The seat of the largest county in Texas (larger than the state of Connecticut), Alpine is perched at an elevation of 4,485 feet, lofty by Texas standards. The mountainous West Texas climate makes the city a popular vacation spot with mountain climbing, horseback riding, rock hunting, and more. The city is home of Sul Ross State University.
Alpine Dog-Friendly Attractions
Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area. Located about 25 miles south of Alpine, the Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area consists of 23,147 acres of desert ecosystem which is open for hiking and camping. A driving tour through the area is open May 1 through August 31. Although the park has few established hiking trails, many hikers simply follow the interior roads within the park. Only primitive campsites are available, and campers and hikers must bring their own drinking water and must register at the check station when they arrive. Leashed dogs are allowed to accompany hikers and campers but they cannot be left unattended. Rattlesnakes populate this area so watch your dogs carefully.
Kokernot Municipal Park. Located on the north side of town, off TX 118, Alpine’s largest city park has some nice walking trails, along with picnic tables and sports fields. Dogs are welcome on leash. A number of the trails are paved. Info: 801 Fighting Buck Ave.
If You Have More Time
These attractions aren’t pet-friendly but if you have a (two-legged) travel companion who can watch your dog while you take turns visiting these sites, they’re definitely worth a stop:
McDonald Astronomical Observatory. You’ll find this spot 6791 feet above sea level on the rounded peak of Mount Locke in the Davis Mountains. The Visitors’ Information Center is at the base of the mountain and on selected nights you can join them for “Star Parties,” constellation tours, viewings through telescopes, and a video. The observatory is 43 miles north of Alpine via Rt. 118 off Spur 78. For a schedule, visit the McDonald Observatory site.
Museum of the Big Bend. Encompassing the contributions of the many groups that once called Big Bend home (including Native Americans, Spanish, Mexicans, and Anglo-Americans), this museum is a good starting point for an overview of the region’s cultural and natural history. Children will enjoy the Discovery Center with hands-on ways to learn about the area. Be sure to see the Chihuahuan Desert Cactus Garden. Located at Sul Ross State University off US 90.
Where to Stay
Hotel Limpia. Built in 1912 and styled in 1944 art deco, this hotel in the town square is constructed of locally mined pink limestone. It boasts the only bar in the county. You’ll find a dining room, bar, some kitchenettes, some microwaves, and some in-room hot tubs, and cable TV. Dogs are permitted in the Orchard House Suites for an additional fee. Located on Main Street.
For More Information
- visit www.alpinetexas.com