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Fort Davis

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Fort Davis is a town in the Big Bend Country region of Texas.

Get in[edit]

Fort Davis is located at the intersection of Texas highways 17 and 118, approximately 20 miles north of Marfa and approximately 24 miles north of Alpine. To get to Fort Davis from US 190 (to the south) follow either Texas 118 north from Alpine or Texas 17 north from Marfa. To get there from I-10 (to the north) take the Texas 17 South exit at Balmorhea, following it approximately 32 miles, through Toyahvale and on south to Fort Davis.

Get around[edit]

See[edit][add listing]

  • Fort Davis National Historic Site, on the north side of town, 432 426 3224. The fort was constructed in 1854 to protect the stagecoach service on the newly opened San Antonio-El Paso road from Apache and Comanche attacks.

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Get out[edit]

  • The McDonald Observatory is atop Mt. Locke, 16 miles west on Texas Highway 118. By day, visitors can tour the telescopes and the planetarium ($8 adult, $7 children), which are owned by the University of Texas. The real attraction, though, are the Star Parties ($10 adult, $8 children) after dusk on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. (Nov-Mar: 7:30PM, Apr-Aug: 9:30PM, Sep-Oct: 9PM) Two of the observatory's more powerful telescopes - as well as several smaller ones - are set up outside for visitors to catch a startlingly clear glimpse of star clusters, distant galaxies and even a member or two of this solar system. The altitude and the remote location ensures that light pollution is kept to a minimum, and enthusiastic guides are on hand to explain exactly what the scopes are showing. Bring a warm jacket regardless of the season, as the temperature drops rather steeply at night.
  • Davis Mountains State Park lies on the other side of Fort Davis Park, connected to it by four miles of trails. Entrance off Texas Highway 118 just west of town.
  • Marfa
  • Alpine
  • Big Bend National Park
  • The Davis Mountains Scenic Loop is an approximately 75 mile scenic drive around the rugged Davis Mountains to the west/northwest of Fort Davis. It includes views of Sawtooth Mountain and 8,382 foot tall Mount Livermore, the fourth-highest peak in Texas. Bring your camera! Aside from McDonald observatory and the occasional ranch, it's virtually free of obvious development other than the highway and electric power lines. Start at the intersection of Tx 17 (to Marfa) and 118 (to Alpine) in Fort Davis. Take Tx 17 south two miles to the intersection of Tx 166 and turn right (westward). Another 43 miles on 166 ends at the intersection of Tx 118, where a right turn will lead by McDonald Observatory and back into Fort Davis 32 miles farther down the road. Along the way will be the Historic Prude Ranch and Davis Mountains State Park (both near Fort Davis).
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