Sulphur Springs Draw

By: Tracy Murphree

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: June 1, 1995

Sulphur Springs Draw enters Texas in western Yoakum County at Bronco (at 33°16' N, 103°05' W). It flows southeast for 100 miles through Terry, Dawson, Martin, and Howard counties. The confluence of Sulphur Springs Draw with Mustang Draw (at 32°12' N, 101°36' W), seven miles west of Big Spring, forms Beals Creek. There is some evidence that at least 17,000 years ago Paleo-Indians roamed this area and camped at the springs located in the draw. In later times the Apaches lived there and guided early explorers, for instance Juan de Salas in 1632, to the freshwater springs. The draw served the pioneers of West Texas as a roadway from eastern New Mexico and West Texas to the railroad in Big Spring. Farmers and ranchers brought provisions to the draw to sell to passing travelers. Even after roads were constructed, many people still preferred the draw as a more reliable route. Ranchers once watered cattle at Sulphur Springs Draw, but irrigation pumping and municipal and industrial use have caused the water level to drop more than twelve meters. As a result all of the springs in Yoakum County-two at the old Ulou watering spot, three at the Adobe and Old Dogie Cattle Camps, six just southeast of Tokio, four on the old Luna Ranch, and five in the Ink Basin on the old Clevland farm-have dried up. When water did flow, it was chiefly a calcium bicarbonate type: fresh, very hard, and alkaline. What little water remains in the springs of Sulphur Springs Draw has probably been contaminated by oilfield brine. The draw crosses flat to rolling lands with local escarpments surfaced mostly by deep, fine, sandy loam that supports brush and grasses.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Tracy Murphree, “Sulphur Springs Draw,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995