El Chaparral Ranch - Fayette County, Smithville, TX
The stunning El Chaparral Ranch located between Houston and Austin on Hwy 71 is a unique and beautiful large acreage ranch in a high-growth area. This picturesque 866± acre ranch features several fully stocked bass ponds/lakes and a 2.5-mile stretch of Cedar Creek, which holds water year-round. Lofted above the creek are breathtaking bluffs where one can experience the uniqueness this ranch has to offer. The natural beauty of the property is highlighted by mature live oaks, post oaks and pines.
A 51-mile drive from Austin and 115 miles from Houston, this property borders Highway 71 with 1,100’ of frontage. The ranch is only 41 miles from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Topography, Rangeland & Habitat
The El Chaparral Ranch is located within the Post Oak Savannah ecological region in Texas but is on the edge of the famous Lost Pines region. This has created a unique forest on the ranch that is dominated by huge post Oaks, live Oaks, loblolly pines, various elms, and junipers.
Rare for this part of Texas, the ranch has unique bluffs that overlook the water of the usually flowing Cedar Creek which tower 60-80 feet from the ground below and provide spectacular vistas of the property. There are over 100 feet of elevation changes on this ranch.
The soil makeup is primarily fine sandy loams with some gravel outcrops. There is good clay below the topsoil that allows for building lakes.
Of the total 865-acre ranch, roughly 235 acres consist of native grasslands with large oaks left standing to create a park-like look. The remainder of the property is primarily old-growth forests with plenty of brush to provide excellent habitat for the game on the ranch.
The habitat on this ranch is excellent for deer, turkey, dove and hogs. The ranch has just been high-fenced to allow for the opportunity to further manage the deer herd and/or bring in exotics should a client choose to.
The deer herd has been carefully managed over the years with minimal hunting by the family only. Only a few mature deer are taken annually and there are multiple blinds and feeders strategically located throughout the property. With the heavy forested areas, many of the deer on this ranch have likely rarely seen people and it has provided for a great age distribution of the herd.
Turkeys on the ranch are abundant. Miles of the creek, the multiple ponds and the old-growth trees for roosting have created the correct habitat to have excellent numbers of these majestic birds.
The owner has one fenced-off food plot planted annually for great dove hunts, which can be abundant in this area being so close to the Colorado River bottomlands with all of its ag fields. The numerous ponds/lakes on the property also provide excellent dove shoots in the evenings over the water.
Ducks are frequent visitors on the numerous lakes in the winter, and of course, there are hogs on the property for hunting out of season.
All of the ponds and lakes are stocked with bass and bluegill and provide excellent fishing.
A small herd of longhorn cattle is run on the ranch. There are ample native grasses to run more cattle should an owner wish to.
The ranch is improved with a barndominium and two casitas that overlook one of the ponds. There is an overarching wooden bridge and dock on the pond that family and friends can enjoy. Just outside the headquarters fence line is a carport/equipment storage area where one can store ranch vehicles, tractors, etc.
The entrance to the ranch, off Highway 71, is of high quality. Past the “El Chaparral” gate is a well-paved road that takes you to the main headquarters.
There are excellent roads throughout the ranch, and most of the perimeter fence is a new high fence just recently completed.
Throughout the ranch lies about 2.5 miles of Cedar Creek. The creek holds water year-round and is mostly considered a “live” creek and the ranch owns both sides of the creek as it runs through the property creating some of the tremendous topography on the ranch.
Groundwater is excellent here and most wells average 150-250 feet deep. The ranch has four existing water wells, three of which are electric (the fourth is used to fill the big lake and run off a generator). The newest water well flows at over 50 gpm.
There are five ponds and lakes on the property. The biggest lake on the ranch is approximately 4.7 acres, nestled in a canyon above Cedar Creek, and has fingers that reach way back into the woods with a large island in the middle, which allows for great adventures kayaking and fishing back in the fingers of the lake. This lake has a water well to keep it full. The second lake is over 2 acres and is a beautiful small lake with a water line run to keep it full. The pond up front by the improvements is over one acre and has a well that runs water through a rock creek into the pond to keep it full and has a fountain in the middle of the pond. The other two ponds on the ranch are also over one acre and stocked with fish.
The ranch has electrical service at the headquarters and there is plenty of electricity run throughout the property.
Thousands of years ago, Indians used to inhabit this region to take advantage of the live water creek. Artifacts such as arrowheads and grinding stones have been found on the ranch.