An open-path cavity ring-down spectroscopy (CRDS) sensor has been developed for measurement of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) and represents the first use of open-path CRDS in the mid-infrared region. The sensor uses a continuous-wave distributed feedback quantum cascade laser at 10.33 μm to target strong absorption features. The optical cavity is constructed with two high-reflectivity mirrors ( R = 0.9995). The open-path configuration removes inlet effects, which are very challenging for closed-path instruments, and can be enabling for compact, low-power designs. Sensor performance was validated in the laboratory by measuring known concentrations in a closed-path configuration. The open-path configuration was validated by comparison against a commercial closed-path CRDS instrument for outdoor measurements at a small feed lot. Ammonia concentrations from the two instruments showed good agreement with slope of 0.990 ( R 2 = 0.92), for 5-min averages. The precision of the open-path instrument was found from Allan variance studies as 1.2 ppb (2-σ) for 3-s measurement durations.