Location and Facilities
Although very close to the gradually expanding border town of Presidio, Fort Leaton remains a little way beyond the eastern suburbs, so retains its lonely, atmospheric setting. The complex lies on the south side of FM 170, the River Road, next to the edge of the Rio Grande flood plain, and bordered to the north by desert land of low hills and dry washes. Today, the fort also acts as the western gateway to Big Bend Ranch State Park
, which begins 5.5 miles east.
Outside Fort Leaton are three memorials, one for Ben Leaton himself, the others for two previous structures thought to occupy this site - the old Spanish mission of Apostal Santiago, established in 1683, and Presidio del Norte de la Junta, built around 1759. The interior of Fort Leaton has a mix of ruined areas and restored rooms, with many historical exhibits. Guided tours are provided, or visitors can explore the site unaccompanied; other facilities include a half mile trail around the fort grounds, and a shaded picnic area. The day use park is open all year except Christmas day, between 8 am and 4.30 pm.