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“My favorite place in Fort Davis”

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Garden
Ranked #2 of 13 things to do in Fort Davis
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located 4 miles SE of Fort Davis on Hwy 118, the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center is comprised of semi-desert grasslands and igneous rock outcrops with a riparian canyon and spectacular views from all directions. Visitors may explore more than 3 miles of hiking trails from the moderate to strenuous 1.75 Mile Modesta Canyon Trail that leads into a hidden canyon featuring a series of permanent springs and pools, to the moderate 1.0 Mile Clayton's Overlook Trail which provides miles of breathtaking scenery from the overlook along with a Geology Exhibit to several additional trails, as well. The 0.5 Mile winding path through the Botanical Gardens offers a variety of trees and shrubs native to the Chihuahuan Desert region. Halfway through the gardens, is the Cactus and Succulent Greenhouse featuring one of the finest collections of cacti and succulents from the Chihuahuan Desert region. Many of the 165 species and subspecies bloom in early spring, providing a profusion of color and texture.
Reviewed September 17, 2013

I love the Chihuahuan Desert. I love this Nature Center, totally devoted to research and study of this mystical, magical place. There trails (4 miles of them) that take you through several distinct ecosystems, botanical gardens featuring native cactus and plants, nurseries where one can buy native plants, hummingbird feeders where one can watch all varieties of the little guys jostling for dinner. There's a great gift shop and friendly volunteers. There is even a little museum that is a replica of a working mine such as used to be found in that area. What a wonderful place! I will be back.

1  Thank CarolChidlaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"mining exhibit"
in 26 reviews
"hiking trails"
in 23 reviews
"desert plants"
in 14 reviews
"walking stick"
in 6 reviews
"great hiking"
in 9 reviews
"non profit"
in 6 reviews
"garden walk"
in 3 reviews
"plant life"
in 6 reviews
"visitor center"
in 12 reviews
"mile hike"
in 6 reviews
"beautiful hike"
in 3 reviews
"challenging hike"
in 3 reviews
"cactus house"
in 3 reviews
"degree view"
in 3 reviews
"great place to learn"
in 4 reviews
"nice gift shop"
in 6 reviews
"leisurely stroll"
in 3 reviews
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165 - 169 of 214 reviews

Reviewed September 9, 2013

There are three hikes you can take, one a short horseshoe around the buildings, a second that is a little over a mile long and looks down into the gorge, and a third that is about 2 1/2 miles and is along the canyon rim. We chose the middle one due to the time of day (it gets hot, bring a hat, sunscreen and water!) Lots of color in the area - purple and green grasses, black and yellow grasshoppers (3" long) and the big horn sheep running along the rocks. Don't forget to take the tour of the botanical gardens. Many varieties of yucca and other native plants to see. Staff is friendly, knowledgeable and very helpful. Views on all the walks are awe inspiring! For those who like minerals - they have an outdoor display with the various evolution times and samples marked. Hiking pass ($6/ each) is good for 2 days. 9-5 hours, except Sunday it's 1-5.

1  Thank ann d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 21, 2013

What a great place. My husband, son and I visited late in the day, around 3pm, and a nice man working in the visitor center, Joe I believe, told us we probably wouldn't have time to complete the canyon hike we were wanting to take before they closed for the day. In hindsight, it was a good thing, I don't think our four year old would have been able to complete it considering he started flagging after an hour of walking in the botanical garden there.

Joe suggested what we COULD do in the limited time we had, gave us a map and explained the lay of the land. He was VERY helpful, quiet but friendly. We got to see all kinds of native plants that we'd been driving past on our trip, learn what they were and how long some of them take to grow. I took a ton of great photos, and although the greenhouse was closed for construction when we visited, there was still plenty to see and we were there over two hours.

Don't miss the little mining exhibit at the end, there are some wonderful rocks, old mining apparatuses and tools, and tons of interesting facts. Our kiddo just loved the box with the light button that showed how some regular looking rocks are actually multicolored fluorescent under a black light. We had a great time, and hopefully when our son is older we'll be able to visit again and enjoy a hike.

1  Thank Sarah_B_Dallas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2013

We appreciated the attention given to us. Took the long hike and completely enjoyed the quality of the trail.

Thank Scott E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 15, 2013

We have been to the Nature Center twice now and each time we have really enjoyed the walking trails. There are trails suitable for small children and those who are a bit mobility impaired, and there are trails for the more adventurous. There always seem to be hummingbirds, butterflies and a variety of small lizards and birds to see, as well as, the tremendous variety of desert plants (yucca, ocotillo, agave, sage, etc) and indigenous trees, many of which were in full bloom when we were there in July and August. We also really enjoyed the mining exhibit. There are many stories about gold and silver mining in the area, a good number of historical artifacts from the era, and many examples of the types of ores found in Texas.

The visitor center was small but very clean with a nice variety of souvenirs.

The only disappointment for us was that the greenhouse was closed (good news for a future visitor is that it is being refurbished) and they do not sell seeds of any of the plants that grow there. I think it would be a great source of revenue if they simply packaged seeds that fall to the ground or provide small cuttings for people to take home to grow.

Overall, it is a great place to visit and we will definitely go back the next time we are in the area.

Thank Robert H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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