Tarrant County High Point Trip Report

Burnout Hill (970 ft)

Date: August 16, 2002
Author: Daniel Smith

To finish off my first full day of county highpointing, I decided to complete my home area. This is not really an easy task, as there are 11 possible highpoints. The three owners that you must talk to, however, are extremely friendly and helpful. The highest marked elevation on the topo is 966 feet, but as I soon found out, this spot is likely not Tarrant County's actual highpoint.

I began at about 3:00 p.m. with the southern points and slowly worked my way northward. Before beginning in this area, it is helpful to use the BM 923 where the road crosses the railroad tracks to verify that your altimeter is reading properly. The easiest point to get to is along the Tarrant/Parker border where it crosses the train tracks. At least this is what the map says. I found that the actual county border (the representation on the map does say approximate, after all) is further west than what the map says (there is a concrete marker along the south fence bordering the road). This does not impact the highpoint currently in question, however, if the difference is off by enough, there could actually be a 970-foot or even a 980-foot contour line in Tarrant County that isn't reflected by the USGS map. I plan on doing some more research on this to see if my hunch is correct. Nevertheless, the small hill close to the Walch Ranch entrance shows a reading of 968 feet (the top of the hill was likely man-made).

Next, I proceeded to the Veale Ranch, which is home to 4 more potential highpoints. Mr. & Mrs. Rusty and Karen Brown were probably the nicest people that I met all day. I found out that they were TCU (my alma mater) graduates in 1969, both with B.S. Degrees in Geology. Rusty took me out in his pickup to the various spots on the map, and he was pretty knowledgeable about both the area's elevation and the county line markers. The last spot we came to provided some more drama in my search for Tarrant's roof. Currently, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, the maximum contour line in this county is 960 feet, however the reading I took at the southernmost hill yielded from 969 to 978 feet (I think the highest results were influenced by the wind reaching the instrument on my Suunto X6, though). Until further research can be done, I am listing the elevation of this point as 970 feet since this is the highest possible elevation without a 970 feet contour line (similar to Comanche Peak's 1230-foot elevation in Hood County).

The third area that I visited was the Walch Ranch. This area is home to 5 potential areas, three of which are on the border between Tarrant and Parker. The northernmost of these three is of particular interest to me because of the possible border mistake on the topo map. I need to do some further research, but if the county border lies on or west of 97° 32' 59" W, then there is a spot where the 970-foot contour ventures into Tarrant County! When I drove up onto the unpaved driveway, I saw a person in a red pickup truck locking the gate and preparing to leave. I approached him as I would any owner, introducing myself and asking for permission, but he informed me that he was only the gardener, and that Mr. And Mrs. Soules wouldn't be back until late that evening. I thanked him for helping me, and watch as he drove away over the hill into Parker County. A less risk-averse individual might have taken advantage of this opportunity, but I simply drove away to return at another time.

To round out my tour of Tarrant County's highest points, I needed to visit the accepted high point at 966 feet above sea level on the Tannahill Ranch Partnership. Mrs. Wynne and her foreman, Romeo Escobedo, were more than happy to take me to the spot, which was marked by protruding steel rebar. Mrs. Wynne explained that her brother, an engineer who resides in Houston, came once and established that the elevation was actually 966.5 feet. Gotta love perfectionist engineers!

Driving Directions to tenth area of 11: Beginning in Fort Worth, TX, go west on SW Loop 820 toward Benbrook. Take Exit 429-A (US 377) southwest toward Granbury. After passing through most of Benbrook, turn right (northwest) onto FM 2871. Turn left (west) onto Aledo Road after a railroad crossing. Again crossing the railroad tracks (BM 923), continue west to the county line. This spot is central to the 10 HPs in the area. If you pull off by the entrance to the Walch Ranch (the right (north) unpaved road after the railroad track crossing), you are actually feet away from one of the highpoints (the hill above the railroad track). The entrance to the Veal Ranch is further west into Parker Co. and is marked by the red cattle guard on your left (south).

Driving Directions to 11th area: Beginning in Fort Worth, TX, go west on SW Loop 820 toward Benbrook. Continue on I-820 west past I-20 and I-30. Take Exit 5A (Clifford Street) - Turn left (west) under I-820 W. Continue west where Clifford become White Settlement Road. Continue to the last left (south) unpaved road before Cattle Baron Road. Continue to the first ranch house along the road. This is Mrs. Wynne's residence. Talk to her or foreman Romeo Escobedo (who lives in the house to the southwest) for permission.

Owner Contacts: Burnout Hill (970 ft), Point 963 ft, South Point 962 ft N, South Point 962 ft S: Veale Ranch, Mr. Rusty Brown, Foreman, 13503 Aledo Iona Road, Ft. Worth, TX 76126. Telephone (817) 441-7350.

Point 965 ft, North Point 962 ft N, North Point 962 ft S, Point 961 ft N, Point 961 ft S: Walch Ranch, Mr. Jimmy Soules, Foreman (?), Aledo Iona Road, Ft. Worth, TX 76126. Telephone (817) 441-7561.

Point 966 ft: Tannahill Ranch Partnership, Mrs. Frances Wynne, Owner, 12001 White Settlement Road, Ft. Worth, TX 76108. Telephone (817) 246-1094.