Fortress Cliff Ranch

Fortress Cliff Ranch | Texas
Property Types:
Home with Acreage,
Hunting Land for Sale,
Land for Sale,
Ranches for Sale,
Recreational Land

$9,750,000 | 2,014.00 ACRES | UNDER CONTRACT


  • Price: $9,750,000
  • Acreage: 2,014.00
  • ID: 835
  • Location: Canyon, Texas
  • County: Armstrong
  • Second County: Randall
  • Status: Under Contract
Property Description

  We are very excited and honored to offer for sale the Fortress Cliff Ranch. This beautiful property adjoins the Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which encompasses one of the more beautiful portions of the second-largest canyon in the United States.

  The ranch is located predominately along the northern rim of the canyon and shares a boundary with the state park for over five miles. The near vertical walls known as Fortress Cliff give the ranch its namesake.

  The property is fenced and cross fenced into two main pastures, the largest of which contains roughly 1,575 acres. This area contains all the structural improvements with fencing typically consisting of five-strand barbed wire supported by galvanized posts. The remainder of the ranch, about 395 acres, has been high game fenced with fences consisting of 8' wire and galvanized posts. The fences, corners, and gates were very well built and are extremely sturdy. There are some small portions of the ranch that are not fenced along the boundary due to the nature of the topography in this area.

  Some areas of the ranch have been grubbed, with brush selectively sculpted and manicured for wildlife habitat and to create a picturesque setting. As is typical of the area, cover typically consists of mesquite and juniper with soapberry and hackberry trees being relatively common. Native grasses include buffalograss, as well as varieties of grama, bluestem, and tobosa. Grass turf is in very good condition throughout the ranch.

  Elevations on the ranch range from about 3,200' to around 3,500'. A side canyon to the Palo Duro named Tub Springs Draw is the major topographic influence on the property. Tub Springs Draw was named by early-day cowboys for the spring-fed concrete trough located in the canyon. Remnants of this trough are still visible on a trail that descends the canyon.

  The Fortress Cliff Ranch offers panoramic views of the canyon and sunsets that are beyond the scope of one’s imagination. From the ranch, views of The Lighthouse, Brushy Butte, Goodnight Peak, Timber Mesa, Capitol Peak, Capitol Mesa, Castle Peak, and Red Mesa are possible. The Fortress Cliff ascends over 600' from the floor of the canyon, where the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River flows.

  Due to its diverse habitat, Palo Duro Canyon is home to a large variety of wildlife. Rio Grande Turkeys are common, as well as whitetail deer and mule deer, aoudad (Barbary Sheep), coyotes, bobcats, and many species of snakes and lizards. The varied habitat offers good bird watching as well. Golden and Bald Eagles are frequently seen in this area throughout the year along with many migratory species such as dove, geese, sandhill crane, and many varieties of ducks. Native and upland birds include quail, roadrunners, woodpeckers, and many others.

Location and Access

  Access is provided by a very well-maintained county road that dead ends at the ranch gate. Drive time from Amarillo or Canyon would be approximately 35 minutes. There is a municipal airport less than 15 minutes drive from the ranch. The River Falls Airport offers private hangars, fuel, and has a paved strip that is reported to be over 6,000’.

History and Facts

  History of the Palo Duro Canyon - The Palo Duro Canyon is roughly 40 miles long and has an average width of 6 miles but reaches a width of 20 miles in places. The canyon began forming millions of years ago, and in areas is 800' deep. Some of the most spectacular perspectives of the canyon are viewed from the Fortress Cliff.

  People have inhabited Palo Duro Canyon for about 12,000 years. The Clovis and Folsom peoples first lived in the canyon where they hunted large herds of mammoth and bison. Other cultures, such as the Apache, Comanche and Kiowa used the canyon's plentiful resources more recently. American Indian history in this area includes The Battle of Palo Duro Canyon, a significant United States victory during the Red River War, which took place in the canyon just below the current boundaries of the ranch. The battle occurred on September 28, 1874, when several U.S. Army companies under Colonel Mackenzie attacked a large encampment of Plains Indians in Palo Duro Canyon. A historical marker in the state park details the battle.

  History of the Fortress Cliff Ranch - In approximately 2010 the State of Texas offered for sale 2,014 acres of the Fortress Cliff Ranch, which originally contained almost 3,000 acres. The state kept much of the canyon rim to protect views from the state park and to curb development along the upland edges of the park. This sale was widely publicized online and in the news. The state park and the remaining 900-1,000-acre portion that was carved off from the ranch are all easily accessible from the Fortress Cliff Ranch. That said, the Fortress Cliff Ranch is not easily accessible from the state park due to the rugged topography of the canyon.

Water Features

  The ranch is considered to be very well watered. There are at least seven working water wells currently in use on the property, five of which have been drilled and/or reworked in recent years. Three of these wells serve the structural improvements at the ranch headquarters and are piped into the pastures offering a reliable source of water for livestock and wildlife. There are three water wells located inside the high fence game park and one in the pasture. In total, there are currently four solar wells and three electric wells.

  Water that is piped into the pastures to drinking troughs typically overflows to small ponds for wildlife. There are several dams and a playa lake on the property as well.

Hunting  •  Wildlife  •  Recreation

  Due in large part to the shared boundary with the state park, hunting is considered to be outstanding on the property. Impressive whitetail and trophy mule deer frequent the ranch, as well as massive aoudad. There are several hunting blinds and wildlife feeders distributed on the ranch. Feed, cover, and reliable sources of water are available to wildlife year-round on the ranch.

  The 395-acre high fenced game park allows hunting opportunities year-round for exotic wildlife. Trophy whitetail deer inhabit this area as well. There are approximately 65 whitetail with quality genetics and a buck-to-doe ratio close to 1:1, as well as aoudad, axis deer, gemsbuck, and blackbuck.

  Two fully lit clay pigeon courses have been installed at the ranch. A skeet and trap course with fully electronic throwers is located near the lodge. Another fully lit course is located near Tub Springs Draw, using topographic relief to enhance the shooting experience. This area has a rifle range with silhouettes out to 1,000 yards.


  The ranch has been very well improved, and the structures were well built. The main house was constructed in the 1940’s and has been added onto over the years. This impressive home is constructed of stone with stucco exterior, metal roof, and contains five bedrooms, an office, and seven baths, with the focal point being an immense double-sided stone fireplace. Two additional stone fireplaces serve the house as well. The kitchen offers marble countertops along with Viking and other quality appliances. Large wood beams and native stone are used throughout the house along with a mixture of saltillo tile and wood floors.

  The master bed and bath offer a beautiful tile shower with a glass door, double vanity, and nearby laundry. Two of the guest bathrooms offer deep clawfoot soaking tubs, and tile showers with glass doors and are plumbed for a stackable washer/dryer. The trophy room has 30’ vaulted ceilings and an indoor balcony overlooking a beautiful part of the ranch. A wet bar with bookshelves, a stone bar top, an ice maker, and a dishwasher makes entertaining a breeze. The patio with flagstone, outdoor stereo, built-in grill, and beautifully landscaped yard completes the package.

  The “barn” as it is affectionately known to the family, serves as the ranch lodge. This impressive structure was very well built and contains four bedrooms and two full bathrooms, each offering tile showers with glass doors, one-half bath, a large kitchen with granite counters, a large island, a gas stove with vented hood, and plenty of space to cook for many guests. The focal point of the lodge is the massive rock fireplace. The southwest side of the barn has a large, covered patio, while the east side is a shop/workroom, complete with an underground storm shelter.

  Both the home and lodge are very tastefully furnished and nearly all the furnishings along with much of the decorations are offered with the sale of the ranch. The entire headquarters area is very nicely landscaped with native trees and plants and was designed for low maintenance. The landscaping and the trees along the lane are all on an irrigation system. Maintenance and pride of ownership are very apparent throughout the ranch, and especially in the beautiful lodge and owner’s home.

  Both structures have large water storage reservoirs to service them in case of emergency. These storages are in good working condition and are maintained. Additionally, crushed granite material was hauled in from South Texas for use in the driveways, parking areas and landscaped flower beds. This material minimizes dust and keeps roads in good condition around the headquarters.

  There is a set of livestock pens, stalls, and a bunkhouse located just west of the headquarters.

Resources  •  Conservation

  The ranch was purchased by The State of Texas in around 2010. Around that time a perpetual conservation easement was placed on the property, held by TPWD, to ensure that the land’s important wildlife conservation values are protected and to protect views from the park and land owned by the state. This easement, which has been in effect since the ranch was sold by the state, is considered to be non-intrusive by the seller.

  The easement prohibits subdivision of the ranch into tracts under 500 acres and restricts construction to two additional homes, two additional outbuildings, and one additional barn or stable. No commercial renewable energy may be produced, and any oil/gas extraction must be in accordance with TPWD guidelines.

  A copy of the conservation easement is on file with the broker and can be provided.

Price  •  Remarks

  The Fortress Cliff Ranch is very realistically offered at $9,750,000. The home and lodge are fully furnished, with the seller removing the taxidermy and only a handful of other personal items. Several Polaris UTVs and other ranch vehicles, a four-wheel drive John Deere tractor, skid loader, working attachments and farm/ranch implements, walk-in cooler, hunting blinds and feeders, and many other items will remain with the ranch and are included in the asking price.

Broker Comments

  The Fortress Cliff Ranch is a one-of-a-kind offering that could not be replicated for the asking price. This remarkable place offers everything that a sportsman or recreation buyer could desire.

  I am proud to offer this property for sale and I’d love to show it to you. Please contact me for more information.

Charlie Middleton   •   (806) 786-0313

Charlie Middleton

Property Summary

Activities & Amenities
  • Cabins/Lodge
    Conservation Easement
    Food Plots
    Game Proof Fence
    Rural Water
    Stock Tank
    Water Well
    Wildlife Feeders
    Work Shop
  • Dove
    Mule Deer
    Whitetail Deer
  • Hay
  • Cattle
Land Details
  • Total Acres: 2,014.00
  • Zoning: Agricultural
  • Topography: Rolling
Building Details
  • Homes: 2
  • Bedrooms: 6+