Big Bend
2010 Census - 496
2000 Census - 527
Balmorhea, Texas
Balmorhea Texas History:  
In the early days Indian and Mexican settlers farmed the area using water from San Solomon Springs for crop irrigation. The town is named for Balcum, Moore, and Rhea, the three Scottish developers who in the 1800s began irrigated farming by using water from San Solomon Springs. The town was platted in 1906 in the center of a 14,000-acre irrigated tract. The post office opened in 1908. In 1911, the Pecos Valley Southern extended their line from Pecos to Toyahvale and established a stop at Balmorhea. In the 1930s, Balmorhea had 1,220 residents. The number of businesses and residents began declining after World War II. Balmorhea incorporated in 1961. Balmorhea is located on Toyah Creek, at the intersection of IH-10 on SH 17 and FM, 36.8 miles northeast of Fort Davis, 4.3 miles northeast of Toyahvale, 39.8 miles southwest of Pecos, and53.7 miles northwest of Fort Stockton, Texas.
Historic Mission Mary Calera Chapel, 1902:
The first written records for Mission Mary Calera Chapel began in 1902 when a thirty-four-year-old priest from the Netherlands started recording baptisms and marriages. Father Nicolas Brocardus arrived in the United States in 1892 and started serving the Big Bend area in 1897. At first Father Brocardus rode the circuit on horseback or in a buggy, and later in a Ford Model T. Father Brocardus made his rounds about once a month, performing baptisms and marriages. Eventually the residents of Calera decided they needed a church and built the adobe and rock Chapel. The Chapel served the community until the late 1930s or early 1940s when the diocese built a new church in Brogado. At that time the diocese plastered over the original adobe Chapel which remained a small community mission served by Father Brocardus who traveled from the Saint Joseph’s Parish in Fort Davis. Later responsibility for Mission Mary fell on the priest from Brogado. Mission Mary was eventually abandoned and only the Church at Brogado remained.  In 2002, the Calera Foundation was formed to restore the Mission Mary Calera Chapel. The Mission is open daily to the public for visits and prayer and is available for retreats and ceremonies. The Mission Calera is located on Sandia Creek and U.S. 290, 1 to 2 miles west of Balmorhea State Park. The La Calera Foundation manages and maintains for the Chapel. P.O. Box 12, Toyahvale, TX 79786.  Email  
El Oso Flojo (The Bear Den) Restaurant, Balmorhea:
This restaurant has been featured in Texas Monthly Magazine, Texas Highways Magazine, and in other publications; it is a local favorite. Joel and Florinda Madrid serve beer, wine, authentic Mexican food, steaks and other menu items; try the green chili enchiladas. Eat indoors or outdoors in the Beer Garden. Open Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm & 5pm-9pm; Sat-Sun, 11am-9pm; closed Wednesdays. (432) 375-2273. 205 N. El Paso Street, Balmorhea, TX 79718.
San Solomon Springs CourtsLodging, Balmorhea State Park:
The Campground and San Solomon Springs Courts will close for renovations Sept 11, 2017. The campground is expected to reopen by April 30, 2018. San Solomon Springs Courts should reopen in March 2019.
The original cottages were built of adobe blocks by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1940s. The cottages were later remodeled into an 18-unit motel. The 18 units have 18-inch-thick adobe walls, central A/C and Heat, and cable TV. 2 rooms have 2 double beds. 6 rooms have 3 double beds. 10 rooms feature a kitchenette and 2 double beds. Rates are reasonable. Dove hunters fill the rooms in September. A dive shop is located next door. This lodging is located at Balmorhea State Park. (432) 375-2370.   
Reeves County Birding:
Texas Birds Checklist
Trans - Pecos Chihuahuan Desert Bird Checklist
Balmorhea State Park Bird Checklist
Texas Wildflowers:
Due to budget constraints, TX-DOT no longer maintains a website offering spring wildflower sightings. Information is available at the Texas Highways Magazine.
Rock Hunting:
Rock hunting is a popular activity around Balmorhea (30 minutes south), and around Toyah, Texas which is located on IH-20, 15 miles southwest of Pecos. The area is known for agate, blue agate, jasper, quartz and fossils. Woodward Ranch in Alpine is popular for hunting red Plume and pom-pom agates.unH
Sandia Springs Preserve:
This 246 acre preserve includes the West and East Sandia Springs, which are part of the Balmorhea area complex of springs, one of the largest and most important desert spring systems in West Texas. These springs contain the very rare Pecos Gambusia, and the only naturally occurring Comanche Springs Pupfish. At the nearby Balmorhea State Park the restored marshland has underwater viewing windows and interpretive panels on the boardwalk. The preserve is open for scheduled field trips and volunteer workdays. This site is managed by the West Texas Alpine office of the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Call (432) 837-5954, for information. The preserve is located approximately one mile east of Balmorhea, Texas.   
Lake Balmorhea, 556 Surface Acres:
Lake Balmorhea is an irrigation tank and is also called Lower Parks Reservoir. The Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 1. Purchased the water rights in 1915 and began construction of an earth fill dam in 1916. The lake was completed in 1917. The lake is fed by Sandia Creek to the northeast and Kountz Draw from the south. It also receives run off from Toyah Creek. Surplus waters from Phantom Lake Canal are stored in the lake until needed for irrigating the surrounding farmland. The maximum lake depth is 25 feet. Predominant fish species include largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and channel catfish. Lake maps are unavailable. The shoreline access is good, and boat launching facilities are adequate. The Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 1 operates a park lakeside. This is a great agate hunting area, especially for those hunting the elusive Balmorhea Blue agate. This lake has been severely impacted by toxic golden alga blooms. Fishing will be poor until conditions improve and TPWD has a chance to restock the lake. For the latest fishing information contact the TPWD Inland Fisheries Regional Office in San Angelo. (915) 651-4846. 3407 B S. Chadbourne Street, San Angelo, TX 76903. The lake is located 2 miles southeast of Balmorhea.    
Lake Balmorhea Fish Stocking History
Lake Balmorhea Fish Body Records 
Lake Balmorhea Resort:
Lake amenities include a one lane concrete boat ramp (usually out of the water during the summer), restrooms, bait and tackle sales, parking, picnic areas and campsites. Fees apply; open year-round. The resort is operated by Reeves County WID No. 1. (432) 375-2238. The resort is located 2 miles southeast of Balmorhea on the east side of the reservoir. 
Balmorhea State Park Information:   
This 45.9-acre park is in the foothills of the Davis Mountains, approximately 4 miles southwest of Balmorhea, Texas. San Solomon Springs had been a stopping point for travelers for thousands of years. In the 1930s, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) constructed a pool at the springs; it opened to the public in 1968. The 1.75 surface acre pool covers 1.5 football fields and is one of the largest manmade pools in the U.S. Approximately 24 million gallons of water flow through the spring fed swimming pool each day. The pool is 25 feet deep and maintains a constant water temperature between 72 and 76 degrees. The water temperature and crystal-clear water make it a favorite site for scuba diving year-round. The springs also fill a cienega, a desert wetland created through the Balmorhea State Park Cienega Project. The springs also fill the canals of the refugium that is home to endangered species of fish, including the Pecos Gambusia (mosquito fish) and the endangered Comanche Springs pupfish. The refugium is also home to turtles, and several species of invertebrates. The CCC also constructed the limestone concession building, two wooden bathhouses, an adobe superintendent residence, and San Solomon Courts, an adobe constructed motel. All buildings were built in Spanish Colonial style with stucco exteriors and tile roofs. The grounds are shaded with cottonwoods and the canals are crisscrossed with footbridges. The area temperature is pleasant year-round. The adjacent Toyahvale Desert Oasis Scuba Shop sells air and rents masks and snorkels.Park entrance and camping fees apply.For more park information, read the Balmorhea State Park Rack Brochure and Park Brochure and watch the Park Video. From IH-10, take Balmorhea exit (#206)/FM 2903 South to Balmorhea. Then take SH 17 West 4 miles to the park entrance. From IH-10 East, take Toyahvale/Ft. Davis exit (#192), Ranch Road 3078 East approximately 12 miles to the park.  Balmorhea State Park Facilities Map
Davis Mountains State Park Information:
In 1583, Spanish explorer Antonio de Espejo discovered San Solomon Spring (in Balmorhea) while traveling through Wild Rose Pass and along Limpia Creek to Keesey Canyon in what is now the Davis Mountains State Park. The same route was used by Anglo settlers and military personnel from Fort Davis during the 1800s. During the 1930s, the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) traveled the route while building the pool, bathhouse and San Solomon Motel at Balmorhea State Park, and the Indian Lodge, roads, picnic areas and campgrounds at Davis Mountains State Park. The Davis Mountains, the most extensive mountain range in Texas, were named after Jefferson Davis, U.S. Secretary of War and later President of the Confederacy, who ordered the formation of the Fort Davis Army Post. This post was active from 1854-1891, except during the Civil War. The historic ruins of this fort (Fort Davis National Historic Site) are connected to the Davis Mountains State Park by a 4-mile hiking trail. Keesey Creek flows through the state park forming a picturesque canyon. The original acreage of this 2,709-acre park was deeded to TPWD by a local family. The park opened to the public in the late 1930s. Developed campgrounds were added in 1967. Park entrance and camping fees apply. For more information read the park brochure and watch the park video.  
Davis Mountains State Park Facilities Map 
Davis Mountains State Park Indian Lodge Facilities Map
Fort Davis National Historic Site Information:
From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail, and to control activities on the southern stem of the Great Comanche war trail and Mescalero Apache war trails. Confederate troops manned the fort during the Civil War. Fort Davis did not have a fort wall or palisade; forts with palisade walls were very rare in the west. The Buffalo Soldiers of the all black 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry and the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry regiments were established after the Civil War, and were stationed at the post. The fort is considered the best preserved of all the 19th century frontier forts and is one of the best preserved “Buffalo Soldier” forts in the west. The fort includes 474 acres of grounds. Fort facilities include 24 restored historic buildings and over 100 ruins and foundations. Five of the historic buildings have been restored to their original 1880s appearance. The 1876 adobe Post Hospital is undergoing restoration. Activities include self-guided tours of the five historically restored buildings and ruins, and hiking. A 4-mile trail connects this historic site to the Davis Mountains State Park. A 15-minute video is available for viewing in the Visitors Center. Interpreters dressed in period clothing are stationed at strategic points during the summer and during spring break. Bugle calls and a sound presentation of an 1875 dress retreat parade plays thorough out the fort at scheduled times. Educational programs for school groups K-12 are available. Living history demonstrations are held during the summer months. The fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A small admission fee applies. Leashed pets are permitted on the grounds. The fort is located on the northern edge of the town of Fort Davis. From Alpine take SH 118 north to Fort Davis. (432) 426-3224, Ext. 220.  
Fort Davis National Historic Site Facilities & Trails Map 
Fort Davis National Historic Site Events
Monahans Sandhills State Park Information:
This 3,840-acre park consists on sand dunes, some as high as 70 feet. These dunes are part of a field that extends approximately 200 miles south of Monahans, Texas and westward and north into New Mexico. TPWD has a 99-year lease with the Sealy-Smith Foundation for the ranch on which most of the state park is located. Other park acreage was leased from the Williams family of Monahans, Texas. Plant life consists of Shin Oak, a type of oak tree that generally grows approximately 4 feet above the sand. The tree is characterized by a long root system that reaches many feet through the sand to the ground water below. At 40,000 acres, this is one of the nation’s largest surviving oak forests. The area was a favorite Indian site until the 1880s when the Texas and Pacific Railroad began using it as a water stop for on their route between the Pecos River and Big Spring, Texas. In the late 1920s, oil production began in the Permian Basin. Park activities include picnicking, camping, sand surfing, hiking, horseback riding and birding. The Group Dining Hall is in a 1903 railroad section house. For more information watch the Park Video.  Park entrance and camping fees apply. From IH-20 near Monahans exit at Mile Marker #86 to Park Road 41 and drive to the park.  Monahans Sandhills State Park Facilities Map
Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area Information:
This 11,624-acre Wildlife Management Area was the first WMA established in Texas. It was purchased in 1945 by TPWD to serve as a sanctuary for the restoration, conservation, and management of the remaining remnant of Texas desert bighorn sheep. The WMA contains the largest population of bighorn sheep in Texas. The WMA terrain is difficult with steep canyons and rugged hills where the sheep typically gather. Bighorn sheep are social and gather in small groups most of the year, During the August-September breeding season, they gather in larger groups. They breed at age 2.5 years and have one lamb born in February or March. Twinning is rare. To restore the bighorn sheep, the TPWD is transporting sheep from the Texas Panhandle. The refuge is closed except for hunting by drawn permits. Hunting for mule deer, elk, feral hogs and coyotes is by compartment. The only access to the WMA is by TPWD escort through private lands and locked gates. Hunters must camp in the area, remain in the area during the entire hunt, and bring all their supplies, including potable water. (432) 364-2228. The WMA is in Hudspeth and Culberson Counties, 11 miles west of Van Horn, Texas. From IH-10, take the Allamoore Exit 129 service road.
Hunt Texas Online Connection:
More than 95% of Texas land is privately owned, making it hard for hunters to find affordable hunting opportunities. The Texas Parks and Wildlife has a huge public hunting program and has developed a new service to help hunters find hunting places. This new service is provided free by the TPWD. It allows landowners to list available hunting leases or spots that have opened and allows hunters to find private hunting leases according to their preferences. 
Hunting, Texas Parks and Wildlife, General Hunting Information
Hunting, Public Hunting on State Lands, TPWD
Hunter Education
Hunting Season by Animal
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Donations
Learn to Camp at Texas Parks & Wildlife State Parks' Outdoor Family Camping Workshops:
Theseworkshops are family camping sessions designed to teach camping skills to those who do not know how to camp; everything is provided from tent to broom. Gear includes a coffee pot, dishes, cooking pots, a camp stove, a battery-operated fan and lantern, air mattresses, and a tent. Basic skills taught include pitching a tent, making a campfire, cooking on a propane camp stove, geocaching and using a GPS. Wildlife viewing, fishing and kayaking are available depending on the park and its facilities. After making reservations, families will be sent a packet of information which includes a grocery list. Those interested in this program may sign up for E-Mail Updates on Currently Scheduled Workshops. (512) 389-8903. Calendar