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Sweeping sunsets, rambling trails, unparalleled access to nature AND dark night skies with one of the lowest light pollution indexes in the US - you'll truly find it all at the X Bar Ranch Nature Retreat.
The X Bar's motto is "our place, your pace." If your pace keeps you in a bit longer in the morning because you tend to marvel at the stars above all night, you'll be right at home here. The X Bar Ranch caters to amateur astronomers with its laid-back atmosphere, dark skies, scenic surroundings and clean and comfortable facilities. Two protected observing fields built specifically for astronomers are also available.

Facilities at the X Bar Ranch are conveniently located away from the light pollution of large cities, but close to small surrounding towns.

Lights out conditions are available every night for viewing the magnificent starry skies above, providing unrivaled opportunities for astronomy and astrophotography. Rounding out the list of provisions for night sky enthusiasts, essentially unlimited power connectivity is available on both of the designated observing fields.

The X Bar Ranch 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.
The X Bar Ranch is the proud host of the annual Eldorado Star Party. If you're interested in renting the ranch for an astronomy themed gathering of your own, please click here for more information.

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  • Limiting visual magnitude on most nights is 6.5 or better
  • The Eldorado Star Party Light Pollution Map shows limiting visual magnitude over 7.1
  • One of the lowest light pollution indexes in the U.S. with a Bortle Sky rating of only 2
  • Excellent viewing conditions regularly rated 4 out of possible 5
  • Regular transparency rated better than 4 out of possible 5
  • Low useable horizon
  • Very low humidity levels, less than 20" of rain annually and our 2,450' elevation make for clear night skies
  • Pleasant overnight temperatures even in the heat of summer - 11:00pm temperatures can be in the 70's even in August 

  • Conveniently located from most Texas urban locations
  • Two protected observing fields specifically built for astronomers
  • Lights 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's time to shut down for the night, you're just steps away from your cozy private cabin.
  • Non-astronomy minded guests (spouses / significan others, traveling companions) will not be disappointed. Flexibility and options to occupy their time about.
  • Currently no astronomical equipment for rent (more details soon).
  • Check our Rent-the-Ranch details for booking your own private star party and take advantage of this exclusive-use opportunity.

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There's something for everyone.