Outdoors + Nature

Off the Grid

by Sarah Tuff


The hideout: Cibolo Creek Ranch, a working longhorn ranch sprawled across the Chinati and Cienega mountains, near Big Bend National Park.

Low-tech lowdown: We're not sure why the concept of personal space has become so "last century," but Cibolo Creek Ranch brings it back with nearly 47 square miles of luxurious…nothingness. That's an area about the size of San Francisco, which a handful of privacy-seeking travelers share with only the cattle, buffalo, elk, antelope, and camels that roam here. Some things are new since the ranch was founded in 1857—notably a hot tub, swimming pool, and full spa—but there are plenty of things that haven't changed a bit. The 32 guest quarters are divided among three historic forts and adjoining haciendas and come equipped with Saltillo-tiled floors and Mexican blankets—but no phones or radios. Instead, you can watch what the ranchers proudly call the "South Texas TV": a campfire.

Your new "to do" list:
• Go horseback riding, mountain biking, or skeet shooting
• Connect the dots between Cassiopeia, Andromeda, and Pegasus; at night, the stars are piercingly bright against a velvet-black sky
• Consume heaping portions of beef tenderloin hand-rubbed with spices, green enchiladas, and tres leches cake

The road less traveled: File a flight plan to the ranch's 5,300-foot landing strip. Or, fly to El Paso and drive 214 miles southeast. The breathtaking West Texas mountains and Rio Grande will appear around the same time your cell stops working.

Don't forget: A digital SLR camera. Cibolo Creek regularly offers photography seminars to help you capture the crimson mesa and lavender skies—ensuring that your friends will be suitably jealous when you upload the pics to Facebook.

Cibolo Creek Ranch
Tel: 432 229 3737
Doubles from $475, including meals

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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