Chisos Mountains Lodge
Within driving distance of Mountains Lodge:
Castolon Visitors Center Antique Gas Pump
Take in the Castolon Visitors Center & the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to get a sense of the unforgiving landscape and area history in the Castolon Historic District. The Visitor Center (aka La Harmonia Store) was built to serve as cavalry barracks in 1920. The site and its bookstore are filled with artifacts of the Castolon area from 1901 through 1961: historic photos, written narratives and hands-on items, tools and machinery. See adobe structures and wooden buildings in and around the compound. Additionally, explore the nearby Magdelena House Museum. Snacks, souvenirs and restrooms are available at the Center.
Grab a to-go lunch at Chisos Mountains Restaurant or snacks at the general store. Families are invited to picnic almost anywhere in the park—with tables available at Rio Grande Village, Dugout Wells, Santa Elena Canyon, the Castolon Historic District, the Cottonwood Campground, the Chisos Basin, and Persimmon Gap. Charcoal grills are provided at the Daniel's Ranch area at Rio Grande Village and the Persimmon Gap picnic area. Charcoal only is allowed in the provided grills.
Panther Junction Visitors Center
Currently under construction, the Panther Junction Visitor Center is a hub of activity for visitors and tourists, especially during spring break. Ranger led programs are offered on a weekly basis, but vary, so check at any visitor center for a current schedule when you arrive, or on line in advance of your visit.
The Panther Junction Visitor Center features exhibits that give an overview of the Big Bend area's complex geology and natural and cultural histories. Kids love the touchable map! The Panther Path, a self-guided nature trail, begins adjacent to the porch of the Visitor Center.
Private ranger-led group tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis at $35 per hour depending on staff availability. Advanced arrangements are a must; call Division of Interpretation and Visitor Services at 432-477-1108.
Panther Junction Visitor Center -open all year
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM daily
Fossil Bone Exhibit
The Fossil Bone Exhibit features replicas of various fossilized bones found at this area. The fossils date back 50 million years, and include not just dinosaurs but sponges, brachiopods, ancient reptiles and mammals. The exhibit is located off the Park's Persimmon Gap Drive.
TOWNS WITHIN DRIVING DISTANCE of Chisos Mountains Lodge:
Famous Texas Ghost Town
Brewster County, West Texas
80 miles S of Alpine
95 miles SW of Marathon
4 miles W of Study Butte
13 miles E of Lajitas
Annual Terlingua Chili Festival
Historic Terlingua is in the Texas' Big Bend region between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Once an abandoned mining village, the interesting ghost town is now the center of a unique desert community.
In 1922 40 percent of the quicksilver mined in the United States came from Terlingua. After the end of World War II all mining ceased and Terlingua became a virtual ghost town.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s tourism brought new life to the village. Terlingua became famous for its annual chili cook-off and in 1967 was deemed the "Chili Capitol of the World" by the Chili Appreciation Society. Each year on the first Saturday of November CASI holds the ultimate celebration of Chili with a four-day celebration. Book early if you plan to visit during this busy time.
Terlingua displays local flavor like no other with its small locally-owned restaurants, interesting retail shops, coffee shops and diners and the Starlight Theatre (self-proclaimed "the middle of nowhere.") with great steaks and occasional entertainment and live music. They have a great happy hour too.
FORT DAVIS, TEXAS
Film Location of Dancer,
Jeff Davis County seat, West Texas
Hwys 17 & 118
36 miles S of I-10
21 miles N of Marfa
26 miles N of Alpine
Fort Davis, with the Davis Mountains to the south, started life as a garrison town, serving the fort established there in 1854 to protect the frontier.
Historic Fort Davis site and interpretive museum&emdash;the structures are well preserved and serve as an interesting history lesson,
Davis Mountains State Park for sightseeing, hiking and park events.
Brewster County Seat, West Texas
Hwys 90, 67 and 118
26 miles E of Marfa
26 miles S of Ft. Davis
22 miles W of Marathon
80 miles N of Terlingua
Situated at the edge of the great Chihuahuan desert between Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains, quaint Alpine has a higher elevation thus tree lined streets. Alpine is also a college town, home to Sul Ross State University. High desert exploration, mountain ranges and Rio Grande canyons brings outdoor lovers to the area.
Museum of the Big Bend Permanent displays of the Big Bend's natural and cultural history. There is a special "children's" corner, a great gift shop and special events each month making this a good family, educational stop
Turner Range and Animal Science Center -hosts a number of rodeos and horse shows throughout the year
Performing Arts and Live Entertainment&emdash;Stage performances throughout the year are popular; there are two local theatre groups in Alpine. (Theatre of the Big Bend and the Big Bend Players.) In the summer, productions are outdoors in the cool mountain air. Live music can usually be heard every weekend at the Railroad Blues, featuring regional genres like honky-tonk, tejano, blues and rock.
Marfa Mystery Lights Video -at the Apache Trading Post view a free 8-minute documentary about the Marfa Mystery Lights. You might be inspired to try to see the lights for yourselves.
Rock Hunting Alpine and the surrounding area have an amazing geological history; 10 miles south of Alpine is Woodward Ranch where rock hounds search for famous Red Plume Agate.
Alpine's Murals–Alpine has some noteworthy murals worth stopping for: near the Reata Restaurant, there's a colorful mural, depicting scenes from the movie "Giant" which was filmed in the area. Two blocks south is another mural by Stylle Read along the side of Kiowa Gallery featuring West Texas images. And, around the corner, Alpine's Rangra Theater is decorated with images of John Wayne, Darth Vader and many other famous movie characters.
County Courthouse Hall of History Visitors can walk through the great hall in the Brewster County Courthouse and step back through the years. Photographs of much earlier times in Alpine and the surrounding area are on display, offering a glimpse of yesteryear.
Visit the beautiful campus of Sul Ross State University. With years of history, and its uniquely beautiful setting, the campus of Sul Ross is a delightful place to wander around. Many of the buildings are now classified as historic. Enjoy the renovated Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine including its galleries and evening entertainment. The Museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets materials that relate to the prehistory and history of the Big Bend of Texas and northern Mexico, with an awareness of the region's cultural diversity. The building is over 70 years old.
See cowboys competing at rodeo events, watch professional baseball in an historic ballpark and see summer theater productions under a roof of stars.
Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Gallery Night and Intercollegiate rodeo are just three of the most popular annual events. Summer temperatures of Alpine, at 4,600 feet, are moderate.
Marathon has a quaint South Western style and is Brewster County's "Second City." Quaint, quiet town features galleries, quirky shopping, and eateries including fine and casual dining. As the primary access point for Big Bend National Park, visitors might want to stop here to stock up on supplies.
Intersection of Hwys 90 and 385
31 miles E of Alpine
Population: about 800
Elevation: 4000 feet above sea level.
Average Annual Temp: 79 degrees with 350 days of sunshine
From 1911 through 1916 Marathon was used as a staging area for the US Military in their efforts to quell border tensions with Mexico. Generals Douglas MacArthur and George S. Patton were both once deployed here. In 1916 General John Pershing pursued Francisco "Poncho Villa" into Mexico from the town of Marathon.
As visitors can readily see, Marathon grew up as a railroad town. People and materials were shipped in&emdash;while cattle, ore and rubber shipped out.
Marathon's historic Gage Hotel (built in 1927) is on the National Historic Register and is the most visible landmark in town. The Gage was designed by architects Trost and Trost, who also built El Paisano in Marfa and El Capitan in Van Horn. The restaurant at the Gage is famous and the grounds are cozy and unique—definitely worthy of a stop.
The Marathon Historical Museum
Housed in an adobe building constructed about 1886 and served as the first schoolhouse in the area (that later became Brewster County). Exhibits cover Marathon's history through its settlers (Native American, Mexican and Anglo). Exhibits/artifacts showcase railroads, ranching, mining, business, mercantile, industry, banking, the schools, the military, and geology. To visit, obtain a key to the museum from the Chamber of Commerce office at Front Street Books on Marathon's main street, Highway 90.
Big Bend National Park, Basin Rural Station
Big Bend National Park , TX 79834
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