In the remote Big Bend Country of Texas, the Rio Grande defines the border between Mexico and the United States, sweeping down to the southeast from El Paso before turning abruptly northeast. In this rugged Texas outback beneath the Chinati Mountains sits the 30,000-acre Cibolo Creek Ranch, a restored ranch first constructed in the mid-19th century and now reborn as a luxurious fly-in retreat. The privately owned Cibolo Creek Ranch Airport lies about 15 nautical miles northeast of the Mexican border and 31 nm southwest of Marfa Municipal Airport. You’ll need to sign a release before you fly in, and a staff member will pick you up at your ETA and drive you the four miles to the ranch.
But by 1988 when Houston businessman, author, and decorated Vietnam veteran John Poindexter visited the property, many of the buildings had melted into the ground. As Poindexter surveyed the ruins of El Fortin del Cibolo, he became inspired to purchase the entire property and restore the ranch to its former glory. After years of painstaking research that included obtaining photos from the Library of Congress, Poindexter had the adobe bricks re-formed from the original melted bricks at each site and resurrected all three forts. Cibolo Creek Ranch was opened to guests in 1993 and has since hosted entertainment superstars as well as European royalty. The property was briefly in the news when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his room at Cibolo in February of 2016 while on a quail-hunting vacation.
As you approach the ranch, you’ll see that it’s set against a hillside to merge with the landscape. The aquecias, gardens, original dry-stacked stone fences, and courtyards have been rebuilt as they were 150 years ago. Interior furnishings have been reproduced with locally crafted wood and ironwork, based on old photos. Three-hundred-year-old chests, original artwork, down comforters, fluffy robes, an indoor whirlpool, sauna, full-service spa, and fitness facility mix old and new into an intoxicating brew. Other modern conveniences are artfully hidden from view yet leave no comfort spared. Exquisitely crafted meals are served family style to encourage conversations between distinguished guests. Using only the freshest local ingredients, traditional Mexican high cuisine is infused with elements from other continents. And if he is in residence, Poindexter may join his guests.
During your stay you can explore the ranch libraries, museum, and Faver’s restored mausoleum, or discover diverse opportunities outdoors (they’ll pack you a lunch). Complimentary activities include hiking, fishing, paddle-boating, mountain biking, photography, and the evening outdoor fire, usually accompanied by a telescope. Cibolo is a birder’s paradise, with about 450 species in the area, including neotropical migrants. Cibolo is Spanish for buffalo, and they are here, along with Texas longhorns and native deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, wild turkey, quail, and even African and Asian exotics like chukar, blackbuck, oryx, aoudad, and camels. Extra-fee adventures include hunting; guided tours; horseback riding; trap, skeet, and target shooting; archery; stargazing; and seminars. As a pilot, you are privileged to fly in and easily access the remote, historic Cibolo Creek Ranch. Start your adventure now.