Monday, November 30, 2009

Day of the Dead puppet

One of the great things about being so close to the border is the ability to celebrate Mexican culture, including Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos).  This was taken during El Paso's celebration, in late October/early November.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

View from El Capitan trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

One of the best hikes in all of Texas is the Guadalupe Peak trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  Not only can you see miles and miles of the Chihuahuan Desert floor below, but at the top of the trail, you really ARE at the highest point in Texas. (8,749 ft!)

For more regional hiking information, visit:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Undiscovered and Beautiful

Just north of Van Horn there's a wonderful road for running, cycling, motorcycling and just plain motoring.  Hwy 54 stretches from the Crossroads of the Texas Mountain Trail--Van Horn--to Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Van Horn is graced with the historic Hotel El Capitan, our newest cycle-friendly hotel, and they're eager to support cyclists in their rides around the region, including those on Hwy 54.

For regional running information, visit:
For regional cycling information, visit:
For regional motorcycling information, visit:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cycling the River Road, Hwy 170, along Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park distinguishes itself as a premier mountain biking opportunity, but the park also has a long stretch of the scenic River Road and offers challenging road biking too!  Here's a shot of that road, just north of the Rio Grande.

For regional cycling information, check out the Texas Mountain Trail biking page: including information on our cycle-friendly hotels!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Colorado Canyon River Access on the Rio Grande

A lovely section of Big Bend Ranch State Park along the Rio Grande, and one of the most accessible spots for river access.  Visit Big Bend has some great information on Colorado Canyon here, citing its uniqueness because it was carved by the river out of volcanic material, and because of its higher gradient, it offers more rapids!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Texas Mountain Trail: What is it?

The Texas Mountain Trail promotes and supports heritage tourism in the six westernmost counties of Texas--from Marathon and Big Bend National Park all the way through to El Paso.  We're a regionally-based non-profit organization--we market the region to travelers, and we help communities and attractions improve their visitor-readiness.  We provide a website and this blog to introduce new experiences to travelers; and we work to make it easier for you to visit the region, with efforts like our cycle-friendly hotel program.

The Texas Mountain Trail signs you see along the highways  mark the original driving route designated as part of a 1968 plan to promote Texas in conjuction with HemisFair in San Antonio.  In 1997, the state legislature gave the responsibility of building a statewide tourism program to the Texas Historical Commission, which provides funding and coordination for all the heritage tourism regions.  You can read more about the statewide program here.

There are nine other heritage trail regions in the state, each providing services to local communities and attractions to preserve and promote what makes Texas great!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Join the Compadres, Friends of Big Bend Ranch State Park

A new group has formed to support Big Bend Ranch State Park, the Compadres del Rancho Grande!  The role of the group is to support and advocate for the wildest and largest state park in enhance the visitor experience and educate the public on the wonders of the park.

To learn more and join yourself, click here!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mountain Biking at Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park offers some of the greatest mountain biking experiences anywhere.  The latest issue of the park's newsletter El Solitario has lots and lots of information about mountain biking in the park, including descriptions of many of the park's trails.  You can download a copy here.

Because of the tough desert climate and terrain, riders are cautioned to bring the equivalent of two large camelbacks and always carry two spares....prepare for some wild fun!

For information about cycling throughout the Texas Mountain Trail region of Far West Texas, visit:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Road to Sauceda, Big Bend Ranch State Park

Mountain views, rock formations and stunning desert vegetation make the long drive into Sauceda, the center of Big Bend Ranch State Park a visual treat.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cyclists on Scenic River Road, Hwy 170

Great cycling roads grace every corner of the region.  One of the most challenging rides is also one of the most scenic...Highway 170--also called the River Road along the Rio Grande.  To the south, pictured here, are the mountains of Mexico.  Big Bend Ranch State Park, Terlingua/Study Butte, Big Bend National Park and Presidio are all along Hwy 170.  Explore it by car and motorcycle too!

For information about cycling in the region, visit:  Check out our cycle-friendly hotels!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Big Bend Ranch State Park

A wild, remote haven for hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, Big Bend Ranch State Park has water sources in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert.  Take a birding, rock art, or geology expedition in this park along the Rio Grande at the southern edge of the Texas Mountain Trail region.

A slideshow of images taken along the road to historic Sauceda ranch in Big Bend Ranch State Park is here.

Here's a link to TPWD's webpage on Big Bend Ranch State Park.  A quote:  "Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest state park in Texas, over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness in a remarkably rugged, remote and unpopulated setting. The park extends along the Rio Grande from southeast of Presidio to near Lajitas in both Brewster and Presidio Counties. Embracing some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the Southwest, it encompasses two mountain ranges containing ancient extinct volcanoes, precipitous canyons, and waterfalls. The area has been a crossroads of human activities for over 11,000 years, as diverse people and cultures have been drawn by the abundant resources of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo corridor."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Museum of the Big Bend

A "must stop" to any visitor to the Big Bend and the Texas Mountain Trail region, is the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine.  A great place for children, adults and families...the interactive exhibits tells the story of the history, natural history and culture of the area.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunrise north of Marfa

Soft light illuminates the mountains north of Marfa on Hwy 17, heading towards Fort Davis.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1884 Scobee House and Masonic Lodge, Fort Davis Historic Walking Tour

Two more locations on the Fort Davis Historic Walking Tour--the 1884 Scobee House (left) and the Masonic Lodge (right).  Pick up your copy of the walking tour brochure at the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce office in the center of town!

From the brochure: 

"1884 Scobee House--S.A. Thompson, a surveyor, used this building as an office.  In 1902, it became the original post office.  It was enlarged in 1925 and in 1945 was bought by Barry Scobee, who resided there until his death in 1977.  Scobee was a colorful writer and newspaper man.  He and his wife managed Hotel Limpia for a short time.  Scobee Mountain is named after him."

"Masonic Lodge--Originally a single story rock building, the lodge was later attached to the Scobee home.  It was used as a drug store, grocery store, bank and residence.  In 1928, it was purchased by the Masons and a second story was added."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mary's Post Office, Fort Davis Historic Walking Tour

From the Fort Davis Historic Walking Tour brochure, available at the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce Office:

"In 1908, James L. Edwards built this post office for his wife, who was postmistress.  Alice Sproul bought it in 1914 and served as postmistress until 1922.  Her niece, Mary Sproul, inherited the building, which is now used as a vacation rental.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Announcing our Newest Cycle-Friendly Property!

Van Horn's Hotel El Capitan, is the latest to join our roster of cycle-friendly hotels.  It is also one of our distinguished historic hotels, built in 1930, and recently (and lovingly) restored and open again for business.  Located at the Crossroads of the Texas Mountain Trail--at the intersection of Hwys 90 and 54, and two blocks north of I-10--it is a new elegant jumping off point for adventures all over the region.  It is a great place to rest before heading north to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, or for cyclists wanting to explore scenic and virtually undiscovered cycling road--Hwy 54.

To read more about the Hotel El Capitan, visit their website,

To read about historic hotels in the region, visit

To see the list of cycle-friendly hotels in the region, visit

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Fall Color from McKittrick Canyon

The National Park Service trailguide for McKittrick Canyon starts with this,"McKittrick Canyon is one of the best places to witness the diversity of life found in the Guadalupe Mountains. This is an extremely scenic hike through a canyon that contains a year-round spring fed stream. It will introduce hikers to the extremely unique riparian woodland ecosystem. It is especially beautiful in fall when the big-tooth maples are turning various shades of red, orange, and yellow. This normally occurs in the last two weeks of October to the first week of November."

And wow, this year we had great color!  You can view a slideshow of photos of the color in the canyon here.

You can download the trailguide here.

Our regional hiking guide is here!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Pratt Cabin--McKittrick Canyon Trail

We recently discovered what is now one of our favorite "dream houses" in the region--Pratt Cabin on the McKittrick Canyon Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  You can read more about it here.  Wallace E. Pratt and his family built the cabin in 1931-2, providing them a place to escape the summer heat of Houston, their home.  Pratt, a petroleum geologist and conservationist donated their land to the National Park Service enabling public access to McKittrick Canyon.  A slideshow of more photos of the cabin is here.

To read more about Wallace E. Pratt, click here.

For a trail guide for McKittrick Canyon, click here.

For regional hiking information, click here!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Big Bend Ranch State Park--Rancherias Trail

Next Saturday, November 14, Big Bend Ranch State Park is holding a BIG party and you're invited...their Fiesta!  Activities within the park are FREE--guided hikes and mountain biking tours, bird watching, jeep tours, geology and rock art tours.  For complete information, click here or check our Texas Mountain Trail calendar listing for the event, here.

Come on out and explore Texas' largest and wildest state park!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Hiking McKittrick Canyon Trail

Fall color graces the trail of McKittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  Every autumn the normally sparsely traveled trail becomes a mecca for those seeking cool temperatures and spectacular hues.  Put it on your "must do" list for your next visit!

For information on the park, visit: or the Texas Mountain Trail hiking page:

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dia de los Muertos, Day 5!

This booth at Mercado Mayapan is full of sugar skulls, a traditional element of the Day of the Dead (or Dia de los Muertos) celebration.  Sugar skulls make it fun for the living and the dead...see all our entries this week for links and more information about it!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Dia de los Muertos, Day 4!

Details of altars honoring family members.  To learn more about Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, visit the El Paso CVB's website, here.  To learn more about altar-making, visit Texas Monthly's page, here!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Dia de los Muertos, Day 3!

Day three of our celebration of Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead, and photos from an altar display.  Texas Monthly has a good article on making your own altar, to read it click here!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dia de los Muertos, Day 2!

"On Mexico's Day of the Dead, the skeletons jump for sheer joy. And no wonder: they’ve been cooped up the whole year long and now they’re ready to party. Watch the calaveras shake, rattle and roll as they celebrate the biggest event of the graveyard’s social calendar!" says El Paso's Cinco Puntos Press' website.

They've published a wonderful and charming children's book about the holiday called, "The Festival of Bones," for more information on the holiday and the book, click here!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Dia de los Muertos!

Dia de los Muertos is Day of the Dead, a joyful celebration in the region.  For more information, visit El Paso CVB's page about it, click here!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

From Above, Day 3

This is the third "taste" of a wonderful aerial photography exhibit now on display at UTEP's Centennial Museum....photographs by Adriel Heisey.  They were taken from the open seat of his tiny, experimental Kolb TwinStar airplane.  Check out Friday's and Saturday's entries on this blog for more information.