Gal on the Go: Wildcatter Ranch in North Texas Hill Country

This weekend I’m just outside the small town of Graham, at the Wildcatter Ranch set in the North Texas Hill Country overlooking the Brazos River Valley. While our group of travel writers was greeted with rain on our arrival last night, we woke to a glorious, sunny, spring morning. Truly we could not have asked for better weather (not too hot, not too humid) for exploring the ranch and the nearby town of Graham.

While Wildcatter is a working ranch, in that it does raise and sell some cattle, the 1,500-acre property caters much less to cows, more to tourists. At the guest ranch, visitors find beautifully appointed suites in Western decor, a myriad of activities for all ages (including horseback riding, of course), a top-notch steakhouse and stunning hilly scenery. In the short 28 hours I’ve been here, I:

  • Ate some of the yummiest peppery ribs, tender beef tenderloin, Parmesan potatoes, crab cakes and bread pudding I’ve ever had in my life (all washed down with Texas wine at the Wildcatter Steakhouse)
  • Fed longhorn cattle, including one Big Boy with horns spanning an impressive 98 inches (the third biggest rack in Texas)
  • Went clay shooting. (I think I hit 4 out of 8 birds; not bad for having held a shotgun twice in my life.)
  • Found out what it’s like to be a professional bullfighter. That’s bullfighter, not bull rider — aka “rodeo clowns” (though that’s pejorative, I”m told). The profession involves a lot of broken bones and ACL surgeries.
  • Ate chicken fried chicken at the down-home Dinner Bell Diner, owned by three moms who run the comfort-food restaurant Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. so they can spend afternoons, evenings and weekends with their families. (How cool is that? And where else in the world can you find homemade desserts — including fabulous Peach Crunch with vanilla ice cream — for $2.25 a pop?)
  • Got made fun of for being a Yankee who didn’t know chicken fried chicken came with gravy. (Duh.)
  • Decided that I love being called ma’am. Especially by congenial cowboys.
  • Got a marvelous massage, during which I fell asleep having my feet rubbed. Heaven.
  • Hiked by myself for an hour, during which I saw two snakes scurrying away in the grass, spotted the Longhorn Tree and admired the expansive view of the murky red-brown Brazos River (looked nearly identical to the chocolate river in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory).

And that’s all in just a little over a day! Tomorrow’s agenda includes horseback riding and shopping around the town square in Graham. My plan is to spend some of the afternoon exploring more of the hiking trails that wind their way through the vast property. I’ll devote future posts to detailing more of the fabulous offerings at the Wildcatter Ranch, but for now, enjoy some of my favorite photos from our day:

Big Boy and his 98-inch horn span is a main attraction at Wildcatter Ranch.

This is one of those "Don't ask" situations.

Longhorn Tree alongside the "Red Trail" at Wildcatter Ranch.

Doesn't travel writer Nancy D. Brown look like she's channeling Dirty Harry? (She hit 4 out of 4 birds. Star.)

Vintage wall art at the Dinner Bell Cafe in Graham, Texas.

Texas Bluebonnets

Bluebonnets in bloom in front of the Wildcatter Steakhouse.

4 Comments on "Gal on the Go: Wildcatter Ranch in North Texas Hill Country"

  1. Hi, just found your blog…love it. The trip to Wildcatter Ranch sounds fabulous, looks like a lot of fun and the food sounds delicious. You sure did a lot in just over a day. I will be back to visit again:)

  2. Great post, Kara. Just reading about your activities is making me tired. Thaanks for sharing your Longhorn Tree discovery. I think kids will LOVE climbing this tree! I did.

  3. looks like a great adventure.. Nex time your travels take you to Montana.. you should stay at our B&B… farm country complete with horses, cattle, hiking trails.. even a shooting range

    happy travels

  4. Archery is an age old game that requires lots of practice and focus if you want to excel on it. “”*

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