|Fort Davis National Historic Site’s Officers Row in southwest Texas. (NPS.gov)|
One of the biggest surprises to this snowbird was the Davis Mountains in Southwest Texas. Jimmy and I stumbled onto the area when we were heading north from Big Bend National Park toward El Paso. This unique and remote area offers all sorts of adventures. “Here you can hike, backpack, mountain bike or ride your own horse, take a scenic drive through the mountains, go camping, stargaze, geocache and study nature.”
Fort Davis National Historic Site is set in the rugged beauty of the Davis Mountains, the most extensive mountain range in Texas. Fort Davis is one of America’s best surviving examples of an Indian Wars’ frontier military post in the Southwest.
These mountains were named after Jefferson Davis, U.S. Secretary of War and later President of the Confederacy, who ordered the construction of the Fort Davis army post in the early 1850s. “Most Indian bands passed through the Davis Mountains. After the war with Mexico, a wave of gold seekers, settlers, and traders came through the area and needed the protection of a military post,” according to State Parks.com
“Fort Davis was active from 1854 until 1891, except for certain periods during the Civil War. In 1961, the historic fort ruins were declared a National Historic Site, and a vast restoration and preservation program was initiated by the National Park Service.”
Directions: Travel south of I-10 on Highway 17 to Fort Davis.
To reach the great public campground, go one mile north of Fort Davis on State Highway 17 to State Highway 118N, then west on State Highway 118N for 3 miles to Park Road 3 entrance.
|Campsite at Davis Mountain State Park Campground (Julianne G. Crane)|
Just because this is Texas, don’t hold the mistaken believe it can’t be cold and even snowy about this time of the year.
We had just come out of Big Bend National Park where we camped during the Thanksgiving holiday and couldn’t believe it when we encountered a snow storm. (The previous winter on our three-month trip of the Southwest, we were always outrunning one storm or another.)
The highest peaks of the Davis Mountains range between 6,000-7,000 feet. Fort Davis, itself, sits at about 4,800 feet. Winters are often below freezing with occasional snowfall. Summers
have hot days, usually low humidity, and cool nights. Temperatures drop
dramatically after sunset, so bring a jacket year-round. Average
rainfall is 18.9 inches. For current weather conditions go to: National Weather Service forecast for this area.
Within Davis Mountains State Park is an Indian Lodge, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the early 1930s. Indian Lodge has 39 rooms, a restaurant, and a swimming pool (for Indian Lodge guests only), and a Texas State Park Store.
Be sure to purchase your Texas State Parks Pass for $70. Click here for details.