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PINTO CANYON. Pinto Canyon, a valley with an intermittent stream, rises in western Presidio County (at 30°03' N, 104°27' W) in the Cleveland Breaks and runs south for eighteen miles to its mouth (at 29°55' N, 104°40' W) on the Rio Grande, six miles below Ruidosa. Pinto Canyon forms a boundary between the southern end of the Sierra Vieja and the Chinati Mountains. The canyon cuts through volcanic rocks and exposes beds as old as the Permian. It is flanked on the east and north by Cretaceous deposits. The soils in the area are light reddish-brown to brown sands and clay loams; in places the land surface is rough stony ground. Local vegetation includes sparse grasses, cacti, and desert shrubs of junipers and oaks. The first settlers were ranchers and miners who arrived in the last quarter of the 1800s. W. H. Cleveland brought his bride to an adobe house in the canyon on December 9, 1885. In the late 1890s a small mining camp sprang up in Pinto Canyon, where prospectors mined silver from the Burney prospect.


Ed Ellsworth Bartholomew, The Encyclopedia of Texas Ghost Towns (Fort Davis, Texas, 1982). Virginia Madison and Hallie Stillwell, How Come It's Called That? Place Names in the Big Bend Country (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1958). Cecilia Thompson, History of Marfa and Presidio County, 1535–1946 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1985).


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

"PINTO CANYON," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.