Return to Davis Mountains State Park

Head Quarters Trail
User: yeiyel - 12/1/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 0.80 Mile Duration: N/A

Easy hike which follows along overlooking the main road and campground. If you need to go to the HQ this is better than the road.

Sheep Pen Trail & Loop + Limpia Creek Vista
User: yeiyel - 11/29/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 11.00 Miles Duration: 6 hours, 45 minutes

A beautiful 65 degree sunny day which started out at 35 degrees. Beautiful scenery abounds on this hike. At this time the creek was not flowing so it was easy to cross. The trail is rocky and sturdy hiking shoes are reccommended. The Trail ascends 700' to the 4 mile loop which is fairly level with minor ups and downs. If you turn left at the intersection with the loop there is little to no shade for a couple of miles. If possible this could be done before the temperature rises. I took a 3 liter camelbak and drank half as the temp was very pleasant. 

Sheep Pen Trail & Sheep Pen Loop to Limpia Creek Vista
User: yeiyel - 11/15/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 11.00 Miles Duration: 7 hours, 15 minutes

This was a great hike very scenic and serene. The Sheep Pen Trail 2.5 miles has 3 Limpia Creek crossings. In the summer during the  rainy season the creek will have 6" to 1' of water at all three crossings. After this there is a 700' ascent through a few long switchbacks to the loop. If you turn right at the loop intersection there will be a cistern at about a mile which will need to be filtered. If you turn right the vista 5700' is 1.5 miles. It was 75 degrees and sunny this day. I took a 3 liter camelbak and drank most of it.  Well worth doing.

Indian Lodge & Montezuma Quail Trails
User: yeiyel - 9/21/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 2.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 15 minutes

The morning was cool and low clouds.  We hiked as a group of 8 as we ascended the Montezuma Quail Trail from the campground area. This was a steep climb or descent depending on which way you are hiking. This would be the only challenging part of the hike as the indian Lodge Trail is more flowing with ups and downs. The are views that shouldn't be missed. And the vegetation some of which is unique only to the Davis Mtns. and the Big Bend area. 

CCC Trail & Skyline Dr Trail
User: yeiyel - 8/29/2017  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 2point5stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 4.30 Miles Duration: 3 hours

We (my wife and I) left from the CCC trailhead on a cloudy cooler morning this was a very nice hike it gradually ascends 400' to the CCC overlook and meets the Skyline Dr trail and the trails leading to the fort. We chose to descend Skyline Dr. trail. The contrast between the two sides of the mountain are a must see. On the CCC side there is Hwy 118 and with mountainous views and on the Skyline Dr side which descends approx. 400' were beautiful hilly grasslands which were green in this month.  We encountered one person on the hike which was great because who doesn't like solitude?

Quail Trail to Indian Lodge Trail Hike
User: MikeHikes - 5/13/2015  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Route    Indian Lodge > park road > Quail Trail > Indian Lodge Trail > Indian Lodge (Black Bear Restaurant)

First, don't follow my exact route!!!  I recommend you do this trail in reverse, i.e., start behind the Black Bear restaurant to the Indian Lodge Trail and follow it to the junction of Quail Trail then head down hill to the park road and walk back to the Lodge.

My way got me lost!  Finding the Quail trailhead was easy and the trail is very easy to see.  You go up hill the vast majority of time until you locate the junction of the two trails.  At that point, I followed either an older Indian Lodge Trail or, more likely, an animal trail.  I was able to eventually blaze my own trail and connect to the Indian Lodge Trail but along the way, I had to do some serious rock climbing on the edges of some very narrow trails.  Additionally, there were warnings of mountain lions and parts of the trail I was on, smelly strongly of C-A-T !  No cat was observed and it had rained the night before so it's possible an old scent was re-activated.

Nonetheless, the hike was enjoyable and I'm only sorry I didn't have the opportunity to do more hiking. 

Great place to primitive camp
User: reynoldser - 6/19/2009  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Went here for a bachelor weekend with some friends, hiked in with our packs only to be blown away with the beauty of the terrain and night sky. AMAZING place for star gazing.

Interpretive Center Trail
User: BANDA - 9/2/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 4.50 Miles Duration: 6 hours

This trail starts out at the Interpretive Center then eventually loops around and ends at the group picnic area. If you use the park's map, be aware that they have South up, rather than North up, as most maps do. Also it is not entirely accurate, sometimes showing the trail on the wrong side of Skyline Drive. But watch for the signs and you should be OK.

This trail starts out on fairly level ground at 5000 ft., but once you pass the amphitheater you start climbing through a series of switchbacks until you reach the top at 5500 ft.

There is a nice intermittent stream near the amphitheater, and great views into the distance from the top, from which you can see the McDonald Observatory to the Northwest and a large greenhouse operation far to the South.

The terrain is mostly open, but there are several shady spots where you can stop for a water break or a snack.

After reaching the top and going East along the spine of the mountain, you will reach the first scenic overlook at N30 35.507, W103 55.651, and the second scenic overlook at N30 35.757, W103 55.359. These have very nice views in all directions.

After about another .7 mile you will reach the restrooms at N30 35.865, W103 54.803. This is the only place along any of the trails that drinking water is available.

A short distance past the restrooms the trail crosses over the road (watch for the sign across the road!) and then continues along a cliff along the South side of the mountain with great views and a neat rock face until you reach a pass cut through the mountaintop at N30 36.001, W103 54.328. From there you have a decision to make: Go right and the trail will lead to the boundary of Ft. Davis National Historic site with it's scenic overlook and series of trails, or go left, and begin the descent back toward the state park campgrounds.  We went right and enjoyed the national park trail, then turned around and returned by this route to our car.

The trail down to the campground follows an old double-track Jeep road for a while, but then the road veers right and goes down to a gate at the junction with Hwy. 118, so you will want to veer left and continue to follow the trail, as you are still ~1 mile from the Interpretive Center. This section of the trail has some ups and downs, but was easily traversed, even by people with young children.

We spent about 6 hours on this trail, but that was because we stopped to take many pictures, examine flowers and rock faces, and took a snack break as well. Most adults could probably do it in 4 or less, but as they say, why not stop and smell the roses? (Or in this case, the cactus blooms!)

This is a very nice trail and is well worth the effort!

Headquarters Trail
User: BANDA - 8/31/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Parking for this trail is right near the HQ building (hence the name) and starts off  on  fairly level ground.  But after about a third of a mile, it starts to climb and goes from ~5050 ft. to ~5300 feet. Even though we were there on a holiday weekend and had views of the full campground below, we never saw another person on this trail, so the solitude was great!

We found the lone geocache which is near the trail and then began the descent back down to road level. (By turning left at the intersection with the Indian Lodge trail.) From the end of the trail we took the road for half a mile back to the parking area. Nice short hike.

Indian Lodge Trail
User: BANDA - 8/31/2007  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 2.20 Miles Duration: 2 hours

Mrhinman did a good job of descibing this trail, so I won't repeat what he said. It does sound like he saw more wildlife than we did however, since we saw the hawk, but not much else.

The trail is not too steep, but does climb from ~5155 ft. to ~5650 ft. so it is a decent workout and there is no shade along the trail.

It was neat to see the observatory in the distance as well as the Very Long Baseline Array radio telescope dish, which was also moving while we were there.

After traversing the top of the mountain, this trail descends rather rapidly to intersect with the HQ Trail, but at this point we turned around and headed back to the lodge due to an approaching thunderstorm. (Didn't want to be on the exposed mountaintop with lightning around!)

My wife slipped on some loose rocks on the way down and landed in a cactus, but we still enjoyed the hike very much!

Indian Lodge Trail
User: mrhinman - 11/12/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 2.70 Miles Duration: N/A

Beginning at the back of the Indian Lodge parking area (5000 feet elev.), the trail is a gentle meander up the canyon to a ridge. As we ascended, a red-tailed hawk graced us with his presence, landing in the face of 200-300 foot cliff jutting out from the ridge. Switching back a lot to get up to the first ridge, a little sidetrack took us up to the top of that cliff where we saw the hawk land. Looking back, it's 300 feet down into the canyon below, nearly vertical. The trail then takes you on up the ridge to the fence line. As you ascend along the fence, look out to the northwest to see the telescopes of the McDonald Observatory about 7 miles in the distance. As we climbed a fairly steep grade to the next ridge, a large deer jumped out from the path. This doe was curious about us and stood about 50 feet away and watched us go by. Caught it all on the camcorder! About another hundred yards or so, all was quiet until we startled a very large animal behind a tree. The large, black, lumbering animal had to be a black bear. He made large thumping sounds as he ran off. Another 300 foot ascent took us to the highest point there in the park at a little over 5600 feet. A granite outcropping lets you look straight down into the canyon below. Just off the trail the next day we saw a group of around a dozen javelina... watch for wildlife on this trail! The descent takes you around the back of the mountain first, where you can look down into Limpia Canyon. Off in the distance you can see the Prude Ranch and the VBLA telescope dish. They were moving it as we looked. The trail gets quite a bit slippery and treacherous due to the crumbly rock at your feet. My wife slipped and fell in one area, and scared us all quite a bit... if she had slipped of the side of the trail, it is at least a couple hundred feet to the next landing. We took the "Y" to the left and continued on the Headquarters Trail, where we stopped at another boulder outcropping to find a geocache. Carefully treading, be sure and watch for another "Y" in the trail. DO NOT take the left fork. We did by mistake and got way off on a trail that was later determined to be closed - and for good reason. We relocated some of the marking rocks to help encourage folks to go to the right. The left area is very dangerous. We descended through some switchbacks, then ended up meeting the other part of the HQ trail at the road. Another 0.5 miles up the paved road took us back to the Lodge. All in all, a great 3 to 4 hours!  We made a video of this hike set to music.  It's available here: . Enjoy!

Great Mountain Hike
User: Eveline - 10/8/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A
We drove to the top and hiked down to the historic fort and then hiked back up to our car.
User: wmaginot - 4/20/2004  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 2stars Solitude: 3stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Several trails - take the longest - see old Ft. Davis from the top on the mountain
Very solitary, quiet hike to scenic overlook.
User: ChildOfNature - 6/8/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 8.60 Miles Duration: N/A
Bring plenty of water, took two gallons for an over nighter and returned with 1/2 gallon. No water is available anywhere along the trail.
Hot but nice
User: HikerGirl - 3/1/2002  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 3point5stars
Distance: 4.00 Miles Duration: N/A
This was my first hiking trip and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a very nice "workout" hike that will get you breathless on the return to the campground. It was really nice to hike into the Ft. Davis and imagine what the people there must have seen a hundred years ago or so (since not much has changed - development wise, that is). We took a break on the viranda of one of the houses there and had a quick snack before heading back up the trail. Sun was cooking us off of the rocks but it was still very pretty.
User: Eveline - 10/11/1996  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: N/A
Distance: 7.00 Miles Duration: N/A
User: yeiyel - 6/2/1996  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 3.00 Miles Duration: N/A
A warm summer morning while camping in the park decided to venture out. We did alot more climbing than hiking, we did not take any formal trails. My daughters (15,11,9) enjoyed the conquering of the mountain and the view at the top.