Davis Mountains State Park

By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: December 1, 1994

Davis Mountains State Park, which covers 1,321 acres in the Davis Mountains, is two miles west of Fort Davis in south central Jeff Davis County (its center is at 30°36' N, 103°56' W). The highest elevation in the park, on the western boundary, is 5,600 feet above sea level. The land was donated by private parties, most prominently local ranchers Jesse W. and Richard K. Merrill. The park was established in 1933. In addition to its panoramic views of the Davis Mountains, the park offers a four-mile hiking trail linking it to the Fort Davis National Historic Site, which abuts the park on the east, as well as camping facilities and an interpretive center, open during the afternoon from June to August. The interpretive center features plant and animal displays, both live and mounted; a bird observation window; and a wildlife watering station.

The most distinctive feature of the park is the fifteen-room, pueblo-style Indian Lodge, built by companies 879 and 881 of the Civilian Conservation Corps between June and November 1933. The adobe bricks used in constructing the lodge were made on-site, and the timber was cottonwood cut in Keesey Canyon. Authentic cedar furniture was made at Bastrop State Park, and the ceilings were of reeds gathered along the Rio Grande. In 1967 the lodge was renovated, and twenty-four rooms, a meeting facility, a heated swimming pool, and a restaurant were added. Each year the Indian Lodge hosts a Christmas open house. Special celebrations are held on several other holidays as well. Davis Mountains State Park attracts more than 155,000 visitors annually.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Martin Donell Kohout, “Davis Mountains State Park,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 13, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/davis-mountains-state-park.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994