On the Cover: Dagger Flats Ranch

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Dagger Flats Ranch is featured in the Summer 2022 issue of Texas LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.

At 120,444± acres, Dagger Flats Ranch, located in Brewster County, is a ruggedly beautiful expanse of elbow room and opportunity. The ranch, situated between Marathon and the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, spans 26 miles from north to south and 22 miles east to west..

An easy 30-minute drive south of the famed Gage Hotel in Marathon takes you to the ranch, where adventure awaits. The south end of Dagger Flats fronts on Dove Mountain Road, just north of the Persimmon Gap entrance to Big Bend National Park. It is a working cattle and hunting ranch that is leased by several neighbors, which generates income and provides management options. 

While impressive in its own right, Dagger Flats just one portion of a 420,000-acre contiguous block of land that is for sale by the same owner. Over time, the current owner amassed and assembled more than 20 historic ranches to create this massive holding, which is now being offered as seven individual properties. 

Collectively, the seven ranches make up the largest fee-owned ranch complex currently for sale in the nation. This is an unprecedented opportunity to combine adjoining ranches and tailor-make a property to the exact scope and scale you want in one of the last truly wild landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert.


Dagger Flats showcases the diverse landscape of North America’s largest desert. Within its fence lines, you will find desert flats, craggy draws and mountains along with rolling land characteristic of the western Edwards Plateau as well as some of the most scenic canyons in North America. 

Elevation ranges from 2,700± feet near Dove Mountain Road to 5,150± feet in the Shely Peaks. Notable geological features include Pine Mesa, Cupola Mountain, Yellow House Peak, and Maravillas Canyon just to name a few. Pine Mesa, nestled within the Pine Mountains and dotted with namesake pinyon pines, offers some of the most majestic overlooks in the entire region. 

Changing elevation and topography means diverse plant life. The mixed vegetation, which reflects the conditions of mid- to lower Chihuahuan Desert, includes dagger, yucca, lechuguilla, creosote, catclaw, javelina bush, mariola, sotol, ocotillo, and cholla. In the springtime, the bright bursts of desert blooms are as striking as any of the other wildflower displays in the far-flung corners of Texas. 

Grasses such as chino grama, red grama, bear grass and sideoats grama provide forage. Brush and tree species include hackberry, willow, cottonwood and persimmon, while oaks and pines add majesty in the higher elevations and draws.

Dagger Flats Ranch was assembled by combining four ranches: Dove Mountain, San Francisco Creek, West Slaughter, and Bear Creek. In completing this assemblage, several ranches remain as inholdings within the larger boundary of the Dove Mountain Ranch and are operated as separate ownerships. Fencing and locked gates help minimize the impacts from these inholdings and the current owner continues to acquire these tracts as they become available. Dove Mountain Road is a private road that accesses several neighbors, but it is not a public road.


Water is the lifeblood of the land, especially in the desert. San Francisco Creek, arguably the ranch’s major hydrologic artery, is located on the property’s north end, where it meanders through the ranch for about 16 miles. 

One segment, stretching for about five miles, provides year-round live water in the shade of the cottonwood gallery forests that line both banks. The combination of live water, cooling shade and riparian vegetation—a rarity in this parched region—is a magnet for wildlife of all sizes.

In the spring and fall, desert streams like San Francisco Creek are migration highways for birds, bats and butterflies taking advantage of the riparian habitat. The wildlife watching here is unsurpassed.

Three shallow submersible wells, positioned along San Francisco Creek and powered by electricity, make it possible to pipe the abundant, high-quality water for miles. Other submersible wells, solar-powered wells and windmills are positioned throughout the property as are numerous water troughs and water storage tanks so that water is readily accessible to livestock and wildlife.


Desert bighorn sheep, extirpated from the Trans Pecos in the 1960s, are making a comeback. Boasting prime wild sheep habitat, Dagger Flats, which already has a huntable population, can become a stronghold for the monarchs of the mountains. Highly sought-after desert bighorn sheep permits, awarded by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, are issued for the ranch. Just last year, an immense 14-year-old ram was harvested here.

A herd of Rock Mountain elk roam the Pine Mountains and a valley just north of the ranch’s Chaney Headquarters. Mule deer are spread over the ranch. Javelina, aoudad, mountain lion and the occasional black bear add to the diversity of the wildlife and the wonder of watching it.

Birds abound. Raptors, songbirds, grassland birds and gamebirds such as blue (scaled) quail, Gambel’s quail, mourning dove and white-wing dove call Dagger Flats home.


In the rugged Trans Pecos, ranches historically cluster their improvements in one or more headquarters. Dagger Flats Ranch follows that tradition. 

The Chaney Headquarters is the ranch’s hub and heart. The Chaney (Main) House, a five-bedroom, four-bath custom home, built around a central courtyard, reflects the warmth and welcome of the Southwest. Designed in the 1960s, the style is inspired by the region’s haciendas and features saltillo tile, massive custom doors and wood finishes. 

The expansive floor plan includes a formal dining room as well as a game room, so entertaining family and friends is easy. A four-zone heating and cooling system keeps the home comfortable in all weather. People are drawn to the front porch and decks to soak up the unsurpassed views that seem to change with the light. 

The Headquarters Complex below the Chaney House combines adobe, brick and stucco to create a look in harmony with the landscape. It is designed to provide several separate living quarters; three have kitchens, baths and bedrooms. 

To make access easy, the ranch also has a substantial, well-designed gravel airstrip. A huge metal hangar/workshop with powered folding doors is situated nearby. It has been used as a manufacturing facility in the past, but its size can accommodate several planes. Wide concrete aprons that extend to the airstrip create an excellent equipment storage and workspace. 

In addition, the Chaney Headquarters is the site of a workshop, barn and several working outbuildings as well as the ranch’s primary set of pipe livestock working pens. 

The Bear Creek Headquarters is located north of Dove Creek Road within the rolling limestone hills and canyons. Its name comes from the fact that the small private complex, which includes a barn, garage and several other outbuildings, is built along Bear Creek. The main house, which features a large front porch, is currently used as a hunting cabin. 

The Slaughter Cabin, an adobe cabin that is in need of repair, sits on one of the most spectacular locations in all of West Texas. Perched on a hill above the live water segment of San Francisco Creek, the cabin’s porch overlooks the cottonwood-lined creek to the stunning views of Shely Peaks. 

As large holdings become harder to find, Dagger Flats Ranch is an incredible opportunity to claim an expanse of Texas’ legendary elbow room for yourself.

120,444 Acres
Brewster County, Texas
View on LandsofAmerica.com

James King Agent • Harrison King Agent • Tammy King Broker 
432-426-2024 • Info@KingLandWater.com 


  • LAND Magazines are the publications for people who love land—buying it, selling it, analyzing it or just reading about it. Find out more at www.land.com/magazines.

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