Situated high up in the mountains of Jeff Davis County, Davis Mountain State Park is a remote public recreational space that sits between 5,000 to 6,000 feet above sea level.
Located 40 minutes from Balmorhea – the closest “city” to it – the park is spread across 2,709 spectacular acres. Rich in history and outstanding natural beauty, it offers a wealth of opportunities for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Given that the skies have next to nothing in the way of air pollution, both birdwatching and stargazing are also very popular here. While the iconic Fort Davis is visited by many a history buff.
The perfect place to get away from it all, it might take you a while to get to this TX state park – Dallas and Austin are over 7 hour drives away after all.
But once you’ve spent a couple of days there, the chances are you won’t want to leave it.
Whilst at the park, visitors can partake in a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits.
Here are just a small selection of some of the many things you can see and do whilst you are there.
Hiking and Mountain Biking at Davis Mountains State Park
Like most state parks in Texas, Davis Mountains offers a number of hiking and mountain biking trails.
All up there are around 15 miles of trails to explore across 9 separate routes, with the shortest being 0.3 miles and the longest extending for 5.6 miles. Ranging in difficulty from easy to challenging, they all champion the park’s incredible scenic landscape.
Some of the most popular trails include the 4.5 mile Skyline Drive Trail which conveys magnificent vistas from the top of mountain ridges.
The 1.75-mile Civilian Conservation Corps Trail is another well trodden path, guiding you to the fascinating Fort Davis National Historic Site.
Horseback Riding at Davis Mountains State Park
As well as the hiking and mountain biking trails, there are horseback riding trails available too.
Before you can tackle these you will need to show proof that your horse has had a negative Coggins test within the past year 12 months. However, if they have, then you will be able to enjoy around 11 miles of trails.
Taking you over a rugged and rough terrain that includes descents into valleys and ascents to the top of Davis Mountains, you’ll get to stop off at several scenic lookout points that offer sensational panoramic views.
Star Gazing and Studying Nature at Davis Mountains State Park
With the park being located in a remote part of the state, it is blessed with virtually no light pollution at all.
Therefore the sky at night is crystal clear, and offers up some of the most incredible views of the cosmos.
During your time at the park you should definitely take the opportunity to observe as many constellations and stars as you can. If you bring a telescope or binoculars with you, prepare to be blown away by what you see.
Visiting Fort Davis at Davis Mountains State Park
Whilst at the park you should take the opportunity to visit Fort Davis.
One of West Texas’s key posts in its defense system, troops were stationed here in the late 1800s to protect travelers, emigrants, freighters and mail coaches, as they traveled toward the goldfields of California, along the San Antonio-El Paso road.
Now a National Historic Site, it played a leading role in the development and history of the area, and the southwest in general. So, it is well worth coming here to learn about its fascinating history.
Birding at Davis Mountains State Park
Accommodating what has affectionately been called the ‘best little bird blind in Texas’, Davis Mountains State Park is a renowned spot for birding.
Due to the park’s high elevation, several species of birds can be spotted within it, particularly during the breeding season.
Be sure to bring your camera and binoculars as you should be able to see more than 100 different species including the likes of violet-green swallows, hummingbirds, gray warblers, Mexican whip-poor-will and flammulated owl.
Pets at Davis Mountains State Park
Pets are welcome to join you at the park, although some restrictions on their presence may apply.
To fully avail yourself of what they are, you would be well advised to contact the park’s main office for clarification.
Camping at Davis Mountains State Park
For visitors looking for overnight accommodation, Davis Mountains State Park offers 60 different RV and tent campsites.
Located within the Davis Mountain Campground, 34 of these sites offer full water, sewer and 50-amp electric hookups. The other 26 come with hookups for 30-amp electricity and water.
All of these campsites can accommodate eight people and sit in either partial or full shade. They all come with their own picnic tables, grills and fire rings, while comfort stations with flush toilets and hot showers are located not too far away from them.
These sites vary in length, but they typically can accommodate rigs of between 40 to 60 feet. As the sites are paved, they are easy to get in and out of.
If you do not have an RV or trailer, the park offers 33 tent camping sites. Each of these sites come with their own picnic table, fire ring and grill. While restrooms with hot showers and flush toilets, as well as a water hookup, are not far away.
Should you prefer a more primitive camping experience, there are also six primitive campsites available. You will have to hike four miles up a mountain to reach them, and carry everything you will need. But once you are there you will be able to enjoy a tranquil experience, although there are no restroom facilities there.
At the other end of the scale, park visitors can also book a room at the Indian Lodge. This full-service hotel features 39 rooms, as well as a restaurant and swimming pool and can be found within the park.
There is also an equestrian camping site available for those who bring their horses to the park as well.
Davis Mountains State Park
Fort Davis, TX 79734
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Davis Mountains State Park: