Lajitas to Presidio, Texas

Lajitas Travel Blog

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Rio Grande River on drive from Terlingua to Presidio, Texas

Lajitas is about 13 miles west of Terlingua on FM 170.  It was another ghost town -- but this one was bought by a Houston guy with some cash who wanted to make it into a resort and golf course.  He spent a lot of money on it, then sold it to another guy with a lot of cash.  The new owners wanted to turn it into the Palm Springs of Texas -- trouble was, it was not close to a major population center like Palm Springs is to Los Angeles and San Diego.  Plus, it has no commercial air service.  So despite spending millions of dollars and putting in a private airstrip, it went into bankruptcy proceedings last year.  It is out of the bankruptcy court now and under new ownership, so we decided to make it one of our stops.

Lajitas crossing on the Rio Grande River. Mexico is on the left, Texas on the right.

It's a lovely setting right on the Rio Grande -- big bluffs, mesas and hills all around it.  It has a nice looking golf course (but we did not see a sole on the course), and a big restaurant and bar.  It is kind of a hodge podge of architecture -- casitas and taverns, some Mexican, some old town feel, some wild west frontier feel.  It's very isolated and did not have a lot of activity.  Pepe and I were the only ones in the bar -- but I can say they make a great margarita!  It's nice, but I cannot see how it can really compete with resorts in San Antonio, for example, which are much easier for people to access.

From Lajitas, we drove what is supposed to be the most scenic drive in Texas -- and purportedly one of the top ten drives in the US -- the drive to Presidio.

Purple cactus along Rio Grande
  You follow the Rio Grande west all along the US/Mexico border.  We stopped along the route at various times to take some pictures.  We got a couple of nice shots at the Lajitas crossing on the Rio Grande (where it looked as if it would be very easy to wade across the river.  We also stopped to look at the purple cactus we saw throughout this area for a picture.  We had thought it might be a money making venture to figure out how to bring purple cactus to Austin for people's yards -- only to find out it was not the cactus that was inherently purple -- it was caused by the iron in the soil of this area.  So much for that idea!

The drive really was spectacular -- winding corners, lots of elevation changes, great views of the Rio Grande, the mountains and Mexico.  This land is so rugged and desolate -- I cannot imagine what it must be like for those who try to cross the border here into the US.  Besides the Rio Grande, there is no water around for miles.  Not a good place to try to make your way north!

From Lajitas to Presidio it was about 50 miles.   Presidio's skies were a lot hazier than the rest of the area -- a lot of air pollution coming up from Mexico here, as Ojinaga is just across the river.  We did not stop, as we still had 200 + miles to go to get back to Fort Davis and the McDonald Observatory tonight.

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Rio Grande River on drive from Ter…
Rio Grande River on drive from Te…
Lajitas crossing on the Rio Grande…
Lajitas crossing on the Rio Grand…
Purple cactus along Rio Grande
Purple cactus along Rio Grande
Ruins of Old Lajitas
Ruins of Old Lajitas
at ruins in Old Lajitas
at ruins in Old Lajitas
Butte at Lajitas
Butte at Lajitas
Lajitas Resort
Lajitas Resort
Casitas at Lajitas
Casitas at Lajitas
Courtyard Tower
Courtyard Tower
Courtyard Fountain overlooking gol…
Courtyard Fountain overlooking go…
Golf Course at Lajitas
Golf Course at Lajitas
Where are the golfers?
Where are the golfers?
Having a margarita at the bar at t…
Having a margarita at the bar at …
My cousin, Scott drinks a tall one!
My cousin, Scott drinks a tall one!
Lajitas crossing
Lajitas crossing
A man and his Hummer
A man and his Hummer
Road to Presidio
Road to Presidio
Rio Vista
Rio Vista
Searching for purple cactus!
Searching for purple cactus!
Lajitas
photo by: AndySD