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BEGINS IN: EL PASO, TEXAS

The Best Treks of West Texas: The Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park

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Walking/Hiking

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Road Scholar
Program #21363RJ
8 Days | 7 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderately Challenging
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Program travels to elevations over 7,000 feet.

Itinerary for Jan 26 — Feb 2, 2014

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Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: 42" flat-panel HDTV; 24/7 guest kitchen; bakery and cafe featuring Starbucks Coffee

Contact info:
6030 Gateway Boulevard E
El Paso, TX 79905 USA
phone: 915-771-0022 xor8884928847
web: elpasoairport.place.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/place/index.jsp

Room amenities: Divided living and sleeping areas, media and work center with a 42" flat-panel high-definition television that integrates with laptops and other electronic devices, wet/dry bar and bathroom vanity with granite countertops.

Facility amenities: Outdoor pool; complimentary wi-fi and business center

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for current rates
Call hotel directly to reserve extra nights. Toll-free reservations: 888 HYATT HP (1-888-492-8847); Hyatt Place El Paso Airport direct line: 915.771.0022.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, January 26 - Arrive El Paso / Orientation
Arrive To: Check in to Hyatt Place El Paso Airport Hotel.

Dinner: El Paso is famous for its Mexican food: Group will eat at a local restaurant or catered at the Hyatt Place Hotel, with mariachi music (when available).

Evening: Orientation and get acquainted reception with fellow participants at the hotel.

Lodging: Hyatt Place El Paso Airport

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is located on 10 acres less than a mile south of historic Fort Davis, Texas. The relaxing, inviting atmosphere features lectures, entertainment, meals, and lodging all on site within easy walking distance. Mountain Trails Lodge & Outdoor Learning Center, formerly Davis Mountains Education Center, in association with Elderhostel and Road Scholar, has provided educational adventures to adults and youth since 1989.

Contact info:
501 E Musquiz Dr
PO Box 1138
Fort Davis, TX 79734 USA
phone: 432-426-3481
web: www.mountaintrailslodge.com

Room amenities: Duplex cabins feature wireless Internet access, heating and air conditioning, and private porches. Each cabin has a coffee maker, microwave, small refrigerator, private bath with shower, reading lights above the beds, and sitting area.

Facility amenities: From your front porch, enjoy wide vistas of the Chihuahuan Desert and foothills of the Davis Mountains. Star pad and telescopes are located on premises for star gazing with our staff astronomer. Classroom and dining areas are within easy walking distance. Parking is available at each room with secure parking on site during your program travels. Satellite television and telephone for local calls are available in common areas.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Two: Monday, January 27 - Texas Nature Conservancy / Davis Mountains Preser...
Texas Nature Conservancy / Davis Mountains Preserve / Madera Canyon / Mount Livermore

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Travel to Fort Davis through Van Horn and Kent. Hike Madera Canyon, a trail open to the public on Davis Mountains Preserve. Immerse yourself in one of the most diverse pockets of the state - a “sky island” rising from the expansive Chihuahuan Desert that harbors rare and endangered flora and fauna. Difficulty: Easy; 3-5 miles round trip.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at the trail head under native oaks

Afternoon: Through special permission, continue to explore the Davis Mountains Preserve, private property of Texas Nature Conservancy. Hike in the shadow of Mt. Livermore, third tallest peak in Texas and site of the discovery of a cache of arrowheads. Hike among ponderosa pine, aspen and native oaks as you learn about this unique ecosystem and take in some of the most awe-inspiring views in the state. Difficulty: Moderate; Approximately 3 miles round trip.

Dinner: At the Lodge.

Evening: Overview of the Chihuahuan Desert, botany, wildlife, birds, astronomy and geology, presented by your guide in the Gathering Place at the Lodge.

Lodging: Mountain Trails Lodge & Outdoor Learning Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The lodge is located on 10 acres less than a mile south of historic Fort Davis, Texas. The relaxing, inviting atmosphere features lectures, entertainment, meals, and lodging all on site within easy walking distance. Mountain Trails Lodge & Outdoor Learning Center, formerly Davis Mountains Education Center, in association with Elderhostel and Road Scholar, has provided educational adventures to adults and youth since 1989.

Contact info:
501 E Musquiz Dr
PO Box 1138
Fort Davis, TX 79734 USA
phone: 432-426-3481
web: www.mountaintrailslodge.com

Room amenities: Duplex cabins feature wireless Internet access, heating and air conditioning, and private porches. Each cabin has a coffee maker, microwave, small refrigerator, private bath with shower, reading lights above the beds, and sitting area.

Facility amenities: From your front porch, enjoy wide vistas of the Chihuahuan Desert and foothills of the Davis Mountains. Star pad and telescopes are located on premises for star gazing with our staff astronomer. Classroom and dining areas are within easy walking distance. Parking is available at each room with secure parking on site during your program travels. Satellite television and telephone for local calls are available in common areas.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Three: Tuesday, January 28 - Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center / Davis Mountains...
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center / Davis Mountains State Park / Fort Davis National Historic Site / Star Party at McDonald Observatory

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: Learn about botany and geology of the Chihuahuan Desert on interpretive trails at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center. The hike into Modesta Canyon features permanent springs and pools, fascinating geology, and a rich display of flora and fauna. Hike to Clayton’s Overlook, the highest point on the property, where you can see miles of breathtaking scenery. An exhibit will tell you about the geology, geography, and history of the area you see before you. Difficulty: Moderate; 4-6 miles

Lunch: At the Lodge.

Afternoon: Hike scenic trail that hugs and crosses Skyline Drive, built by CCC workers who built the infrastructure of Davis Mountains State Park and Indian Lodge. Hiking trail continues into Fort Davis National Historic Site. Difficulty: Moderate; about 4.5 miles of rugged terrain with views of Fort Davis far below. Briefly explore this well preserved Indian Wars frontier military post with a park service ranger or uniformed volunteer

Dinner: At Mountain Trails Lodge.

Evening: Star Party at world-renowned University of Texas McDonald Observatory.

Lodging: Mountain Trails Lodge & Outdoor Learning Center

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The only lodging in the national park, Chisos Mountains Lodge is located high in the scenic Chisos Mountains and offers comfortable overnight lodging all year long. The laid back atmosphere allows guests to enjoy life at a slower pace, yet abound in outdoor fun.

Contact info:
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Natl Park, TX 79734 USA
phone: 432-477-2291
web: www.bigbendresorts.com

Room amenities: Coffee maker, telephone, television, private baths, climate control.

Facility amenities: Convenience store, gift shop, coffee maker, natural park setting.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Four: Wednesday, January 29 - Santa Elena Canyon / Castolon / Mule Ears Springs...
Breakfast: Mountain Trails Lodge.

Morning: Check out of Mountain Trails Lodge and travel to Big Bend National Park. Follow Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and hike Santa Elena Canyon trail. After crossing Terlingua Creek, the trail ascends on paved steps to a vista, then descends back to the water’s edge, continuing into the canyon until the canyon walls, rising 1,800 feet, meet the water. Difficulty: Moderate; 1.7 miles round trip.

Lunch: Picnic at Castolon. Explore museum and frontier trading post at this border crossroads.

Afternoon: Continue along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, stopping to hike Mule Ears Spring Trail. This hike leads through the foothills of the Chisos Mountains, skirts Trap Mountain, and crosses several arroyos. Near the spring is an old rock corral. The spring itself is overgrown with shrubs, but ferns and cattails also grow there. Difficulty: Moderate; 3.8 miles round trip. Travel to Chisos Basin to check in to rooms at Chisos Lodge.

Dinner: At Chisos Lodge.

Evening: Interpretive program in the Chisos Basin, presented by a park service ranger or your guide. Topics vary and could include the history of Big Bend National Park, dinosaurs, birding, geology or the night sky.

Lodging: Chisos Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The only lodging in the national park, Chisos Mountains Lodge is located high in the scenic Chisos Mountains and offers comfortable overnight lodging all year long. The laid back atmosphere allows guests to enjoy life at a slower pace, yet abound in outdoor fun.

Contact info:
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Natl Park, TX 79734 USA
phone: 432-477-2291
web: www.bigbendresorts.com

Room amenities: Coffee maker, telephone, television, private baths, climate control.

Facility amenities: Convenience store, gift shop, coffee maker, natural park setting.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Five: Thursday, January 30 - Window Trail / Lost Mine Trail
Breakfast: At Chisos Lodge.

Morning: Hike the Window Trail. The trail descends through Oak Creek Canyon to the Window pour-off, which frames panoramic desert vistas. During wetter periods Oak Creek may be flowing and must be crossed several times. Use caution on this trail; the top of the Window pour-off is slick rock with no railings, and the return hike is uphill. Difficulty: Moderate; 5.6 miles round trip.

Lunch: In Chisos Basin.

Afternoon: Hike Lost Mine Trail. About one mile in, a saddle offers stunning views of Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon. The trail then climbs steeply in and out of juniper, oak, and pine forest. The trail abruptly levels out at the ridge with superb views of Pine Canyon and the Sierra del Carmen in Mexico. Difficulty: Moderate; 4.8 miles round trip.

Dinner: Travel to historic Terlingua Ghostown. Sip a refreshing drink and people watch on the infamous porch. Eat dinner at Starlight Theater, originally built in 1931 as the movie theater for the mining community, and later becoming a site for gatherings under the stars as it remained roofless until the mid-80s. After dinner, stay to enjoy live music, featuring local or visiting artists.

Lodging: Chisos Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Lodge

Description: The only lodging in the national park, Chisos Mountains Lodge is located high in the scenic Chisos Mountains and offers comfortable overnight lodging all year long. The laid back atmosphere allows guests to enjoy life at a slower pace, yet abound in outdoor fun.

Contact info:
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Natl Park, TX 79734 USA
phone: 432-477-2291
web: www.bigbendresorts.com

Room amenities: Coffee maker, telephone, television, private baths, climate control.

Facility amenities: Convenience store, gift shop, coffee maker, natural park setting.

Smoking policy: Yes
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.


Day Six: Friday, January 31 - Rio Grande Village / Boquillas, Mexico / Hot Spri...
Note: IMPORTANT: Participants MUST have a current passport to be able to cross into Mexico and return to the U.S. at this newly reopened border crossing.

Breakfast: At Chisos Lodge.

Morning: Drive to Rio Grande Village. Explore restored wetlands along the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, keeping an eye out for wintering birds and endangered fish. Difficulty: Easy; 0.75 mile loop. Hike a portion of Hot Springs Trail. Difficulty: Moderate; Approximately 3 miles round trip from the trailhead near Rio Grande Village to a scenic overlook for with beautiful views of the Rio Grande, Chisos Mountains and Sierra del Carmen. A fabulous photographic opportunity!

Lunch: At recently re-opened Boquillas Crossing, ferry over to Boquillas, Mexico. Hike, ride horseback or ride in a truck a short distance into the village of Boquillas, where locals will warmly welcome you with homemade authentic Mexican food and enthusiastic hospitality. Obtain Visa from Mexican officials and be entertained with a bit of history about this storied border town.

Afternoon: Return to U.S. soil - Return Visa to Mexican officials and present passport to U.S. officials at border crossing into Big Bend National Park. Road conditions permitting, drive to Hot Springs Historic Trail, and hike a short distance among river cane to the 105°F hot springs, where tourists came to soak in the healing waters in the early 1900s. The trail passes remains of the resort, pictographs, and homestead. Bring swimwear if you’d like to soak in the hot springs!

Dinner: At Chisos Lodge.

Evening: Free time to watch the sunset and explore the Chisos Basin, gift shops or visitor's center on your own.

Lodging: Chisos Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Full Service Hotel

Description: 42" flat-panel HDTV; 24/7 guest kitchen; bakery and cafe featuring Starbucks Coffee

Contact info:
6030 Gateway Boulevard E
El Paso, TX 79905 USA
phone: 915-771-0022 xor8884928847
web: elpasoairport.place.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/place/index.jsp

Room amenities: Divided living and sleeping areas, media and work center with a 42" flat-panel high-definition television that integrates with laptops and other electronic devices, wet/dry bar and bathroom vanity with granite countertops.

Facility amenities: Outdoor pool; complimentary wi-fi and business center

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for current rates
Call hotel directly to reserve extra nights. Toll-free reservations: 888 HYATT HP (1-888-492-8847); Hyatt Place El Paso Airport direct line: 915.771.0022.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Seven: Saturday, February 01 - Grapevine Hills / Indian Head Trail / Prada Marfa
Breakfast: At Chisos Lodge.

Morning: Check out of Chisos Lodge, and drive to Grapevine Hills Trailhead. This trail leads to a group of balanced rocks in the heart of the Grapevine Hills. Initially, the trail follows a gravel wash, then climbs steeply for the last quarter mile into the boulders. Grapevine Hills is an exposed laccolith, with many giant, rounded boulders. Difficulty: Easy; 2.2 miles round trip.

Lunch: At Chile Pepper Cafe in Terlingua.

Afternoon: Hike Indian Head Trail near Study Butte. Investigate native American camping sites, pictographs and petroglyphs. Trail passes near Rough Run, a dry arroyo that floods during heavy rains, with spectacular views of the Chisos Mountains, volcanic rock and petrified ash. Return to El Paso by way of Alpine, Marfa, and Van Horn. Briefly stop at Prada Marfa, an art installation west of Valentine, TX.

Dinner: At El Capitan Hotel dining room in Van Horn.

Lodging: Hyatt Place El Paso Airport

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Eight: Sunday, February 02 - Departures
Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Independent check out and departures after breakfast. Hotel shuttles will return you to the airport.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Fort Davis, TX
Fort Davis Historic Walking TourParticipants can follow the historic walking tour to visit historic buildings, an 1800s broom shop, Davis Mountains Nut Company, and a few gift shops. Also within walking distance are two historic cemeteries.

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
7 nights of accommodations
20 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
6 Expert-led lectures
18 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences
2 Performances
Visas: 1(out of 1 required)

Ratings

4.6
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

Also on these dates ...

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