Davis Mountains State Park is located on Highway 118, just outside of Fort Davis, Texas, a small community of a little over 1,000 people.
It sits at an elevation between 5,000 and 6,000 feet, and consists of 2,709 acres. Davis Mountains State Park is small compared to Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, which aren’t that far away, but we love the area for a quick getaway. Its a great destination if you want to have a light weekend with some of the most beautiful drives in Texas, some smaller hiking trails, and places like McDonald Observatory and Fort Davis National Historic Site.
The park can get busy on holiday weekends, but getting a campsite generally isn’t a problem. You can even reserve a spot online at the state park website.
Maybe we’re just a couple of pyros, but one thing we love about Davis Mountains State Park is that, unlike the national parks, you can build a campfire in one of the provided fire-rings at your campsite. Since you are in a desert, there are a lot of times that wood fires aren’t allowed though. They’ll generally let you use charcoal, but if you want an actual fire in the fire-ring, they sometimes let you use firelogs (ask first!). We always try to bring a few Duraflame Roasting Logs with us so we can also cook over our campfire (don’t try to cook over a regular Duraflame log, unless you like the taste of chemicals).
Picking Your Campsite
Although you can reserve a campsite online, it doesn’t let you reserve a specific one. You’ll only be able to choose between an RV site, a tent site with water and electric, a tent site with water only and a primitive campsite.
Keep in mind that not all campsites are created equal. We recommend that you stop in at the station at the entrance to sign in, but ask if you can drive through and look before picking your campsite.
RV sites have 30/50 amp, water, sewage, cable hook ups, a picnic table and fire-ring. Most are big enough for large class A motorhomes and fifth-wheels.
Some of the tent sites with water and electric are big enough to handle small campers (like a pop-up). You’ll need to be certain that you check it out first before picking it, because some may be too small.
The primitive campsites are located across the Highway 118 in the Limpia Canyon Primitive Area. They keep the gate locked, so you’ll need to get the combination from the entrance station before you go in. We haven’t stayed over here yet, so you’re on your own with this one. Once we get over there, we’ll update this page with more info.
Located inside Davis Mountains State Park, Indian Lodge, a full service hotel, was originally built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corp. It includes 39 guest rooms, a swimming pool (for hotel guests only), and The Black Bear Restaurant.
Renovations to the Black Bear Restaurant are supposed to begin in March of 2016, and are expected to take a year to complete. During that time the restaurant will be closed.
You’ll find the bird blind on the right hand side just a short drive from the entrance station.
The bird blind is an extra treat for nature lovers. The park offers an enclosed area so you can watch the birds through the glass, or you can stand under the covered patio and watch.
“The American Bird Conservancy has recognized Davis Mountains State Park as a Globally Important Bird Area. The park is home to over 260 species of birds and provides refuge to several species of concern.” – Davis Mountains State park Website.
We had been through the park several times and had never stopped by this area. We generally focus on the trails, so we’ve been missing out. We probably sat here for an hour and a half watching all the birds and trickling water. Very cool.
You can get to Skyline Drive by taking a left directly across from the bird blind and staying on that road to climb the switchbacks to the top of the mountain.
Once at the top there is a scenic overlook that gives you views of the park on one side of the mountain and Fort Davis on the other. You’ll also notice a huge building to the Southwest off in a valley. This building is a massive tomato greenhouse, which Fort Davis is well known for. If you’re a tomato lover, you should stop in at the grocery store in town and see if they have any locally grown in stock.
At the end of Skyline Drive you’ll find an old CCC building that will give you an even better look down on the town of Fort Davis.
This building marks the end of Skyline Drive, but the beginning of the Old CCC Trail, which will take you two miles down into Fort Davis, at the Fort Davis National Historic Site Visitor’s Center (closed at 5 p.m.).
Visit the official Davis Mountains State Park website here.