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!
Two great marathons grace the region, and both of them are Boston-qualifying races.
Runners in the El Paso Marathon, http://www.elpasomarthon.org/, 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, http://www.marathon2marathon.net/ 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, www.texasmountaintrail.com/run
If you're running in the Houston Marathon this January, look for our booth at the Expo!
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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."