Recently, James Bigley talked about the biggest ranches in the world. There’s been so much talk about the Yellowstone ranch and a spinoff, the 6666 ranch, I wanted to know more about the largest ranches in Texas.
95% of land in Texas is privately owned, and it’s on some of the largest plots of privately owned land that cattle ranching is still a source of income for many people. So Agribusiness is a very lucrative business.
Though most native Texans have at least visited small, subsistence ranches at some point in their lives, I’m not talking about your grandfather’s 40 acres here. Instead, the ranches on this list are fully functioning, profitable livestock and oil operations spanning hundreds of thousands of acres. From San Antonio to Houston, the Texas Hill Country to Fort Worth, incredible ranches dot the expansive Texas landscape. The combined square footage of the ten biggest Texas ranches reaches over four million acres or nearly 7,000 square miles.
Here’s a list of the largest ranches in Texas
10. Jones Family Ranch – 255,000 acres
Located on the South Texas coast near Corpus Christi, the Jones family ranches were founded by W. W. Jones in 1897 on land that had been part of the Las Animas Spanish Land Grant. The working ranch’s real estate still holds structures dating back to the Spanish/Mexican colonial era. The ranches produce oil and welcome guests to stay on the lands’ main ranch house, still run by the Jones Family after six generations.
9. The Four Sixes Ranch – 275,000 acres
Formerly owned by Anne Marion, the great-granddaughter of the four sixes hunting ranch founder Samuel “Burk” Burnett, the Burnett ranches have been operational since 1868. The ranch has three locations across West Texas and in the panhandle, growing from 100 head of cattle into one of the biggest ranches in the state. The massive property recently purchased by Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan plans to use his new land as the filming location and subject of his upcoming Yellowstone spinoff series.
8. Kokernot Heirs (06 Ranch) – 278,000 acres
The Kokernot family has been ranching in Texas since the Republic formed in 1836. The 06 brand was registered the subsequent year, and the Kokernot heirs are still operating the ranch today. Located in West Texas near Alpine and Fort Davis, the 06 Ranch runs a cow-calf operation and offers hunting leases and excursion services. Over the years, the ranch has also served as a filming location for various westerns and commercials.
7. Nunley Brothers – 301,500 acres
Headquartered near Sabinal, Texas, the Nunley brothers’ ranch lands reach from South Texas up to the Hill Country and out West toward Alpine. The brothers run a sizeable cow-calf operation of the Santa Gertrudis breed. The Nunley brothers’ grandfather, Red Nunley, started the operation over 70 years ago and partnered with Dolph Briscoe Senior to breed his herd.
6. Longfellow Ranch – 350,000 acres
Owned by SandRidge Energy founder Malone Mitchell III, the legendary but ailing Longfellow ranches have become a hunting paradise. Hunters can venture out to the Big Bend region to hunt elk and mule deer, which roam free on the over three hundred thousand acres ranch.
5. Hughes Ranch – 390,000 acres
While much of the Hughes ranch is for personal use, the family also sells cattle and hunting leases. Dan Allen Hughes Senior made the Hughes fortune in oil and gas. His son, Dan Allen Hughes Junior, has served the state of Texas as a commissioner and later a chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
4. O’Connor Family Ranches – 500,000 acres
Irishman Tom O’Connor showed up in Texas flat-broke and died a multimillionaire. Based in the South Texas coastal region, the O’Connor Ranch is home to the Tom O’Connor field, an oil field that has made its owners wealthier than even their forebears could imagine. The O’Connor family has been very civically involved in South Texas. One heir, T. Michael O’Connor, is serving as the Sheriff of Victoria County.
3. Waggoner Ranch – 535,000 acres
Though. LA Rams owner Stan Kroenke bought the legendary North Texas ranch; it still ranks as number three on our list for its sheer size and thriving cattle and oil operations. In addition, the W.T. Waggoner Ranch is a part of Texas heritage. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, a representative for the Waggoner family stated in part, “We are confident that Stan will be a great steward of the Waggoner legacy going forward.” Kroenke also owns a ranch in Montana.
2. Briscoe Ranches – 640,000 acres
What would eventually become one of Texas’s most prominent and storied ranches began in 1910 when Dolph Briscoe Senior founded the Briscoe Ranch near Uvalde, Texas. His son and heir, Dolph Briscoe Jr., would go on to not only expand the wealth of the ranch itself but eventually hold office first as a Representative in the Texas Legislature and then as the Governor of the state of Texas from 1973 to 1979.
1. King Ranch – 825,000 acres – the largest ranches in Texas
As is implied in the oh-so-appropriate name, the King ranch reigns as the indisputable king of Texas ranches. If you aren’t already familiar with Kingsville, and King Ranch Chicken Casserole, the highly recognizable running W brand has even been granted its line of Ford pickup trucks. With over nine hundred thousand acres, the King ranch spans much of South Texas from Corpus Christi to Brownsville. Founded only eight years after Texas was admitted to the Union by Richard King, the ranch is still thriving today.