Fort Leaton serves as the western Visitor Center for Big Bend Ranch State Park. Permits for backpacking and camping (no hookups) at Big Bend Ranch State Park can be obtained at Fort Leaton or the Barton Warnock Visitor Center, on the eastern edge of the park near Lajitas. Visitors can also purchase river-use permits, licenses, and information about the Big Bend region.
The park is day use only and offers picnicking areas, guided tours, plus exhibits on the history from 15th century, natural history, and archaeological history of the area. The site serves for historical study activities.
Fort Leaton State Historic Site, consisting of 23.4 acres, five of which are the site of a pioneer trading post, is located in Presidio County. The park was acquired Dec. 8, 1967, by deed from a private owner and was opened to the public in 1978.
In 1848, Ben Leaton built a fortified adobe trading post known as Fort Leaton. He dominated border trade with the Apache and Comanche Indians before he died in 1851. In 1936, the Texas Centennial Commission placed a marker at the site.