa Fe, its current southwest termination point, to C470 at Lucent, where a new light rail station and multi-story parking facility are currently being constructed.
Recreation and Fun Stuff in Highlands Ranch
Recreational opportunities abound in Highlands Ranch!
The four recreation centers owned and managed by HRCA are conveniently located on the main areas and are named for those areas: Eastridge, Northridge, Southridge, Westridge. Each recreation center boasts a year-round indoor heated pool, a seasonal outdoor pool, indoor basketball/volleyball courts, outdoor tennis courts, exercise and weight rooms, and community meeting rooms available for rental by all HRCA members. Homeowners in subdivisions not included in HRCA, and even those that are, may also join the South Metro Recreation District, and use its recreation centers and other facilities in Lone Tree, Centennial, Littleton and in the DTC area.
Highlands Ranch also has many well-maintained parks and open space areas, which are not part of, but connect to the extensive Douglas County Colorado open space and trails system. For details see: Highlands Ranch Colorado Hike and Bike Trails Map Page. One can hike or bike all the way from Cherry Creek in Parker to the east, through the Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch communities, and to Chatfield Park and Reservoir to the west. Extensive hike and bike trail connections extend to the extensive South Metro Highline Canal trails system to the north of Highlands Ranch, which includes the trails along the path of the historic old Highline Canal irrigation ditch. It even has its own, private Backcountry Wilderness Area, with its own series of trails that are available to Highlands Ranch Community Association members only.
Highlands Ranch has a specially designated entertainment and dining district, located at the southwest intersection of C470 and South Broadway, and south to Highlands Ranch Boulevard, where dozens of restaurants, from fast food to elegant cafes, compete for your dining dollars, and a huge multi-screen cineplex serves up the latest first run movies. Additional shopping and dining options are located at major intersections within Highlands Ranch, primarily at the intersections of Highlands Ranch Boulevard at University Boulevard, South Broadway at Highlands Ranch Boulevard, and in the Town Center complex on Highlands Ranch Boulevard between South Broadway and Lucent.
Highlands Ranch Points of Interest
The Highlands Ranch Mansion, privately owned by Shea Homes, is open to the public several times a year. Its lands and those of several other private ranches form the core of current day Highlands Ranch. The mansion’s history and tales of some of its owners is available an the HRCA website, so we won’t get into the details here.
Highland Ranch Heritage Park, located at University Blvd and Quebec St, hosts a summer concert series, free to the public, and an annual Highlands Heritage festival, featuring exhibits and demonstrations of the Celtic, Scottish, Irish and Welsh traditions, including art works, music, crafts and games. It is not to be missed!
The Highlands Ranch US Post Office, located at University Boulevard and Quebec Street, just north and east of the Heritage Park, services zip codes 80124, 80126, 80130, and a few others. This post office also provides US Passport services, and it houses a bulk mail facility for the south metro area.