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“Don't Look in the Wrong Spot!”

Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Marfa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Mysterious dancing lights ("ghost lights") in the sky over Marfa after dark.
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Don't Look in the Wrong Spot!”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

If nothing else, Mysterious Marfa Lights Viewing Center is in a beautiful location with a lot of great information on the associated markers about the mountain ranges, geology, and plant/animal life in the surrounding Chihuahuan Dessert- So get there early, before sunset, take a walk around the trails, and take in all the sights.

All that being said: The lights you can see every night, to the Southwest (right, from the viewing center), moving over and to the right of the flashing red microwave transmitter tower, ARE NOT the mysterious Marfa Lights (the info center even tells you this, but most people don't bother to look at it). While it is fun to watch them and marvel at the remarkable clear-air visibility at this altitude, if you are looking southwest, you are looking at headlights on cars heading into Marfa from the south on Hwy. 67.

The REAL Mystery Lights can be seen (and only on about 15 or 20 days out of the year, I might add) against the rising terrain to the southeast. If you look SE (left) and see the small mercury vapor light off in the distance, you'll want to focus your attention between it and the red flashing tower. This is where the Mysterious Lights can be seen, if they appear.

The locals and people who have seen the real thing say that the lights are generally reddish and tend to dance among and around each other, often heading off in tandem or in odd directions. I've heard one eyewitness account of a light that nearly buzzed the center itself before silently dissolving into hundreds of little individual lights.

I managed to see one non-headlight out to the southeast on one out of three nights. It was reddish, and maybe half of the distance between the Viewing Center and the moutains. It flickered and transited from west to east for only about 15 seconds. The people looking southwest at the headlights on 67 completely missed it, unfortunately.

I don't know what they are, but something is out there.

Look Southeast!

Visited March 2013
Thank flynscot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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368 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
South Texas
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Good Show”
Reviewed April 1, 2013

We were in West Texas last weekend. We had heard and read about the Marfa Lights. I had seen mixed reviews. We must have hit it at the right time. Just before sunset the lights began to appear. The darker it got, the more active the lights were. We watched them for about 1 1/2 hours. The visitor center is very nice. There are restrooms available. Also stationary viewing binoculars help you to see the lights in the distance. There are several informational placards that give the history of the area from an air base to a POW camp. Be sure to get there before sunset to read all of the placards before the sun goes down. I recommend eating in Alpine at the La Trattoria Restaurant before the show.

Visited March 2013
Thank TexasPuma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level 5 Contributor
70 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Don't Miss This”
Reviewed April 1, 2013

My wife and I drove to the overlook built by the Texas DOT that is nine miles outside Marfa to take in the lights. If you visit Marfa and are there after dark don't pass this up - not that you have many choices for nighttime entertainment in Marfa - a city of less than 3000. We joked that the lights were Marfa residents with flashlights, but they are there, they are real and they are a mystery. Check it out.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank nosheep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level 6 Contributor
155 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
“We saw them and ...”
Reviewed March 31, 2013

... we are still scratching our heads. The roadside outpost 9 miles outside of Marfa is wonderfully designed. Head out there right after sunset. And, we saw the bouncing lights. Didn't expect to see anything and sure enough there they were.

Visited March 2013
Thank eawnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Round Rock, Texas
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Amazing Marvel”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

I use to live in Alpine Texas and I have seen this place a million times. Evn dating k to my days in Girl Scouts before they built the visitor center. You use to have to sit on benches just feet away from the highway. Some people believe and find it amazing. Some think it's silly or just car heads lights. You really have to come out and see it for yourself. Some nights the lights are alive and there are many of them, some nights you only see a few. Be sure to go out on a night when the moon is not full and it is not windy, cloudy or hazy. I think the summer time really brings the lights to life. Its amazing, thrilling and sometimes the lights will FREAK you out. Definitely worth the trip out.

Visited November 2012
Thank honiebear420
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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