Texas State Travel Guide/Big Bend Country/Alpine
Altitude: 4,485 ft
Established in 1882, is seat of Brewster County. Centrally located between the Davis and Glass mountains and near Big Bend National Park, Alpine is a designated Texas Main Street city, and it is a retail center and shipping point for huge ranching area, headquarters for mining companies, and home of Sul Ross State University. There’s also a historic downtown shopping district with several antique stores and art galleries to be found. Climate and location make town popular vacation area. Visitors enjoy golfing, mountain climbing, rock and mineral collecting, swimming, and camping amid spectacular vistas. During seasons, hunters take mule and white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, javelina, and upland game birds. Golfers find the public golf course a challenge year-round. Special events throughout the year include Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in February, Big Bend Balloon Bash (during Labor Day weekend), local and collegiate rodeo events, and much more. Bed and breakfast accommodations are offered in historic buildings.
For more information, visit Alpine at www.alpinetexas.com or call the Alpine Chamber of Commerce at 800/561-3735.
Apache Trading Post: Rustic log cabin and fajbghjbvgjhmily orientated gift shop features Big Bend collectibles, books on the history and geology of the Big Bend, Mexico, and Indian heritage. It houses the largest selection of topographic maps and three-dimensional relief maps highlighting the mountains of West Texas.
Find out about the mysterious Marfa Lights in an eight-minute video shown continuously in the “Stars of Texas” room, filled with movie posters of films shot in the area, including “Giant.” Meet Quicksilver Pete, a camera-loving burro and Sasha, the Wonder Dog. Open Monday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday 1-6 p.m. On U.S. 90 three miles west of Alpine. 432-837-5506.
Fine Arts: Several theater groups offer seasonal productions, including the Theatre of the Big Bend, which offers musicals and dramas under the stars during the summer; 432-837-8220. Big Bend Players presents between four and six shows each year; call 432-837-2921 for more information. The theater department at Sul Ross State University highlights student talent from September through May. For details visit www.sulross.edu.
Last Frontier Museum: Small museum features rocks, gems, and minerals of the region. Located in the lobby of the Antelope Lodge at 2310 W. U.S. 90. Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sul Ross State University Museum of the Big Bend: For more than 70 years this museum has been collecting and exhibiting artifacts of the vast Big Bend region. Here, people have traveled and lived for more than 11,000 years. Throughout that time, four distinct cultures emerged and shaped the history and heritage of the region. The exhibits capture this history and the contributions of the Native Americans, the Spanish, the Mexicans, and the Anglo-Americans. Visitors enjoy learning about yesterday in the Last Frontier of Texas. The museum is accessible to the disabled. Gift shop. Open Tuesday - Saturday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday 1-5 p.m. Free admission; donations accepted. 432-837-8143 or visit www.sulross.edu/~museum.
Woodward Agate Ranch: Source of famed Texas agates (red plume, pompom, and a rainbow of other types), colorful jasper, laboratories feldspar, calcite, precious opal, and other minerals. Hunt and collect on more than 3,000 acres; guide service available (fee). Rough agate 50 cents per pound; grading help by ranch experts. Lapidary shop. Open year-round; 18 miles south of Alpine on Texas 118. 432-364-2271.