Fort Davis

Dating back to the Civil War when the fort was built to protect the different transportation routes from hostile Indian tribes, Fort Davis is a small quaint town that has retained much of its original character. It is also the base for many of the area’s best attractions. Many consider Fort Davis to be the “jewel” of the region.

What To Do

McDonald Observatory


Built in the 1930’s as part of the University of Texas system, the observatory now has several large research telescopes and hosts astronomers from around the world. With this area having some of the clearest and darkest skies in the country, the opportunities for stargazing are incredible. Although there are several standard exhibits and self-guided tours, the Star Parties are definitely the biggest draw. Occurring on Tuesday and Saturday nights (weather permitting), the Star Parties offer a presentation of the currently-visible skyward sights and a tour of each of the many telescopes on the property. Star Parties require reservations, and on popular dates, they book up months in advance.


Scenic loop drive


Starting and stopping in Fort Davis, and travelling on State Highways 118 and 166, this is a rather impressive 75-mile journey cutting through the central part of the Davis Mountains.


Davis Mountains State Park


Weather permitting, the park has the best hiking in the area. Several campsites, the Indian Lodge, and the Black Bear restaurant (breakfast and lunch only) are all located inside the park. There are several hikes around the park, but you can also get to several of the lookout destinations by car.


Fort Davis National Historic Site


Established in the mid-1800’s, the fort’s main purpose was to protect people, freight wagons and mail transport from Indian attacks as they traveled from San Antonio to El Paso. It closed in 1891, but all 24 buildings have since been restored and reopened for self-guided tours.


Old Overland Trail Museum


A very small but quaint museum a few blocks off the main square in Fort Davis. The museum is inside of a house built in 1883 and contains a variety of memorabilia from the original Overland Trail mail route from El Paso to San Antonio. Hours are limited so check in advance.


Cactus Fountain Studio


A small art studio located at 205 State Street, on the main drag and just down from the Butterfield Inn. This is one of the best art galleries in the region, showcasing art from several local artists. There are multiple rooms, each displaying art from different artists. Almost everything displayed is for sale and the artists are usually around answer any questions.


Historic Walking Tour


The Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce has put together a printable brochure that guides visitors through a walking tour of historic homes, buildings and churches. It includes a map and a description of each structure.

Where to Stay

The lodging options in Fort Davis depend on whether you want to stay in the center of town or inside the state park. Both are great, reasonably priced options.


Hotel Limpia


Built in 1912, the Limpia is the oldest hotel in the region. A great hotel with well-maintained Victorian style rooms, a small garden between the buildings, and a great central location. The best rooms are upstairs in the main building.


Indian Mountain Lodge


Built in the 30’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the lodge is inside Davis Mountains State Park. The rooms are far from fancy, but the location and the prices are fantastic. For these reasons, it often fills up far in advance.


Where to Eat

Given the size of the town, there aren’t many dining options in Fort Davis. That said, you can still get a great meal.


Fort Davis Drug Store


As the town’s centerpiece, the drug store and café is hard to miss. Nothing terribly unique about the menu but the burgers are good and they have an old-school soda fountain with great ice cream and milkshakes. It changed ownership recently and is now open daily.


Blue Mountain Bar and Grill


As the “fancy” restaurant in town and the only one with a liquor license, this is definitely the best option for a sit-down meal. The beef dishes are usually a better bet than fish/seafood.