Among the oldest of its kind in Texas, the Cibolo Creek Ranch is a place where history and art meet, where visitors feel as if they’ve stepped into the mid-1800s American Frontier.
Meanwhile, there are over 30,000 breathtaking acres to explore each day through a variety of activities, from hiking and horseback riding to hunting and bird watching. Not only is history on display in the ranch’s incredible collection of Native American rock art, it can also be witnessed firsthand with a stay in one of three refurbished 19th-century forts.
What Is Cibolo Creek Ranch?
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Local history says that upon his victory in a duel in Missouri in the mid-19th century, Milton Faver fled here to West Texas to settle near the Big Bend. After setting up shop on the land now comprising the Cibolo Creek Ranch, Faver proceeded to build up a booming trade along the nearby Rio Grande. The historic forts that visitors will see were constructed strategically around the ranch to protect against bandits and the raiding Apache and Comanche tribes.
The first of these historic forts was built by Faver in 1857. Named El Fortin del Cibolo, or “The Fort of the Buffalo,” it was initially intended as a trading and farming site by the Cibolo Creek. Sometime after that, El Fortin de la Cienega, or “The Fort of the Marsh,” was added as a headquarters for Faver’s burgeoning cattle business. His subsequent sheep and goat enterprise necessitated the construction of the final fort, El Fortin de la Moriata, or “The Fort of the Mulberry Tree.”
With three points of defense erected, Faver was successfully able to cultivate his farmland and build his herds of livestock, in addition to helping facilitate trade with local settlers, natives, silver miners and U.S. troops from the neighboring Fort Davis.
At the time of Faver’s death in 1889, he was regarded as one of the preeminent pioneers in West Texas. He bequeathed his estate, which included more than 20,000 longhorn cattle, to his wife, SeñoraFrancisca Ramirez, a native of Mexico. Their only son, Juan, died shortly before his mother did, in 1913.
The rooms at Cibolo Creek Ranch convey the very essence of Texan hospitality. They are modern but also furnished with antiques, and best of all: pet-friendly. Gorgeous wood and antique interiors combine with comfortable, 600-thread count linen and wood-burning fireplaces to provide the ultimate in serene creature comfort.
The privately booked forts are perfect for groups or families seeking a respite from the modern world. The three historic battlements offer spacious accommodation and amazing views and are adorned with unique architectural motifs. The Forts at Cibolo Creek Ranch mix modern amenities with a one-of-a-kind rustic environment.
Besides ranch-inspired cuisine, a hot tub and outdoor pool, the Cibolo Creek Ranch offers a fitness center, free WiFi in the business centre, a media room, private airstrip, pet-friendly accommodation and special wheelchair access to select rooms.
Cibolo Creek Ranch provides its guests luxury dining with cuisine that has been acclaimed by food critics and travel writers alike. With traditional southwestern flavors, Mexico’s celebrated chef and writer Patricia Quintana leads a skillful kitchen team, combining authentic local recipes with unique elements from around the globe. The elegant, delectable menu always features fresh meats and produce.
Gorgeous views of the lake and mountains grace the ranch-style dining area, situated on a veranda just off the kitchen and consisting of large communal tables and the promise of entertaining and interesting company. The wine list includes domestic and international labels in a collection noted for its Argentine Malbecs, French Burgundies, California Chardonnays and, of course, Texas Cabernets.
What Are 5 Things to Do at Cibolo Creek Ranch?
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1. Shooting and Hunting
No matter your aptitude for hunting, you’ll find activities to suit your pleasure at Cibolo Creek Ranch, which provides a wide variety of options, not the least of which are many exotic and native big game hunts for a range of species that includes aoudad, Carmen Mountain whitetail deer and mule deer. Nor will upland bird hunters be disappointed with the adventures offered at Cibolo Creek Ranch.
And with a full firearm rental facility available, guests can enjoy a sporting clay course, a rifle and pistol range, trap shooting and a 3D archery range.
Some of the most talked-about activities at Cibolo Creek are the guided tours, which give visitors a unique look into life on the ranch. Follow an experienced tour guide in exploring the ranch’s 30,000 acres in a Humvee or on an ATV. The views awaiting guests on these tours are breathtaking, and the inclusion of landmark stops at cultural and historical sites like Carrizal Springs or the abandoned Native American rock houses found on the property greatly enrich the experience.
There are also walking tours, which bring guests through the 19th-century adobe forts and explore significant architectural, historical and cultural attributes.
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With a tiny emergency radio available from the concierge and a detailed map, strike out on a hiking trip upon the roads and horse paths or any one of the many footpaths that sprawl across the Cibolo Creek property. Make sure you’ve got the shutter click at the ready for the wide variety of wildlife you might encounter, such as American buffalo, mule deer, Carmen mountain whitetail deer, coyotes, black bears, aoudad, bobcats and mountain lions.
With over fifty bird species calling the Cibolo Creek Ranch home birdwatchers will have plenty of reason to bring out their cameras and binoculars. Those with an ornithological bent or anyone excited about wildlife can seek out golden eagles, roadrunners, peregrine falcons and more. The ranch is also home to eighteen bat species.
Featuring over two hundred miles of mountain biking trails and roads, the Cibolo Creek Ranch offers an unbelievable cycling experience. The trails are available by request and the level of difficulty runs the gamut from beginner trails to those better suited to experts. The ranch even provides a picnic lunch for your day on cycling the Chinati Mountains.
If you’d rather trade in your bike for a gorgeous white or red gelding, Cibolo Creek is happy to let you show off your equestrian ability and tour the ranch on horseback. Horseback riding is a truly Texan leisure activity, and the ranch offers over one hundred miles of trails and roads which roam through mountains and culturally-significant art rock sites. Ranch guides are on hand to ensure you don’t miss a thing.
5. Go Off-Ranch
Cibolo Creek Ranch is just a drive away from some of the best tourist destinations in Texas. Here are two excellent reasons to go “off-ranch.”
Just a few hours southeast of the ranch are the incredible Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Located alongside the Rio Grande, these parks play host to many hundreds of plant, bird, reptile and mammal species. The State Park is over three hundred acres alone, so you will find plenty of room in the great wild open to leave the modern world behind, if only for a day.
An hour and a half drive east will bring you into the vicinity of the McDonald Observatory, the acclaimed astronomical complex at the University of Texas. Located just minutes from the Fort Davis National Monument, the McDonald Observatory is home to the technological marvel known as the Hobby-Eberly telescope. Both daytime tours and nighttime stargazing are offered, with the Observatory also hosting periodic public events.
When Is the Best Time to Visit?
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While the weather in West Texas varies, it generally gets very hot in the summer and a little chilly in the winter. Fall and spring are definitely the best times to visit the Cibolo Creek Ranch. From October 1st to December 15th, or from March 1st to May 15th, you’ll find the best weather, with temperatures above 45 degrees at night and below 90 degrees during the day. You might want to avoid the 106-degree temperatures you’ll experience in August, unless you love the heat.
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For those wanting to get away from it all and also experience an amazingly vivid piece of American Frontier history, Cibolo Creek Ranch is for you. There is no better venue to experience firsthand the historical and cultural aspects of West Texas, whether through Native American rock art collections or the three authentic 19th-century forts open for accommodation.
Combining spectacular views, delicious cuisine, hiking, hunting, cycling and birdwatching with the modern amenities expected from a luxury hotel, Cibolo Creek Ranch offers a truly unique experience. With incredible activities on site and American landmarks only a drive away, your stay at the Cibolo Creek Ranch is sure to be adventurous, comfortable and steeped in heritage.