Bear Man Bluff Ranch - Hardin County, Silsbee, TX
Hidden along the banks of the Neches River on a historic high point is Bear Man Bluff Ranch. The stewards of this ranch have transformed the land into an idyllic family retreat that features the highest end of the authentic Texas ranch lifestyle. The main lodge sits overlooking the river, surrounded by massive oaks and cypress trees. Sitting on the porch carries owners and guests to a simpler time while offering extensive comfort and convenience. Miles of trails, a beautiful bass lake, a river fishing dock, and multiple other amenities make this ranch one of the finest offerings to be found in Texas. Being surrounded by the Big Thicket National Reserve and huge timber tracts make this one of the more peaceful and quiet ranches I have been on in Texas.
The ranch is located 6 miles north of Silsbee, Texas and is located at the end of the road for the ultimate in privacy.
Topography, Rangeland & Habitat
Bear Man Bluff Ranch is a place where multiple habitats converge; from longleaf pine forests, cypress-filled bayous, and hardwood bottomlands. The mixture of tree species is incredible, dominated by tremendous cypress and red oaks, but includes other old-growth trees on the ranch such as water oaks, elms, dogwoods, magnolias, gum and pine, just to name a few.
The surrounding properties are primarily large wooded tracts and no other structures are visible off of the property. Across the Neches river, the land is all part of thousands of acres of the Big Thicket National Preserve.
Approximately 180 acres of the ranch have had most of the understory removed to create a park-like setting with large trees and good grasses. The northern half of the ranch has remained relatively untouched and is dominated by pines and thicker brush creating a privacy boundary and refuge for wildlife.
White-tailed deer are abundant on the property and during the winter months, it is a haven for migrating ducks finding refuge amongst the flooded timber. Eagles and ospreys are common in the area and a multitude of shore birds make their home here. Other wildlife includes hogs, predators and many species of songbirds.
The main lodge at Bear Man Bluff Ranch is a custom Western Heritage-style lodge, using large-scale elements with expansive decks and cypress beams. The lodge is positioned on the bluff overlooking the river and forest. The great hall in the lodge is a combination of a living room and dining room with towering ceilings and exposed beams and ducts creating a dramatic setting. The room includes a large custom dining table, a large stone fireplace, and a unique wooden bar. Next to the great hall is a full kitchen with a gas stove, island layout, and fine granite table tops. Accessed from the outside are three spacious bedrooms with full baths that all lead out to outdoor porches. All the bedrooms are impeccably furnished, and the bathrooms have decorative sinks and fixtures. Note; the housing on the property did NOT flood during Harvey.
The similarly constructed two-story second house is next to the main lodge. Upon entry downstairs is a spacious dining and living area connecting four downstair bedrooms each with its own full bath. A fully equipped kitchen includes all updated appliances and a breakfast bar. Just outside the living space is a covered porch which is the main entrance to the downstairs quarters. Upstairs is accessed by stairs on the outside of the building and includes two spacious bedrooms with full baths and is centered by a living area with a small kitchen.
The grounds surrounding the two main structures are beautifully fenced and include a 5,000 sf outdoor pavilion with a historic large fireplace (this restored fireplace was from an original structure that had been built on the property many years ago), a built-in grill, television and stereo system. A large dock overlooking the river has classic wooden furniture and a fire pit for romantic evenings on the water. There is also a two-car garage with upstairs storage located just outside of the compound.
Other improvements include;
- guest house/manager’s house separated from the main compound.
- full barn and shop with 200 amp service.
- skeet range with two Lincoln throwers on a tower.
- fenced-in orchard with irrigation.
- three bay cedar constructed boat house.
- concrete boat ramp to the river.
- immaculate granite roads throughout the property.
The equipment to operate the property includes bulldozers, tractors w/ implements, an excavator, a dump truck, a tree spade and dozens of smaller implements and tools.
The property also includes the requisite ranch toys such as golf carts, canoes, boats and other equipment to keep the entire family enjoying the great outdoors.
The property lies on the bank of the Neches River and a tributary known as Bear Man Lake. Running through the middle of the property is Little Black Creek forming the environment for the hundreds of large cypress trees on the property.
A 4-acre trophy bass lake on the property includes a fishing dock, and boat ramp and has been stocked with Coppernose Bluegill, Redear Sunfish, and a mixture of pure-strain Florida bass and F-1 hybrids.
A 250’ deep water well provides all of the water for the homes, irrigation and keeping the bass lake full.
Electric service is conveniently located on the property with many of the lines buried to retain the open feel of the ranch.
Bear Mans Bluff is a known high point along the Neches River that was originally settled before the Civil War and was utilized as a harbor for trade with boats moving up and down the river. Steamboats would dock at the bluff to exchange fuel wood for various sundries and goods from traders who traveled the Old Spanish Trail which crossed the river nearby.
During the Civil War, the property was known to harbor mystery men who kept hidden but commonly left out bear meat for the steamboat captains who would leave bread, bacon and other staples. These men became known as the “bear men” and ultimately the area became Bear Mans Bluff.
In the early 20th century, the property was used as a ferry point to cross the river and was a busy port until it was later moved further downstream. Afterward, it became a recreational property known for its high point off of the river and several old lodges were built for entertaining many guests.