Parks

Photo: Clymer Meadow Preserve

Photo: Clymer Meadow Preserve

With their characteristically droopy petals, Black Samson coneflowers seem ready to turn down for the night as the sun sets on the Clymer Meadow Preserve northwest of Greenville. The preserve protects remnants of the Blackland Prairie, a tallgrass prairie that once stretched from the Texas coast to Canada. Prairies and pastures in North Texas and the plains of the Panhandle provide native habitats for this perennial, which blooms April through July and can also be propagated in gardens. Read More »

Watch Out for Tiny ‘Fairy Shrimp’ on Your Next Hike Up Enchanted Rock

Watch Out for Tiny ‘Fairy Shrimp’ on Your Next Hike Up Enchanted Rock

Shallow pools that form after rains on the massive granite dome north of Fredericksburg are among the few places where fairy shrimp are found in Texas. Growing about a centimeter long, the translucent freshwater crustaceans exist on the constant edge of survival, laying eggs that endure the dry season only to hatch when the pools refill with rainwater. Read More »

The Adventure Seeker’s Spring Break at McKinney Roughs

The Adventure Seeker’s Spring Break at McKinney Roughs

With 18 miles of hiking trails— 13 of them open to mountain bikes and horses, along with plenty of flora and fauna along the Colorado River— McKinney Roughs Nature Park lives up to the “nature” in its name. Adding the word “adventure” seems more appropriate though, given the current offerings of zip lining, universal terrain vehicle tours, survival skill classes, and more. All of the above makes this Lower Colorado River Authority property an excellent destination for a family spring break adventure. Read More »

Rock Paintings at Hueco Tanks Reveal Clues About Ancient Visitors

Rock Paintings at Hueco Tanks Reveal Clues About Ancient Visitors

At Hueco Tanks, 30 miles northeast of El Paso, four mountains of granite-like rock soar out of the desert landscape. The surface of the rock is covered with huecos—Spanish for hollows—formed through millions of years of erosion. Because the huecos hold water, this oasis has attracted humans for more than.... Read More »

Devils River State Natural Area Recognized as ‘Dark Sky Sanctuary’

Devils River State Natural Area Recognized as ‘Dark Sky Sanctuary’

If you’ve ventured out to Devils River State Natural Area in Southwest Texas, you know the skies can be awfully dark at night. Now the International Dark Sky Association is recognizing the 37,000-acre property for its relatively unspoiled skies with designation as a “dark sky sanctuary." “As Texas' first International dark-sky sanctuary, Devils River SNA enjoys some of the clearest and starriest night skies in the continental United States,” says Adam Dalton, a program manager with the Arizona-based nonprofit association. “Owing to the area's commitment to mitigating light pollution, the Devils River serves as a model for dark-sky conservation within the Texas State Parks system.” Read More »

Where to Find 4 Hidden Gems off Big Bend’s Beaten Path

Where to Find 4 Hidden Gems off Big Bend’s Beaten Path

Jaw-dropping hikes like the Window Trail and South Rim draw visitors back to Big Bend National Park year after year. But with 1,252 square miles to roam, the park also teems with trails less traveled. Many visitors stick to five or six popular trails, but for hikers who want to go farther, go wilder, and get off the beaten path, park officials recommend these four secluded options. Read More »

Ditch the Survival Skills With These 3 Easy Ways to Explore Big Bend National Park

Ditch the Survival Skills With These 3 Easy Ways to Explore Big Bend National Park

BIG BEND National Park can be intimidating. Countless photographs behold the region’s undeniable grandeur, its spectacular amalgam of desert, mountain, river, and sky. But the images also convey vast emptiness—16th-century Spanish explorers dubbed this territory el despoblado, “the uninhabited.” And those scenic photos often overlook the granular details, where scorpions, thorns, snakes, sunburns, and blisters reside. So it’s understandable when the uninitiated knit their brows at the thought of Big Bend, weighing a vacation experience against fears of a survival exercise in the Chihuahuan Desert borderlands. Read More »

The Inspiring Story Behind Big Bend National Park’s Founding 6 Days After D-Day

The Inspiring Story Behind Big Bend National Park’s Founding 6 Days After D-Day

Seventy-five years ago this summer, the country was gripped by news of the Allied invasion of Nazi- occupied Europe. But even at the height of the conflict, the commander-in-chief could not resist turning his attention, at least for a few minutes, to West Texas. On June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt met with a Texas delegation to discuss the future of what would become Big Bend National Park. Six days later, he signed legislation establishing it, capping a decades-long effort to preserve a state and national treasure. Read More »

12 Texas Trips for 2019

12 Texas Trips for 2019

A new year and an empty calendar. Does inspiration know any finer muse? When it comes to travel, the arrival of January fuels daydreams of adventures and far-flung exploration—at least it does in the halls of a travel magazine. Here we explore 12 new and evolving travel opportunities across Texas, everything from cold springs to hot fiddling and craft beer to modern art. And with the exception of two—McAllen’s MXLAN festival in July and the Festival of Texas Fiddling in December—these ideas aren’t tied to a specific date, making them worthy of a trip any time of year. Start marking up that calendar now. Read More »

Home on the Texas Range, Where the Longhorns and Bison Play

Home on the Texas Range, Where the Longhorns and Bison Play

An up-close visit with a Longhorn or bison can be humbling. The animals’ large chestnut-brown eyes reveal a complex blend of wild animal and domesticated stock. It’s hard to know whether they’re plotting an aggressive charge or happily anticipating a bucket of feed. Read More »

At the Confluence of the North & South Llano Rivers, Junction Is More Than a Fly Fisher’s Paradise

At the Confluence of the North & South Llano Rivers, Junction Is More Than a Fly Fisher’s Paradise

I was lured to Kimble County by my fly fisher husband—his heart set on hooking the fabled Guadalupe bass and learning a trick or two at the annual Oktoberfisch fly-fishing festival. For three days every October, the Fredericksburg Fly Fishers invite first-timers and avid anglers to their event along the Llano River in Junction. The town—known as The Land of Living Waters, a nod to the county’s abundance of flowing waterways—sits where the North and South Llano rivers meet, so it’s a prime locale for such a fest. Read More »

Mission Tejas State Park

Mission Tejas State Park

Mission Tejas, a sleepy spot tucked away deep in the Piney Woods, honors a nearby site where Spain attempted to maintain its territorial claims in East Texas. In 1690, in an effort to limit French incursions and to convert native tribes to Christianity, Captain Alonso de León led an expedition to establish the first mission in the province of Texas near the Neches River. Smallpox, drought, and cultural clashes led to the mission’s abandonment only four years later. The mission was re-established and abandoned two more times in the following years. By 1730, the Spanish had abandoned the mission for good. Read More »

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