Traveling in the Big Bend, among the remnants of Texas’ frontier past, it’s easy to spend an afternoon imagining life a hundred years ago. Little has changed across this rambling desert and, fortunately for history enthusiasts, many of the relics from Big Bend’s pioneer days have been rescued and restored. One such haunt, Fort Leaton State Historic Site, presides over southern Presidio County from its perch above the Rio Grande River valley. The site with its sprawling, forty room adobe compound is located three miles east of Presidio on FM 170. Managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife, the site serves as the westernmost entrance to Big Bend Ranch State Park. The Fort and its generous grounds also provide the ideal setting for visualizing the arc of drama that defined the region over the past century and a half. Fort Leaton, built for business rather than as a military fortification, served as the region’s major trading post for most of the mid 1800’s. Its known history, a string of events ranging from adventure to murder, include fortunes made and lives taken in the process, making for a lively tale worthy of a Larry McMurtry saga. Today, self-guided tours of Fort Leaton include an excellent interpretive exhibition complete with original artifacts and handsome reproductions, and even highlights a few of the scandalous details.
Adult (Peak Season): $5 Daily, (Non-Peak): $3 Daily, Child 12 Years and Under: Free