Wide Area Information
Jeff Davis County Info
Fort Davis Volunteer Fire Dept
is located within easy access to Interstate Highways 10 and
20. El Paso is about 220 miles west, and Midland is 175
miles northeast. The international border at Presidio -
Ojinaga is 80 miles south of Fort Davis.
TxDOT toll-free:800 452-9292 for current road
conditions, or view
them online here:
You can also go to their trip planning map:
and see weather along your route.
Fort Davis Street Map
The nearest commercial airport is
Midland-Odessa American Eagle, Continental
Express, and Southwest are the scheduled carriers.
El Paso International Airport is about 205
miles from Fort Davis. Most major airlines offer service to
and from El Paso.
private aircraft there is the well-equipped Alpine Municipal
Airport (432) 837-5929. It is on Texas highway 118 about 25
miles south of Fort Davis. The Marfa Municipal Airport is
located on Texas highway 17, about 18 miles south of Fort
Davis: (432) 729-3102.
Car Rentals Texas-
Discount coupons on rental cars for Texas and across the
Amtrak service is available from and to Alpine
There is no bus service to Fort Davis.
There is service from/to the Midland-Odessa Airport to
Alpine and Marfa provided by All Aboard America Bus Lines
(432) 561-8529 toll free 1-800-628-1335. see website for
schedules and rates
Service is provided by Greyhound Bus Lines to Alpine (432)
837-5302 (Bus Depot is on West Highway 90) or Marfa (432)
729-3355 (Bus Depot is on Highway 90 East) or see their web
www.greyhound.com for schedules, rates and
Information about the area, people, weather and suggested
visitors say our vistas look like New Mexico or Chihuahua, Old
Mexico; others claim the striking rock formations and miles-long
vistas here remind them of Australia. Fact is Fort Davis is pure
Texas, as genuine as the working cattle ranches on the outskirts
of town, as unpretentious as the adobe homes and ocotillo fences
of its neighborhoods. Fort Davis is as real pioneer as the
original El Paso-San Antonio stretch of the Butterfield
Company’s Overland Stagecoach Line road, or Overland Trail,
running right through our town. Matter of fact, the only
existing unpaved portion of the original trail still in use
today is one of the town streets, traveled daily by our
special place to visit. Fort Davis, Jeff Davis County and the
Davis Mountains are reminiscent of an earlier old west Texas—a
Texas before 90-minute commutes, traffic jams, chain stores and
graffiti-scrawled walls. A Texas of spinning windmills, buzzards
sunning on weathered fence posts, oaks clinging to rugged, lava
mountainsides, pronghorn antelope grazing with great herds of
fine, Texas cattle, families riding together on horseback, and
magenta sunsets that will stop you in your tracks. Hummingbird
feeders nearly outnumber the people in Fort Davis. And traffic
is tied up only when a family of javelinas (collared peccaries)
moseys across the highway.
friendly place, Fort Davis. You'll hear "hello" and "y’all come
see us,” hola" and "hasta luego." Occupants of oncoming vehicles
will surprise you with a friendly wave that includes all four
fingers. Men tip their hats to the ladies, and children say
"Yes, ma’am" to their moms. There are no theme parks, car pool
lanes, stoplights, theaters or dress-up places to dine; but we
do have a baseball diamond, playgrounds, rodeo arenas, football
field, and a new library.
amusement, we hike along Limpia Creek in the state park, take a
horseback ride up a creek-side mesa, rock climb, play tennis at
the high school, visit one of the art galleries or photograph
the herds of deer and pronghorn antelope.
night skies are devoid of smog and light pollution. "The stars
at night, [really] are big and bright" . . . we can still see
the Milky Way with the naked eye, and satellites are easily
tracked as they traverse the night sky. Folks still put corn out
for the deer that come into town, suffer the javelinas eating
their pecans and cacti, watch for wild mountain goats atop
Sleeping Lion Mountain or just sit and enjoy the weather and our
sunny days. (We do a lot of that.)
lively military history is preserved at our National Historic
Site. Buffalo Soldiers in the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry and 24th
and 25th U.S. Infantry manned one of the country’s
best-preserved and restored nineteenth century army posts from
1867 to 1885. The soldiers were garrisoned here while engaged in
struggles with the Mescalero Apache and Comanche Indians. The
Neville Spring Cavalry Outpost in Big Bend National Park was an
outpost of Fort Davis from 1885 to 1891. Our town took the name
of the fort, grew in support of it, and now hosts the many
visitors that tour it.
This part of
the Southwest is where the domain of American pioneers,
ranchers, cowboys, Mexicans, Buffalo Soldiers, the Mescalero
Apache and the Comanche overlapped.
internationally known attraction is McDonald Observatory,
seventeen miles’ drive up a pretty canyon north of Fort Davis.
Three nights a week, you can join experts who aim telescopes at
the season's celestial events. It's a big hit with families. Of
course, you don’t need a telescope to see the stars come out to
play; all you have to do is look up and get one of the best
views of the stars in this country.
In our town,
the constable still parks in front of the elementary school to
ensure our children get safely across the highway, and the
postmaster and bank tellers know almost everyone by their first
the sheriff lets us carry off a Fourth of July "Bank Robbery,"
enacted by cowboys on horseback. The cowboys always get
apprehended, naturally, and our "crime rate" returns to the
lowest in the country.
folks riding horseback on our streets, unperturbed by low
traffic, and you'll hear spurs jingle in our restaurants and
we drive, walk, ride or bike, we are struck by the great,
peaceful expanses of Texas ranch land, prairie, canyons and
mountains all around our home. Two miles out of town, you feel
like a time warp has sent you back to the days of yesteryear . .
. wide open, unpopulated spaces, cattle, deer and antelope; and
just like the old days, "the skies are not cloudy all day”!
As a bonus,
in the summer, it's often cooler in the Davis Mountains than
anywhere else in Texas. We have four seasons (milder than the
rest of Texas), seasons almost devoid of severe weather of any
kind. It’s not likely you’ll see us on the Weather Channel.
During times when the rest of Texas is broiling, flooding or
experiencing other natural weather phenomena, this little town
and the surrounding countryside are cool, dry and peaceful. Like
Santa Fe and Colorado Springs, we're on the Front Range of the
visit and wind down a little, refresh yourself and relax in Fort
Davis—West Texas at its finest!
elevation of 5050 feet above sea level, Fort Davis is the
highest town in Texas. Folks 'round here say "Enjoy Denver's
altitude without the snow." Part of the high desert region known
as the Chihuahuan Desert, the mountain setting of our little
town is surrounded with a unique mixture of alpine and desert
flora and fauna.
has an unusually moderate climate with a summer average high
temperature in the mid 80ºs (f) and winter average low/high of
30º/50º (f). The low average summer temperatures and low
humidity make Fort Davis a refreshing summer oasis of cool
breezes. Clear skies and pure mountain air are a most pleasant
surprise for any visitor expecting the stifling heat of the rest
of Texas and the Big Bend region.
unusual in winter, but the occasional inch or so in January is
not unheard of for the Fort Davis area. Summer monsoons arrive
in July and continue until September. We are not talking about a
lot of rain, as the average annual rainfall is less than 17
inches. The monsoons bring moderate showers accompanied by
thunderstorms in the late afternoon that cool down the day.
Unincorporated, Fort Davis, population 1250±, serves as the
county seat of Jeff Davis County, population 2207±, and hosts
the county courthouse, judge, sheriff and county clerk's
offices. Valentine, population 187±, is the only other town in
We still have blacksmith and livery shops, hairdressers,
wagon and wheel smiths, nurseries, cowboys and chuck wagon cooks
mixed in with a (couple of) lawyers, real estate agents, a title
& abstract company, tax preparers, notary publics, CPA’s,
writers, artists, photographers, poets . . . and web page
publishers. Industry/farming/ranching in the area include a huge
tomato greenhouse operation, pecan and apple orchards and of
course good old Texas ranching. A post office, a bank with ATM,
water, electric, gas and TV cable companies all serve the
has a volunteer fire department, rescue (EMS) and ambulance
service, a resident doctor, visiting nurses and a weekly
newspaper, the Jeff Davis County Mountain Dispatch. Twenty
miles down the road is Big Bend Regional Medical Center, a
modern, full-service hospital facility in Alpine, Texas.
companies utilize locations all around this area. Some of the
films shot here and in the Big Bend include "Giant," "The
Gambler," "Lonesome Dove," "The Good Old Boys," "Streets of
Laredo," "Dead Man's Walk,” “There Will Be Blood,” “No Country
for Old Men,” and "Dancer, Texas Population 81”—the latter
filmed almost entirely in Fort Davis with many locals used as
extras. (click here
highest golf courses are located in Alpine and Marfa, 24 miles
equidistant to Fort Davis. Law enforcement includes Town
Constable, County Sheriff, and Texas Department of Public Safety
Troopers. An elected County Judge, Justice of the Peace and
County Commissioners administer to the wellbeing of the county.
Our schools—elementary, pre-K through grade 6, and secondary,
grades 7 through 12—are uncrowded. The teacher-to-student ratio
is approximately 1/22 at both schools.
several books that offer helpful or interesting information
about Fort Davis and Texas' Big Bend area:
America: Fort Davis" by Lawrence J. Francell. Arcadia
Publishing 2011. Larry Francell is a long term resident of Fort
Davis. He tells the story of Fort Davis through hundreds of his
own photographs and those he has collected by various sources
over the years. Larry himself is a current county commissioner,
historian and retired museum director with an extensive amount
of knowledge on the region and the kindness to preserve and
Bend to Carlsbad" by James Glendinning. Texas A&M University
Press. Glendinning a transplanted Scotsman provides a
perceptive and thorough guide to southwest Texas and southeast
New Mexico. This book is packed with useful information.
and the Big Bend" by Eric O'Keefe. Texas Monthly Guidebooks,
Gulf Publishing. Freelance writer O'Keefe, a West Texas native,
provides a well-organized, thorough review of restaurants,
accommodations and tourist attractions, including information
about Mexican border towns. The book covers all of West Texas,
from the Big Bend to Amarillo.
"Big Bend: A
Homesteader's Story" by J. O. Langford. University of Texas
Press. This highly readable account of pioneer life in the Big
Bend was written by the man who developed the Hot Springs that
are now a part of the national park.
Mysterious Lands" by Ann Haymond Zwinger. University of Arizona
Press. Zwinger writes lovingly about the plants and animals in
the deserts of North America, with several chapters focusing on
the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas and southern New Mexico.