Dripstone Ranch is an exclusive Texas Hill County offering, creating a rare opportunity to own a legendary Frio River ranch with unique features of nature. Water, hills, trees, irrigated fields, wildlife, riverfront, caves, meadows, improvements, access, and development potential in this combination are found nowhere else in the State.
Dripstone is the southern gateway to the Hill Country. Here is where the Hill Country rises out of the coastal plains in an abrupt, dramatic fashion. There is more than 350 vertical feet of elevation change within the property.
Dripstone is located directly adjacent to thousands of acres of permanently protected conservation land owned by a variety of entities, including the City of San Antonio and the Texas Nature Conservancy. These permanent easements assure that these off-site lands will forever remain a scenic part of the Hill Country legacy.
Rising from the crossroads of three ecoregions of Texas, this extraordinary Hill Country ranch is conveniently located along Highway 127, as well as paved FM 2960, and surrounded on three sides by the famous 15,000-acre century old Annandale Ranch, home of the Frio Bat cave, protected by permanent Conservation Easements.
Located 5 miles southeast of Concan, Dripstone Ranch encompasses more than 4.3 miles of frontage on both sides of the Frio River. This is the property’s central defining feature, winding through deep pools and cascading rapids. The ranch is all high-fenced, fronting for 2.5 miles along Highway 127 on the east and 3 miles along paved FM 2960 on the west. Dripstone is approximately 15 miles from Uvalde and its 5,500-foot airport and is also within two hours of Austin and an hour and a half of San Antonio.
2,275 acres in Uvalde County.
Dripstone Ranch is uniquely located in the geographic transition area between the rugged Hill Country Balcones Fault, the Chihuahuan Desert, and the leveling topography of the South Texas Brush Country. Ranching and nature come together here, with areas of wildlife habitat and river, combined with agricultural areas designed into improved pastures, irrigated fields, and amazing ranch infrastructure. The ranch name comes from the famous karst limestone caves below it, where the historic owner’s rite of passage was swimming in the Edwards Aquifer.
Dripstone features a complete and carefully-designed Conservation Development Plan which embraces the natural resources and the amazing beauty through designed home sites. Protected views, common areas, a hotel complex, a farm-vineyard, and designed ranch tracts aim to maximize the economic potential of the ranch while embracing its ecological function. The Conservation Development Plan has been ground-truthed by consultants and engineers, backed by economic feasibility studies, to show the highest and best use for the new owner, be it a developer or a buyer who may want to place a Conservation Easement on the ranch.
The ranch can be divided into several districts: Frio River, Dripstone Cave Hills, ranch and farm headquarters, and a conservation reserve. These diverse areas combine to make Dripstone Ranch truly one-of-a-kind.
Framed by high limestone bluffs, the clear cool waters of the Frio River wind through the ranch for more than 4 miles, providing for incredible private recreation. Whether swimming in deep pools, floating over gin-clear riffles, or fishing through long wide runs, multiple access points open the river for enjoyment by all. Huge century Live Oak trees line this river, creating a riparian habitat that is perfect for trails, hiking, and wildlife.
This stretch of the Frio is located within the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and is vital to replenishment of the aquifer’s resources. A series of faults, the Karst cave complex, and the surface materials in the hills, make this ranch a major contributor to the recharge of the city of San Antonio’s sole source of drinking water, the Edwards Aquifer.
There is an area called the Blue Hole which is a permanent pool of water located on the 384-acre part of the ranch under a Conservation Easement. This pool runs for hundreds of yards. In times of extreme drought, this pool acts as a refuge for fish. The Frio River has some of the highest water quality in the state and represents a tremendous recreation asset to Dripstone.
Dripstone Cave Hills
East of the river are a series of sloping hills, rising steeply at the caps to capture the spectacular viewsheds of the property and the protected lands on the horizon. The rich mix of native forest and shrubs that envelop these hills provide habitat for a wide diversity of songbirds, game, and many types of native flora and fauna, while concealing one of the ranch’s most secret features – the Dripstone Caves.
The Dripstone Caves are a series of underground caves sprawling through the karst Edwards Limestone beneath the hills. Small, heavily-vegetated openings in the hillsides lead to vast underground chambers and rooms connected by narrow fingers stretching hundreds of feet into the earth. Incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations fill the chambers, dripping from the ceilings and rising from the floors to create remarkable mazes throughout. Some of the larger rooms span up to 250 feet in length and 40 feet in height. There are 9 known caves on Dripstone Ranch, several of which have been explored, named, and extensively mapped. One of the most prominent, Frio Queen Cave, descends deeply and interacts with the aquifer subsurface water, where visitors have reported swimming in the cave pool. The entire cave system was developed from “rising waters” or springs, underscoring the vastness of the underground hydrologic system.
Ranch and Farm Headquarters
The headquarters of Dripstone Ranch is highly improved to provide for a variety of recreational and agricultural activities. The majority of the improvements are located on the west side of the river. Here, the flattening terrain consists of large stands of trees, breaking up improved fields of native grasses for grazing, and large irrigated fields for cultivation. The main house is perched high on a bluff overlooking the Frio and its stands of old growth Live Oaks and Cedar Elms.
There are remarkable views of the central hills and the vast hill country beyond. Established jeep trails run throughout the outwash plains both east and west of the Frio River to serve windmills, water tanks and hunting stands. Improved Klein grass fields are scattered over the ranch, but at the headquarters there are large farming areas under two center pivot irrigation systems with 238 acre-feet of base irrigation water rights from the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
The Main House
Electric gate entrance on FM2960 with paved road to barn complex and main house.
3,973 square foot 2br/2ba custom home with amazing large patios, gardens, and a walkway down to the river.
Windowed high ceiling livingroom with distant views.
Located on a high bluff over the river.
Bass-stocked fishing lake nearby.
Three-bay finished garage.
Foreman’s house of 1,364 square feet at the entrance with large irrigation reservoir next door.
Bunk house of 1,438 square feet with walk-in cooler, game processing facility, large kitchen, bath, dining room, living room, 8-bed bunk loft, and great BBQ entertainment area.
River Cabins – two wood frame 1br/1ba cabins on a bluff above beautiful rapids.
Barns and Ranch Operations
Four stall horse barn and tack room with outside pipe runs.
Equipment barn- 2,200 square feet with concrete floors, tool room, work area.
Hay barn of cinder block construction.
Various sheds and outbuildings.
Excellent working pipe pens and several improved pastures.
Entire ranch is high-fenced into two large areas.
Excellent road system with many highway access points and three river crossings.
Water and Irrigation
Two center pivot systems.
Diesel pumps, buried pipelines.
238-acre feet of base irrigation rights.
Several flood-irrigated fields.
Eight high-quality water wells in the 300 to 350 foot depth with storage and troughs scattered around the ranch.
A 384-acre conservation easement with the City of San Antonio is located on the north part of the ranch, allowing for limited development of up to four home sites while protecting the tremendous Frio River frontage. This property can be divided into two parcels and has a separate high fence for management of a separate pasture. There are several older rock cabins above the Frio River that, if restored, would make an amazing riverside retreat. Hunting, ranching, and recreation are all allowed in the Conservation Easement.
Habitat and Wildlife
Dripstone Ranch has an amazing diversity of habitats as a transition zone in the Hill Country from grassy meadows, forested hollows, and tree-lined riparian forest, to rolling limestone hills and wide open agricultural pastures. The diversity of habitats translates into a rich wildlife diversity. Huge Whitetail Deer with improved Texas genetics, Black Buck, Rio Grande turkey, and other game and non-game species abound. It is a hunter’s dream and a paradise for the outdoor enthusiast or birder. Plants and habitat from all three ecoregions are present. With excellent management over the years, native and improved grasses have flourished.
Frio River Ranch Estates Subdivision and Hotel
Deep Spring Ranch, Ltd., as developer, and Watermark Hotel Company, Inc. as project manager, have engaged TBG Land Planners of Austin, Texas, to conduct a comprehensive environmental analysis and to create a master plan to develop the Frio River Ranch Estates Subdivision and to establish “a site-sensitive conservation development of the property for its highest and best economic use.” The plan outlines the tremendous development potential of Dripstone Ranch.
25 to 50-acre ranch estates are planned for on the east side of the river, where the terrain dramatically exhibits the beauty and uniqueness of the transition from the Balcones Fault to the Southwest brush country with beautiful vistas, areas of wild flora and fauna, and wild Karst caves. Each ranch tract has a carefully engineered and designated building zone for construction of each owner’s ranch house and related improvements. Each building zone location has been selected by TBG based on professional viewshed studies. For such an idyllic natural setting as Dripstone, it was determined that keeping these high quality natural views is critical to retaining a rural character within a quality development plan.
The subdivision will be managed by a professionally-organized homeowner’s association with responsibility for maintaining compliance with deed restrictions and building guidelines, and for maintenance of the operating standards of care for the greenbelt preservation areas and the wild cave locations. All ranch owners in the subdivision will have unrestricted access to the river, whether their ranch includes riverfront or not.
Another valuable benefit for ranch estate ownership in the subdivision will result from the plan to build a 50-room boutique hotel and spa on the west side of the river, along with 5-acre homestead tracts and the further development of a 20-acre vineyard and irrigated organic farm, with food products available for use at the hotel and by owners of the subdivision. The hotel, with its adjoining 237-acre nature preserve, will bring immediate market-awareness and activity while providing valuable services to subdivision owners. An independent hotel marketing firm has completed and issued a favorable market study suggesting financial success for the proposed hotel, which may include destination weddings, corporate retreats, and the attraction of the growing number of guests seeking outdoor experiences through scenic views, fresh air, pure water, natural food products and nature preserves.
Seller will retain 50% of minerals owned.
Aquifer recharge credits: Seller 50%, Buyer 50%