Balmorhea Rock Shop

Birding in Fort Davis

Fort Davis, the Davis Mountains, and the Trans-Pecos area of far west Texas are home to an amazing display of flora and fauna – and particularly, birds. Grab your cameras and binoculars and see what you can see!

Here’s a handy guide courtesy of Trans-Pecos Bird Conservation Inc. with information on local spots that you can visit on your next bird outing.

Birding Sites Brochure

 

 

Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch

The mission of the Buffalo Trail Council is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.

Established in 1947, the Buffalo Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America serves, on average, more than 3,000 youth annually across 18 West Texas counties.

Our camping programs are nationally recognized and located among the best scenery found in West Texas.  Pay a visit to Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch and you’re likely to be impressed by its rugged beauty. Mountains that spire toward a deep blue sky, fresh air scented by desert flowers, and quiet star-filled nights – it’s Boy Scout heaven!

Website: buffalotrailbsa.org
Phone: 432-570-7601
Email: gabriela.pilonieta@scouting.org
Address: 1101 W. Texas Ave, Midland, Texas, 79701

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens

Located 4 miles SE from Fort Davis on Hwy 118, the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens is comprised of 507 acres of semi-desert grasslands and igneous rock outcrops with a riparian canyon and spectacular views from all
directions. Visitors may explore the nearly 5 miles of hiking trails which range
from the more strenuous Modesta Canyon Trail that leads into a hidden canyon
with its year-round spring, to the moderate Clayton’s Overlook Trail which
provides a 360-degree hilltop view plus a Geology Exhibit, to a combination of
other adventurous trails.
Inside the fenced Botanical Gardens enjoy the stroll along the ½-mile Trans-Pecos
Natives Path, as well as take in the sights at the Pollinator Garden and Overlook,
the Scenic Vista Trail, the Native Grasses exhibit, and over 200 species and
subspecies of Chihuahuan Desert cacti at the Maxie Templeton Cactus Museum
Collection.
Discover grassland birds at the Bird Blind with its 30-ft. long water feature, learn
about the mining of the Big Bend Region at the Mining Heritage Exhibit, and enjoy the
Powell Visitor Center and Gift Shop.
Open Mon-Sat. 9-5; Sundays 12:30-5:00.
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years Day.
Adults: $6.50 each; Children 12 and under: Free
432-364-2499
www.cdri.org

Website: www.cdri.org
Phone: (432) 364-2499
Email: programs@cdri.org

Davis Mountains Scenic Loop

One of the best ways to take in the splendor of the Davis Mountains is by taking a leisurely cruise around the Scenic Loop.

The Scenic Loop is an approximately 75-mile trip around some the most idyllic scenery in far west Texas. Please allow about two hours to make the trip, and be sure to take supplies with you. The closest gas stations are in Fort Davis, so be sure and have a full tank before setting off. Pack a camera and a sack lunch and go see the country!

PHOTO: Looking toward Sawtooth and Bear Mountains along the Scenic Loop Road, Dawn Healey.

Davis Mountains State Park

Developed facilities south of State Highway 118 include restrooms with and without showers; campsites with water; campsites with water and electricity; campsites with water, electricity, sewer, and cable TV connection. The northern half of the park, north of State Highway 118, has been designated, the Limpia Canyon Primitive Area, a special use area (fee required). Currently, it includes 11 miles of back country hiking and equestrian trails with primitive campsites, a secured parking area, a host campsite.
For Reservations, call (512) 389-8900.

Visit our Facebook page.

Website: tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/davis-mountains
Phone: (432) 426-3337

Fort Davis Drug Store & Hotel

Monday through Thursday, 11:00 – 7:30pm

Friday and Saturday, 7:30am – 8pm

Sunday 7:30 – 3pm

The original Drug Store was first opened in 1913, inside Hotel Limpia, as a gathering spot for citizens to get their newspapers, visit the doctor, pick up medicine, and grab a fountain drink. In July 1942, Mr. and Mrs. C.R. Fryar purchased the Drug Store from Dr. and Mrs. Eaton, and in 1950 they relocated the business across the street to the building it resides in today. By the early 1980s, the Drug Store had seen a new set of owners and additions onto the building for a hotel space. No longer having a doctor in residency, the Drug Store changed into a full-service restaurant and hotel, keeping its 22-foot old-fashioned soda fountain. The Drugstore experience is giving locals and visitors that old-fashioned Texas experience – don’t miss it when visiting the beautiful Davis Mountains of far west Texas.

See the Menu! Home-style cooking features hand- mixed soda fountain drinks, Ice-Cream Treats, Hand-Cut and battered Chicken Strips, Onion Rings & More!

ORDER ONLINE NOW AND PICK UP WHEN ITS READY!

Website: www.fddrugstore.com
Phone: (432) 426-3929
Email: fortdavisdrugstore@att.net
Address: 111 State Street, Fort Davis TX, 79734

Fort Davis National Historic Site

Fort Davis was an active military post from 1854 to 1891. It is one of the best surviving examples of a frontier military post in the Southwest. An entrance fee is charged at the Visitors’ Center.

The Fort Davis National Historic Site has four miles of hiking trails, including the section of trail that links to the Davis Mountains State Park. A map is available at the visitor’s center. The trails mostly climb through the striking rock formations of Sleeping Lion Mountain, with splendid vistas as the trail climbs. Interpretive signs along some trails identify vegetation and other natural features.

Hours: 8am to 5pm

Closed on the following days:
Christmas Day – December 25
New Years Day – January 1
Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Observed – Third Monday in January
Thanksgiving Day – Last Thursday in November

Website: www.nps.gov/foda
Phone: (432) 426-3224
Physical Address: 101 Lt. Flipper Dr. , Fort Davis
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1379 , Fort Davis , TX 79734

Historic Walking/Driving Tour

Venture out among the community and view 23 historic sites. At just 1 ½ miles long this is a journey that starts and ends in the town square. The tour encompasses the longest section of the unpaved Overland-Butterfield mail route.

As you follow the walking tour, you travel parts of this historic Overland Trail as it winds from the southeast edge of town, along Fort Street, and into Fort Davis National Historic Site. Fort Davis boasts the longest unpaved section of the San Antonio-El Paso Road still in existence.

Click here for a printable version.
Click here for a map of the entire Scenic Loop.

Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park

The original portion of the Indian Lodge was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. This historic 39-unit park lodge has a swimming pool, a meeting room, and the Black Bear Restaurant. Located in the scenic Davis Mountains State Park. Call (432) 426-3254 for information and (512) 389-8982 for reservations.

Indian Lodge has four handicap accessible rooms.

*Pets are not allowed at Indian Lodge.

Visit our Facebook page.

Website: tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/indian-lodge
Phone: (432) 426-3254

Jeff Davis County Library

 

Located in Memorial Square, Fort Davis, TX

Monday – Friday 10:00am to 6:00pm
Saturday 10:00am to 2:00pm

Phone: 432-426-3802
Address: PO Box 1054, Fort Davis, TX 79734

Jeff Davis County Park

The park offers an excellent opportunity to picnic, walk, jog, fly a kite, and more. There is a children’s play area, ballpark, soccer field and restrooms. All pets must be kept on a leash & cleaned up after.
Open daily from dawn to dusk.

McDonald Observatory

The observatory’s three largest instruments are the 362″ Hobby-Eberly telescope on 6,600-foot Mount Fowlkes, the 107″ Harlan J. Smith and 82″ Otto Struve telescopes located on 6,800-foot Mt. Locke. The observatory is located just 17 miles from Fort Davis on Texas Highway 118 and under one of the darkest night skies of any major observatory in the continental United States.

Operated by the University of Texas at Austin, the observatory has several large research telescopes and hosts astronomers from around the world. Self-guided tours are possible from 10am to 5:30pm. Solar Viewing sessions are conducted twice daily at 11am and 2pm. (reservations are strongly encouraged) Daily tours follow Solar Viewing.

The observatory has evening Star Parties on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays which are led by knowledgeable staffers. (reservations are required) A star party showcases interesting stars, planets and other astronomical objects including live views through telescopes from 8 to 24 inches in size. The observatory is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Bring a jacket, since the mountain air cools quickly.

A gift shop featuring astronomy related merchandise and the StarDate Cafe are located in the visitor’s center. Accurate information for opening hours and tours can be found at mcdonaldobservatory.org/visitors

Click here for the Astronomy picture of the day!

Website: mcdonaldobservatory.org
Phone: (432) 426-3640
Toll Free: (877) 984-7827

Old Overland Trail Museum

The museum is located on the historic San Antonio-El Paso Road/Southern Overland Trail. It contains many unique and varied displays depicting early life in the West including the original Valentine Post Office and telephone switchboard, early medical paraphernalia, a restored pioneer settlers kitchen, an original curling machine, and numerous early photographs of pioneer settlers and buildings. The Museum is owned and operated by The Fort Davis Historical Society. Donations Accepted.

Hours: Tours available via reservations. Contact Pam at 713-304-9235 to schedule a guided tour.

Website: oldoverlandtrail.wixsite.com/website
Phone: (713) 304-9235
Email: oldoverlandtrail@gmail.com
Address: 511 N. Fort St. , (and 3rd St.), Fort Davis, TX 79734

Old Spanish Trail Gallery & Museum, LLC

Ranching history meets fine art in this hidden gallery, high on a hertiage ranch in the Davis Mountains. Historic wagons, West Texas hospitality and amazing art brand this destination gallery “unique”. Our diverse, tastefully curated collection features original art by regional and nationally recognized painters: Lindy Cook Severns, Wayne Baize, Tim Oliver, David Loren Bass, Dina Gregory, Roxa Robinson, Ginger Lemons and others, plus guest artists; youth artist Delaney Martin; pottery by locals Laura Baize and John Davis; Vickie Bunting blown glass and more. While our focus is on original art, we stock affordable reproductions and fine art cards. There’s something for every taste and every budget.

We’re open whenever you wish to visit. Contact us to set up a time for someone to greet you and show you around. Allow 20-25 minutes from Fort Davis. Bring a camera, and be prepared to relax and enjoy mountain serenity from one of our porches.

Located 16 miles SW of Fort Davis off Hwy 166 and 1 mile N on Crows Nest Road.

Visit our Facebook page.

Business Hours: open by appointment 7 days a week

Website: oldspanishtrailgallery.com
Phone: (432) 249-1968
Email: gallery@oldspanishtrailgallery.com
Address: 401 Crows Nest Rd, Fort Davis, TX 79734

Rattlers & Reptiles

View more than 100 live reptiles and amphibians on exhibit at the famous Rattlesnake Museum. You can also meet local desert mammals, venomous arachnids, and insects.

Rattlers & Reptiles is located at 1400 N. State Street across from Fort Davis National Historic Site and is open 7 days a week 10a to 6p, or by appointment.

Phone: (432) 249-2572
Address: 1400 N. State Street

The Nature Conservancy of Texas

About 10 miles north of the McDonald Observatory on Hwy 118 North (Davis Mountains Preserve). A non-profit wildlife conservation organization, using science-based research and a non-confrontational approach to protect the unique diversity of animals and plants native to our state. The Madera Canyon Trail adjacent to the Lawrence E. Wood Picnic Area is open from dawn to dusk year-round.

Visit our Facebook page.

Website: www.nature.org
Phone: (432) 426-2390

The Scenic Loop Drive

Fort Davis is the starting point for one of the most scenic and un-crowded drives in Texas and America. Seventy-five miles long, the drive leaves Fort Davis on Texas 118, proceeds up Limpia Canyon past Mts. Locke and Fowlkes and the McDonald Observatory and then into Madera Canyon and a quiet, pine shaded picnic area. After a left turn on Texas 166, the road passes Mt. Livermore and Sawtooth Mountain, then gradually descends, with broad views to the Sierra Viejo Mountains along the Rio Grande to the south. As you approach Fort Davis again on Texas 166, the Puertacita Mountains and Miter Peak are straight ahead.

Highest elevation on the Loop is about 6700 feet, making it the highest public highway in Texas. About 1.5 hours to drive.

Wild Rose Gallery LLC

Wild Rose Gallery is located just north of the post office. The gallery at this time features the photography of Robert Haspel.

Hours: typically 10-5 Daily.

Website: wildrosegallery.net
Phone: (713) 557-4147
Email: robert@roofusworld.com
Address: 301 E. Cavalry Road, Fort Davis, TX , 79734

IN SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES:

Balmorhea State Park

Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s the park offers 32 campsites, with water, water and electric or water, electric and cable. Restrooms and showers nearby. For reservations call (512) 389-8900 (Austin).

Visit our Facebook page.

Website: tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/balmorhea
Phone: (432) 375-2370

Chinati Foundation

The Chinati foundation/La Fundacion Chinati is a contemporary art Museum founded by the artist Donald Judd. The collection includes work by twelve artists and focuses on permanent, large-scale installations with an emphasis on the relationship between art, architecture, and the surrounding landscape. The museum is located in Marfa, Texas with exhibitions occupying the grounds and buildings of the former army base, Ft. D.A. Russell, as well as the former Wool and Mohair building, situated in the center of town. Most of the artwork is accessible by guided tour only. Several tour options varying in length and scope are offered Wednesday through Sunday and include all or part of the permanent collection and special exhibitions. Advance reservations are required to guarantee admission. Visit our web site for tour information and to purchase tickets. Donald Judd’s outdoor installation, 15 untitled works in concrete, is available for open viewing Wednesday through Sunday from 9am-5pm free of charge. Reservations are not required to visit this installation. First check in with office please. Artists in the permanent collection include Carl Andre, Ingolfur Arnarsson, John Chamberlain, Dan Flavin, Roni Horn, Donald Judd, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, David Rabinowitch, and John Wesley.

Visit our Facebook page.

Website: www.chinati.org
Phone: (432) 729-4362
Email: information@chinati.org
Address: 1 Calvary Road, Marfa, Texas 79843

Marfa Gliders Soaring Center

Take a scenic glider ride or schedule flying lessons with our FAA Flight Instructors. The enclosed glider cockpit has two seats – one for you and one for your pilot. Soaring is safe and fun for the entire family. Since 1967 the Big Bend has hosted several US National Soaring contests and the 1970 World Soaring Competition that established Texas as a premier area for exceptional flying conditions.

Marfa Gliders is located at the Marfa Airport on Highway 17, just 18 miles south of Fort Davis, and 3 miles north of Marfa.  We fly year-round by appointment.

Visit our Facebook page.

Website: www.flygliders.com
Phone: 800-667-9464
Address: Highway 17, Marfa

Marfa Lights

Museum of the Big Bend

Start your journey to Big Bend at the Museum of the Big Bend!
For more than 90 years the Museum of the Big Bend has been collecting and exhibiting artifacts of the vast Big Bend region. Encompassing the Davis Mountains and the borderlands of Mexico, the Big Bend has been inhabited for over 11,000 years. The Museum showcases this human history and culture reflected through the contributions of the Native Americans, the Spanish, the Mexicans and American settlers. The Museum hosts rotating exhibits including Trappings of Texas
featuring the best of contemporary Western art and custom cowboy gear every April.
The Museum is located in Alpine at the northeast corner of the Sul Ross State
University campus and can be reached from Entrance Four from Harrison Street.
Admission and Parking is Free! Donations are always welcomed. The Museum is
handicap accessible. Guided tours are available by appointment.
Hours: Closed on Mondays
Tuesday-Saturday: 9am-5pm
Sunday: 1pm-5pm
Visit our Facebook page.
Website:
www.museumofthebigbend.com
Phone: (432) 837-8143
Email: maggie.rumbelow@sulross.edu
Address: 400 N Harrison, Alpine, TX 79832

Website: www.museumofthebigbend.com
Phone: (432) 837-8143
Email: maggie.rumbelow@sulross.edu
Address: 400 N Harrison, Alpine, TX 79830