Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hummingbird banding at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

From our friends at Fort Davis' Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center:

"These little girls were very interested in a hummingbird banding being conducted by our local expert bander, Kelly Bryan.  The banding at CDRI was a part of last weekend’s Annual Hummingbird Festival held in Fort Davis (Hummingbird Capital of Texas).   During the banding, Kelly mentioned that a hummingbird he banded here in West Texas was recorded at a banding station just south of Anchorage, Alaska in July of ’13 and then again (at the same location in Alaska) in June of ’14.  That’s a long way for such a little bird to fly..."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pronghorn on Hwy 17

We've been having so much rain this monsoon season, so the skies are clear and the grasslands and mountains are greening up.  Also enjoying this August, the pronghorn on Hwy 17 between Fort Davis and Marfa.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Yesterday in the cactus greenhouse

Yesterday, CDRI's cactus greenhouse was abloom with Escobaria hesteri!  Don't miss the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens (CDRI) and don't forget to walk to the back of the property to visit the cactus greenhouse!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Texas Mountain Trail is all over the state!

Part of our mission is to help visitors find their own adventure in the Texas Mountains, and we're frequently at expos at large events (like this weekend's Hotter N Hell cycling event in Wichita Falls) and travel shows providing brochures and travel advice to all who are interested!
If we're not at your event, visit our website for travel information:
or our Facebook page,!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fort Davis National Historic Site

One of our favorite places in the region, Fort Davis National Historic Site.  Perhaps the best preserved frontier fort in the west, as a visitor it takes no imagination at all to put yourself back into time.  Consider a trip to the Fort on August 30, when they'll be celebrating a special day.

August 30, 2014
We will celebrate our new museum and "Old Fort Day" with Camels, Cavalry & Cannons!

10:30 AM - Flag raising and morning gun firing
11:00 AM - Grand opening ceremony and Alpine band concert
4:45 PM - Flag lowering and evening gun firing
11:30 AM - 4:30 PM - Special living history activities, over 50 volunteers reenacting life of the 1800s!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

El Paso's Union Station

El Paso is still served by Amtrak, on the Texas Eagle and  Sunset Limited line and passengers heading our way can stop there, or in AlpineEl Paso's Union Station, located just west of downtown is convenient for all travelers.

The Wikipedia article for the station says this:  "The El Paso Union Depot, also known as El Paso Union Passenger Depot, was designed by architect Daniel Burnham, who also designed Washington D.C. Union Station. It was built between 1905 and 1906 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971."

It is still a lovely place to catch a train! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

1934 Icebox Cookies from Van Horn

Click on the images for a closer view!
Van Horn, the Crossroads community for our own Texas Mountain Trail, has its history determined by its location.  Through time, it has always been a place travelers passed through...whether by foot, horseback, wagon, train, bicycle or automobile.  It was also an important stop on the historic highways--the Bankhead Highway and the Old Spanish Trail! 

We found this recipe from 1934 in a Van Horn Hospital Auxiliary cookbook, and wanted to share it with you! 

Click here to view a lovely three page .pdf about Van Horn's legacy in welcoming travelers, plus, the entire recipe! 

Eggs, butter, brown sugar!
Mixing in dry ingredients!

Add pecans, form into loaf and rest in the icebox!
Slice, then bake!
Hot and ready to eat!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Colorado Canyon River Access

Colorado Canyon pull-off along Hwy 170, the scenic River Road, between Presidio and Lajitas is a favorite river access site, but is also a great place to pull off the road and enjoy the surroundings.

This section of the road runs through Big Bend Ranch State Park, which says this about Colorado Canyon:

"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 F.M. 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 composed entirely of igneous rock. Raft trips may be arranged through local outfitters in Terlingua and Study Butte."

Information on river trips offered by area outfitters, here!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Great Horned Owl

From our friends at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center in Fort Davis:

Normally expected to be active at night, this great horned owl (Bubo virginianus) was out during daylight hours hiding in plain sight. One of CDRI’s wildlife cameras—provided by a grant from the El Paso Zoo—caught the bird foraging in the camouflaging leaf litter. Its mottled plumage allows this species to blend into a wide variety of habitat types.

It is the most common and widely dispersed owl in North America, as well as one of the largest. CDRI has a resident pair nesting in the cliffs bordering our rhyolite quarry. The great horned owl is one of a multitude of species that can be observed at the nature center.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fort Davis Hummingbird Festival...registration closes August 15!

Photos from banding demonstrations by Kelly Bryan

Thursday, August 21st:
1:00pm - 6:00pm       Registration: Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce
3:00pm - 5:00pm       Banding Demonstration w/Kelly Bryan - CDRI
6:00pm - 8:00pm       Opening Reception: Hotel Limpia Ballroom
                                      Meet and Greet with the speakers

Friday, August 22nd:

6:00am                     Mountain Trails Lodge Field Trip - Christmas Mountains Oasis
8:00am-9:00am         Late Registration: Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce
8:00am-11:00am       Banding Demonstration w/Kelly Bryan - Nature Conservancy
8:00am-12:00noon    Local viewing locations open
3:00pm-5:00pm         Banding Demonstration w/Kelly Bryan - Mountain Trails Lodge
3:00pm                     Lecture - TBA
Lecture - Chris Pipes "Sky Island Ecology in the Trans-Pecos of  

6:30pm                     Lecture - Mark Lockwood "Amazing Tropical Hummingbirds"
4:00pm - 8:00pm       Local viewing locations open

Saturday, August 23rd:

8:00am-11:00am        Banding Demonstration w/Kelly Bryan - Nature Conservancy
8:00am-12:00noon     Local viewing locations open
3:00pm                      Hummingbird Feeder Workshop
4:00pm                      Lecture - Kelly Bryan "Lucifer Hummingbirds"
6:00pm                      Festival Dinner with Keynote speaker Fred Bassett
                                  (additional fee applies for the dinner)

Registration Cost: $75.00 per person
        Includes: Ticket to Opening Reception
                           Booklet "Hummingbirds of West Texas" by Kelly Bryan
                           Map of local viewing areas
                           Hummingbird "Goodie Bag"
                           Admission to :
                                                     CDRI Botanical Gardens
                                                     Davis Mountains State Park

Festival Dinner with Keynote Speaker: $35.00 per person
         Includes: Downhome Texas Pit BBQ Dinner with all the trimmings
                             Fill out and mail your registration form today!
                                 Early Registration ends August 15th.
                                             FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Friday, August 08, 2014

Beating the heat on the porches of Fort Davis

On hot summer days, porches beckon.  What better place to rest, and take in the soft desert mountain breezes?  Enjoy the shade, and some history at Fort Davis National Historic Site.
As you sit, you'll hear the bugle calls which signal the time of day and the work taking place at the Fort.  Visit our "Day at the Fort" pages to hear them! 

Thursday, August 07, 2014


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!

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Remnants of Early Life in Big Bend National Park

Before Big Bend was a national park, it was home to many hardy souls who worked to carve out a life in this isolated and beautiful part of Texas.  If you keep your eyes open, you'll see remants of buildings, homes, businesses, and graves belonging to those pioneers.  Want to read more? 

Links to more information on the park's website:

Original Settlers of Big Bend
Hot Springs Historic District

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

El Paso's Scenic Drive

Routinely voted one of the best places to take visitors to show them El Paso, Scenic Drive!

The historical marker at Scenic Drive in El Paso says, "As early as 1881, El Paso leaders promoted the idea of creating a place at the base of the Franklin Mountains to provide visitors a panoramic view of the area. The automobile brought attention to the idea and in 1920 the City Council and Mayor Charles Davis approved construction of a scenic drive. Finished in October 1920, the route became a popular atraction.  The 1.82 mile drive reaches an elevation of 4,222 feet, 500 feet above the Rio Grande.  In 1932, the City contracted to widen and pave the road, and in 1934, Civilian Conservation Corps Company 855 (Fort Bliss) carried out additional culvert work.  Scenic Drive continues to attract visitors to the view of El Paso, Cuidad Juarez, and the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert

Monday, August 04, 2014

Van Horn's Clark Hotel Museum

Today, we're sharing photos from Dan Baeza of the Clark Hotel Museum in Van Horn.  The museum chronicles the history of Culberson County and of Van Horn, with a special eye towards the traveler.  The building has been home to a hotel since the early days of that community.  Upstairs there are even exhibits of travelers' rooms.
 Originally, the "front door" of the hotel was on the north side of the building, as the train station was just steps away.  When the highway came to town, the "front door" of the Clark Hotel was moved to the south side of the building, where it is today, at Broadway Street (the main street in town).  Read more about it here.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Hoodoo Hiking in Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park has a great right-off-the-road trailhead on Hwy 170, the River Road that features hoodoos!  Wikipedia says this about hoodoos:  "A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos consist of soft sedimentary rock topped by harder, less easily-eroded stone that protects each column from the elements."