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Fort Stockton
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Situated in the western region of Texas, the Fort Stockton Destination is topographically comprised of desertlands, as well as mountainous land in some areas. Presumably, the best time for tourists to visit the destination is during the summer season, from June through August; however, these months also tend to be the most humid.[8] The hottest month, July, is affected by temperatures that generally reach around 94.7 degrees Fahrenheit.[7] Many of the attractions within the destination are outdoor recreational activities at places such as Balmorhea National Park, Balmorhea Lake, Red Bluff Reservoir, or the Davis Mountains Preserve. Beyond this, the namesake of the destination, Fort Stockton, is mostly comprised of several historical sites. One particular attraction that fits under both categories of outdoor recreation and historical site is the Fort Davis National Historic Site, where visitors can hike the trails or learn about the history of the fort.[11] For those, who take an interest in fishing, the Red Bluff Reservoir is home to fish species such as largemouth bass, white bass, and hybrid striped bass, all of which are potential catches.[9]

What Fort Stockton is known for

The Fort Stockton Destination, located in the western region of Texas, is characterized primarily by relatively small cities, namely Balmorhea, Pecos, Mentone, Alpine, Marfa, and Valentine, among others. Fort Stockton, the namesake of the destination, is situated in the eastern region of the destination and it was formerly referred to as Camp Stockton when it was established in 1859.[1] After the year 1860, the name was changed to Fort Stockton in honor of the First Lieutenant Edward Dorsey Stockton of the United States 1st infantry. The city is currently the county seat of Pecos County, Texas.[2] As of 2020, the population of Fort Stockton is 8,502 residents, with a growth rate of 0.21% annually. Since the 2010 census, which concluded the population at the time was 8,466 people, the population has increased by 0.43%. The racial demographic of Fort Stockton is mainly white, with a percentage of 80.66%, the next leading race being two or more races at 9.42%.[3]

One particularly notable site that tends to draw a number of tourists annually is the "giant roadrunner" statue known as Paisano Pete. This characteristic of Fort Stockton is one of the city’s most distinguishable features and is considered by some to be the “mascot of Fort Stockton.” The statue was built in 1979, and for several years, it was the World’s Largest Roadrunner, as its length extends to nearly 22 feet long and 11 feet tall. Across the street from the roadrunner statue, a visitor’s center is open to tourists who may be interested in learning more about Fort Stockton and the general area.[5]

Balmorhea, a neighboring city to the west of Fort Stockton, is home to the Balmorhea State Park, which was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Though relatively small in size, the attraction offers a variety of outdoor recreations, including swimming, scuba diving, camping, geocaching, and bird watching, to name a few. A playground and outdoor sports area can be found within the park, as well as several picnic sites. An on-site store also offers visitors swimming and snorkeling gear, plus souvenir items.[6]


Aside from a few mountain ranges, such as the Davis Mountains and Mt. Livermore, located in the central area of the destination slightly to the south, the majority of the Fort Stockton Destination’s topography is classified as desertlands. July is typically the hottest month of the year for the city, with an average high of 94.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Some consider October, April, and March to be the most pleasant months, with regards to temperatures and weather conditions, compared to other times of the year. The coldest nighttime temperatures occur during the month of January, dropping to around 33.6 degrees. Fort Stockton averages one inch of snow per year and around 15 inches of rain annually; however, a total of 43 days per year receive some type of precipitation, whether it’s rain, snow, sleet, or hail.[7] June through August is the peak season for tourism, as temperatures are considerably warmer. The spring season is presumably the second busiest time of year for visitors.[8]

In the northern region of the Fort Stockton Destination, just off the southern border of New Mexico, the Red Bluff Reservoir occupies an expanse of land. There, visitors can engage in fishing, as some of the predominant fish species include largemouth bass, white bass, and hybrid striped bass. The reservoir is surrounded by gravelly flats and mudded areas, and the lower part of the Red Bluff Reservoir is inhabited by a fair amount of sago pondweed beds.[9]

Balmorhea State Park, in particular, is one of the most abundant areas regarding wildlife in the Fort Stockton Destination. Such animal inhabitants include white-tailed deer, Javelina, ground squirrels, dragonflies, turtles, and lizards, as well as several bird and fish species. Two endangered fish species known as Pecos gambusia and the Comanche Springs pupfish also reside in the area’s desert wetlands. Additionally, living in the canals are the headwater catfish. To the south of Balmorhea, grasslands and desert plains encompass the Davis Mountains. Several areas within the borders of the Fort Stockton Destination contain grasslands that were converted to farmlands.[12]


In the early 1900s, due to cattle and sheep ranching, Fort Stockton’s population began to increase, and the economy started to develop significantly when the Yates Oil Field opened in 1926 in a neighboring town outside the borders of the Fort Stockton Destination. Comanche Springs additionally constructed a swimming pool, a county bathhouse, and a pavilion in 1936, which also progressed the development of the town. Tourists can visit these areas of the town, as well as other notable sites. In today’s time, a historical symbol designates the site where the springs in the area had ceased to flow since 1861 due to irrigation and the number of wells that were put in. This site can be found in a park located southwest of the historic fort.[1] Another historical attraction is the Fort Stockton Historic Driving Tour, where visitors can see the Pecos County Courthouse, the Historic Old Jail of 1884, and the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum.[4]

In the earlier history of Balmorhea, Indian and Mexican settlers inhabited the land, utilizing the water supply from San Solomon Springs for farming and cultivation. The town was first established in 1906, named after three land developers: Balcum, Morrow, and Rhea. From then on, the town organized a public school and a post office that were opened in 1908. Fifty people were reported to be living in the Balmorhea area in 1925, and within a two-year time period, that population more than doubled to 500 residents. As of recently, in the year 2000, nearly 527 residents were counted in Balmorhea.[10]

From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis served as a protected area for emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons that were on the Trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio El Paso Road and on the Chihuahua Trail. The location of the town was specifically chosen for such purposes. An Indian Wars’ frontier military post can be found in Fort Davis as well. Currently, the Fort Davis National Historic Site offers various activities that can teach visitors about the lifestyle of a soldier who lived during Fort Davis’ historical wartimes. The on-site visitor’s center and the museum also allow tourists to take a self-guided tour through five restored and refurbished buildings that date back to the 1800s.[11]

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El Capitan Hotel is located in southern Texas in the city of Van Horn. Near several national parks, such as Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe National Park, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The property has 50 rooms and has an outer exterior that appears to be constructed with adobe material. Each room has a private bathroom and a king or queen-sized bed. A courtyard with a large fountain joins the hotel and restaurant together. A complimentary breakfast is served at the restaurant to hotel patrons in a continental style. The property has a conference room to hold family reunions, corporate events, and occasionally live bands and small concerts. The establishment is known for its restaurant, and for the architect who constructed the building Henry Straus. The establishment was constructed in the 1930s and has been a hotel, a bank, and various other stores and shops. The staff and owner strive to give guests a memorable experience and to help them relax during their stay.  

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