OLD CCC + SKYLINE DRIVE TRAIL
The Davis Mountains, located just northwest of Ft. Davis, are an incredible range of Texas mountain scenery that provide visitors with wide open vistas, ample hiking trails, cooler weather year-round, and accommodations to extend your stay for multiple days. These mountains may not be tall, but they have a unique character and often will surprise even the most able hikers with rewarding and challenging trails. The main attraction at this park is the Indian Lodge, an adobe style hotel maintained by Texas Parks and Wildlife that comes complete with a lovely restaurant and gorgeous pool with a view. Try to book a night here well in advance if you wish to stay within the park. If not, look to camp or find rooms in Ft. Davis.
The trailhead for the Old CCC Trail might be difficult to find for first timers, so refer to your park map to help aid your search. As you begin your hike up the Old CCC Trail, notice how wide this trail feels - that’s because the CCC used this as a road in the 1930’s to help construct the park. As you reach the end of the trail, you will find a junction for the Skyline Drive Trail. Before turning onto this trail, take the 1 mile round trip detour to hikers left to explore the overlook of the Ft. Davis National Historic Site.
Turn up the Skyline Drive Trail and work your way up the mountain. A little over a mile into this part of the trail you will arrive at a parking lot (also accessible via car) where you will find park equipment, a bench, and the best views in the park. Looking out over the park, you can see the Indian Lodge, the Davis Mountain range, and in the distance you can identify the McDonald Observatory telescopes dotting the top of the ridge line. This is a fantastic sunset spot and if you have the shelter of a car, wait out a summer storm to possibly see incredible rainbows like the one pictured here.
Descend via the Skyline Drive trail in the direction towards the Indian Lodge. With just over a mile left to go, you will hike down the ridge via switchbacks and exit near the parking lot where you started.
INDIAN LODGE TRAIL
The Indian Lodge Trail may not be the most popular trail, that title belongs to the Skyline Trail, but it does offer some equally grand views with a quick and steep ascent to really get the legs pumping. Park just above and behind the Indian Lodge where the parking lot meets the mountain. The trail head begins here and immediately begins to go up for about a mile. Make sure you have enough water and keep an eye on the horizon for storms - they roll in quicker than you think.
After climbing for about a mile, the trail eventually begins to flatten out as you walk along the ridge of the mountain. There are many spur offs that lead to prominent and incredible views of the Indian Lodge, the valley and the mountain ridge across from you. From this high vantage point, you can look past the Davis Mountains and out onto the town of Ft. Davis and beyond. The most prominent view point, seen in the accompanying picture, provides a bird’s eye view of the park interior, and the gleaming white Indian Lodge nestled within the mountains.
As you finish the flat section of the ridge line, you begin to head downwards, making your descent back towards the main park road. A “Y” intersection for the Montezuma Quail Trail will greet you along the way down, take hikers left to extend your journey back towards the main entrance of the park, take hikers right to navigate down to the main road. In both cases, you will exit the trail onto the park road and from here, you can walk along the shoulder back to the Indian Lodge.