Fort Davis

Mountain Trail Region


By the time the year 1867 rolled around, the region around Fort Davis had seen plenty of action. The Fort itself, established in 1854 as part of a line of defense for the far west Texas frontier, had already been occupied, looted by Apaches, and abandoned. The Fort was built on the site of a Native American village known to early explorers as “Painted Comanche Camp”, and its appropriation by military forces had created plenty of animosity among the surrounding tribes. A settlement had also grown up around the Fort (what would later become the town of Fort Davis and Jeff Davis County seat) and it quickly evolved into a rowdy community called “Chihuahua”. But once the Ninth United States Cavalry arrived in 1867, the region settled, calm prevailed (for the most part) and the town became what many considered the most important community in the Trans-Pecos. Located at the crossroads of two major trails, Fort Davis served as trading post and stopover for travelers, a service that it continues to provide today. The pleasant town, located beneath the blue peaks of the Davis Mountains, hosts some of the best year-round temperatures in the state due to its elevation and smog-free air. The community is a favorite destination for heritage travelers, earning it the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Distinctive Destination status, and its historic downtown, along with the restored nearby Fort, offer plenty of the region’s past to explore. Fort Davis also maintains some of the darkest skies in the nation, affording astronomers some world-class research opportunities at McDonald Observatory, a multi-telescope facility located at 6800 feet above sea level and atop Mount Locke.