The historic Lion Mountain Ranch is named for one of the many peaks found on the ranch. Lion Mountain is a landmark that can be seen from many places on the ranch and was named by area ranchers for its shape resembling a crouching lion. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire an historic ranch in the revered “sky island” Davis Mountains of Far West Texas. Rarely do ranches become available in in these mountains and this ranch is available for only the second time in well over a century. This ranch has the “wow” factor! A unique opportunity offering incredible igneous rock features, flowing springs, creeks, lots of trees, great grasses, wildlife, hunting, over 1850 feet of topographic relief, easy access, good roads and nice improvements. The Lion Mountain Ranch is indeed a unique and special place.
Location: The entrance to the ranch is located less than 15 miles from Ft. Davis on Hwy. 17 north and less than 25 miles south of I-10 at Balmorhea. Airports available nearby are in Marfa and Alpine, both a short drive from the ranch.
History: During prehistoric times, the area was inhabited by the prehistoric hunter-gatherer peoples referred to as the “Livermore Culture”. Later, the area was home to Mescalero Apaches. Eventually, the area was settled by early ranchers and many of the Davis Mountain ranches remain in those same families today. Lion Mountain Ranch is part of what was originally known as the Powell Ranch established in the late 1800’s by a soldier who had retired from the nearby fort.
About halfway up Short Canyon toward the ranch headquarters sits a portion of the adobe structure that Powell lived in originally. Later the ranch headquarters were moved further up the canyon to the current headquarters location.
The Powell Ranch, a few years after its establishment, became part of the Espy ranching family’s holdings and remained so for roughly 100 years until the current owner’s acquisition about sixteen years ago in several quiet transactions.
Land: Entering the ranch from Hwy. 17, one is taken aback by the incredible features of the ranch as you travel up Short Canyon with numerous igneous rock lined canyons feeding it from each side. And it just gets better: from the unmatched vistas off Star Mountain, an incredible high elevation grassland mesa surrounded by heavy canyons and cliffs; the riparian habitats associated with the Ojo Grande Spring, the national park like feel of Bear Canyon, and the sheer remote beauty of the Big Aguja Canyon to the west, the ranch offers many unique and unmatched land features and fauna.
The ranch has areas associated with the most desirable types of vegetation found in the Trans Pecos: High Desert Grasslands, Oak-Juniper-Pinyon Woodlands, limited Conifer Forestlands and Riparian Woodlands.
Trees of note found on this diverse ranch include Pinyon Pine, numerous species of oak (including Plateau Live Oak, Emory Oak, Red Oak and Chinquapin Oak), Ash, Juniper, Madrone, Cottonwood, Cherry, Big Tooth Maple and Ponderosa Pine.
Other woody species typical of the higher elevations in this part of the Trans Pecos are present; providing browse and cover for many species of wildlife. Of note, just south of the ranch entrance is Wild Rose Pass. The pass was named by explorers in 1849 for the what is now known as the Demaree Rose, a wild rose that is only found in the Davis Mountains.
Native grass cover is exceptional throughout the ranch. Other than a few stray cattle and grazing species of wildlife, the ranch has been deferred from grazing for some 15 years, allowing for healthy grass and forb communities in dry times and wet times alike.
Needless to say, the area and topography offer some of the most spectacular views to be found in all of Texas, including views of Mt. Livermore, other peaks, mesas and spectacular canyons.
Water: The ranch is well watered, both naturally and by way of distributed water, with springs, creeks, header dams, dirt ponds, wells, storage and distribution to troughs providing life sustaining water to the ranch and its wildlife populations. There are three water wells in different parts of Short Canyon with additional storage and distribution facilities across the ranch including some of the more remote and difficult to reach areas.
Wildlife: The ranch is rich with wildlife including Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Aoudad, Elk, Feral Hogs, Mountain Lions, Scaled Quail, Montezuma Quail and Dove; not to mention other varmints, diverse songbirds and the occasional Black Bear. The current owners have concentrated their hunting efforts on Aoudad and Feral Hogs with very limited (almost none) hunting for deer and elk. Some supplemental protein and grain feeding is being done as part of the wildlife management program.
Archeological Sites: The ranch has numerous archeological sites; some have been explored and documented by the Center for Big Bend Studies at Sul Ross State University (details available upon request), while others remain to be explored by a new owner.
Improvements: Nestled in a very broad valley about 4 miles up Short Canyon from Hwy. 17 is the site of the ranch headquarters. Facilities in use today include a 3BR/3BA main home, an adjacent casita with two bunkrooms and one bathroom and a nearby “hunter’s” cabin with a kitchen, living area, one bedroom and one bath. There is also a “clubhouse” for outdoor entertaining and cooking. Nearby, are a newer equipment barn with storage and an historic barn and pens. Also in the headquarters area is a water well and related distribution facilities.
There are several sets of working pens on the ranch. Fencing is in place around most all of the ranch except some of the southern perimeter.
Taxes: The ranch is currently taxed under 1d1 Wildlife Valuation.
Minerals: Approximately 6,418 acres of the ranch are State Classified minerals and the rights associated with those minerals will convey. The seller’s owned fee minerals are negotiable.
Area Attractions: The nearby area is a favorite destination for Texans and non-Texans alike and offers numerous attractions including the McDonald Observatory, the Ft. Davis National Historic Site, Davis Mountains State Park, the wonderful community of Ft. Davis and, nearby, the towns of Alpine and Marfa with their cultural and historical attractions.
Asking Price: $38,925,000 ($2,250 per acre)
CONTACT: Charles M. Davidson - Agent/Partner
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