Dove Mountain Ranch is 26 miles north to south and 22 miles east to west and part of a 420,000-ac contiguous block of land in the Big Bend Country of West Texas that is for sale by the same owner. This massive ownership is an assemblage of over 20 historic ranches that have been combined into the largest fee owned ranch complex for sale in Texas as well as the United States.
Dove Mountain Ranch is located within the vast expanse between the town of Marathon and Black Gap WMA east of and fronting on Highway 385 in one of the last truly wild landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert. This massive contiguous cattle and hunting ranch is at the gateway to Big Bend National Park to the south and is home to a wide array of natural features such as Dove Mountain, Black Mountain, San Francisco Creek, Shely Peaks, Pine Mesa, Yellow House Peak, Cupola Mountain, Maravillas Canyon, and many more. An easy 30-minute drive south of the Gage Hotel opens into the vast adventures of Dove Mountain Ranch. The south end of the ranch fronts on paved FM 2627 where Stillwell Store and Museum are just a stone’s throw away from the south border. This road ends at La Linda which is the takeout for Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande and the put in for the Lower Canyons designated as a Wild and Scenic River, arguably the most scenic river canyon landscape in the entire country.
Dove Mountain has a variety of habitats and improvements which start on the north at Tres Hermanos summit on the Shely Peaks at 5,210 feet down into a wide scenic valley where you find the live water section of San Francisco Creek that is cottonwood lined for over two miles. The San Francisco Creek Headquarters known by the past owner as the Chaney Home is an elaborate assemblage of homes, barns, and building all looking north at the beautiful mountains on the ranch. The Chaney home is a massive 5-bedroom 4 bath custom home built around a central courtyard in the Spanish Hacienda vernacular perched on a hill above the rest of the improvements. An airstrip and giant hanger are also nearby and with some maintenance work could be brought back into operation. East of the headquarters is Pine Mesa within the Pine Mountains where there are some of the most majestic overlooks in the entire region. Pinyon pine found on the north slope and above on the Mesa and within the canyons provide habitat for an Elk herd that can be seen regularly.
Further south are the rolling limestone hills surrounding Bear Creek which give way to an expanse of Chihuahuan Desert grasslands and scrubland dotted with pimple mountains like Yellow House Peak, East Black Hills, two Black Hills, Dove Mountain, and Cupola Mountain many of which contain a huntable population of Desert Big Horn Sheep. Permits are awarded here every year and just last year a 14-year-old ram was harvested. Quayule Creek runs north and south and become a huge gorge or canyon on the ranch. This creek runs into Maravillas Canyon just off the ranch on Black Gap Wildlife Management Area which is a solid breeding ground for additional dispersing Big Horn Sheep. There are several sets of improvements located on the south section of Dove Mountain Ranch that include Dove Mountain Headquarters and the South Pope Headquarters all used today by various ranch hands.
Dove Mountain Ranch today is an assemblage of six ranches including Dove Mountain, San Francisco Creek, Bear Creek, South Pope, Love Dog Canyon, and the Herman Ocotillo. Dove Mountain Road is a private road that also access several neighbors, but it is not a public road. In completing this assemblage several ranches remain as inholdings within the larger boundary of the Dove Mountain Ranch and are operated as separate ownerships. Fencing and locked gates have helped minimize impacts from these inholdings and the current owner continues to acquire these tracts as they become available.
The Chihuahuan is the largest desert in North America-stretching all the way from the southwestern United States deep into the Central Mexican Highlands. Dove Mountain landscape is diverse with desert mountains to rolling western Edwards Plateau to desert flats and draws surrounded by a rugged landscape and some of the most scenic canyons in North America. Classic “Big Bend Country” of the Old West, Dove Mountain Ranch has maintained much of the environment and appearance of times past. This vast area lies in wide elevation range between 2,200 feet near Black Gap and 5,150 feet in the Shelly Peaks allowing for mix of vegetation from the mid to lower Chihuahuan Desert such as dagger, yucca, lechuguilla, creosote, catclaw, javalina bush, mariola, sotol, ocotillo, and cholla with a mix of chino grama, black grama, red grama, bear grass, and sideoats grama. Brush and trees include juniper, hackberry, willow, mesquite, cottonwood, persimmon, and oaks/pines in the higher elevations and draws. In springtime this landscape is in bloom with a wide variety of cacti, yucca, daggers, and native forbs.
San Francisco Creek runs west to east across the north end of the ranch which is a major drainage into the Rio Grande River. This Creek is year-round live water with a cottonwood gallery forests on both banks. Live water and riparian vegetation are very rare in this desert and a magnet for wildlife.
If there is one thing that makes this ranch stand out is the availability of Desert Big Horn Sheep habitats as well as the availability of permits by TPWD. There is also a heard of Rocky Mountain Elk roaming the Pine Mountains and the valley just north of the Chaney Headquarters. Mule deer are scattered all over the ranch and this property is home to many species of birds, raptors, songbirds, and game birds such as blue (scaled) quail, gambles quail, mourning dove and white-winged dove as well as larger mammals such as desert, javelina, aoudad, mountain lion, and occasional black bear. The brush, forbs, and grasses provide excellent habitat for these game and non-game animals. The live water segment of San Francisco Creek is especial important for migrating songbirds, bats and butterflies utilizing the riparian habitat. These desert streams are literally “highways’ for these migrations in fall and in spring making wildlife watching here on the ranch second to none.
The ranch is a working cattle and hunting ranch that is leased by several neighbors. Improvements by Headquarters are as follows:
San Francisco Creek Ranch (Chaney)
- 5-bedroom 4 bath custom Main House. Has center courtyard, fantastic views, massive custom doors and wood finishes, four zone heating and cooling, formal dining, game room, front porch, garage. Truly one of a kind home that was originally designed in the late 1960’s as a Hacienda.
- Headquarters Complex below the Chaney House is a combination of adobe, rock, and stucco frame that creates several separate living quarters. Three have kitchens, baths and bedrooms.
- Workshop and Barn
- Many working outbuildings
- Huge metal Hanger and shop with powered folding doors. Used in past as a manufacturing shop but can hold many airplanes. Wide concrete aprons from the hanger out to airstrip creates excellent equipment storage and workspace.
- Gravel strip in need of maintenance. Work here could really improve the ranch access.
- Main pipe working pens at HQ.
- Mare Barn and pens up on top behind the HQ with small set of pens.
Dove Mountain HQ
- Headquarter located off Dove Creek Road is used as a Lessee employee home.
- Main house with new metal roof.
- Hunting Camp or Bunkhouse next to main house.
- Barn and workshop with electricity and water.
- Well with electricity and large water storage up on adjacent mountain.
South Pope HQ
- Located off a separate entrance from Highway 385 the South Pope Headquarters has several buildings.
- Main house with landscaped yard.
- Employee home.
- Several outbuildings
- Pens and horse working facilities.
- Wells and electricity.
Bear Creek HQ
- North of Dove Creek road within the rolling limestone hills and canyons is a small private complex with several buildings built along Bear Creek.
- Main house used as a hunting cabin with nice large front porch.
- Barn and garage.
- Several outbuildings and an old adobe.
There are numerous submersibles, windmills, and solar water wells on the property. Water troughs are dispersed all over the ranch for wildlife and livestock. The three shallow submersible wells with electricity located along San Francisco Creek are the rival of the area as excellent abundant water can be piped for miles.
Water tanks are scattered around the ranch with several being just below Dove Mountain and are visited by Desert Big Horn Sheep regularly. Additionally, there are a few guzzlers in remote locations on and near Cupola Mountain for the expanding Big Horn Sheep from nearby Black Gap WMA. The six miles of San Francisco Creek on the north part of the ranch is mana from heaven in this wild desert landscape and is a magnate for all kinds of wildlife.