When people begin planning their trip to the Big Bend country, choosing a place to stay can be difficult. The pickin’s are a bit slim, you might say. A lot of people that are mostly interested in Big Bend National Park, think first about staying at the Lodge in the Chisos Mountains Basin. It is, without question, one of the most beautiful places to visit. The lodge was built by the old CCC boys around the time time the national park was created, the early 1940s. They are solid construction and well maintained. Gorgeous views of the mountains and peaks. Very busy except in the hottest months, so reservations must be made months in advance.
Outside the park to the west one may want to stay at Lajitas. It is a little up-scale, with prices to match. But if you like to be spoiled, and have everything you could possibly want, including a championship golf course, this is the place to be. It is about 50 miles to park headquarters, but it also gives you better access to other sights in the area.
A little bit nearer, also to the west would be the Study Butte slash Terlingua Area. Study Butte has some motor inns as does Terlingua. One of our favorite places is the Chisos Mining Company at Easter Egg Valley. An old, but very clean, economic place to stay. It has the normal one-story motel building, but also a few cabins set on the hillside, all painted in pastel colors. Hence the name. About one mile north of Study Butte.
Another new place that has just opened is the cabins at FarFlung Adventures. I know nothing of it, I just happened to notice that construction had just finished and it was open for business.
Of course, there is the historic Gage Hotel at Marathon, north of Big Bend National Park. It’s about a 65 mile drive directly south to the BBNP headquarters at Panther Junction.
In the area arond Study Butte and Terlingua there are also several RV parks. You can bring RVs up to the lodge in Chisos Mountains, but there are certain restrictions on the length of your vehicle. That’s because of the very, very tight hairpin curves on the highway in the mountains.
As for places to eat. The food is excellent at the Lodge in the Chisos. The same is said for the restaurant at Lajitas, but a bit more pricier. Try their wine-garitas. Margaritas made from agava wine. Very good.
A couple of miles north of Lajitas along the road you may see what looks like a half of a double-wide mobile home. Plain looking, with a sign outside proclaiming Long Draw Pizza. DO NOT judge this place by the appearance. Inside it is a beautiful restaurant, run by a little lady by the name of Nancy. Absolutely, one of the best pizza places in the state. We had been passing by the place literally a hundred time over the years, but ignored it, thinking that it was just another beer joint. But on our latest trip, we decided to give a try. It opens at 5:00 PM. We were there on the dot, the first vehicle in the parking lot. Wow, what a surprise when we walked in the door. This is a must place to try.
Near to Study Butte, on the banks of Terlingua Creek is LaKiva. A unique place, to say the least. You feel like you’re entering a cave, as you walk down the cement steps to enter. Great steaks, food and drinks, especially the margaritas. Check out the old bones on the wall. The little brass plaque will tell you where they come from. Tuesday night is karaoke night. Loads of fun. Yours truly lent his voice to the masses one night last spring. It opens nightly at about 4:00 PM.
If you’re making a trip to that area soon, take me with you. :-)