Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Wild About West Texas

Desert vistas, tall mountains and starry skies await those who make the trek.

West Texas is home to some natural jewels of our state and some quirky roadside stops, too. It’s mountain country, desert country and oil country, containing cities such as El Paso and Midland/Odessa and some big spaces in between. Adventure seekers and sightseers have ample opportunity to satisfy the wander bug.

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 Chase Fountain | TPWD

Guadalupe Peak

Nothing in the desert is easy. That includes the strenuous trek to the tallest point in Texas, the 8,751-foot-tall Guadalupe Peak. The trail to the top (8.5 miles round-trip with a 3,000-foot elevation gain) rewards hikers with a world-class view from the top of Texas. The weather can be temperamental and the exposure extreme, so plan for the worst and hope for the best.


 Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

Monahans Sandhills State Park

Monahans Sandhills State Park encompasses a portion of sand dunes that extend all the way into New Mexico. Acorn-bearing shin oaks and other plants stabilize most of the dunes; active dunes grow and change shape as they are sculpted by seasonal winds. Look for “fulgurites” (melted sand created by lightning strikes), ride your horse or borrow a disk to surf the dunes.

El Capitan_Lee-Hoy_8

 courtesy of UTPB

Stonehenge Replica

Built in 2004, the officially titled “University of Texas of the Permian Basin Stonehenge” is made up of 20 limestone slabs up to 19 feet tall and 20 tons apiece. The monument, created by stoneworkers Connie and Brenda Edwards, is located on the UTPB campus in Odessa and is astronomically accurate, though slightly shorter than the original prehistoric monument in England.


 Kathy Adams Clark | KAC Productions

Petroleum Museum

Time travel through 230 million years and learn about the commodity Texas is so well known for at this museum in the heart of oil country. Inside, visitors can walk through the petroleum process, from creation to consumption. The Midland museum, renovated in 2016, provides 40,000 square feet of interactive education, with permanent and temporary exhibits that tell Texas’ energy story.


 Kathy Adams Clark | KAC Productions

El Paso’s Scenic Drive

Along the southern end of the Franklin Mountains is a twisty road that offers some of the best views of the city. From the roadside overlooks, the neighboring border cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez seem to blend together. The fusion of Texas and Mexico creates a culture of its own. Nighttime offers breathtaking views as the city lights shine below.


 Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

Caverns of Sonora

Halfway between San Antonio and Big Bend, the Caverns of Sonora provide a cool checkpoint along Interstate 10, both in sights and in temperature. Known as one of the most beautiful show caves in the world, it contains stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. Guided tours take guests through crystal corridors 155 feet below the surface.



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