Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Franklin Mountains Hiking Path

Awaiting hikers and mountain bikers, the Franklin Mountains State Park sits at the edge of the city of El Paso.
For more information on the park, click here and here.
For region-wide hiking information, visit:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Hike

The Madera Canyon Trail offers a nice 2.4 mile hike in the Davis Mountains. The Madera Trail begins at the Lawrence E. Wood picnic area north of Fort Davis on Hwy 118.
For more information, visit our hiking page:
For more information about the Trail and other Nature Conservancy programs, click here.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Movie Set

Van Horn's Sands Motel Steak House was the location of several scenes in Tommy Lee Jones' Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada.
For more information on movies filmed in Far West Texas, visit:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Historic Store in Big Bend

Near the trailhead for Santa Elena Canyon is the Castolon historic site in Big Bend National Park.
Dating from 1902 until 1944, when the park was established, there was a consulate, sheriff's office, bank, and general store in Castolon, and an important place for residents of northern Mexico and the Big Bend region.
Today, a visitors center provides historical displays and a small store. Winter is a great time for a visit!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December View of Big Bend's Santa Elena Canyon

A lovely Christmastime hike above the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, one of the top hikes in the region.

For more information on hikes, click here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thinking of Spring

Taken near the world famous McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis, and a great place to see the night skies. Consider taking in one of their sky parties!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Adobe Deconstructed

El Paso's Magoffin Home State Historic Site is a lovely 19 room adobe home in the Territorial style.
The homestead was the political and cultural center of early Magoffinsville, later named El Paso.
During a restoration, this fireplace was left unfinished to show the various levels of construction.
To learn more about the Magoffin home, click here and here!
To learn more about adobe construction in the region, visit:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Looking forward to El Paso's Poppy Season

If you're headed out to El Paso in March, swing by the Franklin Mountains State Park and the Museum of Archaeology. Time it right, and the side of the mountain will be covered with these poppies!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Overland Trail Museum

Fort Davis' Overland Trail Museum is a great place to view artifacts of early life in Jeff Davis County, from saddles to clothing and handwork, historical documents and photos.
It is located on Fort Street, on the old San Antonio-El Paso road and the Butterfield Overland Mail Route.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Runners: Two Great Place to Race!

Two great marathons grace the region, and both of them are Boston-qualifying races.

Runners in the El Paso Marathon,, swing into New Mexico and run along the Rio Grande river, with Old Mexico on one side and Texas on the other. The race begins and ends downtown. Set your training for this great race on March 1, 2009!

And pictured here, is the legendary Marathon2Marathon race known for spectacular scenery. Racers run from just outside Alpine to the small town of Marathon, Texas. Check it out at, to learn more about this October 17, 2009 race.

And if you're visiting in the region and want to try some scenic training runs, check out the suggestions on our running page,

If you're running in the Houston Marathon this January, look for our booth at the Expo!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Long View

All over the region, there's miles and miles of landscape...a tonic for crowded city life.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Adobe treasure

The Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Ruidosa, though endangered, retains much of its original design and workmanship. Its three arches are considered the largest rounded adobe arches in the state, and therefore significant.
The Texas Historical Commission has taken a leadership position in the stabilization and care of this important structure in the border region. To learn more, see the article on page 3 of the THC's Medallion magazine, here. (please wait a few moments for the magazine to download)
To learn more about adobe architecture in the region, visit:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Take in a Mountain Vista

Visitors to Van Horn's Red Rock Ranch stop along a driving tour for some light hiking and incredible views!

For more information about Van Horn and Red Rock Ranch, click here and here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Running and Cycling Route near Van Horn

Unspoiled beauty awaits the motorcyclist, the cyclist and the runner north of Van Horn. Approximately 7 miles north of this small community along I-10, the road turns west. The shoulders are wide and the road relatively untraveled, making this a private wilderness experience for the adventurous.

It is one of our favorite running routes, too. Check it out on our Texas Mountain Trail running page:

For information on cycling, visit and on motorcycle routes, visit

Sunday, December 07, 2008


No matter where you travel in Far West Texas and the Texas Mountain Trail region, chances are you'll see a great sunset.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Along the River Road in Big Bend

Travelers heading down the River Road may be surprised--in the midst of uninhabited wide open spaces--to see remnants of an old mercury or quicksilver mine, the Mariscal Mine.

It towers above the road, and provides an incredible vista of the ground below. It was abandoned in the 1940s, and because of its remote location, it is one of the best preserved mercury mining sites in the country.

To read more about the Mariscal Mine, visit this page. You can even download a brochure to learn more.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Presidio Chapel at San Elizario

Just outside El Paso, the Mission Trail offers visitors beautiful architecture in small border communities, as well as a window to the past.
The Mission Trail, of which this chapel in San Elizario is a part, has been a chapter of Spanish, Mexican and U.S. history since the Spanish colonial government chose Don Juan de Onate to organize an expedition to establish a "New Mexico." His caravan, with over two miles of carts, livestock, soldiers, wives, and clergy, traveled north through the Chihuahuan Desert until they reached the Rio Grande river, where Onate claimed the region for the King of Spain.
Mission churches and forts came later, and the presidio at this location (now San Elizario) was built in 1789. The present day chapel's exterior remains much the same as it did when it was built in 1882, however the interior had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1935.
For more information about the Chapel and the history of the Mission Trail, click here and here.
To download a brochure about the Mission Trail, visit this page.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Blue Sky at Hueco Tanks

Visitors to El Paso miss a tremendous treat if they don't find some opportunity to head into the mountains, either at Franklin Mountains State Park or Hueco Tanks State Historic Site.

Because of the fragile nature of ancient rock art and the tremendous popularity of the world-class bouldering opportunities, visitation at this small park is limited and reservations are strongly encouraged. However, a visit to Hueco Tanks is also strongly recommended!

For more information about visiting Hueco Tanks click here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gettting to be the Season

Though snow is rare, we are approaching the season when we can see occasional snow at higher elevations.

This was take an couple of years ago along the Scenic Loop near Fort Davis. By the end of the day it was warm and sunny!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Atop El Paso

Not only does the Plaza Theatre offer El Paso terrific entertainment in 1930s elegance, but it also provides patrons with great views of the city.
To learn more about the Plaza's history and restoration, click here.
To learn more about the shows coming to the Plaza Theatre, click here.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Light and evening shadow

While making it to the top of Guadalupe Peak--the highest point in Texas, at 8,749 feet--is an incredibly exciting climb, the majesty doesn't end there. During the hike down to the trailhead, keep your eyes open for a beautiful play of light and shadow on the mountains.

Guadalupe Peak is the premier hike of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Check out other hiking opportunities in the region at:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A touch of fall color

Heading from Fort Davis to Alpine, Mitre Peak dominates the view. Here and there, a touch of fall color rises to meet the landscape on one of the most scenic drives in the state.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sheer Grandeur at the Plaza Theatre

El Paso's Plaza Theatre was lovingly restored to its 1930 magnificence a few years ago, and currently offers a great line-up of quality entertainment for visitors and El Pasoans.
Look up to the painted ceiling, look down at the tiled floors, every inch of the theatre lends a feeling of majesty to a night's entertainment.

We can thank the City of El Paso and the El Paso Community Foundation for their partnership in restoring the theatre. For a brief history of the Plaza Theatre, click here.
For the theatre's home page and information on upcoming shows, click here.
For a virtual tour of the Plaza Theatre, click here. (It takes a few moments for the tour to load.)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Runner's Favorite

Runners visiting Terlingua/Study Butte can take a great 5 mile (out and back) route before they head into Big Bend National Park for a day on the trails.
For more information about this favoirte local run on Indian Head Road, visit:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The First Thanksgiving

Before the Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth in 1621, there was a celebration when the Spanish Explorer Juan de Onate arrived in present-day El Paso County. On April 30, 1598 the expedition arrived in the Rio Grande Valley, near San Elizario and the other mission communities of El Paso County.

You can read more about the First Thanksgiving Celebration here and here.

For travel information to the Mission Trail of El Paso County, click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

View from the South Rim

One of the best hikes--and best views--in Texas is the South Rim hike in Big Bend National Park. Visibility into Mexico can stretch 100 miles on a clear day.
A 6.3 mile (one way) trek via the Laguna Meadow Trail, or the same distance via the Pinnacles and Boot Canyon Trails, hikers can make it in a long day or plan to backpack it and stay the night.
For more regional hiking information, visit:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Terlingua Ghostown

Terlingua Ghostown was once a thriving mining village, now a interesting artist mecca in the desert.
Located between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, many of the old miner residences have been renovated and turned into shops, galleries and homes. The cemetery is worth a stroll, too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Charming Poolside Rooms

One of the grandest historic hotel accommodations in the region is the Cibolo Creek Ranch south of Marfa.
Three forts--the oldest from 1857--have been restored and converted to private hotel space on ranch land far from public roads.
You can read more about historic hotels in the region by visiting:

Saturday, November 22, 2008


These lovely blossoms were found at the El Paso Desert Botanical Garden, part of Keystone Heritage Park in El Paso.
For more information on nature centers in the region, click here.
For more interesting places to visit in our largest city, click here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hiking to the Highest Point in Texas

Guadalupe Peak (8,749 ft) in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a must-do hike for a visitor to the region. The difficult 8.4 mile round-trip trek has been called one of the most spectacular hikes in the United States.
Start early on this rocky and sometimes very narrow trail to reach the summit shortly after lunch. This is a strenous climb--it is all up and then all down--but if you're fitness level is average or better you'll be glad you did it!
For more information on hiking in the region, visit:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Historic Places in Big Bend

Before Big Bend was a national park, it was home for ranches, mines, trading posts, cavalry camps and villages.
Visitors can find evidence of these special places all over the park. For more information about the special historical places, visit here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

El Paso Museum of Art

El Paso's Museum of Art is a centerpoint for culture in the region and a "must see" destination for visitors. Shoppers enjoy the great gift shop on the Museum's main floor, where you can often purchase specialty Papel Picado or Cut-Paper Art.
Pictured here is an El Paso-themed Papel Picado, cut by hand using special chisel-type tools and a hammer.
For an update on the Museum's exhibitions and programs, visit their website, here.
For a region-wide events calendar, click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Our Mining Heritage

Fort Davis' Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens has a mining heritage exhibit near the Visitor Center.
Volunteers are erecting interesting exhibits using retired mining equipment, ores mined in the Chihuahuan Desert, interpretive displays and historic photographs. Some of the artifacts were used in the locally filmed movie, "There Will Be Blood," starring Daniel Day Lewis.
For updates on the mining exhibit, visit the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute's website.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Movie Stars

This photo of Jack Hoxie is on display at the Overland Trail Museum in Fort Davis. Hoxie was a silent film star who tried to develop a movie studio at the old Fort, now the Fort Davis National Historic Site.
The Museum of the Big Bend has a video exhibit of the filmmaking tradition in the region--many films have been made here, including recent Oscar winners, "There Will Be Blood," and "No Country for Old Men."
In the coming months, we'll be developing content for our Texas Mountain Trail website about the movies of the region. For now, please visit our "Movie Traveler: Kevin Costner Fandango Tour!"
For information on visiting the Overland Trail Museum in Fort Davis, click here. Nestled in the shadow of Sleeping Lion Mountain, the museum tells the story of early life in Jeff Davis County.