Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Skyline of Van Horn: Hotel El Capitan

Photo by Dan Baeza,
There's a little hub of history around one corner in Van Horn, which happens to be the precise "Crossroads of the Texas Mountain Trail."  The corner is where each leg of the figure 8 driving route organized to highlight Far West Texas prior to the World's Fair in 1968 in San Antonio meets.  Read more about the origins of the Texas Mountain Trail here.

The corner (Hwy 90, 54 and Broadway Street) has the historic Hotel El Capitan, one of our Texas Mountain Trail cycle-friendly properties; the Clark Hotel Museum; and winner of our first Hospitality Heroes Awards, the Crossroads Coffee Shop.  If you want to get off the freeway, take the SECOND exit at Van Horn on I-10 and head north just two short blocks, and you'll be there!

Thanks to Dan Baeza, for sharing his photos of Van Horn with us all week!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ladies of Early Culberson County

Click on the images to get a closer view!
More scenes of the collection of Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum.  Thanks to our intern, Dan Baeza, for his hard work this summer documenting the museum's objects which tell the story of early life in Culberson County.  Dan built a website for the museum, as part of his internship.  You can see more of Dan's images at his own site,  Thanks, Dan!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pure West. Pure Americana.

click on the image to get a closer view!
Many small museums have an arrowhead collection, and some are creatively arranged like this one from the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn.  All week, we're sharing the images of the museum's collection, taken by our intern, Dan Baeza.  Dan, a native of Van Horn, worked three weeks this summer for the museum and our Texas Mountain Trail.

You can see more of Dan's images at his website,

And here's the website he built for the Museum,

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Early life in Van Horn

click on the image to get a closer view!
All week we're sharing images of the collection of Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum, including this old photo captured for us by Dan Baeza, our photography intern earlier this summer.  We love seeing the old cars and the neat homes, and Six Mile Mountain in the background.  (Called Six Mile, because it is three miles there and three miles back!)

Dan is a talented photographer in his own right, with his photos showing at and on the website he built for the museum,  Thanks for your hard work, Dan, for both the Museum and the Texas Mountain Trail!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

City Models at the Clark Hotel Museum

There are some charming models of Van Horn in earlier days in the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum, made Heradio Luna.  Mr. Luna captured the streetscapes of the town from memory, and they're on display for all to see.  He's included buildings still standing, such as the historic Hotel El Capitan, and buildings long gone, too.

Thanks to Dan Baeza for sharing his photos of the Clark Hotel Museum this week.  You can see more of Dan's work at the Museum's website, or his own website,  Thanks, Dan!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum by Dan Baeza

This week we're featuring the work of Van Horn native Dan Baeza, documenting the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum.  Dan worked as an intern for the museum for three weeks this summer, as well as for our own Texas Mountain Trail.  Stay tuned for his wonderful photographs of the collection, which tell the story of early life in our region. 

The Clark Hotel was one of Van Horn's longest operating hotels; now it houses the county museum.  Some of the exhibits are tied to the building's life as a hotel.  Before the highway came to town, the front door of the museum was on the north (adjacent to the town's railroad station), but after travelers came mostly by road, the front door of the building was to the south, on Broadway Street.

Stay tuned all week for images from early life in the region, as seen in the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum.  Thanks, Dan, for sharing your images with all of us!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tom Mix Hat at Clark Hotel Museum

Hat attributed to Tom Mix, at Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum
All week, we're featuring the work of Dan Baeza, a native of Van Horn and now a photography student at Texas A&M Commerce.  Dan spent three weeks with the Clark Hotel Museum and the Texas Mountain Trail, and this week, we're focusing on his museum photos.  The Clark Hotel was once one of Van Horn's longest operating hotels, located just across from the town's railroad station. 

Tom Mix was a legendary early film cowboy, and this hat is attributed to him.  It is on display at the museum.

Take a look at the website Dan Baeza built for the museum,, its first ever! Dan's own website is,

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Devil's Hall Trail, part of the Peak Fitness Challenge in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The Peak Fitness Challenge website says this about the Devil's Hall trail:

"This is one of the prettiest hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It's an out and back hike of 2.2 miles each way. After about a mile along the side of a mountain the trail drops into a white limestone stream bed. Keep going and the sides close in on you. Take time to explore the walls of the canyon. After a small scramble you'll come to the narrow notch of Devil's Hall. Spring flowers and fall colors are both exceptional here."

Would you like to hike this trail and be eligible to receive prizes?  Sign up for the Peak Fitness Challenge here, and get started! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our Texas Mountain Trail Board Members Start the Peak Fitness Challenge

Some of our Texas Mountain Trail Board Members at the Pinery Trailhead at Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Tex Toler (Marfa), Leesy McCorgary (El Paso CVB), Liz Jackson (Museum of the Big Bend), Rebecca Diaz (Hyatt Place El Paso), Drew Stuart (Hudspeth County Herald and Dell Valley Review)
We got our Texas Mountain Trail Board started on the Peak Fitness Challenge too!

Every non-profit organization is indebted to invested volunteers who lend their time and expertise to a common mission, and the Texas Mountain Trail is blessed with great board members who help us provide travelers (and residents too!) with information about visiting great places in Far West Texas.  We work to help visitors get the most out of their experience here, too, and provide support for communities and businesses wanting to improve their services to travelers. 

As part of that mission, we've developed a neat hiking challenge for everyone, the Peak Fitness Challenge, initially for Franklin Mountains State Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  Yesterday, during a break in our board meeting at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, we got them walking too!  We took the short Pinery Trail, which is part of the Challenge, to the site of a Butterfield Overland Mail stage stopYou can see the trail map and information about the trail, including a brief history, here.

Our organization is a proud participant in the Texas Historical Commission's Texas Heritage Trails Program, which provides preservation and economic development support to every county in the state.  Texas Mountain Trail is one of 10 non-profits doing all we can to encourage an understanding of our common heritage and support the economies of our communities.  Want to read more?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hummer Watching Season

Click on the images to get a closer view!

Now's a GREAT time to watch hummingbirds who vie for space at feeders...where are some good places to view them?  Try Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center, and Mountain Trails Lodge in Fort Davis, Dog Canyon Visitor Center in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  All are sites on the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail, a project of Texas Mountain Trail, TPWD, and Texas Pecos Trail!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Dawn to the East; The Dawn to the West

Taken just moments from each other...on top, a Marfa dawn to the east, and at the bottom, a Marfa dawn to the west!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Land at Red Rock Ranch

Red Rock Ranch just north of Van Horn offers escorted hiking and vehicle tours of some of the most spectacular land in Far West Texas.  They have a visitor center on Broadway, the main street in Van Horn, where most of their tours start.  If you're interested, you can contact them for information at: 432-283-7800, 305 E. Broadway in Van Horn.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fort Davis before a Storm

We've been blessed lately with some much-needed rains, and the skies can get pretty exciting (and beautiful) right before a storm.  Right now, the desert lands are greening up nicely and that makes traveling in the region a delight.  Pictured here are the officers quarters at Fort Davis National Historic Site, right before a downpour!

One of the best preserved frontier forts in the West, 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.  Now part of the National Parks Service, the Fort continues to restore its buildings and add exhibits, most recently a wonderful exhibit on medical care in the fort's hospital buildings!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The River is UP! Now's a great time for a river trip!

When we took our trip on the Rio Grande last summer, the water was down and so we had a nice slow relaxing float in a canoe.  It was GREAT (big thanks to Big Bend River Tours!), but many of you want a faster trip with wilder water.  We received word that water is being released into the river so starting July 15 or 16 and extending for 8 days or so, the water will be UP and faster than normal.  So now's a great time to book a trip, or if you're already in the area, extend your visit another day. 

Information on river trips and outfitters in the Terlingua area is located on the Visit Big Bend site.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Have you joined the Peak Fitness Challenge?

The view of the Chihuahuan Desert from the top of Texas at Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park,
Photo, courtesy: Dennis Vasquez
We've got a challenge for everyone, whether beginning hiker or experienced trail runner.  A joint project of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Franklin Mountains State Park, and the Texas Mountain Trail, the Challenge allows participants to take part in easy hikes in Far West Texas or plan their training to ultimately reach the highest peaks in both parks.

Many of our hiking trails have some interesting history attached to them.  You'll see them labeled "Texas Mountain Trail Heritage Hikes" on the website.

Hikers can log the trails on their own, or tackle them as part of a park-led excursion.  Read more at the Peak Fitness Challenge website, or here or here! 

Join the fun! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dawn Near the River Road

Taken at dawn in a stretch of Big Bend Ranch State Park along Hwy 170, the River Road next to the Rio Grande between Terlingua and Presidio!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Saddle/Paddle Adventure

Now's a great time to book adventures with outfitters in the Big Bend region, for a summer getaway or a fall excursion to our wild lands.  We've been reminiscing about a Saddle/Paddle trip we took with Lajitas Stables last summer.

Want to connect with your own adventure, whether a river trip or horseback riding, a jeep or ATV trip or mountain biking?  Visit Big Bend has a page of local outfitters and ideas for adventures in the Terlingua/Study Butte/Lajitas area.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Las Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center--a Texas Mountain Trail Cycle-Friendly Accommodation

Texas Mountain Trail has a list of cycle-friendly hotels, casitas, motels, cabins and historic motor courts that are happy to work with well as all other kinds of travelers to provide a great stay in our region.

The folks at Far Flung Outdoor Center of Terlingua (an outfitter offering river tours, jeep tours, and other adventures in the Big Bend region) have some lovely little casitas close to the entrance of Big Bend National Park. 

From Far Flung:

"We are cycle-friendly and happy to host riders who want to experience the vastness of Big Bend National Park and the surrounding area.  Our casitas are sized to accommodate secure bike parking either inside or on the casita porch.  Each casita has a kitchenette with coffee maker, refrigerator, microwave, sink and a complete supply of dishes, cups and silverware.  Las Casitas are located two miles from the west entrance to Big Bend National Park."

Las Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center, P.O. Box 377, Terlingua, Texas 79852, 800-839-7238,,

View from a casita porch, shows a common area with grills and picnic benches
 To learn more about cycling in the region, visit our Texas Mountain Trail cycling page:

Monday, July 09, 2012

Sunday night's sky

The region has been experiencing the last few weeks, and we're getting used to having cloud cover and glorious dawn and dusk skies.  Here's last night's sky in Marfa, courtesy of our friend, Monte Riggs.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Velvet Mites

Taken near Marfa yesterday morning after two days of rain, these soft-looking, BRIGHT red mites are easy to spot when they're out. Once you spot one, you'll see many!

"VELVET MITES (family Thrombidiidae) can be conspicuous, especially in the arid Southwest, where they often appear in numbers after rains." Kenn Kaufman in his Field Guide to Insects of North America.

Kenn, a birding expert, naturalist and author, will be in Marathon in a couple of weeks as part of the Gage Hotel's Birding and Butterfly Festival.  Read more about it on our entry for Monday...the link is here.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Beach Merchantile Company, Van Horn

click on the image for a closer view
Another great image of early life in Van Horn from the collection of the Clark Hotel Museum!