Texan Ranch Transformed Into A Trail Runner’s Playground

Photo: Courtesy of Rogue Trail Series

“I finally finished. After six months of working from dawn to dusk, we now have 25 miles of canted, soil-managed, mud-free, non-intersecting trail!” exclaims Vol Montgomery, owner of Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet County, Texas. Montgomery was more tired and relieved than proud, and that says a lot about his modest, determined work ethic.

I met Montgomery on a cold, rainy day in December, when he took a break from his trail work to show me the lay of Reveille Peak Ranch, a 1,300-acre nature and adventure center in the Texas Hill Country of the Highland Lake District, used for outdoor education and training. During weekdays Reveille is often occupied by law enforcement, military, and especially SWAT and Special Ops teams that use the rugged, remote and diverse terrain for a wide variety of training. It even has SCUBA diving facilities.The day I was at the ranch, there was a group leaving the base compound for long-range rifle practice instructed by a Navy Seal trainer.

Reveille Peak Ranch still serves as an active cattle ranch. However, Montgomery supplements that with training on weekdays, and on weekends the ranch becomes a playground for running, mountain biking, obstacle course and multisport events. “It is a versatile piece of land and I use to its fullest capacity,” Montgomery explains.

Montgomery has strong ties to the Texas service community, given that he’s a sixth generation Texan and a member of the “Sons of the Republic of Texas.” Texas Rangers run so deep in his family that they pre-date Texas’ statehood.

“I know we go back before 1836, but I haven’t done a lot of the research before that point,” said Montgomery. After graduating from Texas A&M University, Montgomery started a network integration company in Austin. In only six years the company had grown so much it became an Inc. 500 award recipient for— fastest-growing privately-held company in the U.S. Montgomery’s company was acquired in 1999 and he retired from the tech industry a couple years later.

Montgomery then threw his enthusiasm into making Reveille Peak Ranch what it is today—converting it into a race destination extraordinaire for trail runs, ultras, mountain bike races, multi-sport events and Spartan racing. He set up a permanent obstacle course on the property and did such a fine job with the course that Montgomery was asked to duplicate it for Camp Gladiator in Austin and a SWAT team that wants one as well. He builds the obstacles out of used drilling pipe, which has a great patina of rust to give needed grip and traction.

Reveille Peak Ranch also features a big cook-house, covered pavilion and plenty of elegant rustic space for post-race celebrations. One of the most scenic parts of Reveille Peak Ranch is called “Decision Point,” a rocky vista where Montgomery married his wife. And just down the road from Reveille Peak Ranch sits Canyon of the Eagles, a 940-acre park, offering a spider web of winding running trails, camp-like accommodations, and an excellent restaurant.

Now that there are 25 miles of continuous trail—Montgomery is going to use a survey team to make sure the measurement is precise because he doesn’t trust the accuracy of GPS and barometric pressure readings—Reveille Peak Ranch is poised for more and bigger races. There is a mile worth of climbing within the 25 miles, and the trail is almost never flat. Montgomery’s long-time friend, Paul Carrozza, former owner of RunTex stores and track coach of Austin’s prestigious St. Stephen’s Episcopal High School, recommended that a good portion of the Reveille Peak Ranch trails be wide and smooth so that Austin runners used to the Town Lake , now called “Lady Bird,” would be able to adapt to the hills of Burnet County. Montgomery took his friend’s advice, but somewhat tongue-in-cheek, has named the hilly section of the 25-mile trail “Carrozza Boulevard.”

Reveille Peak Ranch also plays host to Austin’s Rogue Running’s Captain Karl’s Night Trail Race, Pandora’s Box of Rox, and some obstacle course races, in addition to mountain bike races and “A Girl & A Gun” national training conference. Montgomery hopes to make the trail the first IMBA-certified park in Texas with flow trails, shuttle assist gravity terrain and a four-lap 100-mile course that would be a Leadville 100 qualifier.

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