Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Closed Canyon

A spectacular and short hike is a favorite of travelers heading to Big Bend Ranch State Park between Big Bend National Park and Presidio. The trailhead is easy to access, along Hwy 170. Check in at the Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center or Fort Leaton for more information, or click here.

For more information on hiking in the Texas Mountain Trail region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

Monday, March 30, 2009

Gage Garden Tours

The Gage Hotel in Marathon is giving public tours of their gardens (which provide organic fresh produce for their kitchen) every day at 4 pm.
The Gage Hotel is one of our fine historic hotels in the Texas Mountain Trail region. To learn more about restored historic hotels available for your vacation, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/historichotels

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saving Adobe Architecture

Local officials and the Texas Historical Commission are working to preserve this architectural jewel in Ruidosa in Presidio County. From the THC website,
"With an initial $30,000 matching grant from the Texas Historical Commission (THC) in 2004, the project began in the hope of preserving this site, one of Presidio County’s most exquisite examples of adobe architecture. Once in danger of collapse, the mission is especially rare because of its curved adobe arches. Located just outside of Big Bend, the preservation of this historic landmark will contribute to the overall appeal of this unique and special area of Texas.Along with the recent funding from the Texas Historical Foundation, the Presidio County Historical Commission also raised money from local contributions over the holiday season and received an additional grant from the National Trust for Historical Preservation. Monies raised meet the THC’s Texas Preservation Trust Fund grant requirements, thus assuring the successful completion of the stabilization work at this important historical and architectural Texas landmark. Phase I of the project reached completion in late 2006 and Phase II is expected to conclude in July 2007.For more information on the Ruidosa Mission Project visit www.thc.state.tx.us or call the THC’s Architecture Division at 512/463-6094."

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Watching the sun rise on the mountains

Getting away from the city--really away--and relaxing is one of the great benefits to visitors. There's nothing like getting up early, hot mug of coffee in hand, and watching the sun rise on the mountains. This was taken at Chinati Hot Springs, a thoroughly relaxing place to spend the night, in Presidio County.

Friday, March 27, 2009

You can see forever, Pinto Canyon Road

Head southwest out of Marfa on FM 2810 for a great ride with terrific views. This is a public road through private property, so respect the landowners and do not cross fences to get a good shot on your camera. This was taken near the north end of the road, before the pavement ends. The ride past here is best suited for high clearance all-wheel drive vehicles, but is so much fun!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Another way to travel west

Amtrak's Sunset Limited makes two stops in the Texas Mountain Trail region. You can start your vacation in Alpine or in El Paso. For more information on the Sunset Limited, click here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Paddling the Rio Grande at Santa Elena Canyon

Many visitors enjoy taking a river trip down the Rio Grande through Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend National Park. For more about this possibility for your vacation, click here to get the National Park service webpage about river trips!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Photographing the Desert

Be sure to take your camera when you visit the region. The Chihuahuan Desert and high mountain scenery changes every day. You might catch the ocotillo blooming!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The cool pool at Chinati Hot Springs

Off Pinto Canyon Road, not far from Ruidosa in Presidio County is a wonderful oasis. Cool off after a day of hiking or mountain biking or sightseeing by soaking in the cool pool, or the hot tubs at Chinati Hot Springs. They have comfortable cabins, campsites and a communal kitchen for visitors to use. For more information, click here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mule Ears at Big Bend National Park

Mule Ears is one of the most enjoyed sights in Big Bend National Park. This view was taken along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive on the western end of the park headed back from Castolon. The Mule Ears Spring Trail is 3.8 miles roundtrip. For more information on hiking in Big Bend National Park, click here.

For information on hiking in the Texas Mountain Trail region, visit: www.texasmountaintrail.com/hike

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shafter Ghost Town Church

Head down Hwy 67 from Marfa to Presidio and you'll see a small sign for "Shafter Ghost Town." Do yourself a favor, and turn off the highway here. The first building you'll see is this church. Behind the church is an actively maintained garden and grotto. Travel slowly on the dirt road past the small stream to the cemetery and the Shafter museum, which chronicles the history of this small mining community

Friday, March 20, 2009

Step Back to 1930

One of the loveliest places in the Texas Mountain Trail region, is El Paso's Plaza Theatre. Built in 1930, the beautifully restored theatre reopened a few years ago. At the time, it was the largest theatre between Dallas and Los Angeles. Take in a show there, and you step into complete elegance of another time. Mechanical stars blink cheerily overhead, the house feels like a visit to a nighttime Spanish villa. Take a look at the shows scheduled...there's something for everyone!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blooming Cacti

With the spring rain, the cacti will soon be blooming. While touring the region, plan to visit one of our many wonderful nature centers. Most have gardens for you to enjoy. For a list of our Mountain Desert Nature Centers, click here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Weirdly Beautiful"

The 1940 WPA Guide to Texas called this stretch of what is now Hwy 54 north of Van Horn, "one of the most desolate, yet weirdly beautiful stretches of country to be found in the state of Texas." That continues to be the case today....this lovely drive is nearly unspoiled, and takes visitors from Van Horn (the crossroads of the Texas Mountain Trail at I-10) north to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wilson Capron Spurs

Wilson Capron, of Midland, won Best of Show with these spurs at the Trappings of Texas exhibition at the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine recently. The show will be up through late April. To learn more about the exhibition, click here.

For more information on the Museum of the Big Bend, click here.

To see a YouTube video about artists Mike and Wilson Capron, visit our Texas Mountain Trail YouTube Channel, here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring and summer rains inspire the creosotebush's yellow blooms, often filling entire canyons with the pleasing, though somewhat medicinal odor of this ubiquitous desert shrub ( Larrea tridentata). This photo was taken in early spring at the Persimmon Gap entry station to Big Bend National Park. Text and photo by Pete Szilagyi.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Single Tree on the Marfa Plain

The lush grasses on Hwy 90 between Van Horn and Marfa provide a golden vista against the mountains off in the distance.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Big Bend Texas Mountain Travel Guide

The new issue of the Big Bend Texas Mountain Travel Guide will soon be available for visitors to pick up at many venues in the region, including chambers of commerce and visitors centers and other places tourists frequent. The Guide is a great companion to our Texas Mountain Trail brochure. We were happy to contribute many photos from this blog and our website, www.texasmountaintrail.com to the Guide's most capable editor, Mercer Black.

Here's a shot Mercer used for the Guadalupe Mountains National Park page, taken during the sesquicentennial celebration of the Butterfield Overland Mail. You can read more about the celebrations statewide at www.texasmountaintrail.com/butterfield

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bul Muhly

Best time to catch "Bull muhly" is early morning or afternoon in the fall or winter, when the low sun highlights the prominent seed heads. It's a signature native grass of upland areas in Far West Texas. Botanists call it Muhlenbergia emersleyi. This stand of muhly is in Madera Canyon, west of Fort Davis.

Photo and text, courtesy Pete Szilagyi of Fort Davis.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Dog Canyon

At the north end of Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the lovely and remote Dog Canyon. Put on the hiking boots, pitch the tent or bring your own horse to ride, there are many ways to enjoy the mountains. For more information on Dog Canyon, click here.

Friday, March 06, 2009

So where can you get these tasty treats? At the laundromat!

Marfa is a town full of surprises. If you want a great cup of coffee, a Blue Bell ice cream, some good conversation and a place to meet locals and visitors, head to the Tumbleweed Laundry. They even have Wi-fi! Stop by the Chamber of Commerce office next to the historic Paisano Hotel for directions or click here!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Getting ready for the Franklin Mountains Poppy Festival!

March 14 is the day of El Paso's Poppy Festival on Transmountain at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology. Check out the festivities here!

There will be lots of activities, including a film festival!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Clark Hotel Museum

Walk in the door of Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum and one of the first things you notice is this magnificent bar. Once the focal point of the hotel's social activity, the bar is now a centerpiece for many community gatherings. Receptions, readings, and community events bring Van Horn residents and visitors to the Museum to learn about the area's history.

To learn more about Van Horn, click here.

To learn more about the Clark Hotel Museum, click here.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sometimes we have snow

At about 5,000 feet in elevation, the town of Fort Davis can get several light snowfalls each winter. But don't blink. Next thing you know it's 40 degrees and the winter wonderland is gone.

Photo and text, courtesy Pete Szilagyi of Fort Davis.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cactus at Red Rock Ranch

A visitor enjoys photographing a cactus at Van Horn's Red Rock Ranch. For more information on Red Rock Ranch, click here.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mt. Livermore

Centerpiece of the Davis Mountains is Mt. Livermore, named after an early government surveyor. The dramatic volcanic intrusion, sometimes snowy in winter, tops out at 8,378 feet. It's the fifth highest peak in Texas, just less than several adjacent peaks atop the Guadalupe Mountains straddling the Texas-New Mexico border. Those rightfully claim the "highest in Texas."

Text and photo from Pete Szilagyi of Fort Davis. Thanks, Pete!