Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Hiking Trail near Fort Davis!

The Nature Conservancy opened the Madera Canyon Trail this month, north of Fort Davis. The 2.4 mile hike takes you through a pinon-oak-juniper forest and offers a view of Mount Livermore. Moderate in difficulty, I'm looking forward to getting on my trail shoes and running the route next time I visit.
To reach the trailhead, drive to the Lawrence E. Woods picnic area north of the McDonald Observatory. For more information and a link to the trail's interpretive panel, check out our Texas Mountain Trail hiking page at:

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Museums!

It seemed all of Alpine turned out on Saturday for the grand reopening of the Museum of the Big Bend. The much anticipated new permanent exhibit is a terrific introduction to the region for visitors heading to Big Bend National Park or the Davis Mountains.

Earlier this summer, there was an equally anticipated opening of the new El Paso Museum of History. It tells the story of the El Paso area, and its relationship to Mexico and New Mexico. If you're headed to the Sun City, head downtown for a visit to the museum!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Rodeo Time

Van Horn had its 4H rodeo this weekend, a great event to show off young talent in this small community in the high mountain desert of Far West Texas!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dorothea Lange is Good Company

Thanks to the Clark Hotel Museum, the University of North Texas Libraries' Portal to Texas History, and the Summerlee Foundation, photographs from Van Horn and the Texas Mountain Trail region are now available online. Click here to see the entire collection of 500 photographs at the Portal to Texas History website. This is just one of the photos in the collection; R.P. Bean's Ranch outside Van Horn.

We want the rest of the world know about our history and our photographs, basically spreading the word about the Texas Mountain Trail region and encouraging folks to visit us out here. So we contacted the nice folks at an excellent blog of great historical photographs and they were happy to post some of the collection from Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum. When the photos were first posted yesterday, they were sandwiched between images from the amazing and legendary Dorothea Lange! Not bad company! also created a "Texas Mountain Trail" page of our photographs, so you can see them all together, here. The response has been tremendous. In less than an hour, our images had more than 60 "hits," and as I write this less than 24 hours after the first posting, the R.P. Bean Ranch photo has had 345 "hits!" With permission from the Clark Hotel Museum, the Portal to Texas History and Shorpy, we'll be posting more images of Far West Texas on this page in the future, and we'll let you know when they're "up" with a notice on this "On the Trail!" blog!

Our thanks to Ken at, Dreanna Belden of the University of North Texas Library and the Portal to Texas History, the Summerlee Foundation, and Robert Stuckey, Director of the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn!

Update--a Shorpy reader wondered what the R.P. Bean Ranch looks like today. Yesterday, I drove 10 miles north of Van Horn on Hwy 54 (the road to Guadalupe Mountains National Park) and got as close to the ranch as I could without entering private land. While I couldn't get to the c. 1910 vantage point, I was able to take the second shot at the top of this post. You can see my correspondence with the Shorpy reader here.

--Beth Nobles, Regional Coordinator, Texas Mountain Trail

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Top Ten 15-Minute Rest Stops

Because, sometimes you just want a few interesting moments away from the road, we're announcing a new travel resource on the Texas Mountain Trail website, the "TOP TEN 15-Minute Rest Stops in the Texas Mountain Trail Region!"
Each location was nominated by a resident of the region, and they're all over--from Marathon to Shafter to El Paso.
Pictured above: The Pile of Rocks Picnic Area near Fort Davis; the Presidio County Courthouse (with its spectacular view from the top) in Marfa; and Prada Marfa near Valentine. Check them all out, here!
To access the Texas Mountain Trail homepage, click to:

The Prickly Pear are in Bloom!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pictographs at Hueco Tanks near El Paso

Saturday I joined a women's hiking group on their trip to Hueco Tanks State Historical Site, an archaeological and outdoor treasure in El Paso County. We climbed and shimmied over and under rocks and had incredible views--of rock art, long-range vistas and beautiful wildflowers. Because of the site's valuable prehistoric and historic pictographs, visitation is limited and regulated. While this may seem unusual to some, the need to make reservations for your visit and view a 15 minute video is well worth the effort, especially since it is all designed to help preserve this important cultural resource. There are incredible opportunities for hiking, bouldering and rock-climbing, and seeing the rock art is a moving experience.

We took advantage of both kinds of hiking opportunities at the park--an excellent guided tour and independent hiking--both great experiences. One of the highlights of our trip was climbing to Kiva Canyon, and finding pictograph "masks" from the Jordana Mogollon people, who had built a small cluster of structures on the site by 1150. We also saw images painted on the rocks by archaic hunters and gatherers, and travelers from the Butterfield Overland Trail.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Order your free travel brochure!

Our new free 25 page travel brochure covering the Texas Mountain Trail region is available! Order your copy by calling 866-276-6219 or by clicking here to download or order your own hard copy version!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Coming Soon!

The Texas Mountain Trail regional travel guide, produced by the Texas Historical Commission will be launched at three public events, and you are invited!

  • Thursday, February 22nd, 11 am - 1 pm (Mountain Time), Magoffin Home State Historic Site, El Paso
  • Thursday, February 22nd, 5 -7 pm (Central Time), Blue Quail Coffee Shop, Van Horn
  • Friday, February 23rd, 11 am (Central Time), Museum of the Big Bend, next to the student center on the campus of Sul Ross State University, Alpine

You can also request a brochure by calling 866/276-6219!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Good news!

Through the cooperative efforts of the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Historical Commission, funding for the statewide Heritage Trails Program, including support for the Texas Mountain Trail regional organization will continue through August 2008!