Located near Big Bend National Park, Terlingua is anchored by the remains of the Chisos Mining Post known as Ghost Town. Once a flourishing cinnabar mining operation, nowadays Ghost Town is a collection of ruins, mine shafts and mysteries. Terlingua is also home to the World-Famous Terlingua Chili Cook Off and quite a few quirky attractions.
Historic Terlingua Ghost Town
The discovery of cinnabar, the material that produces Mercury, brought about 2,000 miners and their families to the area in the mid-1800’s. After the Mercury market crashed and a flu-epidemic broke out, residents abandoned the town leaving their homes and businesses behind.
The empty ruins left are referred to as Ghost Town. Visitors flock to this eerie destination where rattlesnakes are probably more prevalent than actual ghosts. A self-guided walking tour allows guests to visit some of the more notable structures including the graveyard.
Where to Sleep in Terlingua
There are several unique places to rest your head in Terlingua. La Posada Milagro was rebuilt atop the foundations of old ruins. This collection of adobe homes offers guests modern conveniences, while still maintaining the rustic elegance of the Big Bend.
Like most Terlingua lodging options, La Posada Milagro is a small hotel with just four rooms available. Room rates range from $145 to $210 per night.
Another inviting lodging option is the Big Bend Holiday Hotel. This sophisticated guest accommodation offers four different lodging possibilities to guests. The Cinnabar Room, El Patron Suite and Candelilla House are located in Ghost Town, just a short walk from area attractions and businesses.
The Rio Grande Rock House is a few miles down the road, but offers a perfect option for couples or small groups looking to get away from literally everything! Room rates vary according to lodging choice.
Other lodging options in Terlingua include Upstairs at the Mansion, the El Dorado Hotel, Big Bend Motor Inn, Terlingua House and the Chisos Mining Company Hotel. Terlingua Ranch Resort, Lajitas Resort and numerous options in Alpine are also available to guests who want to sleep just a short drive away.
Dining in the Desert
Several restaurants offer guests a taste of authentic Texas cuisine. The Starlight Theater and Restaurant features genuine Texas and Mexican specialties in a historic setting. Other options include:
- Long Draw Saloon and Pizza,
- La Kiva Restaurant & Bar,
- High Sierra Bar and Grill,
- Ghost Town Saloon and Restaurant,
- and India’s Cafe.
It is hard not to compare Terlingua to Las Vegas when you see the numerous roadside attractions located in the area and locals often sport “Viva Terlingua” bumper stickers to commemorate the comparison. You will find everything from a pirate ship to a replica of the Statue of Liberty in this eccentric town.
The Terlingua Trading Post is the unofficial hangout for visitors and locals alike. Located in the original company store of the Chisos Mining Company, this gift shop is more famous for the always interesting front porch than for the souvenirs located inside.
Guests looking for a true representation of Terlingua shouldn’t miss the porch at the Trading Post.
Terlingua and the surrounding area are sparsely populated and guests and residents are usually fairly low key. However, on the first weekend of November each year, this sleepy town erupts as visitors swarm the area for the Annual Terlingua Chili Cookoff.
Described as one of the best parties in the country, over 10,000 “chiliheads” gather in the city to sing, dance, celebrate and of course, eat chili. This colorful event is an experience that visitors will not soon forget.
Terlingua is truly a city that marches to its’ own beat. Local residents are definitely free spirits and that attitude is prevalent in businesses, attractions and events across the area. If you’re looking to escape Wal Mart, McDonalds and pretty much every other brand name that surrounds you on a daily basis, Terlingua is the place for you.