TUCKED IN THE yucca-spiked southwestern corner of the Lone Star State, in the town of Lajitas, this remote 25,000-acre property on the Rio Grande is part dude ranch, part border town. Owner Steve Smith opened Lajitas: The Ultimate Hideout in November 2002 and has been offering his guests outlaw adventure and rugged luxury ever since. Learn to shoot a holstered gun, rope a calf, spot roadrunners, and then indulge in a margarita body polish at the Agavita Spa. It's truly cowboy countrygone soft.
ROOM & BOARD: The 92 rooms strike a balance between classic Tex-Mexadobe walls, timbered beds, leather armchairs, a rack of antlersand modern luxe, with Jacuzzis, feather-light duvets, and soft robes. Candelilla Café serves a mean tortilla soup on the patio, while the showcase Ocotillo Restaurant serves up gourmet Texan fare like rattlesnake cakes and trout glazed with a prickly pear cactus sauce. After dinner, listen to Cowboy Doug croon at Lajitas's Thirsty Goat Saloon.
OUT THE BACK DOOR: There's a 26-mile network of sinuous singletrackthe Más o Menos 100K mountain-bike challenge is held here in February. For a guaranteed good time, try Fun Valley, with tight turns and creekbeds, and El Contrabando. At the Equestrian Center, saddle up Luzy (a nod to Pancho Villa's wife) for a ride to Stargazer Mesa, then take a float down the Rio Grande. For a bigger excursion, head to neighboring Big Bend National Park for a backcountry hike.
DETAILS: Doubles from $215; 877-525-4827, www.lajitas.com