Monday, February 28, 2011

Video Week Begins! Half a Minute with the Hoodoos of Big Bend Ranch State Park

Halfway between Presidio and Lajitas on Hwy 170 (the River Road) in Big Bend Ranch State Park are some amazing hoodoos! 

What are hoodoos?  A product of erosion in sedimentary rock, they are called "tent rock," "fairy chimneys," or "earth pyramids." Read more about them here.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Casa Grande in Fog

Thanks to David Elkowitz of Big Bend National Park for providing this great photo of one of the Chisos' landmarks! 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Devil's Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Here's a photo from yesterday's featured hike, the Devil's Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park...scroll down to yesterday's post for links to more information and a brief video!

Thanks to a reader for alerting us...the park is temporarily closed due to a fire.  Read more here:

Friday, February 25, 2011

A few seconds on the Devil's Hall Trail, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Just a few seconds of a hike on the beautiful Devil's Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park!  Here's what the park's website says about this trail: 

"Hike the streambed of Pine Springs Canyon, then climb the natural rock of the Hiker's Staircase, to the finale - the Devil's Hall. This rocky trail has very little elevation gain, and leads you through maples, ponderosa pine, and many plant varieties of the Chihuahuan desert. The trail is rated moderate; though it is only 4.2 miles round trip, allow 3-5 hours to enjoy this hike."

For regional hiking information, visit:
Upload the park's flyer on this trail here!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

West Texas Trip!

Part of our work involves forging cooperative agreements with communities--small and large--to market our beautiful region.  The West Texas Trip partnership involves most of West Texas to promote our region to the motorcoach industry. 

We've built itineraries for bus tour travel (which can also be used by you and your family!) all across the region!  Take a look at the orange and green loops for ideas in the Texas Mountain Trail region!  This is one of the ways we promote economic activity in West Texas...each busload of travelers mean income for hotels, restaurants and attractions in our communities!

The links take you to our "Cowboy Country" itinerary, and we have more...this is just the first to go online.

Here's the link to the West Texas Trip website...check it out for ideas for your next trip out West!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Camping in the Chisos!

Camping is one way to fully experience a wild land.  There's nothing like seeing the stars so clearly at night, or waking up on a crisp morning and roll out of your tent to see the first light of day!

Here's Big Bend's webpage on camping opportunities in the national park. 

Here's a link to the National Park Service's page on camping reservations for Big Bend National Park!

Thanks to Lee Towns of our partner organization, the Texas Independence Trail for sharing this photo!

Monday, February 21, 2011

We're hoping for mountain poppies this spring in El Paso!

If the moisture is right in the fall, El Paso's Franklin Mountains are a blaze of orange and yellow in March, because the mountain poppies are in bloom.  We're hoping this year's display is as lovely as last years!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Summer Views, Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

Now that it has warmed up nicely, we're already thinking ahead to the spring and summer.  Yesterday we featured the Hummingbird and Butterfly Trail at Fort Davis' Chihuahuan Desert Nature are some shots we took there in late very pretty! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Take a Walk in the Barracks of a Frontier Fort: Fort Davis National Historic Site

The National Park Service website has this to say about Fort Davis:  "Fort Davis is one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars' frontier military post in the Southwest. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and on the Chihuahua Trail."

Touring Fort Davis National Historic Site today, you fet a very real feel of what it was like to live and work at the fort.  A tour of the barracks is a highlight, as is hearing the reveille on the parade grounds.  It takes very little imagination to put yourself back to that era.

We thank the Texas Historical Commission and Randy Mallory for making this photo available~

Friday, February 18, 2011


A great place to visit this spring is the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center's humingbird and butterfly trail.  The Nature Center's website says this about the trail:  "This easy, but rocky, loop is only about 1/3 of a mile long. The trail starts at the pollinator garden and skirts the rocky outcrop of Cactus Hill. The views of Mitre Peak are spectacular and the trees, shrubs, and wildflowers that crowd the hillside attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other fun creatures in the summer." 

We recommend the trail as a quick little hike with LOTS to see, including beautiful scenery, plants and wildlife! 

When traveling near Fort Davis, check out this wonderful place...they have other trails, a cactus and succulent greenhouse, interesting exhibits and a WONDERFUL gift shop!  The nature center is a site on the new Far West Texas Wildlife Trail map, too! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And what does it look like from the top?

Yesterday we showed you the view of El Capitan from the road at the base of Guadalupe Mountains National we show you El Capitan from the top!

For regional hiking information, visit:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A "Must" Visit: Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The rewards are great for visitors who seek out one of our best-kept secrets tucked into the corner of our region, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  This is a hikers' park as the highlights of the land can be seen mostly by trail.  The view you see here is of El Capitan, described by Austin American Statesman writer, Pam LeBlanc, " An earth-shattering, mountain-forming uplift forced that fossilized reef up, creating the towering peaks."

This view is also at the end of a heritage bike route, the "El Capitan to El Capitan" which starts in Van Horn and the newly restored historic Hotel El Capitan, an 1930s cattleman's hotel.  This route, Hwy 54, is incredibly scenic, and can easily be traveled by car or motorcycle as well as bicycle!

For regional hiking information, visit:

Monday, February 14, 2011

A great short hike: Closed Canyon in Big Bend Ranch State Park

Easily accessible from "The River Road" FM170 between Lajitas and Presidio, Big Bend Ranch State Park's Closed Canyon is most spectacular short hike (1.4 mile roundtrip!) and a quick adventure.  Definitely scenic, definitely a "must do" if you're in the area.  It is a narrow slot canyon with interesting light play on the rock walls and the texture of the rocks underneath.  Plus, in very short stretches, there's sometimes scrambling involved which makes this adventure!
A trail report on this hike can be read here.
For regional hiking information, visit our hiking page:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Preservation Success Story: Fort Davis National Historic Site

This is good news!  The Conservation Fund announced a deal has been finalized to transfer ownership of a 48 acre bluff overlooking Fort Davis National Historic Site to the National Park Service, thereby preserving the character of this impressive and historic location in Fort DavisYou can read the full story here in the Alpine Avalanche; and more about the sale is here.  The sale is the result of the hard work and advocacy of many in Fort Davis and around the country over four years.

Fort Davis National Historic Site is perhaps the best preserved frontier fort in the west, and tells the story of the post-Civil War era and the story of African American soldiers of the time.

You can read more about African American history in Texas, here!
To see a list of African American historic sites in the Texas Mountain Trail region, click here to go to the Texas Historical Commission's webpage.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ruins of Mariscal Mine in Big Bend National Park

Before it was a national park, the Big Bend area was where people lived and tried to make a living.  Folks ranched, farmed, were merchants.  One of the region's leading industries was mining. You can visit an abandoned mine on the remote River Road in Big Bend National Park.

To read more about this fascinating place, click here.
To read more about primitive dirt roads in the park, including the River Road, click here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another spring lovely

As a tonic for this cold winter, we wanted to give you a bit of spring sunshine.  Let's think about March, April and May, and the cactus blossoms coming our way.   Taken at Red Rock Ranch near Van Horn.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Hey! Where is today's photo?

No photo today. Instead we'd like you to take two minutes of your time and watch this video:

Yesterday, the Texas Governor called for the elimination of the Texas Historical Commission, our coordinating and primary funding agency, thinking our work was not "mission critical" in this economy.

Please watch the video and make your own decision about that. And if you're a Texan and want to visit with your state legislator about that, please do so. Leave your questions and comments in the comment section of this blog and we'll do our best to answer them right away. THANK YOU for being such a loyal follower of this Daily is a blast every day sharing places and travel and adventure ideas with you.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Clark Hotel Museum

When you visit Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum, you can imagine travel in earlier days.  Train travelers would step off at the Van Horn station, and walk across the street to the hotel.  There the staff was ready...with a kitchen, bar, sitting/dining room and sleeping rooms upstairs.  Today, the museum is a time capsule of this experience, and the museum has many other artifacts of an earlier life in Van Horn and Culberson County of Far West Texas.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cactus blooms to brighten our Monday

Taken at one of our favorite places, the Cactus Greenhouse at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center near Fort Davis.  Their cactus and succulent collection has over 200 species and usually there's something beautiful blooming in the greenhouse!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Davis Mountains State Park

The shelter is atop a hiking trail in Davis Mountains State Park, the trail that connects to Fort Davis National Historic Site.  The trail on the National Fort side--the Hospital Canyon Trail--is shown in this flickr slideshow. The trail has incredible vistas of the historic fort and the community of Fort Davis below the mountain.

Check out our hiking page for more trail recommendations!
Thanks to the Texas Historical Commission and Randy Mallory for this photo!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Cycling down the road to Post Park

We've started to put information on our website about another heritage bike ride, an easy, family-friendly 10 mile (roundtrip) ride from the town of Marathon to Post Park in Brewster County.  The route was used by the Comanche, by Buffalo Soldiers and by miners and ranchers early in the modern history of the area.  The ride starts at the historic (and cycle-friendly!) Gage Hotel or the Gage Gardens (a site on the new Far West Texas Wildlife Map) and is a simple out-and-back ride through beautiful scenery.  Take a look at the web page for more beautiful views and an outline of the history of this fascinating place!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Views of Red Rock Ranch

Red Rock Ranch just north of Van Horn offers tours of their beautiful land.  Their website says, "Just five quick minutes from donwtown Van Horn, Texas, our tours will allow you to see unique geological wonders, vegetation specific only to our area, native animal life and American Indian pictographs and petroglyphs. We are one of largest natural Precambrian sandstone exposures in North Amercia. There are lots of critters on our land which you may be able to see fresh tracks or even spot. The sunsets are more beautiful than you could imagine."