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G U I D E
AND TEXAS MOUNTAINS Fall 2019 - Summer 2020
View of Casa Grande from the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park
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BIG BEND AND TEXAS MOUNTAINS TRAVEL GUIDE
10 12 14 16 21 23
Welcome to the Guide Regional Map Calendar of Events Big Bend National Park Guadalupe Mountains National Park Texas State Parks City Listings 27 35 36 39 42 46 49 53 59 61 63 64 68 71 72
Alpine Del Rio El Paso Fort Davis Fort Stockton Lajitas Marathon Marfa Monahans Odessa Ozona Presidio Terlingua/Study Butte Toyahvale/Balmorhea Van Horn
Features 74 Big Bend on the Big Screen 79 Texas Mountain Trail
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THANK YOU for picking up a copy
of the 2019/20 Big Bend and Texas Mountains Travel Guide! This is the seventh year our team has had the privilege of publishing this travel guide. It has been published once a year since 1984 and almost 100,000 copies are distributed. I’d like to thank Wendy Little and all the Texas Mountain Trail board members for their commitment to the travel guide and for the opportunity given to our team to publish it. I love to travel throughout the area, and even before I became the publisher I carried the publication with me for vital information and tips. It’s an incredible resource for anyone wishing to explore the region. For example, you’ll find information on various parks (state and national), as well as a city-by-city guide. In addition, we put together a feature story this year on the movies set in the Big Bend region (see page 74). The allure of the Big Bend region is strong and whether you’re a first-time or repeat visitor I hope you have a wonderful time in this amazing part of Texas. We have many important contributors to the travel guide, and you can read about some of them on this page, but in addition I’d like to thank the guide’s designer, Martha GazellaTaylor, who was born and raised in Odessa and went to Permian High School. As far as my background, I wear a few hats. In addition to being the publisher and founder of Texas Music magazine, I also produce Viva Big Bend, which is held in Alpine, Fort Davis, Marathon, Marfa and Terlingua. Our music festival is the last weekend of July each year. I hope you’ll find as much enjoyment in visiting this area as we do in promoting it. Thank you for reading the Big Bend and Texas Mountains Travel Guide, and happy trails! — Stewart Ramser
A MESSAGE FROM
Texas Mountain Trail WELCOME TO the beautiful mountains of far West
Texas, to our quiet communities, to our colorful sunsets and to our frontier! Our Texas Mountain Trail nonprofit organization is proud to present the latest edition of the Big Bend and Texas Mountain Travel Guide with Ramser Media, and we hope it helps you get the most out of your stay. Since 2005, we’ve been reaching out to travelers with information about far West Texas, encouraging folks to spend their vacations in our mountains. We’ve also worked with community leaders here to make the region more visitor-friendly by developing programs like the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail and our cycle-friendly hotels and heritage bike routes. Let us know what you think of the Guide, and ways we can make your stay more enjoyable. Kick back, enjoy the quiet, seek your adventure and have the time of your life! — Wendy Little
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Martha Gazella-Taylor Martha GazellaTaylor is the designer for the Big Bend and Texas Mountains Travel Guide. She hails from Odessa, the “big city” of West Texas. She has since moved, gone to school, started a family and created a graphic design business in Austin, Texas. Ironically, it wasn’t until she moved to Austin — with its religious appreciation of fitness and the outdoors — that she found herself trekking back to far West Texas to see for the first time what the parks had to offer. She has been hooked ever since.
Brenda Kissko Brenda is a freelance writer, marketer and graphic designer with a passion for travel, outdoor adventure, nature, literature, art and design. She’s a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and her writing has appeared in print and online editions of various publications like Texas Monthly, Houstonia, Austin Monthly and Texas Co-op Power magazine. She is the the editor-in-chief of CEO Connection Magazine. Visit her online at BrendaKissko.com.
Lee Hoy Lee Hoy is a professional photographer and the owner of Big Bend Birding & Photo Tours. His mission is to share the beauty of Big Bend National Park and the surrounding region with others. Lee first went to Big Bend in August 1989 and saw a Canyon Towhee which ignited a passion for birding and bird photography.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: CISCO GAMEZ, COURTESY MARTHA GAZELLA-TAYLOR, COURTESY BRENDA KISSKO, COURTESY LEE HOY, COURTESY WENDY LITTLE
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Map Must a n
Paso ElEl Paso
Red Bluff Reservoir
Pecos Lake Toyah
Big Lake Lake 67
Sterling City City 87
Co Rivncho er
Garden City 349
MOUNTAIN STAND ARD TIME CENTRAL STANDARD TIME
Socorro Soccorro San SanElizario Elizario
GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Dell City •
NEW MEXICO NEW MEXICO
Dr 190 aw
CROCKET T CROCKETT
SUTTON SUT TON
South Llano River
Grande RioRio Grande
Study Terlingua Butte
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
Chisos Basin Castolon
Heath Heath Canyon Canyon
e or m ca k Sy Cree
Amistad International Reservoir
Ciudad Ciudad Acuña Acuña
PUBLISHER: Stewart Ramser EDITOR: Tom Buckley DESIGN: Martha Gazella-Taylor CONTRIBUTORS: Wendy Little, Brenda Kissko
In the spring of 2013, the border crossing at Boquillas reopened as a result of enthusiastic advocates in both the United States and Mexican governments. Consider making a trip there yourself! While a travel advisory is in place from the U.S. State Department for travel in Mexico, residents of the Big Bend area continue to enjoy an extremely low incidence rate, and a visible, supportive law enforcement presence. 67
Rio Grande Grande Village Village
G U I D E
BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK
T R A V E L
ver West Nu eces Ri
Alpine Marfa 67
AND TEXAS MOUNTAINS
Eagle Pass Piedras Negras
TEXAS MOUNTAIN TRAIL BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rio Grande
Robert Alvarez (Chair) — Visit Big Bend Randall Kinzie (Vice Chair) — Stone Village Tourist Camp, Fort Davis Mary Bones (Secretary) — Museum of the Big Bend, Alpine Jennifer Turner (Treasurer) — Mountain Trails Lodge, Fort Davis Melissa Henderson — Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce, Fort Davis Maegan Hruby — Visit El Paso, El Paso Carol Peterson — Gage Hotel, Marathon Travis Roberts — Brewster County Historical Commission, Marathon Bernie Sargent — El Paso History Alliance, El Paso Drew Stuart — Dell City
Fort Stockton High School
COVER PHOTO: Christina Hubbartt
The Big Bend & Texas Mountains Travel Guide is licensed for publication by the Texas Mountain Trail. © 2019 All rights reserved. 385
James Rooney Memorial Park
Pat Taylor Field
O IC EX
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•CALENDAR• OF EVENTS
Prude Ranch Fort Davis pbbatx.com 2019 Dates: Sept. 20–22 See p. 40 for details FIVE CENTURIES OF MEXICAN MAPS EXHIBIT
Museum of the Big Bend Alpine museumofthebigbend.com 2019 Dates: Exhibit on display from Sept. 20 through Dec. 15 MUSEUM OF THE BIG BEND HERITAGE DINNER
Ritchey Building Marathon museumofthebigbend.com 2019 Date: Sept. 21 MARFA OPEN
Multiple venues Marfa marfaopen.org 2019 Dates: Sept. 25–Oct. 12 CROOKED CROW SONGWRITER’S RETREAT
Chinati Hot Springs crookedcrow.net 2019 Dates: Sept. 25-29, Oct. 2-6
TRANS-PECOS FESTIVAL OF MUSIC + LOVE
El Cosmico Marfa elcosmico.com 2019 Dates: Sept. 26–29 See p. 55 for details WEST FEST CABRITO COOK-OFF & DANCE
Post Park Marathon marathontexas.com 2019 Dates: Sept. 27-28 See p. 50 for details NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY
Big Bend National Park publiclandsday.org 2019 Date: Sept. 28 See p. 19 for details
OCTOBER 2019 WILD WEST BIRD FEST
Multiple venues Alpine, Marathon, Fort Davis facebook.com/wildwestbirdfest 2019 Dates: Oct. 11–13 CHINATI WEEKEND
Multiple venues Marfa chinati.org 2019 Dates: Oct. 11–13 See p. 55 for details MARATHON QUILT SHOW
The Wild West Bird Fest returns to the Big Bend region with birdrelated activities in Fort Davis, Marathon and Alpine.
Marathon Community Center Marathon marathontexas.com 2019 Date: Oct. 12 See p. 50 for details
RIDE 4 TRAILS
Big Bend Resort & Adventures Study Butte ride4trails.com 2019 Dates: Oct. 18–19 See p. 70 for details MARFA 100
Ranch Road 2810 Marfa facebook.com/Marfa100 2019 Date: Oct. 19 MARATHON 2 MARATHON
Marathon marathon2marathon.com 2019 Date: Oct. 26 See p. 51 for details TERLINGUA GREEN SCENE SUSTAINABILITY FESTIVAL
Terlingua Ghost Town terlinguagreenscene.com 2019 Dates: Oct. 26-27 TERLINGUA INTERNATIONAL CHILI CHAMPIONSHIP
Rancho CASI de los Chisos casichili.net 2019 Dates: Oct. 28-Nov. 2 See p. 70 for details
NOVEMBER 2019 TRANS-PECOS ULTRA
Alpine/Big Bend Ranch State Park trans-pecosultra.com 2019 Dates: Nov. 2-10 ARTWALK
Multiple venues Alpine artwalkalpine.com 2019 Dates: Nov. 22-23 See p. 28 for details
DECEMBER 2019 CHRISTMAS IN ALPINE
Multiple venues visitalpinetx.com/events 2019 Dates: Dec. 5-7, 14 See p. 29 for details FRONTIER CHRISTMAS
Memorial Square & Nature Conservancy Fort Davis fortdavis.com 2019 Date: Dec. 7 See p. 40 for details FIESTA DE NOCHA BUENA
Main Street Marathon marathontexas.com 2019 Dates: Dec. 13-14 See p. 51 for details
PECAN DESSERT CONTEST/ LIGHTED CHRISTMAS PARADE
Convention Center Van Horn (432) 283-2050 2019 Date: TBA
JANUARY 2020 BLACK-EYED PEA COOKOFF
Terlingua historicterlingua.homestead. com/events.html 2020 Date: Jan. 1 See p. 70 for details SANDHILLS STOCK SHOW AND RODEO
Ector County Coliseum Odessa sandhillsssr.com 2020 Dates: Jan. 3-11 PLEIN AIR PAINTERS OF THE FOUR CORNERS EXHIBIT
Museum of the Big Bend Alpine museumofthebigbend.com 2020 Dates: Exhibit on display from January 17 through March 22 BIG BEND ULTRA
Big Bend Ranch State Park bigbend50.com 2020 Date: Jan. 19 EL PASO PUZZLER ENDURANCE MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE
El Paso elpasopuzzler.com 2020 Date: Jan. 19
FEBRUARY 2020 MIDESSA BOAT, RV, SPORT & GUN SHOW
Ector County Coliseum Odessa midessaboatshow.net 2020 Dates: Feb. 7-9
Santa Claus always stops in for Frontier Christmas in Fort Davis.
HUECO ROCK RODEO
Hueco Tanks State Park El Paso huecorodeo.com 2020 Dates: TBA MARATHON FISH FRY
Community Center Marathon marathontexas.com 2020 Date: Feb. 8 See p. 51 for details EL PASO MARATHON
El Paso elpasomarathon.org 2020 Date: Feb. 16 LONE STAR COWBOY POETRY GATHERING
Sul Ross State University Alpine lonestarcowboypoetry.com 2020 Dates: Feb. 21-22 See p. 29 for details
APRIL 2020 EL PASO CHIHUAHUAS BASEBALL
Southwest University Park El Paso milb.com/el-paso 2020 Dates: April through September TRAPPINGS OF TEXAS
Museum of the Big Bend Alpine museumofthebigbend.com 2020 Dates: Opening weekend April 16-18; Exhibit on display through May 17 See p. 29 for details BIG BEND OPEN ROAD RACE
Fort Stockton, Sanderson bborr.com 2020 Dates: April 25 See p. 43 for details
FROM TOP: LEE HOY, COURTESY WILD WEST BIRD FEST
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Multiple venues Marfa cinemarfa.org 2020 Dates: Apr. 30-May 3
MAY 2020 VOICES FROM BOTH SIDES
In the Rio Grande Near Lajitas facebook.com/voicesfrombothsides 2020 Date: May 9 BIG BEND FIGHT NIGHT
Civic Center Alpine (432) 294-2645 2020 Date: TBA TEXAS STAR PARTY
Prude Ranch near Fort Davis texasstarparty.org 2020 Dates: May 17-24
GRACIELA ITURBIDE PHOTOGRAPHS
Museum of the Big Bend Alpine museumofthebigbend.com 2020 Dates: Exhibit on display June 12 through Sept. 6 THEATRE OF THE BIG BEND
Sul Ross State University Alpine sulross.edu/tobb 2020 Dates: TBA WEST OF THE PECOS RODEO
Buck Jackson Arena Pecos pecosrodeo.com 2020 Dates: TBA FRONTIER DAYS
Downtown Van Horn vanhorntexas.us 2020 Dates: TBA PLAZA CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL
Multiple venues El Paso plazaclassic.com 2020 Dates: July 30-Aug. 9
AUGUST 2020 ROCK THE DESERT
RTD Festival Field Midland rockthedesert.com 2020 Dates: TBA BIG BEND RANCH RODEO
S.A.L.E. Arena, SRSU Alpine bigbendranchrodeo.com 2020 Dates: Aug. 14-15 See p. 29 for details
FROM TOP: COURTESY VISIT EL PASO, CHERYL FRANCES/VISITALPINETX.COM, COURTESY VISIT EL PASO
DAVIS MOUNTAINS HUMMINGBIRD CELEBRATION
Catching an Alpine Cowboys game at beautiful Kokernot field in Alpine needs to be on any far West Texas bucket list.
ALPINE COWBOYS BASEBALL
Kokernot Field Alpine visitalpine.com 2020 Dates: mid-May through July See p. 29 for details NEON DESERT MUSIC FESTIVAL
Downtown El Paso neondesertmusicfestival.com 2020 Dates: May 23-24
JUNE 2020 FRIJOLE DAYS MUSIC FEST
Frijole Ranch Guadalupe Mountains National Park nps.gov 2020 Dates: early June
Hotel Limpia & various locations Fort Davis fortdavis.com 2020 Dates: August 19-23 See p. 40 for details
SEPTEMBER 2020 MARFA LIGHTS FESTIVAL
County Courthouse Marfa visitmarfa.com 2020 Dates: Labor Day Weekend See p. 55 for details LABOR DAY WEEKEND BIKE RALLY
River Run to the Trading Post Presidio presidiotx.us 2020 Dates: Labor Day Weekend EAGLE IN THE SUN TRIATHLON
Ascarate Pool El Paso raceelpaso.com 2020 Date: TBA
MUSIC SERIES ALFRESCO! FRIDAYS
Convention Center Plaza El Paso elpasolive.com/alfresco_fridays 2020 Dates: May-August
One of far West Texas’ most popular music series is at the State Line in El Paso.
COOL CANYON NIGHTS
McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre El Paso visitelpaso.com 2020 Dates: Summer Thursdays STATE LINE FREE MUSIC SERIES
State Line Bar-B-Q El Paso countyline.com 2020 Dates: Wednesdays June through August HOT SUMMER NIGHTS WITH COOL MUSIC
Noel Plaza Odessa odessaarts.org 2020 Dates: Fridays in June and July SUMMER OFF THE PATIO
Annie Riggs Museum Fort Stockton annieriggsmuseum.org 2020 Dates: June-August See p. 43 for details
“COOLEST” 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION
Downtown Fort Davis fortdavis.com See p. 40 for details
Cool Canyon Nights is held in McKelligon Canyon Amphitheatre in El Paso.
MARATHON INDEPENDENCE DAY CHILI COOK-OFF AND DANCE
Post Park Marathon marathontexas.com 2020 Dates: July 4-5 See p. 50 for details FIRECRACKER FANDANGO
Downtown Odessa odessacvb.com 2020 Date: TBA VIVA BIG BEND
Alpine, Fort Davis, Marathon, Marfa, Terlingua vivabigbend.com 2020 Dates: July 23-26 See p. 30 for details BIGBENDTRAVELGUIDE.COM 15
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In 1964, Apollo astronauts came to Big Bend to study volcanic geology so that they could identify the geologic structures and processes that they might see on the moon.
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BIG BEND NAL PARK NATIO
E N C O M PA S S I N G M O R E T H A N 8 0 0,0 0 0 A C R E S O F M OU N TA I N C L I F F S , D E S E RT E X PA N S E S A N D T OW E R I N G R I V E R C A N YO N S , B I G B E N D N AT IO N A L PA R K I S T H E K I N G O F T E X A S â€™ N AT IO N A L P U B L IC A R E A S .
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porch at the lodge serving outdoor meals is ready to serve day visitors and campers alike. With over 150 miles of back-country dirt roads and 200 miles of trails, walking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding are all popular options for exploring the park. Some of the more popular hikes include the Window View Trail in the Chisos Basin, which is wheelchair accessible and perfect for a mountain sunset; Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, which offers some of the best birding in the region; and the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail at Dugout Wells, featuring native plant life identified along this half-mile path. The 118 miles of the Rio Grande that border the park wind through the Santa Elena, Boquillas and Mariscal Canyons. A river trip by raft, canoe or kayak is an unforgettable way to encounter the remote wilderness of Big Bend. Leisurely half-day floats to multiday camping trips are available. Santa Elena is the most popular outfitter trip with dramatic 1,500-foot canyon walls. Boquillas is a two-night/three-day trip on average but great for families with its Class II or less rapids at average water levels and many side hiking opportunities. There are three developed campgrounds in the park: Chisos Basin Campground, Rio Grande Village Campground and Cottonwood
solitude are many. Big Bend National Park is also arguably the apart from its national park brethren, including the fact that most ecologically diverse park in the entire nait is the only one to contain an tional parks system. It is known to have more speentire mountain range — the cies of birds, plants, butterflies, bats, reptiles and Chisos — within its borders. Dedi- even ants, than any other U.S. national park. cated in 1944, the park is nestled in the bend of the Rio Grande River along the Texas-Mexico CHOOSE YOUR OWN border where outstanding examples of Chihua- ADVENTURE huan Desert topography and ecology beckon na- The Chisos Mountains offer high-elevation ture enthusiasts from around the world. hiking, with trails for all skill levels. The famed A land of contrasts, Big Bend contains geo- South Rim has both a dramatic drop-off and an logical marvels, historic and prehistoric treasures unobstructed view to the horizon line on a clear and an amazing diversity of plant and animal life day. Boot Canyon contains the largest trees in across its dramatic range of elevations. From its the park and some of the largest of their species lowest point of 1,850 feet in the country. Emory Peak Trail Odessa GUADALUPE in Rio Grande Village to has undergone a complete reroute MTS. NP Emory Peak at 7,825 feet, the and has dramatic new views of park presents impressive changes both the south and north sides of Van Horn the mountain. Birding is excellent in climate, with temperatures in Alpine in the mountains, especially in the the desert routinely 10 to 20 degrees warmer than in the mountains. spring and fall. Spring sees the arrival of the Colima Warbler. The Desert opportunities abound. NumerBIG BEND NP only place that this bird is found in the ous trails — from short and very well developed U.S. is in the Chisos Mountains. Campto long, rugged and remote — offer exceptional views. Back-country roads lead to private back- ers in the Chisos Basin will enjoy development country camping sites available for both drive-in boosts, including a newly rehabbed campground and backpacking options with a permit. Historic with much improved facilities and new, night sites and ruins are numerous. Opportunities for sky-friendly lighting. Also, a newly rehabbed ANY FEATURES SET Big Bend
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Campground, all with water, restrooms and some with primitive shelters. There is also an RV park at Rio Grande Village, the only location in the park with full hookups. Public showers and laundry facilities are available at the Rio Grande Village Store. Most of the campsites operate on a first-come-first-served basis and fill up quickly in March, April and during the holiday season.
BOQUILLAS, MEXICO The Boquillas Border Crossing has been re-opened after being closed for more than 10 years. This pedestrian-only crossing between the United States and Mexico adds a new layer of fun and adventure to a Big Bend National Park visit. The crossing offers a unique opportunity to ride across the river in a rowboat. Current posted hours to re-enter the U.S. are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday through Monday (summer hours). Winter hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Bring your passport. Learn more at www.boquillas.org and www.nps.gov.
PLAN YOUR TRIP The Chisos Basin Lodge can be reached at 432477-2291 or www.chisosmountainslodge.com. A limited number of sites in Rio Grande Village and Chisos Basin allow advance reservations from Nov. 15 to Apr. 15. Call 877-444-6777 or reserve online at www.recreation.gov. Visit www.nps.gov/bibe or call 432-4772251 for more information. ENTRANCE FEES For a full list of Vehicle: $30 for a 7-day pass good at any park Big Bend area entrance activities, go to $25 per motorcycle w w w.visitbigIndividual: bend.com (the $15 for a 7-day individual most complete pass (bicyclists and pedesreference source trians) for all things Annual Pass: $55 greater Big Bend Allows unlimited entry for and Brewster one year from month of County). purchase.
CAMPGROUND FEES The nightly fee for camping in one of the developed front-country campgrounds is $14 ($7 with Senior or Access pass). Individual back-country campsites require a $12 permit ($6 with Senior or Access pass), which can only be acquired at Panther Junction or Chisos Basin visitor centers in person. Special rates apply to commercial and noncommercial groups, as well as interagency officials, seniors and the permanently disabled. Inquire at the ranger station or call (432) 477-2251.
EVENTS NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY SEPT. 28, 2019
National Public Lands Day is a nationwide celebration of our countryâ€™s public lands. Held the last weekend of September each year, the event brings thousands of people to parks across the country.
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• SANTA ELENA CANYON: Visible for more than 10 miles, this iconic area of Big Bend features dramatic limestone canyon walls created over time by the mighty Rio Grande. • HOT SPRINGS HISTORIC DISTRICT: After an adventurous day in the park, soak your tired bones here, where the water remains at 105 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. • PANTHER JUNCTION VISITOR CENTER: This is a must-stop for first-time visitors and those who haven’t been in a while. Get all fees, permits, maps and more here, and take a break to check out the new 22-minute ondemand film detailing the wonders of the park. • FOSSIL DISCOVERY EXHIBIT: This brand-new exhibit (opened January 2017) explores the area’s paleontological and geological past, complete with replicas of fossils found within the park. • BOQUILLAS, MEXICO: A side trip into “old” Mexico is a worthwhile addition to visiting the Big Bend. Just be sure to bring your passport.
• RAFTING THE RIO GRANDE: Local outfitters provide guided trips along the Rio Grande, giving a whole new perspective to Big Bend National Park.
and view of the desert terrain, and Mule Ears, the perfect viewing area for another iconic sight in the park. A hiking trail to the formation starts from here as well.
• HIKING: With over 150 miles of hiking trails, Big Bend is a hiker’s paradise. Two highlights: the Lost Mine Trail, which is medium difficulty and offers breathtaking views beginning midway, and the Window View Trail, which is worth the effort to catch a glorious Big Bend sunset through the “window” in the Chisos Basin.
• BALANCED ROCK ON THE GRAPEVINE HILLS TRAIL: This unusual formation — a giant boulder inexplicably balanced between two gigantic rounded rocks — is a favorite spot for selfies.
• CHISOS BASIN AREA: This mountainous area in the center of the park is the most popular portion, though some overlook it. The park’s only hotel and restaurant are in this area, which is usually cooler than the surrounding desert, even during the summer months. • ROSS MAXWELL SCENIC DRIVE: This paved, 30-mile scenic drive showcases some of the best views in the park. There are many stops along the way but don’t miss Sol Vista with its satisfying overlook
Make the most of your visit to Big Bend National Park with a complimentary guided audio tour using your smartphone. Search “Just Ahead” in the App Store or on Google Play and look for the free “Big Bend” guide.
Don’t Miss in Big Bend
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... C OU L D E A S I LY B E D E S C R I B E D A S O N E O F A M E R IC A’ S B E S T- K E P T S E C R E T S .
•GUADALUPE• MOUNTAINS AL PARK N O I T A N
of Van Horn on the Texas-New Mexico border, the 86,416 acres of Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GMNP) represent some of the most varied and beautiful hiking trails in all of Texas. With elevations in the park ranging from 3,689 feet at the gypsum dunes to the west of the Guadalupe Mountains to the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, at 8,750 feet, visitors are treated to a tremendous diversity of native plants and animals. With 46,850 acres of designated wilderness, and an additional 35,484 acres which are eligible for wilderness study, GMNP preserves the largest wilderness area in the state of Texas. Established on Sept. 30, 1972, GMNP is part of the Guadalupe Mountains range, which stretches from Carlsbad, New Mexico, to the salt flats and gypsum dunes just east of Dell City. Those gypsum dunes are the second largest in the U.S. and third largest in North America and the world after White Sands National Monument, New Mexico and Cuatrocienegas Natural Protected Area (Coahuila, Mexico). Guadalupe Peak, and the surrounding Guadalupe Mountains, are part of an ancient marine fossil reef that was under the vast Del-
aware inland sea 260–270 million years ago. bigtooth maples in McKittrick Canyon, which It is regarded as one of the world’s best ex- peaks in late October. Fall color displays may amples of Middle Permian geology, attracting also be seen at Smith Springs, Devil’s Hall and geologists from around the world. In addition Dog Canyon. Families with children will find to the Guadalupe Mountains, the 400-mile, Junior Ranger, Senior Ranger, Wilderness Explorer Junior Ranger, Junior Ranger horseshoe-shaped El CapiGUADALUPE Night Explorer and Junior tán Reef is now exposed in MTS. NP Odessa Paleontologist programs the Glass Mountains, near chock full of age-appropriate Alpine, as well as the Apache Van Horn activities. The park website Mountains. In the Pine Springs Alpine (www.nps.gov/gumo/) proVisitor Center (5,013 feet in elevavides a schedule of park action), educational videos and exhibits tivities and updates on fall shed light on the geologic history of the BIG BEND NP color showings to aid travelers in park. Other exhibits showcase the abundant planning their visits. and diverse plant life and wildlife. Visitors may join a park ranger for an interpretive talk EXPLORE THE GUADALUPES or walk on one the park’s trails. Discover the cultural history of the A hiker’s paradise, GMNP boasts more park at one of the heritage sites, such as the than 80 miles of trails, meandering through recently restored Frijole Ranch House, Wil- woodland canyons and lush riparian springs, liams Ranch, Pratt Cabin, remnants of Buf- as well as those zigzagging up steep switchfalo Soldier encampments or the Pinery backs through the park’s rugged wilderness Butterfield Overland Stage station. Explore to Guadalupe Peak, Bush Mountain, The the natural beauty and grandeur along the Bowl, Bear Canyon, Pine Top, McKittrick hiking trails, taking in views of everything Ridge, Shumard Canyon, Hunter Peak, from harsh desert landscapes to lush stream- Dog Canyon and the distinctive El Capiside woodlands rich in oaks and maples. tán (which, at 8,085 feet above sea level, is Perhaps the most popular attraction is the an imposing sentinel at the west end of the brilliant fall display of red, orange and yellow Guadalupes).
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FEES AND PASSES There are two short, easy hikes — the 0.4mile Manzanita Spring Trail or the 0.67-mile Pinery Trail — both of which are paved and wheelchair accessible. Moderate trails, such as McKittrick Canyon (4.8-6.8 miles, depending on the route), are available, as well as strenuous trails, such as the Guadalupe Peak Trail (8.4 miles) or The Bowl (9.3 miles). These trails require several hours and ample supplies, including at least one gallon of water per person per day (one quart per hour if it is hot). Trekking poles are recommended. Sixty percent of the park’s trails are available for horseback riding, though visitors must bring their own stock. Either by foot or horse,
the park is a place to discover fossils and explore geologic and human history, observe native wildlife, view colorful wildflowers, capture great photos, create paintings or simply gaze into the wondrous, star-filled night sky. EXPERIENCE WEST TEXAS HISTORY Discover the park’s Native American, cavalry (including the Buffalo Soldiers) and pioneer ranching history at one of the well-preserved historic sites. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Frijole Ranch History Museum features the homes and outbuildings of various Anglo settlers, including the Smith family who operated their small truck farm and orchard from
National Park annual 1906 to 1942. The Pinpasses are $30 and cover ery is one of the bestup to four adult entrance preserved and highest fees. Seven-day permits staging outposts on the are available at a rate of $7 Butterfield-Overland per adult. Children under Route, which ran from age 16 are free. Camping St. Louis and Mempermits are $15 per site. phis to San Francisco Campers can pay cash at from 1858 until the the self-registration board outbreak of the Civil near the restroom or by credit card at the Pine War. The Pinery staSprings Visitors Center. tion ceased operations in August 1859, when America the Beautiful the route was shifted Senior Annual Passes (for southward to give it U.S. citizens or permanent better protection from residents age 62 or older) raids and provide better may be purchased for $20 access to water. Hikers and are good for entry, as in McKittrick Canyon well as other services and may visit Pratt Cabin. discounts at federal public lands. Lifetime America Park visitors with the Beautiful Senior Passes a 4x4 vehicle and lust may be purchased for for adventure can visit $80 and Lifetime America the historic Williams the Beautiful Access Ranch, one of the earPasses are available free of liest park homesteads charge to U.S. citizens and with a well-documentpermanent residents with ed, albeit colorful, hisa qualifying permanent tory. Before traveling disability. Free America the that way, stop by the Beautiful Military Passes may be obtained by activePine Springs Visitor duty military personnel Center to check out a and dependents. gate key and be aware that the drive, though only a little over seven miles, takes about an hour. Guadalupe Mountains National Park has two frontcountry campgrounds, Pine Springs and Dog Canyon, a group campground and group picnic area at Frijole Ranch and 10 back-country campgrounds spread throughout the park. Obtain back-country camping permits at the Pine Springs Visitors Center daily between 8 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. Entrance fees can be paid at any of the trail heads. Simply fill out the fee envelope and deposit at any trail head collection safe (the “iron ranger”). Display your detachable stub on your vehicle dashboard. Before you venture into the back country or before you leave to go back home, make sure to visit the GMNP bookstore in the Pine Springs Visitor Center to purchase a variety of books about the park, maps or postcards. If you would like to spend more time helping the park directly, inquire about the park’s Volunteers In Parks (VIP) program. For more information about Guadalupe Mountains National Park, visit www.nps.gov/gumo/ or call 915-828-3251 ext. 2124 for updated information. ADDITIONAL INFO SOURCES:
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Facebook: www.facebook.com/Guadalupe. Mountains/ Twitter: twitter.com/GuadalupeMtnsNP/ Meetup: www.meetup.com/Guadalupe-Mountains-National-Park-Meetup-Group/
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FROM TOP: LEE HOY, GARY NORED
and State Historic Sites of the Big Bend and Texas mountains region showcase a panorama of West Texas scenes. From gushing spring waters to lofty, mile-high peaks, from the harsh grandeur of Chihuahuan Desert landscapes to museum-quality exhibits, Texas State Parks offer something for every taste. Here you will find safe, secure and wholesome environments for camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, stargazing, hunting, rock climbing, cycling, boating, floating, birding, swimming, horseback riding, interpretive programming or peace and quiet. Stop in for a visit. Youâ€™ll be glad you did! HE STATE PARKS
BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK Presidio The largest state park in Texas, with over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, the park embraces
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some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the Southwest. Mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians enjoy miles of trails that traverse “the other side of nowhere.”
Presidio (432) 358-4444 (512) 389-8919 (reservations) www.tpwd.state.tx.us/bigbendranch BARTON WARNOCK VISITOR CENTER Terlingua/Lajitas The Center serves as the eastern entrance to Big Bend Ranch State Park. Exhibits interpret 570 million years of geologic history and the five biological landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert. It was named for famed botanist and 33-year Sul Ross State University professor Dr. Barton Warnock (1911–1998).
Lajitas (432) 424-3327 www.tpwd. state.tx.us/bartonwarnock BALMORHEA STATE PARK Toyahvale
lons of crystalline water flow from the spring each day. Visitors to Balmorhea State Park enjoy swims in the Civilian Conservation Corps-constructed
impoundment and, if staying overnight, may choose to relax in one of the historic rooms at San Solomon Courts.
Toyahvale (432) 375-2370 (512) 389-8900 (reservations) www.tpwd.state.tx.us/balmorhea
At 77,053 square feet, San Solomon Spring is the focal point of Balmorhea State Park. Twenty-two to 28 million gal-
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DAVIS MOUNTAINS STATE PARK Fort Davis Davis Mountains State Park, 2,709 acres in size, is located in Jeff Davis County, four miles northwest of Fort Davis, approximately halfway between Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Big Bend National Park. The original portion of the park was deeded to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department by a local family. Original improvements were made by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1933; the park has been open to the public since the late 1930s, and formal campground facilities were added in 1967. The Davis Mountains, the most extensive mountain range in Texas, were formed by volcanic activity during the Tertiary geologic period, which began around 65 million years ago. These mountains were named after Jefferson Davis, U.S. secretary of war and later president of the Confederacy, who ordered the construction of the Fort Davis army post. Few Americans had seen the Davis Mountains prior to 1846. After the war with Mexico, a wave of gold seekers, settlers and traders came through the area and needed the protection of a military post — Fort Davis. Fort Davis was active from 1854 until 1891, except for certain periods during the Civil War. In 1961, the historic fort ruins were declared a National Historic Site, and a vast restoration/preservation program was initiated by the National Park Service.
Fort Davis (432) 426-3337 www.tpwd.state. tx.us/state-parks/davis-mountains FORT LEATON STATE HISTORIC SITE Presidio Fort Leaton is day-use only and offers picnicking areas, tours through newly restored and furnished rooms, plus exhibits on the region’s history: from 15th-century conquistadors to Ben Leaton’s 19thcentury trading post to the present. The fort also serves as the western entrance for Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Four miles east of Presidio on F.M. 170 (432) 229-3613 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fortleaton TEXAS STATE PARKS PASS The Texas State Parks Pass is an annual pass that offers many special benefits to members. As a member, you and your guests enjoy unlimited visits to Texas State Parks, State Natural Areas and State Historic Sites without paying the daily entrance fees. The cost is $70 for a one-card membership. Learn more at: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/parkinfo/ passes/ VISIT: WWW.TPWD.TEXAS.GOV/ STATE-PARKS/ TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE OTHER AREA PARKS AND PARKS ACROSS THE STATE OF TEXAS.
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FU N FACT Alpine is the largest city in the largest county in the largest state in the contiguous United States.
HE AREA THAT
T H E U N IQU E G E O G R A P H IC L O C AT ION N E S T L E D B ET W E E N T H R E E MOU N TA I N R A NG E S G I V E S A L P I N E ON E OF T H E MO S T AG R E E A B L E C L I M AT E S I N T E X A S: WA R M , S U N N Y W I N T E R DAY S A N D C O OL S U M M E R N IG H T S .
would one day be Alpine had been an encampment and attractions are only a few of the wonders for Native Americans, and then a campsite for cattlemen that make Alpine a popular destination. Situuntil a town of tents was created, consisting ated within the great Chihuahuan Desert beof railroad workers and their families. They tween Big Bend National Park and the Davis called their settlement Murphyville, and it Mountains, Alpine, with its tree-lined streets remained as such for five years until a petition and university, is at the center of the Big Bend region. by townspeople rendered a name change. As such, it serves as the transportation At the time Murphyville became Alpine, there were already a dozen houses, and service hub for far West Texas. In addition three saloons, a hotel, a Odessa to the general aviation airport, GUADALUPE Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airrooming house, a livery MTS. NP port, there is an Amtrak station stable, a butcher shop and a and access to the area via Greydrugstore, which also housed Van Horn hound bus lines, delivering visithe post office. Alpine grew very ALPINE tors to all Alpine has to offer. slowly until Sul Ross Normal ColThe Museum of the Big lege (now Sul Ross State University) Bend at Sul Ross is a favorite was opened in 1920. The opening of BIG BEND NP stop. For more than 70 years, the muBig Bend National Park in the 1940s further seum has collected and exhibited artispurred the growth of the town. Nowadays,thehighdesertcountry,moun- facts of the region, showcasing 11,000 years tain ranges and access to neighboring towns of human history and culture. Kids will en-
joy seeing the large pterosaur reproduction and meeting “Big Ben,” a taxidermic, native black bear. The museum came to have him after he was struck by a car several years ago. He now serves as an important teaching tool to the kids of the greater Big Bend area. No matter what brings you here, Alpine is a great staging place for any far West Texas adventure. There are ample lodging and dining opportunities. See cowboys competing at rodeo events, watch professional baseball in a historic ballpark and see summer theater productions under a roof of stars. The Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Trappings of Texas, Artwalk, Viva Big Bend and Big Bend Ranch Rodeo are just five of the most popular annual events. But, perhaps, what will keep you coming back is the nearly idyllic climate. At 4,600 feet and perfectly situated between the Davis, Glass and Del Norte Mountains, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more moderate, yearround temperatures in all of Texas. BIGBENDTRAVELGUIDE.COM 27
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HISTORIC WALKING AND WINDSHIELD TOUR
Take a leisurely stroll or drive around Alpine’s downtown for a glimpse of architectural history. A copy of the walking tour guide and map is available at the Alpine Visitor Center located at 106 N. 3rd St. www.visitalpinetx.com
SUL ROSS STATE UNIVERSITY
Established in 1920, the university’s picturesque campus overlooks Alpine and the surrounding valley. With years of history and its uniquely beautiful setting, the campus of Sul Ross is a delightful place to wander around. Many of the buildings are now designated as historic. Sul Ross is a member of the Texas State University System. With an average undergraduate class size of just 20 students, it’s the perfect setting for pursuing an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree in Liberal Arts, Science, Fine Arts or any number of Professional Studies programs, such as Business Administration or Criminal Law. www.sulross.edu
MUSEUM OF THE BIG BEND
Located on the Sul Ross campus, the museum’s permanent exhibits explore the natural and human history of the region, honoring the contributions of Native Americans, as well as Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American settlers. From April through May, the museum hosts the nationally recognized Trappings of Texas exhibit and sale. (See the website for exact dates.) Tuesday–Saturday, 9 a.m. –5 p.m., Sunday, 1–5 p.m. www.museumofthebigbend.com.
ALPINE COUNTRY CLUB GOLF COURSE Next to Kokernot Park, this nine-hole course is popular with visitors and residents alike. Cart rental and concessions are available.
PERFORMING ARTS AND LIVE ENTERTAINMENT
D KOKERNOT FIELD
For baseball enthusiasts, Kokernot Field will take your breath away. Styled after the famous Wrigley Field, this baseball diamond was built in the 1940s for the semi-pro Alpine Cowboys. The landmark stadium is now home to a recent professional incarnation of the team, also called the Alpine Cowboys.
ALPINE’S MURALS Alpine boasts a growing collection of colorful murals celebrating regional themes. In addition to “Big Brewster” by Stylle Read (a long-time landmark at the Kiowa Gallery) and a handful of other murals decorat-
ing the walls of downtown businesses, Alpine’s Artwalk (www.artwalkalpine.com) has recently commissioned three new large-scale paintings executed by Read. www.visitalpinetx.com/murals
COUNTY COURTHOUSE HALL OF HISTORY
Take a walk through the great hall in the Brewster County Courthouse and step back through the years. On display are photographs from early Alpine and the surrounding area.
HISTORIC MURPHY STREET
Murphy Street, one block south of the railroad tracks, has gone through a revitalization. Visit the shops and restaurants and explore the deep history of Alpine.
HANCOCK HILL / “THE DESK” Located immediately behind Sul Ross State University is Hancock Hill (it’s the one with the big “SR” on it!). Owned by the University but open to the public, Hancock Hill is a great place to hike for panoramic views of Alpine. If you’re up for exploring, on the eastern edge there is a desk which overlooks the valley below. It may be hard to find if you don’t know where you’re going, so if you need directions, stop by the Alpine Visitor Center.
Events ARTWALK Alpine’s biggest festival for the arts spans two days in November to showcase a variety of art exhibitions in many local businesses, all against a backdrop of festivities and live music through the evenings. (432) 837-3067 www.artwalkalpine.com
FROM TOP:J. GRIFFIS SMITH/VISITALPINETX.COM, BELLE PEÑA-LANCASTER
Alpine offers a variety of stage performances and live entertainment throughout the year. The Theatre of the Big Bend features outdoor summer productions under the stars and against the backdrop of the Davis Mountains at Kokernot Park. And around town each week, live music events from open-mic nights to touring shows keep the nights lively. www.sulross.edu/tobbEvents
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ALPINE COWBOYS BASEBALL With roots going back to the 1940s, the Alpine Cowboys are the community’s professional baseball team in the Pecos League. Home games held at Kokernot Field from May through July are a refreshing event, especially set against the backdrop of Alpine’s surrounding mountains. For more information go to alpine. pecosleague.com
BIG BEND RANCH RODEO The rugged, gritty workings of ranch life take center stage at this rodeo in August. Ranchers from all over the state come to test their mettle in events evoking real cowboy skills. (432) 364-2696 www.bigbendranchrodeo.com
LONE STAR COWBOY POETRY GATHERING
Alpine’s celebration of the Christmas season is bigger and better than ever, expanding in 2019 beyond the traditional lighted parade and Mountain Country Christmas Bazaar to include mulitple weekends of holiday events culminating in a day of free “Winter Wonderland” ice skating at a full -sized outdoor rink.
The Lone Star Cowboy Poetry Gathering is a two-day event in February celebrating the oral tradition of the working cowboy in poetry, stories, and music. Enjoy more than 50 performers in the classrooms and on the stages of Sul Ross State University. The event is formerly known as the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering and is
being rebranded — and has new festival producers — in 2020.
TRAPPINGS OF TEXAS Trappings of Texas showcases the best of Western art and custom cowboy gear. Held in the spring at the Museum of the Big Bend on the campus of Sul Ross State University, visitors and interested buyers can meet and
J. GRIFFIS SMITH/VISITALPINETX.COM
CHRISTMAS IN ALPINE
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uth Llano er
VIVA BIG BEND Viva Big Bend is an annual music festival held in far West Texas. Taking place the last weekend of July in Alpine, Fort Davis, Marfa, Terlingua and Marathon, VBB showcases more than 50 bands in 10 venues. Festival wristbands are good for all nighttime shows and many of the shows during the day are free and open to the public. More details can be found at www.vivabigbend.com.
Shopping & Services
BBT 808 N. 5th St. (800) 592-4781 www.bigbend.com BBT (formerly Big Bend Telecom) offers internet and voice services. The service area includes Alpine, Big Bend National Park, Fort Davis, Fort Stockton, Lajitas, Marathon, Marfa, Presidio, Sanderson, Terlingua and more.
KIOWA GALLERY 105 E. Holland Ave. (432) 837-3067 Kiowa Gallery has been serving the Big Bend for approximately 25 years with a premier collection of original paintings, pottery, jewelry and one-of-a-kind specialty gifts.
THE STABLE PERFORMANCE CARS 1
BIG BEND REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
2600 N. Highway 118 (432) 837-3447 www.bigbendhealthcare.com Big Bend Regional Medical Center (BBRMC) is a 25bed, joint-commission accredited, acute care facility. Big Bend Regional has a Level 4 Trauma designated Emergency Department and offers 24-hour emergency care, ICU, medical/surgical rooms, OB care, imaging, pharmacy, laboratory and surgical services.
511 W. Holland Ave. (432) 837-9789 www.thestablealpine.com At The Stable Performance Cars, the performance- and classic-car enthusiast has a comfortable place to visit and talk cars in a relaxed atmosphere.
Real Estate MTN. VIEW PROPERTIES 2100 W. Hwy 90 (432) 837-5518 www.mtnviewproperties.com Mtn. View Properties specializes in the marketing and sale of homes in West Texas, as well as commercial and ranch properties. They also serve Presidio, Jeff Davis and Culberson Counties. As your agent and premier real estate company of choice, they will assist you from beginning to end!
2 SIERRA LA RANA
2 miles south of Alpine off Hwy. 118 (866) 757-2382 www.sierralarana.com Gated Ranch Community. Own your own land! Now offering large tracts from 10 to 150 acres in a recognized international dark sky community.
Food & Drink PLAINE 215 E. Holland Ave. www.tumbleweedlaundry.com Plaine is a full-service coffee shop serving Big Bend Coffee Roasters any way you take it. We also serve Blue Bell ice cream and all-fruit smoothies. Also, try out our laundromat next door.
E. DAN KLEPPER
visit with the artists and gear makers who have works for sale at the Museum and at the public auction fundraiser. Trappings kicks off the third weekend of April and runs through May. www.sulross.edu/museum
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(432) 837-7344 www.alpine.hamptoninn.com Indoor pool/spa, fitness room.
HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS & SUITES
2004 E. Hwy. 90 (432) 837-9597 www.holidayinnexpress.com Indoor pool, fitness room.
209 W. Holland Ave. (800) 535-8040 | (432) 837-2800 www.thehollandhoteltexas.com Recently renovated historic downtown hotel. Trost & Trost architecture.
THE MAVERICK INN
1200 E. Holland Ave. (432) 837-0628 www.themaverickinn.com A roadhouse for wanderers: classic motor court, completely updated for the modern traveler.
QUARTER CIRCLE 7
17 2800 US-90 ES PY (432) 837-1100 PL www.quartercircle7hotel.com Completely renovated in 2016.
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102 E. Murphy St., (432) 244-7560 www.ritcheysaloon.com A modern day saloon in a beautifully restored railroad hotel. Featuring fine wines, craft beers and good vibes, with food service on weekends: cheese boards, charcuterie and more. Weekly live music.
5 RITCHEY WINE SALOON & BEER GARDEN
2612 W. US-90, (432) 837-4227 spicewood-restaurant-and-bar.business.site Formerly Come and Take It BBQ, Spicewood Restaurant opened in 2019. On the western edge of town, the new owners (who also own the Quarter Circle 7 Hotel) have made upgrades to the building, including a new stage area outside.
203 N. 5th Street, (432) 837-9232 www.reata.net The world-famous Reata Restaurant has been serving legendary Texas cuisine since 1995 in Alpine. From chicken fried steak to calf fries, pepper crusted tenderloin or a cowboy rib eye, Reata is a true West Texas dining experience not to be missed.
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DEVILS RIVER STATE NATURAL AREA The Devils River State Natural Area is unique in that it is primitive and isolated. The river is one of the most ecologically intact rivers in Texas. DRNA was recently designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, the only of its kind in Texas and sixth internationally. All camping and facility stays are by reservation only.
VAL VERDE WINERY The oldest continuously operating winery in Texas was established in 1883 by Italian immigrant Frank Qualia. Today, the winery is still owned and operated by fourth generation wine maker Tommy Qualia. The family has been creating wine for more than 130 years producing the award-winning Don Luis Tawny Port, Muscat Canelli, Tempranillo and many others. Wine tours along with tasting are available as well as the use of the winery for weddings, concerts and gatherings.
SEMINOLE CANYON STATE PARK The park, located 30 minutes northwest of Del Rio, boasts a plethora of unrivaled and ancient Native American pictographs inside Fate Bell Shelter. This happens to be one of the oldest cave dwellings in North America. An abundance of 4,000-year-old rock art is visible on the rugged limestone canyon walls. Additionally, in 1998, Dr. Carolyn Boyd, an artist turned archaeologist, founded Shumla, a center for area archaeological research that provides educational out-reach to students of all ages.
JUDGE ROY BEAN VISITOR CENTER Judge Roy Bean established his Jersey Lilly saloon, helping to stir an already roiling pot of lawlessness, before capturing the position of justice of the peace. Today, the Jersey Lilly and the opera house Bean built combine to create the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center.
DEL RIO IS HOME TO A MISTA D NATIONA L RECREATION A REA , A NATIONA L PA RK TREASURE BRIMMING WITH MYSTERIOUS A NCIENT ROCK A RT A ND TOPOGR A PHICA L WONDERS, A ND TO THE GORGEOUS VA L V ERDE WINERY, PRODUCER OF PREMIUM WINES.
COURTESY DEL RIO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
AKE AMISTAD, which means friend-
ship in Spanish, is fed by the Rio Grande, Pecos and Devils rivers, respectively, and hosts year-round water sports activities in its pristine waters. The unique rivers wind through over 100-foot canyons and converge into an expanse of clear, fresh water that offers an engaging and serene experience to visitors. Val Verde Winery, the oldest continuously operated winery in Texas, is also located in Del Rio. Established in 1883, it produces an array of wines from the white Viognier to the red Sangiovese. Stops at
CIUDAD ACUÑA Seminole Canyon State Park and the Judge Roy Ciudad Acuña is an epicenter for Bean Visitor Center in Mexico’s most cherished traditions, Langtry are also highly GUADALUPE MTS. NP Odessa where visitors, families and friends recommended. Both are meet to rejoice in good times. short drives from Del Rio. In Van Horn Acuña offers excellent recreation, addition, discover our First FriAlpine concerts, discotheques, hotels, day Art Walks, Whitehead MemoDEL RIO novelties and festivals celebrating rial and Laughlin Heritage Museums, traditional Mexican holidays, like relish our Fiesta Celebrations throughBIG BEND NP 16 de Septiembre, Dia de Muertos, Revoluout the year and enjoy a round of golf next tion Day and Cinco de Mayo. Acuña is also a to beautiful San Felipe Creek and don’t forget hub for affordable, quality healthcare. to check out all the events at drchamber.com!
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HUECO TANKS STATE HISTORIC SITE World renowned for rock climbing, Hueco Tanks is also known for its many Native American rock paintings and unique geology. Pictograph tours are offered, and you can also hike, camp and picnic on the grounds. Call 915-857-1135 before visiting. Annual Events: Hueco Rock Rodeo (February) Hueco Interpretive Fair (October)
FRANKLIN MOUNTAINS STATE PARK Hike, bike or run the rugged terrain of this 37-square-mile state park that sits in the middle of the city. Annual Events: Puzzler Mountain Bike Race (January) Lone Star 100 Trail Run (February) Poppies Festival (March) Coyote Classic Mountain Bike Race (April) Franklin Mountains Trail Run (November)
The tramway offers a view of 7,000 square miles, two countries and three states from the 5,632-foot elevation at the southern edge of the Franklin Mountains.
WITH THE LA RGEST URBA N STATE PA RKS IN THE U.S. RIGHT IN THE HEA RT OF THE CITY, YOU DON’ T H AV E TO GO FA R TO STA RT YOUR EXPERIENCE!
the sun rise over a plenty of reasons to get up and go. Add 315 days picturesque mountain backdrop, of sun to the equation and you can live a Hema city brimming with adventure ingway novel in about a week — unless you’d rather use all that sunshine to recomes to life. EL PASO GUADALUPE lax by a pool. El Paso curves MTS. NP Odessa El Paso’s native friendliaround a still-wild terness, warm sunshine and unrain of mountains and foothills Van Horn tamed mountains will make your that promise, after a short climb Alpine trip here the absolute opposite of or a cable-car ride on a Swiss-made a themed, fabricated experience. gondola, a breathtaking panoramic view. You Better El Paso Up! Fresh-air excursions alone can give you BIG BEND
S YOU WATCH
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ZIN VALLE WINERY Spend the day at Zin Valle and experience their complimentary wine tasting, venture into the barrel room or simply enjoy a glass or bottle of wine on the patio or picnic while looking over the Zinfandel vineyard and the Franklin Mountains.
FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: MYKE HERMSMEYER/VISIT EL PASO; DEVON BALET; COURTESY VISIT EL PASO
WYLER AERIAL TRAMWAY
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Attractions A MCDONALD OBSERVATORY A world leader in astronomical research, McDonald Observatory atop Mts. Locke and Fowlkes benefits from some of the darkest night skies in the nation. The Frank N. Bash Visitor Center is the starting point for tours and hosts Star Parties on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Interactive educational exhibits can be found at the visitor center along with a gift shop stocked with unique and educational keepsakes. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with self-guided tours available until 5 p.m. Daytime programs are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. www.mcdonaldobservatory.org
•DAVIS• TA K E A STEP BACK IN TIME A ND TR AV EL TO A PLACE RICH IN HISTORY — A PLACE WHERE THE OLD WEST MEETS MODERN A MENITIES, A ND THERE’S NOT A SINGLE STOPLIGHT!
Davis Mountains and American soldiers who became known as Buffalo surrounded by unspoiled vistas of Soldiers. Fort Davis soon became a major military the Chihuahuan Desert, the charm- installment, and the town grew right alongside it, ing little town of Fort Davis feels far boasting a dairy, lumberyard, bakery, furniture removed from the rest of the world. store, several hotels, a mercantile and saloons. Even after the fort closed, the community The town stretches just one mile with most of the family-owned businesses centered around of Fort Davis grew as a ranching center and by the the county courthouse and along the main street early 1900s attracted wealthy vacationers from (Highway 118). It has the feel of a western the Gulf Coast seeking the mild climate of the high desert during the summer. frontier town offering a retreat GUADALUPE MTS. NP The intriguing history of the to a simpler past and a chance Odessa area drew more tourists with to soak in the natural surrounding Van Horn the designation of the fort as a beauty, abundant wildlife and rich hisFORT DAVIS National Historic Site in 1961. tory of the area. Many of its buildings have Fort Davis takes its name from the milAlpine been restored, making it one of itary post established there in 1854 along the BIG BEND the best surviving examples of a NP San Antonio-El Paso Road. The fort was manned frontier military post in the Southwest. by companies of the 8th U.S. Infantry to protect Stargazers, birdwatchers, cyclists and immigrants, freighters and mail coaches from raids by Apache and Comanche Indians in the hikers have also sought out the “Highest Town in area. Starting in 1867, the fort was home to four Texas” for access to the McDonald Observatory companies of the 9th U.S. Calvary — African- and Davis Mountains State Park/Indian Lodge. IGH IN THE
FROM LEFT: LEE HOY, LEE HOY
B DAVIS MOUNTAINS STATE PARK & INDIAN LODGE Located four miles north of Fort Davis, this 2,700-acre park offers camping, hiking, picnicking and nature study. Four miles of hiking trails connect to Fort Davis National Historic Site, and two scenic overlooks provide the perfect spots for star gazing. Day and overnight equestrian use is offered. Within the park, the historic, pueblo-style Indian Lodge, built in 1933 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, has a swimming pool, restaurant and gift shop. The park is open yearround, and full RV hookups are available.
FORT DAVIS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Fort Davis was one the most important posts in frontier defense in the late 1800s with its strategic location at the crossroads of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahuan Trail. www.nps.gov/foda BIGBENDTRAVELGUIDE.COM 39
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CHIHUAHUAN DESERT NATURE CENTER
www.cdri.org, (432) 364-2499 The 507-acre Nature Center, an affiliate of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, features 20 acres of botanical gardens, a cactus and succulent greenhouse with over 150 species of plants, nearly five miles of hiking trails, including about one and a half miles within the gardens, a geologic timeline with rock samples from the region, a Heritage Mining Exhibit, and the Powell Visitor Center, which includes exhibits and a gift shop. Modesta Canyon has a year-round spring, and Clayton’s Overlook has an impressive geologic display. There is a new bird blind with a 30 foot water feature, and shelter with side screens for additional viewing and photography. CDRI’s main fundraiser is a chuck wagon cookout and auction, which takes place in August. Located four miles SE of Fort Davis on Hwy. 118, the center is open 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., and Sundays 12:30–5:30 p.m. (mid-March through October).
SCENIC LOOP DRIVE
A 75-mile drive on the highest public highway in Texas starts in Fort Davis and winds past the Davis Mountain State Park, McDonald Observatory, Mount Livermore, Sawtooth Mountain and the Rock Pile. The route is also ideal for cycling with plenty of spots to rest and picnic including a large, pine-shaded area with tables in Madera Canyon.
THE OVERLAND TRAIL MUSEUM F On the historic San Antonio-El Paso Road, the museum has displays and photographs depicting early life on the western frontier and features a restored pioneer kitchen and early medical equipment. Open Tue.–Sat. 1–5 p.m, Sundays 2–4 p.m.
photos with Santa, hay rides around historic Fort Davis and kids holiday crafts.
THE “COOLEST” 4TH OF JULY Fort Davis provides a true slice of Americana in this annual small-town July 4 celebration dubbed the “coolest” in Texas thanks to the mountain temperatures and year-round dry climate. The community event — which draws visitors from all over — features a parade, a 5K Fun Run, a pie-baking contest, a cowboy hypnotist, live music, an array of vendors and a dance under the stars.
DAVIS MOUNTAINS HUMMINGBIRD CELEBRATION A four-day birding experience that offers field trips to unique birding habitats, guest speaking events, workshops, garden tours, banding demonstrations and an outdoor banquet. To be held August 19-23, 2020, birders and people who just love hummingbirds can explore the fascinating geology, flora and hummingbirds of the Davis Mountains Sky Islands. To register go to www.fortdavis.com.
Lodging HOTEL LIMPIA 101 Memorial Square (432) 426-3237 www.hotellimpia.com
FORT DAVIS INN & R.V. PARK 2201 Texas 17 (800) 80-DAVIS www.fortdavisinn.com
MOUNTAIN TRAILS LODGE
Designed by the architectural firm of l. L. Thurman and Co. of Dallas, this building was erected in 1910–1911. 2011 marked the 100th anniversary of this concrete and stone Classical Revival edifice, featuring a massive portico, Doric columns, alternating horizontal bands of pink rusticated stone made of locally quarried materials and a Beaux Arts-style clock tower.
501 S. Highway 118 (800) 403-3484 www.mountaintrailslodge.com Lodge and retreat center just south of town. Private porches with views of the Chihuahuan Desert, birds and wildlife. Dark sky friendly outdoor lighting ideal for astrophography and star gazing. Sixteen duplex guest cabins and two cottages with full kitchens accommodate families and groups of two to 68 guests. Other features include restored 1930s dining room and gathering areas., and a pavilion with a gas grill.
STONE VILLAGE TOURIST CAMP
HISTORIC JEFF DAVIS COUNTY COURTHOUSE
TEXAS STAR PARTY Hosted at the Historic Prude Ranch, which is a 3500acre, mile-high ranch. The event includes local tours, talks and evening programs. The next Texas Star Party will be held May 17-24, 2020. www.texasstarparty.org
CYCLEFEST Hosted by the Permian Basin Bicycle Association, Cyclefest has been based in Fort Davis for some 40 years. Cyclefest is a fun ride for anyone, held the third weekend in September. www.pbbatx.com
509 State St. (432) 426-3941 www.stonevillagetouristcamp.com
Food & Drink BLUE MOUNTAIN BAR & GRILL 101 Memorial Square , next to Hotel Limpia (432) 426-3244
HEBERT’S CABOOSE ICE CREAM SHOP 1250 N. State St., (432) 426-3141 email@example.com
FRONTIER CHRISTMAS WEEKEND Always the first full weekend of December, festivities include a Christmas parade, a cookie baking contest, 40 BIGBENDTRAVELGUIDE.COM
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Fort Davis National Historic Site
MTN. VIEW PROPERTIES (432) 386-2268 www.mtnviewproperties.com
KING LAND & WATER LLC 2 600 N. State St.
T FO RT S
2N 3R ST
FORT DAVIS OUTFITTERS
(432) 426-2024 www.KingLandWater.com Offering unparalleled service for buyers and sellers of ranches, unique homes, and conservation properties throughout the Lone Star State. Our experience is as vast as the landscape around us.
BLACK FOOT ST
113 North State Street, in the heart of downtown Fort Davis; (432) 426-3929 www.fortdavisdrugstore.net
FORT DAVIS DRUG STORE AND HOTEL
O DR GRANAD
1250 N. State St. (432) 426-3141 firstname.lastname@example.org
HEBERTâ€™S HEIRLOOMS & RESALE
601 Cemetery Rd. (432) 242-5102
Fort Davis National Historic Site
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Attractions A FORT STOCKTON VISITOR CENTER Located in the renovated Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railroad Depot, the Visitor Center provides information on local and regional attractions. The surrounding grounds house interpretive displays on Comanche Springs, Buffalo Soldiers, early pioneers, vaqueros and Comanche Indians. Also located at the Center is the operational Pecos County/Fort Stockton Renewable Energy Park, featuring wind and solar power generation that supplies energy for operations at the Visitor Center. 1000 Railroad Avenue (432) 336-2264 www.historicfortstocktontx.com
B MESA VINEYARDS WINE TASTING ROOM AT THE HISTORIC GREY MULE SALOON The historic saloon offers a perfect setting to highlight the wines of Mesa Vineyards. The tasting room offers visitors a unique experience of enjoying an evening in an adobe structure where cowboys, pioneers and outlaws once drank and watched the construction of what is now Annie Riggs Memorial Museum. Open Wednesday through Sunday (2:30 p.m.–8 p.m.). (432) 336-WINE. Available for special events and group appointments.
HISTORIC FORT STOCKTON DRIVING TOUR Beginning at the Visitor Center, the self-guided driving tour of the Historic District features 17 locations with descriptive signage and period photographs. (432) 336-2264
The community was origiGUADALUPE MTS. NP was established nally known as Saint Gall, but the Odessa in March 1859 as locals changed the name to Fort Van Horn Camp Stockton. The Stockton in 1881. FORT army withdrew from Texas Fort Stockton was incorpoSTOCKTON during the Civil War and abandoned rated as a city in December of 1910 Alpine Fort Stockton in 1861. Confederate troops and elected its first mayor in 1911. BIG BEND briefly occupied the site until they, too, withFort Stockton is the county seat of NP drew in 1862. In July 1867, Fort Stockton was Pecos County, the second-largest county re-established by four companies of the 9th U.S. in the state. Covering nearly 5,000 square Cavalry Regiment. miles, Pecos County is one of Texas’ largest energy The 9th was one of the new regiments or- producers combining renewable energy with fossil ganized after the Civil War staffed with African- fuels. Tourism, agriculture, retail sales and the serAmerican enlisted men known as Buffalo Sol- vice industry are also important contributors to the diers. local economy. ORT STOCKTON
Paisano Pete, located in the center of town on the corner of Main and Dickinson, is inarguably one of the most recognizable roadside attractions in the Southwest. Fort Stockton’s unofficial mascot was erected in 1980 and declared the largest roadrunner in the world, at 11 feet tall and 22 feet long. “Pete” was the idea of Mayor Gene Cummings and has been an enduring symbol of the community since his arrival. He is one of the most photographed ”birds” in the world.
COURTESY FORT STOCKTON CVB
C PAISANO PETE
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D OLD FORT CEMETERY
SUMMER OFF THE PATIO CONCERT SERIES
G DESERT PINES MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE
In use from 1859 to 1912, grave markers are a testament to the hard and often violent life on the early frontier.
Sponsored by the Fort Stockton Historical Society, this free, six-session summer concert series is held at the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum, off of the back porch featuring historic period- and westernthemed music. The concerts are held on Thursdays during the summer. (432) 336-2167
This 18-hole course is home to Blaine McCallister, a leading PGA touring professional. Open Tuesday– Sunday. (432) 336-2050
E HISTORIC FORT STOCKTON
This important Indian Wars fort was active from 1867 to 1886. It was strategically placed at Comanche Springs to protect the San Antonio-to-El Paso mail, freight wagons, cattle drives and immigrants. Today Historic Fort Stockton consists of four of the original buildings and reconstructed barracks housing the museum and period displays. 301 East Third Street (432) 336-2400
H JAMES ROONEY MEMORIAL PARK Home to the historic Comanche Springs Pavilion and Swimming Pool built in 1938 over the Big Chief Spring, the pool is the site of Fort Stockton’s annual Water Carnival. 208 S. Hwy 285, Pool – 200 Spring Dr. (432) 336-2751
LIVE AT ZERO STONE CONCERT SERIES Sponsored by the Fort Stockton Chamber of Commerce, this free, six-session summer concert series is held at Zero Stone Park in downtown Fort Stockton. Many types of music are celebrated, including jazz, swing and hard rock. The concerts are held every other Friday. (432) 336-2264
F ANNIE RIGGS MEMORIAL MUSEUM
BIG BEND OPEN ROAD RACE
Built in 1899, the museum is an excellent example of Territorial architecture. The Riggs family donated the building to the Fort Stockton Historical Society in 1956 for use as a museum of the town’s wild and colorful history with displays featuring area geology, archeology and pioneer life. 301 S. Main. (432) 336-2167
Fort Stockton is the starting point for this “most challenging open road race in the world” held the last Saturday in April along Highway 285 to Sanderson. This event draws hundreds to the area and offers excitement for all ages. Contact: (432) 336-2264 www.bborr.com
FALL FESTIVAL Held the first weekend of October, the Fall Festival is a weekend of fun-filled events including arts & crafts booths, food booths, kids activities, wine emporium, goat roping, and team roping. (432) 336-2264
Fort Stockton FORT STOCKTON WATER CARNIVAL
OLD FORT DAYS Held annually on the historic fort grounds the third weekend in October, Old Fort Days brings history to life with period re-enactors and demonstrations. Military units representing the periods of occupation of Fort Stockton are represented, as are the civilian population that lived near the historic fort. Demonstrations of skills needed to survive during the early settlement of the Southwest are presented as well as military demonstrations of infantry, cavalry and artillery skills. (432) 336-2400
The Fort Stockton Water Carnival tradition began back in 1936, when Comanche Springs flowed freely and Texas was celebrating its Centennial. The annual event occurs the third weekend in July and includes singing, dancing, water ballet performances and the crowning of Ms. Fort Stockton. Held at Comanche Springs Pool and Pavilion, the three-day event 18continues to be run by local volunteers. (432) 336-2264
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LAJITAS A COMMUNITY A LONG THE RIO GR A NDE RI V ER NA MED FOR THE SM A LL FLAT ROCKS TH AT BLA NK ET THE A REA , BORN OF A NCIENT VOLCA NOES A ND INLA ND SEAS.
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the western-themed resort was The early 20th cenGUADALUPE born, complete with a nine-hole tury brought a public MTS. NP Odessa golf course, several lodging opschool, church and U.S. tions and an airstrip. During post office to the small comVan Horn this time, the quaint community munity of Lajitas. In 1916, the also included an unexpected atarrival of Mexican Revolutionary Alpine traction: Clay Henry III, a beergeneral Pancho Villa — a name that LAJITAS drinking goat who even served a was either worshipped or feared on BIG BEND NP term as mayor of the West Texas town. both sides of the Rio Grande — resulted Today, the remote vacation destiin the establishment of a military outpost to protect the strategic mining industry. General nation is even grander, with an onsite spa, John J. “Black Jack” Pershing made an inspec- zip line course and an 18-hole championship tion of the area along with his aide Lieutenant golf course that continues to be a top pick by golf and travel publications. Whether you’re George Patton during that time. For decades afterward, the Lajitas prop- drawn to the history, scenery or activities, erty changed owners several times before end- there are cowboy stories along with miners’ ing up in the hands of Walter Mischer in 1977. tales of drink and peril in every crevice of the The Houston entrepreneur restored and devel- red rock buttes that encircle the area. oped the community, and by the mid-1980s,
Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, Lajitas boasts a colorful history with a cast of infamous characters, beginning with giant marine reptiles and dinosaurs that roamed these parts over 65 million years ago according to fossils discovered in the vicinity. For centuries, Native Americans traveled through these parts along the Comanche Trail. Spanish explorer Antonio de Espejo used this historic river crossing, also known as Paso Lajitas or San Carlos Ford, in 1588. By the mid1800s, Anglo-Americans had made their way to this remote location, eventually discovering quicksilver in the 1890s. The area’s booming mines led to the Lajitas Trading Post, which served workers and handled goods and material coming from Mexico. UCKED BETWEEN
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Lodging LAJITAS GOLF RESORT 432-424-5000 www.lajitasgolfresort.com Under new ownership since 2007, this 27,000acre destination getaway features all the creature comforts and exciting adventures a visitor could want. From the Badlands Hotel to the Cavalry Post to the Boardwalk Condos, the resort boasts 101 well-appointed rooms decorated to match the remote property’s upscale Old West style.
Attractions AGAVE SPA
BLACK JACK’S CROSSING GOLF COURSE This 18-hole championship golf course designed by Ryder Cup Captain Lanny Wadkins has been voted the top Course You Can Play in Texas by the Dallas Morning News for the fourth consecutive year. The course winds through the mountains, canyon and desert, capturing the beauty and drama of the Big Bend region while offering challenging golf for all skill levels.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK 432-477-2251 www.nps.gov/bibe Big Bend National Park encompasses more than 800,000 acres in southwest Texas and administers approximately one-quarter of the 1,000-mile boundary that the Rio Grande forms between Mexico and the United States. The river’s southeasterly flow changes abruptly to the northeast, forming the “big bend” of the Rio Grande. The park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States.
EQUESTRIAN TRAIL RIDES Guided horseback rides work their
way through hilly and desert terrain, offering sweeping views of the Big Bend wilderness. Riders can enjoy sunrise or sunset excursions, as well as one-hour, twohour and half-day trail outings.
LAJITAS BOARDWALK The Lajitas Boardwalk offers a collection of interesting shops and venues to explore, including Red Rock Outfitters and Christina’s World for local and regional gifts, the Flat Rock Theater providing a cool afternoon escape and Licha’s Bakery with fresh-baked pastries.
action pistol or lever-action rifle. A combat course designed by a military veteran who served in Iraq simulates a run through an interactive environment.
The remote southwest Texas desert provides a gorgeous backdrop for a variety of shooting activities available in Lajitas. Aim at sporting clays using a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun or participate in a cowboy action shoot equipped with a shotgun, single-
A world-class zip-line tour of Quiet Canyon is a perfect way for adrenaline junkies to enjoy the breathtaking surroundings of the Big Bend area. Nine zip lines take riders from the upper canyon to the canyon floor. Three tour options available.
TOP PHOTO DENNIS MURPHY-D SQUARED PRODUCTIONS; INC.; BOTTOM PHOTOS COURTESY LAJITAS GOLF RESORT
There’s no better place to relax and unwind in the high Chihuahuan Desert than this luxurious spa on the Lajitas Golf Resort property. Sit back and enjoy a massage, facial or body treatment using herbal ingredients and stones native to the region.
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MARATHON WHERE THE BIG BEND A ND DA RK SK IES MEET.
FU N FACT The Marathon Historical Museum is located at the corner of North Third and Avenue E (on the Square) in the historic “Club House,” originally the site of the first schoolhouse in BuchelBrewster County.
GUADALUPE Starting at the center of town, Post Road runs south of the entrance MTS. NP Odessa for five miles to Post Park — the site of a former cavalry post to Big Bend National Park sits Maraknown as Camp Peña Colorado in the late 1800s. With very thon — a quaint community that boasts a Van Horn little traffic and fabulous views, this stretch is ideal for rundelightful climate, beautiful surroundings and MARATHON ning, walking and biking. Wildlife such as deer, javelinas, friendly people. Situated in what is known as the Alpine turkey, jack rabbits, quail and even an occasional fox can be Magnificent Marathon Basin and centrally located to seen in the early morning or around sunset. many of the area’s unique attractions, Marathon hosts a range of BIG BEND NP Post Park itself boasts a beautiful, secluded pond and county park folks — from astronomers gazing at the night sky to biking or birding on the Peña Colorado Creek shaded by cottonwood trees and surenthusiasts to Big Bend hikers and explorers. One feature visitors can’t help but notice is the expansive starry sky rounded by the Caballos Novaculite Mountains. The historic spot is popover Marathon, which attracts astronomers and stargazers. Thanks to ular in birding circles as one of the few accessible sources of spring water its remote geographic location, elevation and small size, the town has in the Big Bend region. It also hosts the longest running community earned the rare distinction as an established, functional community un- event in the Big Bend area: the Independence Day dance. Stunning geologic features surround Marathon, including the der a “Class 1 Dark Sky.” (That’s as dark as it gets!) Though increasing light pollution prevents surrounding communities from holding the same bluntness of Iron Mountain to the northwest and the lightness of the distinction, Marathon residents and businesses intentionally protect the northern Glass Mountains, one of the few exposed uplifted coral reefs in breathtaking view and their dark sky status from the intrusion of exterior Texas. While in Marathon, you’ll stand on some of the oldest rocks from the Paleozoic age (250–600 million years ago). The Marathon Uplift exlights. Marathon’s historic main street village sits a half-mile west of the poses the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma that were Highway 385 turnoff to Big Bend National Park. Anchored by the leg- heaved up during the formation of the ancient supercontinent of Panendary Gage Hotel, the city center includes shops, restaurants, galleries, gaea. Roadcuts east of town along Highway 90 and south on Highway groceries and accommodations to suit every taste and need. Railroad and 385 expose onlookers to spectacular features such as strike-slip faults, ranching — two industries that founded the town — are still an impor- unusual folding and fossil fragments. Should you decide to make Marathon your destination, or when tant part of the local economy.
UST 40 MILES NORTH
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For more information, visit marathontexas.com, themarathonfoundation.org and visitbigbend.com, as well as the Visit Marathon Texas Facebook page and Instagram account. instagram.com/visitmarathontexas www.facebook.com/marathontexas
Attractions CAMP PENA COLORADO (POST PARK) Five miles south of town, this shady oasis known simply as “The Post” was the original town site. Its location on the Comanche Trail necessitated the establishment of a cavalry post there. Although very little remains of the army post, it nevertheless gives the spot its current name. It is a popular location for dances, picnics and fishing, and is one of the best birding sites in the region.
MARATHON HISTORICAL MUSEUM On N. 3rd and Ave. E The Marathon Historical Museum, featuring historic artifacts, photographs and memorabilia of Marathon and the surrounding region, is closed temporarily. Volunteers are taking several months to conduct a comprehensive inventory of all objects that the museum has accessioned or received as loans. The project is one piece of a larger project to develop both a
collections management policy and a collections plan. Watch for up coming fundraising events and the re-opening of the museum in October 2019.
HALLIE STILLWELL HALL OF FAME MUSEUM Located 39 miles south on Highway 385 and six miles east on FM 2627, this family museum honors the memory of legendary ranch woman, teacher and author Hallie Stillwell. Call before going as their hours vary (432) 3762244.
GAGE GARDEN AND NATURE TRAIL Gage Hotel’s expansive landscaped garden encompasses 27 acres and includes meandering walking and running trails, ponds, lavender field, rose garden and blooming indigenous plants that flourish year round attracting area birds and butterflies. The garden serves as an event venue for Gage weddings and private parties, but is open to the public daily.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK Marathon is the northern and eastern gateway to Big Bend National Park. A 40-minute drive takes you to the park entrance, where you are greeted with breathtaking desert vistas. After another 45-minute drive inside the park, you can find yourself in the cool, high Chisos Mountains Basin with a view across the river into Mexico.
SPA AT THE GAGE HOTEL 102 W. Hwy 90 (800) 884-GAGE www.gagehotel.com The luxury spa at the historic Gage Hotel offers the ultimate in relaxation with massages, body treatments, facials and more.
ing astronomy enthusiasts. Amenities include wifi, three-level concrete pads featuring 110 power and a shade cloth barrier to prevent any stray light intrusion. On most clear skied nights after dark, our amateur astronomer will get out his telescopes and share his knowledge. Donations for his time go to improvements of the site and telescopes.
Events INDEPENDENCE DAY DANCE & CHILI COOK-OFF Weekend of the first Saturday in July This weekend-long event has been an influential part of Brewster County culture since its start in the early 1900s. Post Park hosts visitors from around the area for a community dance and CASI-sponsored chili cookoff benefiting the Marathon Volunteer Fire Department. Other weekend events include a barbecue lunch, fun “dog and pony show,” parade on Main Street, live music and a fireworks show sponsored by the Gage Hotel.
VIVA BIG BEND Last weekend of July The Viva Big Bend music festival brings live music to various locations in Marathon, including the Gage Hotel and Eve’s Garden B&B.
WEST FEST AND CABRITO COOK-OFF Last weekend of September Cooks vie for the top prize with cabrito (goat) specialties. You are invited to help judge not just cabrito, but other tasty West Texas treats such as steak, salsa, chicken, ribs, brisket, desert and margaritas! Family-friendly activities include washer pitching, cake walk, silent and live benefit auctions, live music and a dance. Benefitting local causes, including the Marathon Volunteer Fire Department.
MARATHON QUILT SHOW Annually in October Enter a quilt or come see the talent of local quilters at this annual event. Judging in numerous categories.
MARATHON PUBLIC LIBRARY 106 NE 3rd Street, (432) 386-4136 www.marathonpubliclibrary.org The Marathon Public Library provides the community with the opportunity to borrow books and DVDs in a variety of genres. Printing services, Wi-Fi and programs for both adults and children are also available. Hours: Monday-Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
MARATHON SKY PARK at the Marathon Motel (432) 386-4241 A unique concept/development to enhance the experience of our visit-
FROM TOP: CAROL TOWNSEND, COURTESY VISIT MARATHON TEXAS
you’re ready to head down the road, you’re an easy distance from just about anywhere in the area. Alpine is a mere 30 miles, and another 26 miles will get you to either Marfa or Fort Davis. But if you’re like most, you’ll probably head south to Big Bend National Park. Good news: Marathon is closer to the park than any other town in the region at just 42 miles. Marathon also offers a wide array of short-term rentals, which can be found under lodging on the marathontexas.com website. Many of the properties can also be accessed through Air B&B, Home away and VRBO (vacation rentals by owner). Marathon is sitting pretty as the locals’ haven and visitors’ uncovered jewel, just a hop, skip and a jump from all that welcomes visitors to far West Texas and its little corner of heaven.
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The Marathon quilters group will sell quilts. Raffle tickets to benefit the group lead to the awarding of fun door prizes.
MARATHON 2 MARATHON Fourth weekend in October The 17th annual 5K, 10K, half and full marathons will take place Oct. 26, 2019, on the Highway 385 course. Registrants can enjoy a pre-run pasta dinner at the Gage Hotel and a postrace fire department fundraiser lunch, awards presentation, dancing at the Marathon Motel and evening star party. www.marathon2marathon.net
FIESTA DE NOCHE BUENA
MARATHON FISH FRY FUNDRAISER Second Saturday of February This fish fry goes to make Post Park more user-friendly and to other local attractions (varying each year).
Lodging ADOBE HACIENDA / ORTEGA HOUSE (432) 603-7333
THE BLAS PLAYNE (817) 938-4498 One of, if not the, oldest homes in Marathon. This historical house has been lovingly restored with close attention to retaining the character of a 100+ year old adobe.
CASA LA VISTA (432) 386-2222 Be impressed by a rustic exterior. Inside all the comforts of home await you!
(310) 560-8758 A gorgeously restored home that was originally an old farmhouse built in 1917.
(800) 884-GAGE Built in 1927 by famed architect Henry Trost, the recently restored Gage Hotel offers sophisticated laidback luxury at the Gateway to the Big Bend.
(432) 386-2222 Solitude, beauty, escape.
LOMA DEL CHIVO HOSTEL
EVE’S GARDEN ORGANIC BED & BREAKFAST (432) 386-7133 Seven separate, colorful, hand-built guest rooms (each with a private bath), surround a lush garden courtyard. Includes guest courtesy room and full organic breakfast.
(432) 386-2116 Folks looking for the hostel experience will enjoy this funky place featuring buildings made of recycled material, including cans, bottles and paper.
Second Saturday of December Noche Buena (literally “the Good Night”) is the Spanish word for Christmas Eve. The evening consists of a family feast and is celebrated in many places around the world. This community event begins at dusk. Galleries and shops open, seasonal snacks are shared and the holiday tree is lit! You can get in the holiday spirit joining in with Christmas caroling and hay rides. Mr. and Mrs. Santa make an appearance. A Mariachi
band will be featured for the downtown revelers to enjoy.
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burritos, hamburgers, Mexican food, chicken sandwiches, fries, grilled cheese, cold drinks and beer.
ANGIE’S SNACK SHACK (AND LAUNDRY)
MARATHON MOTEL AND RV PARK (866) 386-4241 Established in 1940, the recently renovated Marathon Motel features private cabins and full RV hookups complete with water, 30/50 amp electricity, sewer and cable television. The entrance is easy to navigate.
MCGONAGILL HOUSE (432) 386-9755 Enjoy a local ranching family’s historic home, built in the 1940s. Roomy and cozy.
MY ADOBE HACIENDA/ MONROE PAYNE (830) 719-6067 Visit this historic home of Monroe Payne. Built more than 100 years ago, this adobe has been lovingly restored and provided with modern amenities making you feel at home.
RANCHO VILLA GUEST HOUSES (512) 423-2695 This adobe ranch house has mesmorizing mountain views from its numerous porches and patios.
SUNSET HOUSE (512) 844-0100 Unobstructed views of sunrises and sunsets from the 700-square-foot porch. The studio is well laid out for up to four guests.
Food & Drink FRENCH COMPANY GROCER 206 N. Avenue D (432) 386-4522 www.frenchcogrocer.com Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily This quaint local store stocks classic grocery staples, natural foods, beer and wine, as well as camping sup-
plies, gifts and artisan wares. The deli offers homemade sandwiches, salads, bread, cookies and coffee.
12 GAGE RESTAURANT & WHITE BUFFALO BAR In the Gage Hotel - 101 Hwy 90 West (432) 386-4205 www.gagehotel.com The bar is open daily from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. (or midnight if we’re having fun!). Restaurant seating is from 6 p.m. with last seating at 9:40 p.m. on weekends and 8:40 p.m. on weekdays. Extraordinary Texas-inspired fine dining and bar experience at the historic Gage Hotel.
BIG BEND PIZZA 900 Hwy 90 (432) 386-8883 Open Tuesday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. Homemade, fire-roasted pizza.
BRICK VAULT BREWERY & BARBECUE 100 N. 1st Street (432) 386-7538 Open Thursday and Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and dining until 8:30 p.m. or until food sells out. Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. and dining until 8:30 or until food sells out. Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. or until food sells out. The Brick Vault opened in 2018 and serves up award-winning barbecue and craft beer — a great combination for the weary traveler.
J&G GRILL Located inside the J&G Alon convenience store, 901 Hwy. 90 West (432) 386-4238 Hours: 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday (sometimes open on Saturdays) Grab a burger-to-go while getting gas on your way to Big Bend! Breakfast
113 NE 1st Street (432) 386-4233 Open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Texan and Mexican deliciousness.
105 N. Avenue D (432) 386-6789 www.edanklepper.com Open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. E. Dan Klepper is a fine artist, photographer and writer exhibiting his largescale works of photo-based art and sculpture at Klepper Gallery. His book of fine art photography and essays titled Why the Raven Calls the Canyon can also be found at the gallery.
V6 COFFEE BAR
101 Hwy 90 West (432) 386-4205 Open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hearty breakfast and a bistro-style lunch with beer, wine and full espresso menu.
RITA’S CANTINA Located at the Marathon Motel, west side of Marathon on Hwy. 90 (432) 336-1084; Reservations recommended (send a text) Open for Sunday brunch, Paella Sundays, Seafood Fridays. Hours vary seasonally. Locally sourced excellence!
CACTUS FLOWER 105 E. Hwy. 90 (432) 244-8432 Open Thursday to Monday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local images and handcrafted gifts including quilts.
MAIN STREET SHOP
Art & Galleries
111 E. Hwy. 90 (919) 740-6163 Open Thursday to Monday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Marathon artisans offer unique items such as handcrafted jewelry, flutes, gifts, photos and more.
V6 COLLECTION GIFTS
Three doors down from the Gage on Main Street (432) 386-4366 www.jameshevans.com If you don’t see someone in the shop, give James a call and he’ll stop by. The longest running gallery in the Big
In the Gage Hotel - 101 Hwy 90 West (432) 386-4205 Open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Gage Hotel’s uniquely curated collection of local art, area books and hand-crafted decor.
FROM TOP: JACK HOLLINGSWORTH; JASON RISNER
Eve’s Garden Organic Bed & Breakfast
209 E. Hwy 90 (432) 216-1001 Open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Closed on Tuesdays Come for some great food and a visit at your hometown cafe. Burgers, sandwiches, salads, Mexican food, hot dogs, ice cream and all kinds of great snacks. You’ll feel like a real “Marathuner!”
Bend and featuring the photographs of James H. Evans. James has been operating out of Marathon since 1988 and is the author of Big Bend Pictures (in its 3rd printing) and Crazy from the Heat. Home of Desert Critter Wear — closing and linens with printed desert critters.
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MARFA A RT, MUSIC A ND CULTURE CA N A LL BE FOUND IN THIS WEST TEX AS OASIS
Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and Dennis Hopper. The classically beautiful as, surrounded by distant mountains in daylight and mysteri- Hotel Paisano served as the center of activity during the making of the movie. Now, the well-appointed rooms offer modern conveniences while ous ghost lights at night. Fittingly named after a character in a novel, Marfa preserving the spirit of its past. If you are unable to stay there, a visit is has a history of attracting creative spirits. Founded as a railroad a must — sit in by a roaring fireplace in the lobby or enjoy the outside water stop in the 1880s, the city limits are still bound on all sides by courtyard and fountain. In 1971, Donald Judd, the renowned minimalist artist, moved to working cattle ranches, many still operated by their original descendants. On any given day you can find these natives in one of the many Marfa from New York City with the intention of permanently installing his art. Since Judd’s death in 1994, two foundations fine restaurants, galleries or cultural events Marfa ofGUADALUPE have been working to maintain his legacy: the Chinati fers, along with visitors from all over the world who MTS. NP Odessa Foundation and Judd Foundation. The Chinati Founcome in for urban dislocation. dation now occupies more than 10 buildings and has on On the surface, it is a typical rural town — a main Van Horn permanent exhibit work by such artists as John Chamstreet, a courthouse, churches and well-kept houses. Look MARFA berlain and Dan Flavin. deeper and you will find restaurants and art collections to rival Alpine While in Marfa, don’t forget to find your way to New York or Berlin, a hotel filled with movie stars’ memories and the viewing station east of town where you can study unrivaled eclectic accommodations (like El Cosmico’s renovated vinBIG BEND NP the mystery of the Marfa Ghost Lights as they dance across the tage trailers, scout tents, traditional 22-foot Sioux teepees and campsites, foothills of the Chinati Mountains. Seen by the earliest settlers or the uber-modern Hotel Saint George and Hotel Thunderbird). Until the 1970s, Marfa was best known for the ghost lights and as to the area, they continue to mystify travelers and passersby and are part the film location for James Dean’s final picture, Giant, also starring Rock of the continuing enigma and magic that is Marfa. HE ENIGMATIC city of Marfa sits in the high desert of Tex-
COURTESY CITY OF MARFA
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Attractions A MARFA MYSTERY LIGHTS
Marfa’s Mystery Ghost Lights were first documented by rancher Robert Ellison in 1883. Many theories about the source of these curious lights abound, but no one has ever been able to fully explain the phenomenon. Swamp gas, phosphorescent mineral displays, ball lightning, UFOs and wandering spirits of Apache ancestors have been proposed. Whatever the cause, these playful lights above Mitchell Flat are an enduring attraction. You’ll find a roadside park and viewing center complete with restroom facilities, picnic tables and long-range viewing devices along Highway 90 just eight miles east of town.
stands atop this elegant Second Empire-style domed structure that was restored in 2001. A climb to the cupola provides a 360-degree panoramic view of the Marfa Plateau, Chinati Peak and nearby Davis Mountains. Hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
COURTESY CITY OF MARFA
B PRESIDIO COUNTY COURTHOUSE Built in 1886, the Goddess of Justice
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MARFA AND PRESIDIO COUNTY MUSEUM
Housed in an 1880s adobe known as the HumphrisHumphreys House, this museum features displays of GIANT, the Chihuahuan Desert, local military and county history, and a collection of panoramic photography by Frank Duncan. Hours 2–5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.
studios are open across town. www.chinati.org www.juddfoundation.org www.ballroommarfa.org
MARFA LIGHTS FESTIVAL The Marfa Lights Festival takes place each Labor Day weekend, with many of the activities surrounding the picturesque Presidio County Courthouse. The festival begins on Friday when food and craft vendors open their booths. Saturday morning starts with a 5K walk/ run and a parade down Highland Avenue. Live music is featured throughout the weekend.
MARFA MUNICIPAL GOLF COURSE The highest golf course in Texas, situated at 4,882 feet above sea level, this 9-hole course offers not only well-kept greens but also 360-degree views of blue mountains and open ranchland. It is a wonderfully manicured surprise in the middle of the desert mountains. (432) 729-4043.
CHINATI FOUNDATION , JUDD FOUNDATION and BALLROOM MARFA
CHINATI WEEKEND Originally a gathering orchestrated by the Chinati and Judd Foundations, Chinati Weekend (formerly “Open House”) has grown to be a full-scale weekend of art and activity. www.chinati.org.
TRANS-PECOS FESTIVAL The annual Trans-Pecos Festival of Music + Love takes place in September and imports music and fun to Marfa. El Cosmico offers alternative lodging options to travelers in the forms of renovated vintage trailers, yurts, a teepee and campsites.
Excursions FORT DAVIS — CHIHUAHUAN DESERT NATURE CENTER A visit to the base of the Davis Mountains offers a look into the past and the beyond. McDonald Observa-
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY CITY OF MARFA
are three nonprofit art spaces at the hub of Marfa culture. Occupying much of former Fort D.A. Russell, the Chinati Foundation houses a permanent collection of contemporary art, as well as temporary exhibits by artists in residence. The Judd Foundation focuses primarily on the work of Chinati founder Donald Judd, while Ballroom Marfa features revolving exhibits of international acclaim, along with numerous music events throughout the year. In addition to these three organizations, several independent galleries and
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tory’s world-class instruments give a look into deep space, while the historic Fort Davis shows how settlers and military lived in the 1800s. The 507-acre Nature Center, an affiliate of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, features 20 acres of botanical gardens, a cactus and succulent greenhouse with over 150 species of plants, nearly five miles of hiking trails, including about one and a half miles within the gardens, a geologic timeline with rock samples from the region, a Heritage Mining Exhibit, and the Powell Visitor Center, which includes exhibits and a gift shop.
PINTO CANYON The Rio Grande and some of the most scenic West Texas views imaginable await on the road out of Marfa. Take an adventure toward the ghostly Chinati mountains, into the natural border wonders in Presidio.
RIVER ROAD You’ll forget to breathe more than once while taking in the wonders along the route to two of Texas’ premiere state parks. Whether it’s the majesty of Santa Elena Canyon or the mining “ghost town” of Terlingua, River Road is full of surprises.
Lodging HOTEL PAISANO
207 N. Highland (866) 729-3669 www.hotelpaisano.com A historic hotel with 41 rooms, dining room, shopping and a heated pool. The Paisano hosted the stars of the movie GIANT and now serves as the social headquarters for Marfa. Enjoy patio dining by the fountain and views of the exquisite Trost architecture.
COURTESY CITY OF MARFA
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SANDHILLS STATE PARK Five miles northeast of Monahans off I20. (432)-943-2092
WARD COUNTY MUSEUM AT THE MILLION BARREL
MONAHANS COME PLAY IN OUR SA NDBOX A ND EXPERIENCE SOME OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNRISES A ND SUNSETS.
PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY MONAHANS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
OHN THOMAS Monahan is the name
of the man who dug the well and for whom the community of Monahans is named. The discovery of water at the site of present-day Monahans was a breakthrough, according to an article in the Encyclopedia of the New West, written in 1881. “The Texas and Pacific Railroad found here its first inexhaustible supply of pure water.” For the first time, it now becomes apparent that the “Monahans Well” may have had a very significant impact. Monahans Sandhills State Park is noted for the presence of sand dunes up to 70 feet high. Although desert-like, the Monahans Sandhills are not a desert; they are a part of a semi-arid ecosystem (average annual rainfall 12.3 inches characterized by the presence of both groundwater and relatively nutrient-poor windblown sand. The Shinoak (Quercus havardii) is a local climax shrub, an unusual type of oak tree that, because of local conditions, often achieves full growth of only four feet in height. Most of a Shinoak’s biomass exists in the form of a lengthy root system
Open Tuesday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm (432) 943-8401 Located at the Million Barrel, this 14.5acre site is a historical potpourri. Built in 1928, the tank was designed to hold over a million barrels of crude oil and today provides a perfect performance venue for the 400-seat Meadows Amphitheater. Boasting a wide variety of historical artifacts, the Ward County Museum complex is a must-do for any history buff. Coca-Cola Museum: Commemorates the Coca-Cola bottling plant and The Big Burger Restaurant. It is a private collection donated to the museum by Dan & Elaine Wetzig and the Conrad Dunagan Family. The collection contains all kinds of Coca-Cola memorabilia and collectibles. Heritage Museum: Contains numerous antique collections of cameras, medical instruments, rifles and shotguns dated back to the early ’20s, surveying equipment, oilfield equipment and a pennyfarthing bicycle. Railroad Museum: See antiques from the Pyote Train Depot, the rail car and caboose, and the SWBT last “step” office in Texas. The Pyote Bomber Base Museum: This important collection is a wonderful venue for WWII enthusiasts. Come MONAHANS visit our newest exhibit and Odessa learn about the Pyote Army Van Horn Airfield, which trained B-17 and B-29 crews.
GUADALUPE reaching down to groundwater. MTS. NP If a Monahans sand dune has become stabilized and stopped blowing about in the wind, it is often because a small grove of Shinoaks have stabilized Alpine the dune with their extensive root systems. BIG BEND Despite the sterility of the landscape, various WARD COUNTY GOLF NP rodents are relatively common, and several packs COURSE of Sandhills coyotes feed upon them. An 18-hole course that features 6,669 Much of the Monahans Sandhills are priyards of golf from the longest tees for a vately owned property. The state of Texas is operatpar of 72. The course rating is 69.9 and ing a 99-year lease with the Sealy-Smith Foundait has a slope rating of 115 on Bermuda tion for the ranch on which most of the land of the grass. The golf course opened in 1934. state park is located; the park opened to the public in 1957, and the state park has leasehold rights to this parcel of the sand hills until 2056. The Monahans Sandhills are part of the Permian Basin of hydrocarbon formations, and some oil production continues in and around the state park. Visitors practice several local forms of recreation at the Monahans Sandhills, such as sandboarding, sand volleyball, sand surfing and sand tobogganing.
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PRESIDENTIAL ARCHIVE & LEADERSHIP LIBRARY A premier library dedicated solely to the office of the president. Permanent exhibits include campaign memorabilia, historical documents and first lady miniatures. Also features the George H. Bush Family Home, where two presidents and a first lady spent their early days in West Texas. 4919 East University Blvd. www.shepperdinstitute.com/ presidential-archives
ELLEN NOËL ART MUSEUM
The Ellen Noel Art Museum of the Permian Basin is an independent art museum. The museum features rotating exhibitions of historical and contemporary art and a permanent sculpture/sensory garden. The Museum is one of only two art museums in the state of Texas that has been granted the Smithsonian Affiliation. The Museum is located at 4909 E. University. www.noelartmuseum.org
WHEN IT COMES TO VA RIETY A ND FUN, ODESSA , TEX AS IS THE RIGHT PLACE TO BE.
as a water stop a heart of gold. With that great fortitude comes and cattle shipping point on the great respect for culture and the arts — not to Texas and Pacific Railway, Odessa mention a penchant for sports. Home to sports organizations like the North has grown to be GUADALUPE MTS. NP American Hockey League team a real metropolitan ODESSA the Odessa Jackalopes, this is the area with all the accouVan Horn place to stay when you’re looking trements of big city living. In fact, for in-city activities that will wow Odessa is one of the most economithe kids and entertain mom and cally important cities in Texas. Alpine dad as well. www.odessacvb.com But beyond the rigs, the roughnecks BIG BEND and the rodeos, Odessa is a simple town with NP
PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY ODESSA CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU
OUNDED IN 1881
GLOBE OF THE GREAT SOUTHWEST Modeled after Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre. Home of stage plays and the Brand New Opree, a showcase for musical talent. Also features the Anne Hathaway Cottage. The Theatre is located on the Odessa College Campus at 2308 Shakespeare Road. www.globesw.org BIGBENDTRAVELGUIDE.COM 61
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TOURIST INFORMATION CENTER
Open Monday through Friday, 9am–5pm, and Saturdays from 10am–3pm. 24-hour restrooms. Find local and regional details as well as tourist information for a 300-mile radius of Ozona. Located at the intersection of I-10 and Hwy. 163 South. Exit 365. www.ozona.com Facebook: OzonaChamber
FORT LANCASTER HISTORIC SITE One of four posts established in 1855 to protect the military route between San Antonio and El Paso. Visitors may wander through the ruins of the fort still standing guard over the Pecos River valley. Located 33 miles west of Ozona off U.S. 290, in Crockett County, travelers can also stop at an observation point for a spectacular view of a valley once roamed by pioneers. www.visitfortlancaster.com
CROCKETT COUNTY MUSEUM Three-story period museum featuring an award-winning Indian exhibit, general store, bank room, saddle room and many other exhibits. Experience a way of life lived by so many before us. www.crockettcountymuseum.com
EDRA-Escondido Draw Recreational Area EscondidoDraw.org
CROCKETT COUNTY INTERPRETIVE TRAIL & RAINWATER HARVEST EXHIBIT Open to the public seven days a week and located just across the parking lot of the visitor center at the intersection of I-10 and Hwy. 163 South. A great collection of native plants from within a 100-mile radius of Ozona, along with an exhibit on how to collect rain water. www.ozona.com
PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY OZONA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
LOCATED IN THE TEX AS PECOS TR A IL, OZONA IS THE PERFECT 1-10 STOP BETWEEN SA N A NTONIO A ND EL PASO.
the only town in over 2,800 square miles of Crockett County, was organized in 1891 and bears the name of Alamo hero David Crockett. Ozona is not only rich in history, but offers an array of activities. Visit a three-story period museum or a nearby fort to understand life out west. From historical walking and nature tours, to offZONA,
GUADALUPE roading MTS. NP and scenic drives, there truly is something for the whole family. Discover local and area attractions at www.ozona.com!
Odessa Van Horn
Alpine BIG BEND NP
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PRESIDIO LA JUNTA DE LOS RÍOS, THE BEGINNINGS OF TEX AS HISTORY.
Park on FM 170 famously called the “River Road,” you’ll welcomes you to GUADALUPE MTS. NP edge up against the Rio Grande, and follow its course along the only incorporated city on the borOdessa a road that snakes and curves just like the river itself. Along der of the Rio Grande in the Big Bend. this road, you’ll climb “Big Hill,” at the top of which you The International Bridge stands alone as Van Horn Marfa will find a breathtaking view of both sides of the border; the one Port of Entry between El Paso and Del with the river running through it. Rio Texas. Presidio has been a destination of travelers PRESIDIO Presidio is regularly ranked one of the safest towns in for centuries. Presidio has a long and documented past as a BIG BEND Texas, Presidio disregards notions of the border as a dancultural crossroads. Native tribes and early settlers were drawn to NP gerous or scary place. The International Port of Entry, patrolled water and to this point where the Rio Grande and the Rio Conchos by Customs and Border Protection, is equally safe. Grab your meet, also known as “La Junta de los Rios.” Water is life and why we passport and make a drive across the border. Once across the border, in are still here. The first Spanish explorers came to Presidio in the 16th century and the 30,000-town of Ojinaga, you’ll have your pick of authentic Mexican continued to settle the area. For much of our early history, we were called restaurants and shops that sell colorful, local wares. Perhaps the biggest draw to Presidio town are the people who live Presidio del Norte that included both sides of the river. Now, the Mexihere. Search far and wide and it’s likely you won’t find a friendlier comcan town that sits across from Presidio is our sister city called Ojinaga. All highways that lead to Presidio offer magnificent views on the munity to visit. In Presidio, people look out for one another and everyone Texas Mountain Trail. Head south from the city of Marfa along US 67, is family. Visit the restaurants and stores in Presidio, where no one is a where if you’re on the road around sunrise or sunset, you’ll witness big stranger very long. If you’re looking for — or need — something just ask skies streaked with an otherworldly palette of brilliant colors. If you’re and folks here are happy to help you out. coming from Big Bend National Park through Big Bend Ranch State
RESIDIO, TEX AS
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Art and Culture Presidio boasts a surprisingly rich art and cultural scene, noticeable from the moment you enter town. Painted upon the city’s water tower, that stands above the town in the hills, is the image of an old woman holding a rose — a mural, painted by world-renowned street muralist “El Mac.” Presidio is also home to the La Junta Heritage Center, a non-profit organization developed in the memory of A. Kelly Pruitt, a Texas artist who’s been featured in the Who’s Who in American Art. One can see few examples of Pruitt’s art is displayed at the local banks and City Hall.
sanctuary for 505 species of migratory birds who pass through the Presidio Valley annually. Walk around a desert wetlands trail that runs along its perimeter to see birds of all different species and colors. Make sure you bring your camera and binoculars! Remember Seeing Stars at Night? One of the Big Bend Ranch State Park’s greatest assets are its dark skies, which stretch a black canopy overhead (the visibility of the night sky is protected from outdoor light pollution). At night, stare upward and you’ll find a view stars deep into space like you’ve never see again in the big cities. On Saturdays in October and November, Presidio celebrates this view with singer-songwriters and its Dark Skies Music Festival at Saint Francis Park in Downtown Presidio. Ride River Road There are few roads in the United States that are as pretty as FM170, known to most as the “River
Road” for the way it runs along the Rio Grande. From Fort Leaton at Presidio, the River Road runs through the scenic Big Bend Ranch State Park, to the Lajitas Golf Resort and the ghosttown of Terlingua to Big Bend National Park. From January to April see the native giant bluebonnets that grow wild along the road. On Saturday’s in March and April is the Bluebonnet Music Festival at Saint Francis Park in Downtown Presidio. Motorcyclists and tourists come from all over the world to experience the rugged natural beauty of the River Road. Once you see it, you will not forget it. Spend some time in Presidio to shop, eat and spend the night. Stop by City Hall at 507 W. O’Reilly St, where the city’s staff is happy to help you with tourist information and current events happening in Presidio. Follow on Facebook, City of Presidio, Texas, www.presidiotx.us or call (432) 229-3199.
Visit the Great Outdoors The Big Bend is legendary for all types of outdoor activities, from float trips down the Rio Grande, Jeep tours, hiking, cycling sports of all kinds, camping, swimming, horseback riding, photography, fishing, hunting, drag racing and much more. All of which is near Presidio.
PHOTOS THIS PAGE COURTESY CITY OF PRESIDIO
Desert Wetlands Bird Watching Witness the magic of water in the desert at the B.J. Bishop Wetlands, located half-a-mile east of Fort Leaton State Historic Site. The 26-acre plot of land has been converted into a wetlands habitat using the cityís effluent water and has become a
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Attractions A ST. FRANCIS PLAZA
Opposite El Patio, the plaza is an oasis of shade, fountains and greenery.
B SANTA TERESA DE JESUS CHURCH Est. 1683, on O’Reilly Street, the church was rededicated in October 1983 in its tri-centennial year.
FORT LEATON STATE C HISTORIC SITE (432) 229-3613 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fortleaton Visit a massive, fortified adobe trading post dating from the 1840s. Interpretive exhibits highlight area history. Day use only.
BIG BEND RANCH D STATE PARK
and shops, a casual atmosphere and friendly, helpful locals. The cultural museum is a must-see on the road from the international bridge.
H LA JUNTA DE LOS RIOS The future home of La Junta Heritage Center is under development. La Junta de los Rios is a historic farming and trading area at the junction of the Rio Grande (called Rio del Norte by the Spanish) and the Rio Conchos.
ELEPHANT ROCK & PROFILE OF LINCOLN
This bizarre rock structure can be viewed from Highway 67 just outside of Shafter. Another favorite rock novelty, the profile of Lincoln can be viewed from Highway 67 just north of Presidio.
J PRESIDIO AQUATIC CENTER http://presidiotx.us Pool open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Beat the heat in a pool designed for all ages, zero entry to 8 ½ foot diving area. Featuring a 90-foot, figure-eight slide and other water features to get you wet. Bathhouse and showers, great place to cool off after adventures in the Big Bend.
E FM 170 WEST — MOTORCYCLE RIDE TO RUIDOSA AND CHINATI HOT SPRINGS
PRESIDIO ATHLETIC COMPLEX
F SHAFTER Twenty miles north of Presidio on Highway 67 are the remains of a once prosperous silver mining town. Extensive ruins are visible, though fenced against trespassing. Shafter is Texas’ only working silver mine operated by Rio Grande Silver mine.
G OJINAGA, MEXICO www.ojinaga.com An easy drive across the international bridge, Ojinaga welcomes visitors with a variety of excellent restaurants
LOMA PALOMA RV PARK
B.J. BISHOP WETLANDS
PRESIDIO LODGE & DASP RV PARK
Bird watching area (26 acres) half mile from Fort Leaton on FM 170 East.
Events FOURTH OF JULY An annual celebration is held at the swimming pool. Dance starts at Daly Park at dark with popular dance bands playing border music under the stars. Fireworks show and fun for the whole family. Admission free. Vendors, please contact City Hall at (432) 229-3517 for details.
DARK SKIES MUSIC SERIES
(432) 358- 4444 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/bigbendranch This massive park of almost 300,000 acres flanks the “River Road” and features trailheads, small recreation areas, primitive camping and river access points.
www.chinatihotsprings.com About 36 miles northwest of Presidio on FM 170, Ruidosa, a once thriving agricultural community, today is home to a general store. Also at the end of FM 170 is Candelaria, a beautiful drive often not seen by most visitors. The Chinati Hot Springs features constant 110-degree, mineral-rich waters which have been regarded for their healing qualities for well over 100 years.
calls it the “Best Road Next to a River.” On two wheels or more, River Road is an adventure with side roads and stops to explore.
1144 E. O’Reilly Where baseball is king! Visitors are welcome to all the games.
K PRESIDIO/OJINAGA INTERNATIONAL PORT OF ENTRY (432) 229 3349 99400 Highway 67, PO Box 1959 Presidio, Texas 79845 Port of entry and for visiting our Ojinaga sister city as a tourism opportunity. The expansion of the bridge is in progress to improve international tourism and trade with Mexico. Visit our sister city, Ojinaga, Mexico. For ease in crossing, bring your passport. Friendly community with good food and shopping. U.S. currency accepted in most places. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, open to traffic 24/7.
L A BIKER’S DELIGHT: FM 170 EAST (RIVER ROAD) National Geographic magazine calls FM 170 to Presidio one of the “Top 10 Scenic Highways in North America” and RideTexas.com Reader’s Choice
Enjoy the Indian Summer with singersongwriters performing on Friday evenings at 7 pm in St Saint Francis Park located in Downtown Presidio. Starting September 28 to November 2. Admission is free.
On FM 170, 4 miles east of downtown (432) 229-2992 84 wide, pull-thru sites. Showers.
99140 Hwy 67 (as you come into town) (432) 209-9565 www.presidiolodge.com A hilltop campground with cabins and RV spaces with beautiful views in all directions.
RIATA INN MOTEL 99205 US 67 North (432) 229-2528 Presidio’s Motorcycle Boutique Motel. Riders will find a home away from home and extras one not might expect traveling on a bike. Riata is certainly the motorcycle-friendly place for all travelers to stay in Presidio. www.riatainnpresidio.com
BLUEBONNET MUSIC SERIES Music by talented singer-song writers performed over a 6 weeks’ time period on Saturday nights to coincide with the blooming of Big Bend Blue Bonnets along the River Road. The music Series is held at St. Francis Park Downtown staring at 7 pm. Admission is free and the music is outstanding. Held on Saturdays in February and March.
FIRST CHRISTMAS IN TEXAS Santa Teresa Catholic Church conducts Christmas mass and the public is invited.
SANTA TERESA FIESTAS Santa Teresa de Jesus Church. Each year the church committee hosts a two-day celebration with traditional food arts and crafts. There is a raffle with all proceeds going directly to the church’s insurance and needs. Call (432) 229-3235 for more information. October 18-19, 2019.
Lodging CIBOLO CREEK RANCH (432) 229-3737 cibilocreekranch.com 30 miles north of Presidio
THREE PALMS INN 1200 N. Erma St. (432) 229-3211 A great place to stay in Presidio. Comfortable rooms, pool, internet, and offers the Oasis Restaurant open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. www.threeplamsinn.com
Food & Drink THE BEAN CAFE (432) 229-3131 Coffee Shop located at the “Y”. Great coffee, soups, full menu and daily specials, best burgers in town, panini sandwiches. Check out Taco Tuesday. Open 7 days a week, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Free Wifi.
EL CHANGARRITO Next to the railroad tracks on East O’Reilly St. Mexican food, shaded outdoor dining
EL PATIO Downtown (432) 229-4409 Popular Mexican restaurant. Open 6 a. m. –9 p.m. daily. Beer and ice cream.
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Outfitters & Tours
OASIS RESTAURANT Next to Three Palms Inn on Errma St. (432) 229-3998 Open 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily. Good food and desserts.
ANGELL EXPEDITIONS (432) 229-3713 or (305) 336-2787 www.angellexpeditions.com Full-service outfitter serving the greater Big Bend area. River rafting, canoeing, kayaking, jeep tours, hiking, mountain biking and camping. Single and multi-day trips available, tailored to your interests and schedules. Rental cabins available. Highest ranking on TripAdvisor!
PONCHO’S PIZZA, TAXI SERVICE 144A N. Puerto Rico St and US 67 (432) 229-2663 (432) 295 0447 (Taxi Service) Next to the Presidio International Bridge.
PRESIDIO TRADING POST & CANTINA River Road at FM 170 E. & Rio Grande Ave. Open evenings. Variety of chicken wing flavors. Best in town.
R’S RESTAURANT & SPORTS BAR
TOM’S SERVICE STATION 203 O’Reilly St. (432) 229-3259
DOLLAR TREE, FAMILY DOLLAR, DOLLAR GENERAL AND MELROSE
RIO BRAVO RANCH
432-229-3302 email@example.com Camping, large tent sites, shade structures, fire rings, grills, picnic tables, Chinati potty, big kaliuna shower
903 W. O’Reilly Street (432) 229-3220 Full selection of cowboy jeans, belts and hats, as well as a ladies section.
All on Business 67 They may not have everything you want but they have everything you need!
PORTERS THRIFTWAY 504 N. Erma on N. Business 67 (432) 229-3776 www.portersgrocery.com Popular stop for traveler’s looking for beverages, groceries, ice, fuel and money order. It is a full-service grocery store, deli and bakery.
MONTANA WESTERN WEAR & ALSE MISC. O’Reilly Street (432) 229-3224 Full selection of cowboy jeans, belts and hats, as well as a ladies section. Alse is a specialty store with a wide variety of useful personal products. From makeup to electronics.
101 E. O’Reilly St. (432) 229-3223
DY CONVENIENCE STORE 104 W. O’Reilly (432) 229-4488
109 N. Erma on Business US 67 (432) 229-3424 Family-run bakery, known for its crescent rolls and for tamales and menudo on Sunday.
Large building close to International Bridge (432) 229-3766 Some items may be bought on the spot, others like liquor and cigarettes (up to 40% off retail) can only be exported to Mexico at the international bridge. Limit for bringing back liquor.Tax per liter: $3.75 with 4-liter limit per person.
Hwy 67 (432) 229-4949
SAN JOSE PANADERIA
UETA DUTY FREE STORE
907 E. O’Reilly (432) 229-2525
PRESIDIO 67 VALERO
1207 E. Millington St. on FM 170 E. (432) 229-3031 Opens 4 p.m. to late. Hamburgers, wings and beer. Big TVs and pool tables too! Closed on Wednesdays.
THE GONZALES THRIFT STORE Downtown at Gonzalez St. and O’Rielly St. Rare collectibles and quality new & used clothing.
NAPA AUTO PARTS 405 E. O’Reilly (432) 229-3982 67
SUBWAY SANDWICH SHOP
223 W. 1st St.
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PRESIDIO TOURIST INFO AVAILABLE AT CITY HALL (507 W. O’REILLY ST). FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, CITY OF PRESIDIO TEXAS WWW.PRESIDIOTX.US 432-229-3199
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Y BUTTE D U T S
THE PLACE TO GO TO GET AWAY FROM IT A LL.
gua blossomed around the mines. But once the Great Depression hit, the quicksilver industry suffered, leading to a reduced need for mine labor and, ultimately the closure of the Chisos Mining Company in 1942. Though many miners moved on, remnants of their time in the far West Texas community remain. The Terlingua Ghost Town, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, features what’s left of miners’ homes, their church and Perry’s hilltop mansion, along with several capped and abandoned mines — most notably the California Hill, the Rainbow, the 248 and the Study Butte mines. No trip to the area is complete without a visit to the front porch of the Terlingua Trading Company — what was once the company store of the Chisos Mining Company. From this popular gathering place, onlookers can get to know the locals while taking in a sweeping view of Big Bend National Park and the Chisos Mountains, including the hard-to-miss formation known as “Mule Ears.” When the sun goes down, enjoy some of the best celestial
viewing in the country. Each year on the first Saturday in November, more than 10,000 “chiliheads” convene in Terlingua for two annual chili cookoffs: the Chili Appreciation Society’s International Chili Championship and the Frank X. Tolbert/Wick Fowler Memorial World Championship Chili Cookoff. These annual events — now in their 53rd year — feature costumes, live music and GUADALUPE MTS. NP serious comOdessa petition. They Van Horn have come to perMarfa sonify Terlingua and spread the reputation of this unique Texas village TERLINGUA worldwide. BIG BEND NP The neighboring community of Study Butte (pronounced “stoody byoot”) may be lesser known, but it is the economic hub of the area and has a similar history steeped in mining. Today, stores, lodging and other amenities cater to tourists enjoying all that the Big Bend region has to offer.
of Big Bend State Park and to the west of Big Bend National Park sits the Terlingua/ Study Butte area, which attracts visitors looking for West Texas adventure. Rafting on the Rio Grande, mountain biking, camping, hiking and motorcycling are popular outdoor activities throughout the region, and many such trips begin in this tiny community. But the adrenaline-rushing tourist activities aren’t what originally put Terlingua on the map. That honor goes to cinnabar, a bright mineral consisting of mercury sulfide — an important ore of mercury and used by Native Americans as body pigment. Its discovery in the 1880s brought miners to the desolate Chihuahuan Desert and spawned the Chisos Mining Company, founded by Howard Perry in 1903. For more than two decades, the operation extracted quicksilver, which was used in the manufacture of gunpowder cartridges and shells. Business boomed, particularly during World War I, and the small town of TerlinO THE EAST
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Attractions TERLINGUA TRADING COMPANY 100 Ivey Rd. (432) 371-2234 www.terlinguatradingco.homestead.com Housed in the former company store of the Chisos Mining Company, this is a modern-day version of the trading post that served trappers, settlers and cowboys along the Rio Grande. Today, the gift shop and community gathering place sells gifts influenced by Mexico and the southwestern U.S., including books, maps and art.
HISTORIC TERLINGUA AND THE TERLINGUA GHOST TOWN www.ghosttowntexas.com On Highway 170, five miles west of 118 Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996, the Terlingua Historic District holds the largest concentration of mining architecture in the area. Some buildings have been restored as shops, restaurants and homes, including the Starlight Theatre and the Terlingua Trading Company. Other remnants, such as miners’ homes, an area church and the Perry Mansion, are weathered ruins. The Terlingua Ghost Town also includes capped and abandoned mines left over from the early-1900s mining boom and a boot hill cemetery.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK www.visitbigbend.com If you’ve made it to far West Texas, Big Bend National Park is probably on your itinerary. The Terlingua and Study Butte area is a great starting point from which to base your national park adventure. Once inside the park, consider the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. This stunning loop of the western side of Big Bend passes many favorite trailheads and ends at the majestic Santa Elena Canyon. The improved dirt Maverick Road leads back to the park entrance at Maverick Junction.
BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK www.tpwd.state.tx.us/bigbendranch The largest state park in Texas, with over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, the park embraces some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the Southwest. Mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians enjoy
miles of trails that traverse “the other side of nowhere.”
BARTON WARNOCK VISITOR CENTER www.tpwd.state.tx.us/ bartonwarnock
The Center serves as the eastern entrance to Big Bend Ranch State Park. Exhibits interpret 570 million years of geologic history and the five biological landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert. It was named for famed botanist and 33-year Sul Ross State University professor Dr. Barton Warnock (1911–1998).
WALKING TOUR OF TERLINGUA GHOSTTOWN terlinguawalk.homestead.com/tour. html This self-guided tour starts at the flag pole in front of the Terlingua Trading Company. Check out the website for more details.
CAMINO DEL RIO — THE RIVER ROAD Highway 170 along the Rio Grande is a favorite among travelers. You’ll find several camping areas, river access points and trailheads along the way. At places, the road becomes narrow, winding and very steep, making it difficult for some RVs, buses and trailer rigs. Open grazing is also allowed along this stretch of road, so keep your eyes peeled for cows, horses, mules or burros.
RIDE THE RIO GRANDE The Terlingua and Study Butte area is the jumping off point for your river adventure. There are a number of experienced outfitters that will make your trip, fun and safe, whether it be by raft, canoe or kayak.
Outfitters & Activities BIG BEND RIVER TOURS 23331 FM 170 (800) 545-4240 www.bigbendrivertours.com The oldest full-service outfitter in the area, Big Bend River Tours offers guided rafting trips, canoe trips, guided hikes, backroad tours and combination trips.
DESERT SPORTS 22937 FM 170 (888) 989-6900 www.desertsportstx.com
Looking to mountain bike or run in Big Bend National Park or Big Bend State Park? Desert Sports specializes in that, helping visitors explore the Chihuahuan Desert. Guided tours, overnight river trips and boat and bike rentals are also available.
LAJITAS ZIP-LINE lajitasgolfresort; (432) 424-5000 A world-class zip-line tour of Quiet Canyon is a perfect way for adrenaline junkies to enjoy the breathtaking surroundings of the Big Bend area. Nine zip lines take riders from the upper canyon to the canyon floor. Three tour options available.
BLACK JACK’S CROSSING GOLF COURSE lajitasgolfresort; (432) 424-5080 This 18-hole championship golf course designed by Ryder Cup Captain Lanny Wadkins has been voted the top course you can play in Texas by the Dallas Morning News for multiple years. The course winds through the mountains, canyon and desert, capturing the beauty and drama of the Big Bend region while offering challenging golf for all skill levels.
derness first aid and canoe rentals.
BIG BEND & LAJITAS STABLES (800) 887-4331, (432) 371-3064 www.lajitasstables.com/index.html firstname.lastname@example.org Offering guided horseback rides for almost 30 years! Join us in the frontier lands of the Chihuahuan Desert next to Big Bend National Park, along Scenic Rio Grande and atop the mesas of the Bofecillos Mountains in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Hourly, half- or allday and multiple days available.
BIG BEND RESORT & ADVENTURES (432) 371-2218 , (877) 386-4383 www.bigbendresort.com/big-bendoverland-tours Big Bend Resort & Adventures offers experienced guides to take you to all areas of the Big Bend. The tours are conducted in a Ford Excursion 4-wheel drive vehicle with air conditioning for your comfort.
FAR FLUNG OUTDOOR CENTER
23310 FM 170; (432) 371-2633 www.bigbendfarflung.com Far Flung Outdoor Center helps visitors experience the Big Bend area up close and personal with river trips, walks and hikes, and Jeep and ATV tours. They also offer courses in wil-
VOICES FROM BOTH SIDES Every year in May, people from both sides of the border come together for a day of music and fun next to (and in) the Rio Grande. Musicians grab their instruments and set up on the bandstand at the edge of the river near the BIGBENDTRAVELGUIDE.COM 69
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border community of Lajitas. They take turns playing songs with bands just across the border, on the Mexican side of the river, at Paso Lajitas, an even tinier village.
DAY OF THE DEAD/ DIA DE LOS MUERTOS www.visitbigbend.com It’s a Terlingua tradition to meet at sunset on November 2 and the historic cemetery in the Terlingua Ghost Town to light candles and make offerings to loved ones long past, remember old friends and make new ones as everyone visits and honors those who’ve gone before them.
rain. The premium, ultra and distance trail races in the Chihuahuan Desert of South Brewster County benefit Compadres del Rancho Grande, a volunteer organization committed to supporting the parks of the Big Bend.
RIDE 4 TRAILS SOTOL FESTIVAL
TERLINGUA INTERNATIONAL CHILI CHAMPIONSHIP
TERLINGUA CHIHUAHUA RACES
www.casichili.net Chili Appreciation Society International’s annual event is held at Rancho CASI de los Chisos on the north side of Highway 170, 11 miles west of Study Butte. CASI hosts the annual championship on the first weekend of November. The festivities include BBQ, salsa, beans and wings contests. There is live music entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
BLACK-EYED PEA OFF January 1, 2020 Since 1990, Terlingua residents and visitors have celebrated the start of a new year with a black-eyed pea cooking competition. The annual event occurs on the porch of the Terlingua Trading Company and has two rules: have fun and no beans! A first place trophy is awarded and proceeds benefit local causes.
BIG BEND ULTRA RUN www.bigbend50.com This racing event takes place every January in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Participants can choose from a 50K, 30K and 10K trail run over desert ter-
www.basecampterlingua. com Celebrate the dangerously delicious cousin of tequila and mezcal — SOTOL (April 2020, dates TBA). Two nights of live music, great food, a little science, fun activities and some chill days in Terlingua, Texas. Nice time of year to visit Terlingua!
The Chihuahua races take place each March and benefit the Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend. Enjoy the race, games, a dog costume contest and food and music.
Lodging FOR A COMPLETE LISTING OF AREA LODGING OPTIONS, GO TO WWW.VISITBIGBEND.COM
EL DORADO HOTEL 100 Terlingua Ghost Town (432) 371-2111 www.theeldoradohotel.com Located behind the High Sierra Bar & Grill, the El Dorado Hotel offers traditional single, double and king rooms, as well as a one-bedroom villa and a fully remodeled tour bus that sleeps four.
TERLINGUA RENTALS www.terlinguarentals.com Enjoy views of the Chisos Mountains from the comfort of a private suite, casa or tipi located in the heart of the Terlingua Ghost Town.
LA POSADA MILAGRO www.laposadamilagro.net Built atop ruins in the Terlingua Ghost Town, the pet-friendly La Posada Milagro provides rustic luxury accommodations. Each room is unique, and visitors can enjoy views of Big Bend National Park from sun decks and courtyards. An onsite coffee shop — Espresso y Poco Mas — features both breakfast and lunch menus.
CHISOS MINING CO. MOTEL 23280 FM 170 (432) 371-2254 www.motelsbigbend.com For more than 40 years, this locally owned and operated motel just minutes from both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park has served West Texas visitors.
BIG BEND RESORT & ADVENTURES Three miles from the western entrance to Big Bend National Park (432) 371-2218 , (877) 386-4383 www.bigbendresortadventures.com Big Bend Resort & Adventures features lodging, gift shop, food, a convenience store and guided back country tours. A campground and RV park with full hookups is also onsite.
HOLIDAY HOTEL 100 Ivey Rd. (432) 201-1177 www.bigbendholidayhotel.com Located between Study Butte and Lajitas on Highway 170, in the heart of the Historic Terlingua Ghost Town,
Holiday Hotel offers sophisticated accommodations in a primitive setting. Guests can choose between the lovingly restored suites, casitas and family suites.
LAJITAS GOLF RESORT/ MAVERICK RANCH RV PARK On Hwy 170 (432) 424-5000, (877) LAJITAS www.lajitasgolfresort.com A full-service resort which is also home to a beautiful 18-hole golf course and an outfitter service. Maverick Ranch RV Park offers 101 sites, including 60 full-service pull-throughs and 18 primitive wilderness campsites for those interested in having a true, rustic tent camping experience.
BIG BEND CASITAS (432) 371-2633 www.bigbendfarflung.com/lodging
LONGHORN RANCH MOTEL 52370 TX-118, Terlingua (432) 371-2541
TERLINGUA RANCH LODGE 16000 Terlingua Ranch Rd., Terlingua (432) 371-3146
SHORT-TERM RENTALS www.airbnb.com, www.vrbo.com There are a wide variety of area lodging options through Airbnb and other short-term rental companies. CISCO GAMEZ
www.ride4trails.com The annual Ride 4 Trails Motorcycle Rally is a fundraiser in mid-October (Oct. 18–19, 2019) that supports the trails program in Big Bend National Park. Bikers from all over the country converge on Big Bend Resorts & Adventures to participate in a weekend of live music, poker runs and great Texas barbecue — all to support the construction and maintenance of hiking and stock trails in the park.
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BALMORHEA STATE PARK
TOYAHVALE AN D
BALMORHEA T H E WAT ERS OF S A N SOLOMON SPR INGS SU R FACE AT TOYA H VA LE, W H ER E T H E 1.75 -ACR E SPR ING -FED SW I M M I NG POOL AT B A LMOR H EA STAT E PA R K PROV IDES V ISITORS W IT H A W ELCOM E OPPORT U N IT Y FOR R EFR ESH ING R ECR EAT ION I N T H E DESERT.
HE POOL main-
GUADALUPE MTS. NP
tains a constant temperature of 72- Van Horn 76ºF, making it an ideal spot for swimming or scuba diving excursions yearround. Canals channel the water along Highway 17 into Balmorhea (pronounced BAL-moray), where a charming city park
flanks the watercourse. Once a stagecoach stop between TOYAHVALE Fort Stockton and Fort Davis, the Toyahvale Post Office was Fort Davis established in 1891. The drive from Fort Davis on Highway 17 through the scenic Davis BIG BEND NP Mountains and Wild Rose Pass is one of the prettiest in the region. Odessa
In addition to the spring-fed pool, the State Park features the Cienega Wetlands Restoration, a refuge for indigenous aquatic and amphibian life. Visitors can stay in San Solomon Springs Courts or at the campground.
BALMORHEA LAKE Only two miles south of Balmorhea on County Road 319 (Houston Street), this 600acre lake — stocked seasonally with a variety of fish — is a popular destination for birders. A $3 visitor fee is payable at the lake store. RV spaces and picnic areas are available. Swimming is not allowed.
CALERA CHAPEL Mission Mary at Calera is located west of Toyahvale on Highway 290. The church, which served the area from around 1902 into the 1940s, was restored in 2002.
TOYAHVALE DESERT OASIS The only outfitter by the park! Visit this fullservice dive shop for swim gear and to schedule scuba diving lessons in the crystal-clear waters of San Solomon Springs. Scuba and snorkeling gear rentals. Plus, all the supplies you’ll need to make your Balmorhea State Park visit fun, safe and memorable.
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VA N HOR N IS T H E CROS SROA DS OF T H E T EX A S MOU N TA IN T R A IL.
Attractions GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK Enjoy one of the most beautiful drives in Texas en route to the stunning and varied landscapes of the Guadalupe Mountains. Just one hour north of Van Horn, this national park is home to the highest peak in the state — Guadalupe Peak at 8,750 feet. Enjoy a variety of hiking trails accessible year-round, historic sites and interpretive displays. See page 21 for much more information on Guadalupe Mountains National Park. www.nps.gov/gumo
THE EL CAPITAN TO EL CAPITAN HERITAGE BIKE ROUTE A 55-mile ride along a scenic and historic route! Cyclists from all over are coming to ride Highway 54 between the Historic Hotel El Capitan and El Capitan Mountain in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. www.texasmountaintrail.com/bike.
CLARK HOTEL MUSEUM Anyone interested in the historical aspects of West Texas will want to stop at the Clark Hotel
Museum. Located in the historic hotel that once served railroad travelers, this museum features pioneer, Native American and railroad memorabilia. The museum contains a stunning collection of artifacts reflecting the history of Van Horn and the surrounding area. There are displays showing the history of mining, ranching, the railroad and other early activities, as well as personal items which belonged to members of early pioneer families who first settled here. It features an old western-style saloon with a mirrored back bar, which have been in the same room since the early 1900s. www.clarkhotelmuseum.com
Lodging HOTEL EL CAPITAN 100 East Broadway (877) 283-1220 www.hotelelcapitan.net The Hotel El Capitan was built in 1930 based on designs by notable architect Henry Trost, of Trost & Trost of El Paso. After a $2.5 million renovation, the El Capitan is even more superb than in 1930. There are now 38 rooms and suites, a fine dining room and the Gopher Hole Bar.
established in 1881, when the Texas and Pacific Railway came through. Before that, it was a stopping point for travelers on the Old Spanish Trail and the San Antonio-El Paso Overland Mail route. Today, Van Horn is the county seat of Culberson County, sitting at the helm of the western portion of the region, almost exactly halfway between Fort Stockton and El Paso. Of the many area attractions, a large number of visitors to Van Horn are those heading up to Guadalupe Mountains National Park and on to Carlsbad Caverns just across the Texas/New Mexico border. Many choose to stay in the newly remodeled historic Hotel El Capitan, one of the Trost & Trost GUADALUPE hotels that MTS. NP Odessa dot this part of the country. VAN HORN The El Capitan is a newly remodeled Marfa gem of historic architecture. BIG BEND AN HORN WAS
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BIG BEND O N T HE
C R S EE N G I B BY BRENDA KISSKO PHOTOGRAPH BY SARAH VASQUEZ
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HE WIDE OPEN SPACES of West Texas provide the void
we need to find ourselves. Mountains of possibility stand in the hopeful distance of an expansive landscape. This is a place where we can lose ourselves and find ourselves and reinvent ourselves. It’s where cowboys and culture collide, and we’re all welcomed just the same. It’s a place free of falsities, where we can breathe in fresh air, lift our arms up to the sparse clouds, let the sun pour down on our face and take it all in. Filmmakers have recognized this elusive quality of the region and captured it time and time again on the big screen. In June of 1955, the film crew and cast of Giant (1956) arrived in tiny Marfa. Movie stars Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean were welcomed to the town with a larger-than-life skyline, greeted with a parade and friendly faces eager to welcome Hollywood. Director George Stevens wanted this Texas story to be filmed in the Lone Star State and Marfa’s extraordinary, unescapable land surrounded by distant mountains provided the setting they desired. They filmed on a private ranch where they erected the iconic Benedict
home facade designed by legendary art director Boris Leven. Giant was an instant success. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and three Golden Globes and it put Marfa on the map. The film, based on the Edna Ferber novel, shed light on many issues like greed, power, gender bias and racism through the lens of ranching and oil. Giant documents the story of Texas in a time when oil eclipsed ranching as chief industry of the state. Watching this picturesque film on the big screen, we feel the pull of these aquamarine skies and sweeping grassland where the possibilities are as endless as the horizon. We want to experience that for ourselves and that’s why we travel to the Big Bend region. To capture that feeling that Stevens — and the many filmmakers that have filmed here since — delivered. Now, all that remains of the Giant set is a deteriorating wooden skeleton of the building. But the heart of the film lives on. Visit Hotel Paisano, an unofficial headquarters of sorts while filming in Marfa, to learn the stories of this epic production in far West Texas. Sip margaritas on the patio at Jett’s Grill and overnight in the Elizabeth Taylor or Rock Hudson suites. Head to Reata Restaurant (named after the film’s ranch) in nearby
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GIANT MURAL: The back patio at the Reata Restaurant in Alpine features this large art piece by Stylle Read which was inspired by the movie Giant.
FROM TOP: STEWART RAMSER, CISCO GAMEZ
Alpine to enjoy a delicious meal surrounded by breathtaking murals depicting scenes from the movie. Reata’s menu does not disappoint with options like smoked quail and cheddar grits, pepper-crusted tenderloin and chile rellenos topped with crab-stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapenos. The newest, coolest Giant attraction can be found about 5 miles west of Marfa, just off Highway 90. Here, at “Little Riata” — where Jett struck it rich — the old windmill and the ranch sign still remain and are now joined by artist John Cerney’s “Giant Marfa” art installation. The seven enormous free-standing pieces of the mural feature a towering Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, the iconic house and Rock Hudson in his yellow convertible, which actually plays music, making this a visual and audio experience. It’s no wonder this film that celebrates some of the most iconic aspects and tragic traits of Texas made such an indelible mark on the region and paved the path for the many filmmakers to follow in its footsteps. Kevin Reynolds’ Fandango (1985) is another that comes to mind when reviewing films shot in — and of — the Big Bend region. Set in 1971, this coming of age story follows the five “groovers” on one last road trip to the
The Dom Rock can be found off River Road, along the Rio Grande.
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Mexican border following graduation from The University of Texas, each facing uncertainty with the Vietnam War weighing heavy on their shoulders. The film stars Kevin Costner young in his career, an early Judd Nelson, and Sam Robards (son of Lauren Bacall). Reynolds has said in interviews that every director has that quintessential semi-autobiographical film they must first get out of their system and Fandango is his. His story, and so many others that can relate to this tale of escapism, of reflection, of holding on to the last grasps of one’s youth. Though it was not an immediate box office
FROM TOP: COURTESY WARNER BROTHERS, JESPER LISBERG, JESPER LISBERG
A FAREWELL FANDANGO FOR THE GROOVERS: Below: Fandango DVD cover; Bottom left: Marvin McIntyre (aka Truman Sparks) makes a toast at the Dom Rock during an Ultimate Fandango; Bottom right: Fandango actors McIntyre, Robyn Rose (Lorna), Brian Cesak (the “fifth groover”, Lester Griffin) and Chuck Bush (Dorman) seen in San Elizario during an Ultimate Fandango trip.
Before Giant there was High hit, the film has become a cult Lonesome (1950) starring John classic with a devoted following. FILM FESTIVALS Barrymore Jr. — a classic shootA group of the film’s fans — IN THE BIG BEND ’em-up Western. The Andromeda and some of its actors — return REGION Strain (1971) found ghost town to its filming locations from Shafter, off Highway 67 between time to time during “Ultimate CineMarfa: Marfa and Presidio, as the perfect Fandango” (ultimatefandango. Marfa (April/May) setting for this eerie story based on com). The next pilgrimage is cinemarfa.org Michael Crichton’s novel. And it scheduled for Sept. 30 through could only be on the dusty mounOct. 4, 2020. Binational Independent tainsides here along the river that Marvin J. McIntyre, who Film Festival: the hijinks of duo Willie Nelson played unforgettably goofy El Paso (May) and Gary Busey in Barbarosa Truman Sparks, and Chuck binationalfilmfestival.org (1982) could take place. Bush, who played the quiet and There were, of course, more beefy, yet intelligent Dorman, Plaza Classic Film Festival: Westerns filmed here like the madehave both joined the “Ultimate El Paso (August) for-television movies The Good Old Fandango” in the past when plazaclassic.com Boys (1995), Streets of Laredo (1995) they’ve revisited filming locaand Dead Man’s Walk (1996), and tions including the Dom Rock, Femme Frontera the feature film All The Pretty Horses Alpine’s Sonic, the cemetary in Filmmaker Showcase: (2000). Texas actor Tommy Lee Marfa, Presidio Chapel of San El Paso (September) Jones made his directorial debut Elizario and more. If you don’t femmefrontera.org/2019-fffs with The Good Old Boys (which he know what Dom Rock is, you also wrote and starred in) and has have to watch the movie. Then West Texas Film Festival: returned again and again to film in you’ll understand the pull of Odessa (November) Big Bend country. the groovers’ compelling miswtxfilmfest.org Three Burials (2005) was Jones’ sion to go dig up Dom. second film to direct and features Yes, Dom Rock is still some of the most beautiful shots of here, waiting for your discovery along with scenic River Road (Highway 170) this area. It’s like watching a painted masterpiece between Lajitas and Presidio. And if you’re brave come to life on the big screen as scenes traverse enough, you, too, can stand atop the boulder the region’s rocky slopes and grassy prickly pearoverlooking the Rio Grande and toast to your spotted mountains. The dramatic scene shot innocence of youth, just as Costner did in the at Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National movie. Perhaps this flick has become popular Park takes your breath away, much like seeing because we’re all looking to Fandango our life and the canyon in person. Three Burials’ deep roster delay responsibilities. Sneak in one last carefree of stars including January Jones, Melissa Leo, Dwight Yoakum and Barry Pepper make this a moment before the sun sets. Fandango and Giant are now just two cogs standout film. Jones returned to the Big Bend region in the growing wheelhouse of West Texas-made again for the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old films.
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Men (2007). The film was based on Cormac 12 years throughout the state, including locaMcCarthy’s novel and won numerous awards tions in Big Bend Ranch State Park, Big Bend including four Academy Awards and two Golden National Park, Terlingua, and Sul Ross State University. Mason (played by Globes. Stars Javier Bardem, Ellar Coltrane) literally comes of Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson age before our eyes as he is raised and Kelly Macdonald play out BIG BEND REGION by his divorced parents (played the twisted plot across a rugFILM RESOURCES by Ethan Hawke and Patricia ged terrain. Bardem’s character, Texas Film Arquette). There’s arguably no Anton Chigurh, is one of the Commission: better setting for the film’s final coldest, most evil characters congov.texas.gov/film scene than under the pink evejured up, killing many in his path ning sky of Big Bend, a perfect as he pursues Brolin’s character, CF Ranch Production place to be in the moment. Llewelyn Moss, after a drug deal Facilities: Dancer, Texas Pop. 81 (1998) goes bad. It’s classic Coen brothfilmwesttexas.com is another coming-of-age filmed ers — raw, violent and indelible. here about four friends planThat same year, another Film Alliance of Texas ning to leave their small homemajor award-winning movie Border Communities: town upon graduation and head filmed in the Big Bend region (432) 371-2524 straight to Los Angeles. Grand was released: There Will Be Champion (2002) was also filmed Blood (2007). Based on Upton Marfa On Location: throughout the region and tells a Sinclair’s novel Oil!, this epic marfaonlocation.com story quite familiar in Texas — drama is about oil prospecting that of showing livestock — with at the turn of the century and Big Bend Film a star-studded cast that includes explores themes of greed, famCommission: Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, ily, religion and madness. Actor shootbigbend.com Natalie Maines and George Daniel Day-Lewis delivered a Strait. Blanche (2018) was luminous performance in the inspired by a true West Texas lead role. The film took home two Academy Awards and two Golden Globes bet and is an endearing story about friendship that takes us along these beautiful backroads on a tale among a host of other awards. Texas filmmaker Richard Linklater’s of friendship and second chances. Marfa Girl (2012) is a much heavier, indegroundbreaking Boyhood (2014) was filmed over
pendent film about a 16-year-old growing up in a border town and Far Marfa (2013) is an eccentric mix of myth and mystery that celebrates the famous art town. The Amazon original TV series I Love Dick (2016), starring Kevin Bacon, Kathryn Hahn and Griffin Dunne is another production shot in and around major spots in Marfa — the Lost Horse Saloon, the Judd Foundation and up and down the town’s main drags. These could only be set and filmed here with that oh-soMarfa vibe unlike any other. German filmmaker Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (1984) was critically acclaimed and is still celebrated today. Its desolate landscape pulls us in to this road story that follows a drifter looking to reconnect with his young son and missing wife. The film stars Harry Dean Stanton and was written by Sam Shepard and L.M. Kit Carson. One cannot discuss West Texas films without recognizing Friday Night Lights (2004) the movie and Friday Night Lights (2006-2011) the television series. Based on H.G. Bissinger’s hit book set in Odessa’s Permian High School, both featured star-studded casts and won numerous awards. This story about Texas high school football examines the importance placed on this sport that has become a religion of its own. This is by no means a definitive list, but rather the beginning of your visual introduction to the Big Bend region. No matter how many you watch, though, there’s no replacement for seeing this grandeur in person.
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MOUNTAIN Trail r e gi o n
DISCOVER THE ADVENTURE OF THE TRUE FRO NTIER . . . IT AWAITS YOU IN FAR WEST TE X AS .
mountains and high-country hikes. Sheer river canyons and winding back roads. Exotic panoramas and star-studded nights. Adventure in the unspoiled West awaits you in the Texas Mountain Trail Region of far West Texas. See land as early man saw it, as the Apache and Comanche saw it, as ranching pioneers saw it. Visit Big Bend National Park, hike the spectacular South Rim Trail. Follow the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach route through Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Visit our charming mountain communities, where cowboys may still go to lunch in town on horseback. Catch a performance at El Paso’s 1930 Plaza Theatre, in the heart of the museum district. Visit adobe missions, still used as churches for local congregations. We invite you to plan your own adventure! Travel by car, horse, motorcycle, bicycle, RV or by foot — the scenery and the history is unparalleled. Let the Texas Mountain Trail be REATHTAKING
your guide to discovery and adventure. Follow the historic 1960s driving route, the original “Texas Mountain Trail” to state and national parks, to the Big Bend of Texas, where the real West is still alive and ready for you to discover. Look no further than the rugged land of the Texas Mountain Trail Region, and you’ll see our history. Our state and national parks — “bucket list” destinations for most geologists — reveal a past of more than 600 million years of Paleozoic deep marine sediments, volcanic remnants and the bending, folding, and uplifting of land. Dinosaurs roamed our land some 248 million years ago, and Big Bend National Park is one of the world’s paleontological jewels of the world. In our Chihuahuan Desert climate, where there is water, there is the history of man. The Rio Grande gradually carved a deep notch in the mountains, creating a natural river crossing the Spanish explorers named El Paso del Norte. The river also created glorious canyons in Big Bend National Park. Throughout the
centuries, the climate grew hotter and the land drier. To survive, wildlife and prehistoric hunter-gatherers adapted to desert conditions. Later, diverse groups — Native Americans and Spanish missionaries, soldiers and miners, ranchers and railroaders — passed this way in search of wealth, glory and new beginnings. The Texas Heritage Trails Program (THTP) is the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) award-winning heritage tourism initiative. This economic development initiative encourages communities, heritage regions and the state to partner and promote Texas’ historic and cultural resources. These successful local preservation efforts, combined with statewide marketing of heritage regions as tourism destinations, increase visitation to cultural and historic sites and bring more dollars to Texas communities. This in turn supports the THC’s mission to protect and preserve the state’s historic and prehistoric resources for the use, education economic benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations. BIGBENDTRAVELGUIDE.COM 79
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Big Bend Challenge
ALL PHOTOS BY CISCO GAMEZ
Writers from Austin Monthly, along with reporters from KXAN (NBC-Austin), embarked on a whirlwind of adventure in the Big Bend region recently. The purpose was to gather content for stories in the magazine and on TV that showcase the wide variety of things to do in the Big Bend region. They came up with five fun activities to do in 48 hours and dubbed it the “Big Bend Challenge.” Top left: Hiking on the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park; Top right: Rafting on the Rio Grande; Above: Zip lining in Quiet Canyon; Right: Trail riding near Study Butte; Bottom: Finishing the challenge in style with a great meal at the Gage Hotel. The stories can be viewed at www.austinmonthly.com/bigbend as well as on kxan.com (search for “Big Bend Challenge”). Follow in their footsteps and accomplish all five activities, or create your own Big Bend Challenge and post images on social media with the hashtag #bigbendchallenge.
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