Scenic Loop

Branching out from Fort Davis on Highways 118 and 166 is the 75 mile Scenic Loop drive for which the region is famous. Over the course of the loop you will experience a 2,000 ft change in elevation and scenery ranging from extensive grasslands to the vast Pinon and Ponderosa forests in the heart of the mountains. With the exception of the Davis Mountains State Park nearly all of the property on the loop is privately owned so please do not trespass, there are however several small parks and picknic areas for public use along the loop.

Starting from Fort Davis and driving south you will find a turn off for Hwy 166 some two miles beyond the town. Turning to the west the loop passes through several large cattle ranches that occupy the vast grasslands on the southern slope of the Davis Mountains. Pronghorn antelope can often be seen grazing on these grasslands. About five miles beyond the turn off, under the shadow of Blue Mountain, can be found the highest vinyard in the State of Texas, Blue Mountain Vinyard is open Tuesday through Friday for tours and tastings. A few miles beyond Blue Mountain is Point of Rocks park where Kit Carson carved his intials into a boulder on Christmas day 1839. The park has numerous picnic tables and provides a beautiful place to stop and relax. Three or four miles beyond Point of Rocks is the turn off to the Davis Mountains Resort.

The next point of interest is Skillman's Grove some 15 miles west of Fort Davis. In 1890 the Reverend W.B. Bloys established a Methodist ecampment there where yearly meetings could take place. The Bloys encampment consists of approximately 400 tin buildings. Beyond the Bloys encampment the loop passes through an experimental wind farm containing 12 immense wind generators and finally, before the road begins to curve to the north, on the right hand side of the road is the old Barrel Springs Stage Stop that serviced travelers on the Butterfield Overland Stage Line.

As Hwy 166 curves to the north Mount Livermore comes into view to the right. At 8,378' Mt. Livermore is the second highest mountain in Texas exceeded as a solitary peak only by Guadalupe Peak at 8,749'. Climbing higher into the mountains the loop passes by Bear and Sawtooth mountains as it begins to curve back towards the east. The high alpine meadow beneath Sawtooth mountain is one of the loveliest spots to be found in Texas, enormous piles of Syenite boulders can be viewed along the road as well. Traveling east the loop wanders through the heart of the Davis Mountains and the thick forests that fill this region, here you will find the Lawrence E. Wood park which provides another excellent place to stop and relax.

Cresting the central spine of the mountains the loop begins its descent back to Fort Davis, here it passes through the Eppenauer Ranch where, across a broad valley, you will see the McDonald Observatory high atop Mount Locke. Passing the observatory the loop brings you to Limpia Crossing a private developement on the right hand side of the road, later it passes the Prude Guest Ranch on the right and the Davis Mountains State Park on the left. The remaining miles back to Fort Davis wander through Limpia Canyon with its beautiful palisades and giant cottonwood trees.

Syenite rockpile on Hwy 166
Giant Yuccas and wildflowers
Bear and Sawtooth Mountains from the south
View of Twin Mountains from the Eppenauer Ranch

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