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Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)

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Offline dillomaster

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Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)
« on: April 28, 2013, 08:38:57 PM »
Crawford-Smith Ranch

It is said all good things must come to end - and this is true of the modern day Fresno Canyon "road." Approximately 9 miles from the Park Road you will reach the official "end of the road."  If you desire to travel any further it will be on foot, bike or horseback.  But if you make it this far you will be rewarded with a fascinating archeological site, the Crawford-Smith Ranch.  Inhabited as recently as 1946, all that remains of this ranch are a few abandoned buildings in various states of decline and other relics from the site's ranching history.  The older structures have been reduced to piles of adobe rubble, while the "newer" structures are still under roof and can be safely explored.

Today it is hard to imagine this area as a viable goat ranch surrounded by gardens and groves of citrus trees.  Water, of course, was the lifeblood of the establishment.  There are still remains of a fairly sophisticated irrigation system the brought water down from a hillside spring to a man-made reservoir  and then distributed throughout the ranch.  I've seen pictures of the residents swimming in the reservoir - what a treat that must have been on a hot day!  The ranch was also located on the "road" from Marfa to Lajitas. It is hard to imagine traveling through this rugged country in the back of a wagon, but as recently as the mid-60s the road was shown on travel maps as a route to Lajitas.

In an area where shade is at a premium the ranch has a grove of trees perfect for a  lunch break or rest stop.  The hillside spring is still active and seems to be a reliable water source.  I've visited on three separate occasions and it has always been flowing. (Of course out here you should never rely on any spring to be flowing!)

Although the ranch is only about 13 miles from the Sauceda Station, plan on at least 1.5 hours each way for the trip.  The road can be very rough and there is plenty to see - so take your time and enjoy!

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2013, 09:53:52 PM »
More great info! Thanks.
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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BigBendHiker

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Re: Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2013, 06:12:17 AM »
Great trip report and pictures.  Thanks, Dillomaster!

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2013, 05:45:35 PM »
Neat pics and story.  On my list now ;)

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Offline jim2

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Re: Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2013, 09:23:30 PM »
thanks for the inside scoop on the state park. appreciate the posts.

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Online alan in shreveport

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Re: Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2013, 10:20:26 PM »
Nice report and pics. I haven't spent much time in the Ranch - how bad is the road to the Crawford-Smith ranch ? Worse than Old Ore ? Looks like a interesting place to visit.

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Offline dillomaster

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Re: Crawford-Smith Ranch (At the end of the road)
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 10:30:24 PM »
Thanks!  The road is definitely no worse than Old Ore.  There are some rough spots on the way down into the canyon, but once you get down to the creek bed you can run almost all the way down on sand/gravel.  The old "road" cuts back and forth across the creek bed - and in parts is very rough.  One area has been closed due to a wash out - forcing you to drive in the bed.

4x4 is definitely advised as the sand can grab you.  And I'd keep the speeds reasonable - every time I get going a little fast some invisible rock pops up out of nowhere to surprise me!  It is definitely a nice drive - great views of the west side of the Solitario.

 


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