December Road Trip Days 3 – 5 Davis Mountains, Balmorhea, Wyler Aerial Tramway, Franklin Mountains, Hueco Tanks, Guadalupe Mountains, Monahan’s Sandhills, Big Spring & Lake Colorado City

Yes it is a departure from the usual posts and of course there are reasons why. Mainly because there was little to no action at any of these parks. Either I didn’t get to even step foot onto the activity because dogs cannot be left unattended or it was too late or too cold or closed. Needless to say lots of miles of sitting in the car and not a lot of hiking or anything else.

Fort Davis / Indian Lodge – First Indian Lodge is closed but the restaurant is open. I did not go in because I was anxious to get on the hike. As usual I took the advice of the park attendant and went to the designated trail. It was atop the mountain and then went down the mountain. I was not interested in climbing back up the mountain so I just walked around on top. After the long drive from Terlingua we needed to get out and move about. It was windy and cold on top of the mountain so the leg stretching was short & quick. I decided not to venture on to the McDonald Observatory but did capture it in a pics. I also did not go back to the Lodge for lunch since I was given the dogs cannot be left unattended warning at the front gate.

Indian Lodge from the Skyline Overlook
McDonald Observatory (the white specs on the top of the middle mountain)

Balmorhea – A spring but not Big Spring. This spring feeds the swimming pool which is an understatement in description. Being December there were very few swimmers but the water was definitely warm enough to enjoy.

Wyler Aerial Tramway – Closed. And did not open the next day until Noon. And you cannot leave a pet unattended. I did not go back on Friday @ Noon. That’s it.

Franklin Mountains – Now we have mountains. And all the trails seem to go straight up the side of a mountain. By the time I made it to the correct park unit it was almost closing time. We trotted around the overlook and on the way to the hotel stopped along the vista pull outs on the Transmountain Pass. Which was pretty amazing too.

Transmountain Pass
El Paso from the Pass
El Paso from the Pass

Hueco Tanks – Well they are serious about not leaving dogs unattended here. I get it about the sensitivity of the rock art. But we were only in the parking lot and I just have to say, just because someone has left a pet in the car on a hot day does not mean that leaving a pet in the car on a 40 degree day is going to cause any harm to said pet. I originally thought that there was at least one area for pets. I was wrong and when I went back in inquiring about the interpretive trail I was informed about the unattended pet policy. At that point I knew that there was no reasoning with the situation. We left to start the trek home with a few more stops along the way.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park – I wished that I would have stopped at the visitor center. It would have been a nice break especially considering the road ahead. But it was snowing so I did not stop. These mountains are where the tallest peaks in Texas reside. They are impressive approaching from either direction even viewing from the rear view mirror.

Monahans Sandhills – Finally a park that we could explore. HolaChica had certainly had enough sitting in the car at this point. I should have videoed her running up and down the hills and around in circles she was ready to get on the trail with all of her pent up energy. There are no trails here just sand dunes. We traipsed around a few and I filled my shoes with sand. Goal accomplished.

Our Tracks

Tracks down the dune

Oh and the oil well in the middle of the park:

Big Spring – This is a drive through park on top of hill overlooking the town of Big Spring. And the last park of the day.


The end of day 4. Only 1 more park to visit in 2017. The last park for the last day of the road trip.


Lake Colorado City – The lake looked low but it was a pretty morning for a walk before making the final push for home.


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