Horse Mountain Ranch was part of the famous A.S. Gage Ranches founded in the late 1880’s in Brewster and Presidio counties which was one of largest cattle ranching operations in the state. According to the Brewster County history book, Reed Springs located on Horse Mountain Ranch was located at Gage Holland’s ranch headquarters southeast of Marathon. Lt. William Echols in the summer of 1859 named it Read Springs on his 1859 topographical reconnaissance map of the Comanche Trail. A ranch rich in heritage today still managed as a working cattle and hunting operation.
Horse Mountain Ranch is located just a 30-minute drive from the Gage Hotel in Marathon which serves as the gateway to Big Bend Nation Park to the south. The ranch is east of highway 385 on an 8-mile private well-maintained deeded easement road to the ranch’s front gate. You can see the Pena Blanca Mountains located on the north end of the ranch as you dive to the front gate then on a well-maintained private entrance road that meanders for miles through breathtaking winding canyons topped with white Caballos Novaculite outcrops to the private vast headquarters complex located in a secluded natural bowl. All the time there is Horse Mountain looming from every direction which is the central mountain feature of the ranch. A world unto itself private but very accessible.
34,123 Ac Acres
Horse Mountain Ranch is divided into two contiguous historical ownerships with the north portion being a wide valley between the Pena Blanca Mountains, Horse Mountain and Twin Peaks creating an expanse called Lightning Flat where the headwaters of Horse Draw and Pena Blanca Draw are located. The Headquarters is located on the north unit adjacent to the Historic Reed Spring which makes a beautiful cottonwood tree lined lake and is also the location of a significant archeological site where there are over 20 grind holes in the granite hard rock outcrop nearby. San Francisco Creek also cuts across the east end of the north unit and nearby south of Twin Peaks a Hot Artesian flowing well has been cased, piped, and designed as an outdoor shower/hot tub that flows into a huge tree-lined wetland created by the spring. There is an old caliche landing strip in the center of the ranch that could be reworked and put back in service and next door an excellent shooting target complex today used as a training facility for the Texas Rangers.
The north part of Horse Mountain has several working pens, water wells, and pastures. Due to the elevation being between 3,555 feet to 5,018 feet this ranch is up out the lower desert with more predicable rains and lusher grasslands. The Headquarters is very well maintained and used. A modern rock and wood Lodge is next to Reed Spring that is 4 bedroom and 3 baths with a great outdoor breezeway and another 1 bedroom 1 bath Casita attached. This is entertaining at its best with manicured grounds and several rock patios. Down the hill is the main working headquarters with a modern bunkhouse that sleeps 20 and several outbuildings, workers home, and a huge metal equipment barn. This place has it all and can be used day one as the perfect Headquarters Complex.
The South unit is called the Beckett where you can find Bacon Draw and the headwaters of Kincaid Creek. There are several wells, pastures, water troughs, and a good road system that provides ample access for ranching purposes. A complex mountain range is on the east end of this ranch giving the fortress white outcrop landscape look that makes this one of the most unique places in West Texas.
Habitats here are diverse on Horse Mountain with lower to mid elevation desert grasslands and scrubs, wooded canyons to oak-juniper highlands and an array of Chihuahuan Desert grasses, forbs, shrubs, cactus, and trees. Plants include dagger, yucca, lechuguilla, creosote, catclaw, javalina bush, mariola, sotol, ocotillo, and cholla with a mix of chino grama, black grama, red grama, tangelhead, bear grass, and sideoats grama. Brush and trees include juniper, hackberry, willow, mesquite, persimmon, madrone, sumac, mountain laurel, and oaks in the higher elevations and draws. In springtime this landscape is in bloom with a wide variety of cacti, yucca, daggers, and native forbs.
This property is home to many species of birds, raptors, songbirds, and game birds such as blue (scaled) quail, mourning dove and white-winged dove as well as larger mammals such as desert mule deer, elk, javelina, aoudad, mountain lion, and occasional black bear. The brush, forbs, and grasses provide excellent habitat for these game and non-game animals. Wooded canyons are ideal for birdwatching and during spring and fall migration a myriad of neotropical songbirds. The Cottonwood lined creeks and springs are especially important for the native wildlife.
There are 15 wells submersible, solar, and windmills that are tied into an extensive water system that scatters water not only through the low country but also into the high mountains. This system is in great shape and is currently used by the grazing and hunting lessee to distribute water all over the ranch. Water in the region is excellent and abundant. There are a number of earthen tanks some extremely large that provide water during wet periods of the year.