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“we saw them...”

Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Marfa
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Mysterious dancing lights ("ghost lights") in the sky over Marfa after dark.
Reviewed October 6, 2009

We had been advised to arrive at the Marfa viewing center before sunset in order to get our bearings, and to spot the radar tower to the southwest and the highway beyond to Presidio. As it got dark people around us started claiming to see the lights, but my wife and I were certain these early lights were from the cars and tower, but we did not dissuade their enthusiasm.

As the sunset was deep red in the west, and for the next hour +/-, with the sky very dark to the south and southeast, we started to see a few white lights on the horizon. 1-2 or 3 at a time, with some moving down in a zig-zag method, then others would move left and then right. Some of the white lights would turn pink-red and then back to white. Some of the white lights turned brilliant white and then disappeared. By 10:30, the activity had slowed considerably that we all soon afterward left. (plus we wanted to check in on the UT football game!). It crossed our minds when viewing that maybe someone was out there on the hills playing games with us, but of course, this has been going on for a century or more, so I guess we actually experienced them. One draw back was the head lights coming from Marfa to Alpine. Being a Saturday night, I think there were more cars, and thus more light than may be expected other times and it was a bit distracting.

1  Thank HOUAP6804
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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395 - 399 of 404 reviews

Reviewed March 23, 2009

we went to the viewing area on our trip last week... very crowded! you hardly see anyone on the road and then you get to the viewing area and BAM! 50 cars. but there are lots of benches and we brought chairs. bring a blanket - it gets much chillier at night! i had read to go around sunset, which we did - and sure enough right at dusk lights started appearing sporadically. it was cool but i am still skeptical as to whether they were the real mystery lights or just car lights... although everyone else seemed convinced! definitely should check it out if you are ever in marfa - which is a very cool artsy town.

Thank iselynjenniep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2008

I'm still trying to figure out what causes the Marfa lights. A sign at the restroom/visitor center explains the history of the lights and what the popular theories are. When you arrive, you will be facing south where you will see 3 lamp posts and 1 radio tower with a flashing red light in the distance; ignore those. Those aren't the mystery lights. The property where the lights occur is private property. Aggressive javelinas live in the open terrain, so don't even think about trespassing. Even if you were on the property, you couldn't see the lights up close; it's only when you're far away can you see them. Very strange. I saw the lights between midnight (after I left the McDonald Observatory's star gazing party) and 2am. I don't know what the best times are. Some people told me that the lights are not always around, but that you must preferably have a clear evening. Also, the visitor center is about 9 miles east of Marfa off Highway 90. Good luck!

Thank DallasRay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2008

We visited the Marfa Lights viewing site while on a trip to Big Bend National Park. We were staying in Alpine and the drive to the Marfa Lights viewing site wasn't long. The viewing site is very nice with an exhibit and restrooms. We enjoyed talking to some of the other people who were there. There was a man with his two kids and they were telling us that they always go out of their way to pass through Marfa on the way back home from Grandma's so they can see the lights. We were able to see the lights clearly and it was so fun hearing everyone else getting excited about it. I'd heard about the Marfa Lights in movies and on TV, so it was cool to actually go see them. I wouldn't take a trip to West Texas specifically for this, but if you're in the general area, this is definitely a fun stop and it's free, so what have you got to lose?

4  Thank sf213
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 9, 2006

After hearing about the Marfa Mystery Lights for years, we finally included them in a vacation trip to Big Bend National Park. We spent one night at the Hotel Paisano in Marfa and drove out to the special site designated for mystery light viewing a little before dusk. The State of Texas has built a very nice building including a small exhibit and clean restrooms for this purpose. It was fun to see all the people gather and listen to their stories as to who had seen what before and experience their excitement.

We took our binoculars to use although there are several telescopes mounted on poles you can use for free steady viewing. We should have taken lawn chairs, as there is no place to sit. We stayed there until about 10:30 p.m. and are convinced we did see what people have been talking about for years and years. It is definitely strange and one would think they are dancing multiplying car headlights except these lights have been around longer than cars have!

It's definitely worth a stop to see the Marfa lights. If you take children, you might explain that you need to spend some time there. Most of the young people we saw were bored after ten minutes and ready to get back to their TVs!

7  Thank vshultsTX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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