Pronounced “MARE-u-thun” not “mare-u-THON” (like the race) and known as the “gateway to Big Bend”, Marathon is the smallest of the towns in the region (est. 450 people), but actually has some of the best food and accommodations. Most of the town is built up around the signature Gage Hotel, with several acres of gardens, and several small shops, galleries, and restaurants in close proximity.

What To Do

Given its overall size, there are not quite as many activites as the other towns. The best options are checking out some of the town's parks and open spaces as well as the shops around the Gage.


Gage Gardens


Located across the highway and train tracks from the Gage Hotel, the Gage Gardens is an incredibly green and impressive 27-acre garden. The gardens have a walking trail (1/4 mile), jogging trail (1 mile), and several different garden areas, ponds, fountains, and a putting green. Open to the public and a great place for a picnic or to take pictures.


Post Park


5 miles south of Marathon is Post Park, a scenic city park with large trees, a spring-fed pond, and a large lawn area with picnic tables and grills. A great place to bird watch or fish in the pond. Definitely an oasis in the high desert.

Where to Stay

Most peole will say that you can't come to Marathon without staying at the Gage. While there are a few other lodging options, The Gage is definitely the centerpiece of the town and a fantastic old hotel.


Gage Hotel


The Gage is definitely the place to stay in Marathon. Another in a collection of Henry Trost buildings from the mid-20’s, it is an old ranching lodge that has had several impressive remodels. The hotel property includes the main building, a few adjacent buildings, a restaurant, and a great pool area. Book early, as rooms can be hard to find.


McGonagill House


We usually recommend hotels over vacation rental options, but this house just outside of town has a great “West Texas feel” and can sleep up to 6. Prices compare to the Gage and the few other (just as expensive, but not as cool) hotels in town.


Where to Eat

Like everything else in Marathon, the best dining options are connected to The Gage.


12 Gage


The 12 Gage and the adjacent White Buffalo Bar are connected to the Gage Hotel. Definitely the best restaurant in Marathon and a tie with the Reata in Alpine for best restaurant in the region. The vegetables are grown in the garden behind the restaurant and much of the beef/game is from local ranches. Although the seafood is fresher than other restaurants, most recommend the beef dishes. If you are so inclined, the White Buffalo Margarita has been called the “best margarita in Texas”. The restaurant can book up months in advance, so reservations are highly recommended.


Brick Vault Brewery & Barbecue


Another establishment owned by The Gage (there are a lot), the Brick Vault is in a remodeled gas station and focuses on (as the name implies) beer and barbeque. The brewery is run by one of the gentlemen that ran the Big Bend Brewery in Alpine, which tragically closed in 2018, and offers 6 house-brewed beer options. The folks running the BBQ end came from La Barbeque (often considered a runner-up to Franklin BBQ) in Austin . The ribs, brisket, and sausage are considered by most to be the best in the region.