Wednesday, August 31, 2011

360 degree view of the Davis Mountains, Clayton's Overlook Trail

Mitre Peak in the background, with an intrepetive panel showing the history and geology of the view
Did you know that the road through Wild Rose Pass is not quite the historic route taken by travelers?  This exhibit shows both routes.
Lovely view
Explanation of the geology of the area
There's a great trail outside Fort Davis, at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center that offers an interpeted 360 degree view of the Davis Mountains.  It is rated moderate to difficult, and 2.25 miles takes you to the highest point on the property, where Our Dynamic Landscape exhibit shows the geology, geography and history of the area

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Colorado Canyon access to the Rio Grande, Big Bend Ranch State Park

Easy to get to from from the River Road, Hwy 170.....for your river fun is the Colorado Canyon river access in Big Bend Ranch State Park.  The park's website says this:

"The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo corridor is an easily accessible area of the park for day use, including rafting, canoeing and free bank fishing. Several river access points are found within the park along FM-170. Colorado Canyon includes Class II and Class III rapids. This section of the river is not considered dangerous under normal flow conditions. The walls of Colorado Canyon, unlike the limestone canyons of Big Bend National Park and the Lower Canyons, are entirely of igneous rock."

We'll report on our own canoe trip with an outfitter in the coming days...stay tuned!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ysleta Mission--made of adobe, clay, straw and Spanish vigas

Ysleta Mission, established 1680, is the oldest continuously active parish in the state of Texas, and the community of Ysleta is the oldest in Texas, dating back to 1682.  The Rio Grande flooded in 1744 and again in 1829, and the current mission building was built in 1851.  Today it is one of the jewels of the Rio Grande, a beautiful and proud landmark in the Mission Valley of El Paso.

Read more about the Mission Valley here. 
Want a guided tour?  Click here for more information!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cycle-friendly Big Bend Resorts and ADVENTURES!

Quaint bridge on the scenic golf course behind the Resort headquarters!

View of one of the target golf greens, a rugged, scenic place to launch some balls!
This is a cycle-friendly property!   Park your bike in your room; on-site cafe for easy, early breakfasts; lots of grab and go snacks! 
 Big Bend Resorts and Adventures is in Terlingua close to the entrance of Big Bend National Park, making it a perfect launching spot for all kinds of fun.  Behind their motel rooms, tent camping and RV sites, they have a target golf course set in view of some pretty terrific mountains.  They have a stable and offer horseback riding; a party barn and "Big House" for groups; and if you want to guided experience, they have a rugged, comfortable vehicle and a friendly "life-long Terlinguan" to take you on any adventure or 4x4 road you want!

They also participate in our cycle-friendly program, and offer the following to individual touring cyclists or groups:  "Cycle-friendly features include: convenient location to Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park and on-site trails; clean, comfortable rooms; on-site cafĂ© for breakfast, lots of grab and go snacks for rides plus box lunches to go; on-site parking for bikes and towed vehicles; and more. Laundry, public showers, custom guided tours,party barn for groups, target golf course tent/RV sites."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sunrise on the River Road

One of the loveliest drives anywhere is the River Road, Hwy 170 that connects Terlingua to Presidio.  The land is rugged and spectacular, but you miss an experience if you don't look up into the sky, too.  We recently took this shot on a morning drive to the Lajitas Stables.  We'll post about our saddle/paddle experience with them soon!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Turkey Story

One of the funniest, quirkiest things to happen to Marfa is the appearance of our new unofficial town mascosts.  Look closely in the shaded street behind this truck for a look at one of them...and when you visit Marfa, keep an eye out for them!  Three turkeys usually explore the street in their own little pack of ne'er-do-wells...or so it would seem!

For laugh and an explanation, read this discussion on  Come to think of it, if you're coming to Marfa and you want to know what's new in town, is a great resource!  Check it out! 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Starlight Theatre

Taken on a recent Thursday night, just as dinner service was starting
A perennial favorite in Terlingua Ghost Town is the Starlight Theatre, with a full dining and bar menu...and good news for many is smoke free!  Still a great place to enjoy live music and entertainment, people watch, and the view from the front porch is magnificent!  It is one of our favorite places to see Mule Ears! 

Here's a link to their Facebook page! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Think we're burned up? Heck, no!

This was taken on Saturday, August 20 on Hwy 17 heading to Fort Davis from Marfa....the burned areas are greening up nicely and the entire landscape is covered with regrowth!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blooming Yesterday at Fort Davis' Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

Bees and other pollinators were all over the Chihuahuan Rainsage
The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center outside Fort Davis was an active place Saturday morning.  The public was invited to a hummingbird banding demonstration (click here to see our photos of an earlier demonstration!) and in the Botanical Garden, bees and other pollinators were extremely active on the many flowering plants, including the Chihuahuan Rainsage (pictured here).  Here's a brief video!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Good Morning from Crow Town

The past couple of days, we've been down in the southern part of the Texas Mountain Trail region, driving through Marfa, then Shafter and Presidio to Big Bend Ranch State Park.  The land around scenic River Road, Hwy 170 is particularly beautiful in the morning.  Much of the land from Presidio to Lajitas is Big Bend Ranch State Park, which is wild and remote.  But from the road, the scenery is easily accessible, even if you venture off the paved road and onto trails just a few hundred feet. 

One of these special places is Crow Town, just west of the Balancing Rock-Hoodoo Trailhead.  There's a small sign on the north side of the Hwy 170, that marks the spot.  Head in, a few hundred feet and you come to remarkable hoodoos, and an old movie set used in the filming of Larry McMurtry's TV mini-series "The Streets of Laredo," starring James Garner, Sissy Spacek and Sam Shephard.

We were there Thursday morning, just as the sun was rising.  We think the rock formations looks like crow heads!  In the background, were the mountains in Mexico!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Another View of Van Horn's Red Rock Ranch!

This privately held ranch just north of Van Horn is open to hiking and vehicle tours by appointment.  Call Red Rock Ranch at 1-800-735-6911 for complete information!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Van Horn's Red Rock Ranch

Van Horn's privately held Red Rock Ranch offers guided tours by appointment.  Call for more information, 1-800-735-6911.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Riders on Hwy 90

We've been working on cycling itineraries that take visitors to some pretty interesting places in the region.  This view of Hwy 90 is part of our Texas Mountain Ride! from Adventure Cycling's Bike Overnights blog, which starts in Marathon, and goes to Alpine, Fort Davis and Marfa.

What attracts cyclists (from beginners to racers) to our region?  Great scenery, little to no traffic, and lovely places to stop and enjoy!
We also have the El Capitan to El Capitan Heritage Bike Ride (Van Horn to Guadalupe Mtns National Park), Ride to the Post (Marathon to Post Park), and Fort Davis' Scenic Loop

Take a look at our website's cycling page for a list of cycle-friendly hotels, B&B's, historic motor courts and modern motels!  Check it out at

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rain and Regrowth

Taken outside Fort Davis showing land that was burned in April, now enjoying a rainstorm and green regrowth!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Out after a rain

We found this box turtle yesterday morning, on a burned section of ranchland undergoing regrowth just north of Marfa.  Box turtles are burrowers and tend to come out in the morning and after rain.  Males usually have a red iris, and this fellow does. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

RAIN! Fort Davis' Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center Yesterday!

Yesterday, many of our communities got rain, LOTS of rain!  We were at Fort Davis' Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center for the afternoon storm, and it was impressive--almost obliterating our view of Mitre Peak.  Can you see it in the distance?  Earlier in the day, we participated in a post-burn bee study, and hiked one of their trails (great hiking there!), and watched the dozens of hummingbirds sipping from feeders outside the visitor center.

When the wildfire came through this community in April, we knew the greening would begin as soon as the rains started.  Much of the area is swathed in short (very) green carpet of growth.  This rain will add to that!

All of Fort Davis--and the entire region--is open for business and ready for your visit!  Come on out!

Trip planning info and tips available at:
Or at our Facebook page.  We're also on Twitter, here.   

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hiking Mount Livermore

We recently hiked Mount Livermore at The Nature Convervancy's Davis Mountains Preserve north of Fort Davis.  The Preserve limits public access to Open Days and Open Weekends, and we always put those days on our Texas Mountain Trail website calendar.  The  next event is a good Open Day and Christmas Tree Hunt on December 3...and yes, you can cut your own Christmas tree to take home for the holidays!

For regional hiking information, check

Friday, August 12, 2011

Scene from Daily Life: Windmill Repair

Out on ranch land, the scenes of daily life differ dramatically from what you see on in the city or in suburbs.  One of these scenes is windmill repair, this shot sent to us by Wilma Schindeler of Marathon.  Thanks, Wilma!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lajitas Stables

Overlooking the Rio Grande by Bill Broyles

You've dreamed about doing this, right?  A ride on a horse, through incredible high desert scenery is just part of experiencing Far West Texas.  Don't have a horse of your own?  Take a look at the offerings of Lajitas Stables with 21 years of experience offering guided horse tours from 1-5 hours,  and 1-5 days. There are adventures in Big Bend Ranch State Park, and ride/river combination excursions

Take a look at their offerings, here.  Their facebook page is here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Overland Trail Museum in Fort Davis

Tucked in front of Sleeping Lion Mountain, a few blocks from downtown Fort Davis (on Fort Street) is the Overland Trail Museum.  
The Museum is housed in an 1883 house built on the old Overland Trail route, and tells the story of early life in Jeff Davis County.  Exhibits include artifacts on ranching life, Native American lore, early surveying, law enforcement, photography, medicine and early trades such as quilting, music, crochet and ladies apparel.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The LAST light of the day, Fort Davis National Historic Site

What a beautiful, beautiful sky!  The setting of Fort Davis National Historic Site is a special one at the end of the day.  Visit 8 am to 5 pm, to see this beautifully restored frontier fort from the late 1800s!

Click here for information on visiting this lovely place!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Your Sneak Peak: 1940 USO Hall in Marfa, now the city's Tourism Office and Visitors Center

Marfa's 1940 USO Hall, now a visitors center and tourism office for the city
(Photo: Tex Toler)
Marfa's new (and first) city tourism office and visitor center is in a very special place, a 1940 USO Hall.  Once the place for dances and celebrations for soldiers at Fort D.A. Russell, the town renovated the building in recent years, while maintaining the character of the original hall.  Walk inside and it doesn't take much imagination to picture the dance floor full of soldiers and their dates swinging to Big Bands!  There are plans for more photos and an interpretive exhibit to tell the history of the building.

The town's building a new tourism website at, and right now most of their activity is on the facebook page here.  Step into the visitor center just a block south of the intersection (the flashing light at the four way stop) of Hwys 90 and 67.  Stop in for brochures, friendly conversation and travel advice!

Or, if you're planning a special event in Marfa, consider booking the hall for a unique setting for your group!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Getting Ready for the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo in Alpine!

Scenes from previous Big Bend Ranch Rodeos in Alpine!

One of the best ways to watch real cowboys showing real cowboy skills is Alpine's Big Bend Ranch Rodeo, coming up August 12-13.

From their website: 

"The Big Bend Ranch Rodeo is a sanctioned rodeo by the Working Ranch Cowboy Association. The Working Ranch Cowboy Association is an organization committed to promoting and show casing the skills of those cowboys who still make their living with cattle. It also puts on the World Championship Ranch Rodeo in Amarillo every fall by taking the champion teams from each sanctioned rodeo. The WRCA promotes many good causes, manages its own scholarship program and provides financial support for cowboys and families going through hard times. We are proud to be affiliated with them.

A partner event to the BBRR, a chuckwagon cookoff, is conducted yearly where cooks and wagons compete against each other to see who can cook the most authentic camp food, over an open fire or with coals in cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens. We invite everyone to taste the fare on Saturday afternoon before the rodeo. Other events to complete the weekend include a Ranch Horse Association of America competition and a Ranch Horse Cutting competition."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Pinery Station, a Butterfield Stage Stop in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Here's a hike everyone can do...a short walk from the visitor center at Guadalupe Mountains National Park to the Pinery Station, a ruin of a stagecoach stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail line.  It was a stop for the stagecoach and its passengers for 11 months in 1858-9.

The Park's website describes the hike this way:
"Travel the short .75 mile path to the ruins of the old Pinery Station, once a favored stop on the original 2,800 mile Butterfield Overland Mail Route. Trailside exhibits describe Chihuahuan desert vegetation. The trail is paved, rated easy, and wheelchair accessible. Pets are allowed on leash."

The Pinery Station has a great all about it here.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Luc Novovitch Week concludes, another beauty from Big Bend National Park

Luc Novovitch Week concludes with this incredible image of Cierro Catellon, or Castellon Mountain, in the Big Bend National Park, Texas, situated in the north tip of the Chihuahuan Desert.

Novovitch, a former news photographer for Reuters, AFP and Gamma agencies has worked on four continents and taught photojournalism at Tennessee Tech University.  Now an independent photographer working on long-term projects, he also shoots travel and documentary photography distributed through several photo agencies and through his websites and

Hearty thanks go to Luc Novovitch for sharing his work with us all week!  We also extend our thanks to Texas Mountain Trail board member, Wilma Schindeler for introducing us to Luc's work!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Turkey Vulture in the Chisos by Luc Novovitch

A turkey vulture (Cathartes Aura) circles above the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park

This image is shared with us by Luc Novovitch. 

Novovitch, a former news photographer for Reuters, AFP and Gamma agencies has worked on four continents and taught photojournalism at Tennessee Tech University.  Now an independent photographer working on long-term projects, he also shoots travel and documentary photography distributed through several photo agencies and through his websites and

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Luc Novovitch Week continues on the Texas Mountain Trail Daily Photo!

We are pleased to share Luc's image of a blooming pitaya cactus with Nugent Mountain in the background in Big Bend National Park.

Novovitch, a former news photographer for Reuters, AFP and Gamma agencies has worked on four continents and taught photojournalism at Tennessee Tech University.  Now an independent photographer working on long-term projects, he also shoots travel and documentary photography distributed through several photo agencies and through his websites and

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Big Bend National Park by guest photographer, Luc Novovitch

A prickly pear cactus with the Chisos Mountains in the background, in Big Bend National Park.

Another image for this Luc Novovitch Week on the Texas Mountain Trail Daily Photo!

Novovitch, a former news photographer for Reuters, AFP and Gamma agencies has worked on four continents and taught photojournalism at Tennessee Tech University.  Now an independent photographer working on long-term projects, he also shoots travel and documentary photography distributed through several photo agencies and through his websites and

Monday, August 01, 2011

Our featured photographer all week--Luc Novovitch!

We are honored to feature the work of Luc Novovitch this week on the Daily Photo! 

Novovitch, a former news photographer for Reuters, AFP and Gamma agencies has worked on four continents and taught photojournalism at Tennessee Tech University.  Now an independent photographer working on long-term projects, he also shoots travel and documentary photography distributed through several photo agencies and through his websites and

This beautiful image features the sunset over the Rio Grande near the village in Big Bend National Park.