P.O. Box 696 Eldorado, TX 76936

Phone: 325-853-2688


Our Place, Your Pace – If your pace keeps you in bed a little longer in the morning because you were taking in the magnificent skies all night, you’ll be right at home here. For dark skies, a laid back atmosphere, scenic surroundings, and clean and comfortable facilities, look no further than the X Bar Ranch Nature Retreat.

We cater to amateur astronomers. X Bar Ranch has two protected observing fields specifically built to meet the needs of individuals or groups of astronomers.

This astronomy destination is an ideal refuge for anyone wanting to view the natural splendor of a dark Texas sky. Lighting concerns have been addressed for everyone from serious amateur astronomers to casual star gazers at the Live Oak Lodge & Cabins and at the Round House. We’re open year round for viewing pleasure during all seasons. Except for an occasional cloudy night, our exceptional dark skies put on an exhilarating nightly performance.

Proud host of the Eldorado Star Party


Characteristics of our skies:

  • Limiting visual magnitude on most nights is easily 6.5 or better; the Eldorado Star Party Light Pollution Map show limiting visual magnitude over 7.1
  • We have one of the lowest light pollution indexes in the U.S. with a Bortle Sky rating of only 2
  • We regularly have excellent seeing conditions rated at 4 out of a possible 5
  • Regular transparency that is rated better than 4 out of possible 5
  • The low usable horizon at X Bar Ranch is a very attractive feature
  • The combination of our 2,450′ elevation and our west central Texas location affords observers nights with very low humidity levels, receive less than 20″ of rain annually
  • Pleasant overnight temperatures even in heat of summer, 11 pm temperatures can be in the 70′s even in August

Characteristics of our facilities:

  • Conveniently located from most Texas urban locations
  • Two protected observing fields specifically built for astronomers
  • Light out conditions available every night for viewing and astrophotography on two separate flat grassy fields
  • Essentially unlimited power connectivity available on both fields
  • The field behind the Live Oak Lodge & Cabins provides quick access to those facilities for warming up in cooler months, quick access to drinks and snacks or for a quick nap. And once it is time to shut down for the night, you’re just steps away from your cozy private cabin.
  • Non-astronomy minded guests (spouses/significant others, traveling companions) will not be disappointed . Flexibility and options to occupy their time abound.
  • Currently no astronomical equipment for rent (more details forthcoming).
  • Check our Rent-the-Ranch details for booking your own private star party and take advantage of this exclusive-use opportunity.