We save the real places that tell the real stories of Texas.
Breathtaking mountains and high-country hikes. Sheer river canyons and winding back roads. Exotic desert panoramas and star-studded nights. These sights and more delight visitors at every turn in the six Far West Texas counties of the Texas Mountain Trail Region. Stretched across two time zones, Central and Mountain, this far-flung region is a geological, historic, and aesthetic wonder.
A century before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Spanish explorer Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca traveled with the first European expedition here in the 1530s. He encountered agricultural communities and scattered nomadic tribes. Later Spanish expeditions introduced horses, cattle, sheep and wheeled vehicles to natives. 1598, colonizer Juan de Oñate crossed the Rio Grande near present-day El Paso, claiming for Spain all land drained by the river. In 1680 New Mexican Pueblo tribes revolted, sending Spanish settlers fleeing with Tigua and other Pueblo Indians to establish the El Paso settlements of Ysleta and Socorro, Texas’ oldest permanent communities. During the early-to mid-1880s, Apaches and Comanches raided settlements and wagon trains across the U.S. Southwest and northern Mexico. To thwart raids and facilitate westward travel, the U.S. Army established military outposts across the region. Far West Texas became a central destination for trade and travel. Mining operations tapped veins of silver, copper, mercury and other minerals found in the region’s rugged mountains. The arrival in the early 1880s of four railroads –– Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, Texas and Pacific, and Mexican Central –– sealed the areas future as a commercial and cultural crossroads.
Enjoy nature’s solitude in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park, one of America’s largest, most remote parks. Sample Hispanic border culture in El Paso, the largest metropolitan area on America’s southern border. Scale the 8,749-foot Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the highest point in Texas, or survey the universe at McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains, one of the best spots in the nation for stargazing. Let the spirit of adventure take you away to this outdoor playground, where the southern Rocky Mountains meet the Chihuahuan Desert and history reigns throughout.
Cover Photo by realworldracingphotog via Flickr