T E R L I N G U A
'If you think you've gone too far, keep going.'
Terlingua is a town with personality. It makes no apologies for who it is. Seemingly lawless, free-spirited, adventurous, outrageous terrain, remote as hell. It happens to be located in between Big Bend National Park (dubbed the most underrated National Park in the country) and Big Bend State Park. Whatever you think of this makeshift town, it has an undeniable magic in the air that is impossible to replicate and difficult to forget.
The historic Starlight Theatre is a gathering place for all. It serves as a restaurant, bar and venue for singers/songwriters. In its hay day, the stage saw greats like Willie Nelson, Gary P. Nunn, and Jerry Jeff Walker. Since then, it has continued to bring in musical acts to play for diners and passersby. Starlight opens its doors at 5 PM but the front porch, which wraps around the entirety of the building, starts to fill up around 3:30 with locals who come wielding guitars and cases of beer while mingling with neighbors & travelers. This is a favorite spot of Willow House & West Texan's alike.
Listen: Gary P. Nunn's 'Terlingua Sky'
This small yet iconic cemetery is located along the downhill slope of the old Terlingua Ghost Town. A formerly abandoned quicksilver mining camp-turned tourist destination, this site may be one of the most photographed cemeteries in Texas. Modest yet unique crosses line the the simple stonework and small grottoes in this historic burial spot. Each year, during Day of the Dead, the Terlingua cemetery transforms into a colorful array of florals, candles, and paper streamers, all set against the stunning one hundred-mile view of the Chisos Mountains and the Sierra del Carmens beyond.
St. Agnes Chapel
In 1914, St. Agnes Church, also known as Chisos Mission, was established and became a focal point of the Terlingua mining town. Church records indicate the priests adopted the Terlingua Cemetery. Although the burial ground is listed as St. Agnes Chisos Cemetery on church records, the official death records continued to list it as the Terlingua Cemetery. Although the town was once segregated with Mexican families living east of the company store and Anglo families to the west, both Mexicans and Anglos were laid to rest in the same cemetery.
EAT + DRINK
Inside Lajitas Resort, behind the resort's manufactured mini western town (reminiscent of Disneyland), is a cool bar called The Thirsty Goat Saloon. The bar received its namesake from Lajitas’ duly elected mayor, Clay Henry, who is also a goat. Naturally. Clay Henry was famous for his thirst for Lone Star Beer. If you happen to have a seasoned bar tender during your time at the Lajitas Bar, ask about the painting behind the bar. You'll know what we are talking about when you see it. It has quite the story behind it. With its Old West Texas charm, it is a nice place to relax if you are looking for an option outside of Terlingua. It has live music on the weekends and large screen TVs.
Tip: Great fried pickles.
La Posada Milagro Coffee Shop is located in the heart of Terlingua's ghost town. Owned by the always wonderful and welcoming, Mimi, it is a great place to grab breakfast and check emails (offers wifi!). They serve a delicious Mexican breakfast and lunch, open 7:30 AM- 2 PM. Built atop ruins, this charming coffee shop / lunch destination serves as an early morning meeting spot for Terlingua travelers headed into the park. It is also the La Posada Milagro hotel guest check- in location.
Chili Pepper Cafe has been dishing out border favorites for many years. Located just north of Terlingua, Chili Pepper Cafe specializes in Tex-Mex and Northern Chihuahuan fare. The tamales are a crowd pleaser, and are made fresh by a Terlingua local down the street! In the Winter, the Chili Pepper is open 8:00am - 8:30pm; Summer hours are 11:00am-8:30 pm. They are closed every Wednesday.
Inside the gas station is Big Bend Resort & Adventures Café which serves simple cafeteria style meals. The café is open seven days a week, 7 am to 9 pm and serves generous portions of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The convenience store next door offers quick snack options, picnic supplies, ice, basic groceries, gasoline, and diesel fuel. Propane is also available for RV's.
This is a local watering hole with an all american food menu. High Sierra is open during the day so it becomes a great option for lunch when most options in the ghost town are closed. After years of operation, management recently changed. Looking forward to an elevated menu and a more expansive drink menu.
La Kiva, a restaurant/bar with a checkered past, has been restored in recent years. This semi-subterranean hideaway restaurant with rock walls serves strong drinks and pretty damn good pizza. It has live music most nights and open Mic on Wednesdays. Their menu ranges from lighter options like salads and sandwiches to more filling choices like burgers, steak and as previously mentioned, pizza. Spooky and mysterious, La Kiva is a uniquely Terlingua watering hole.
Noteable Weekends + Events in Terlingua
November 01, 2018
Join Terlingua for the 52nd annual chili cook off- the world’s largest outdoor food contest! Each year on the first Saturday of November, CASI holds the ultimate celebration of Chili. This monster of all chili cook – offs is held at Rancho CASI de los Chisos in Terlingua, Texas. Rancho CASI is location on the North side of Highway 170, eleven miles West of Study Butte and 7 miles East of Lajitas.
Dias De Los Muertos
November 02, 2018
Celebrate Day of the Dead in Terlingua! It is a Terlingua tradition to meet at sunset on November 2nd at the Historic Cemetery in the Terlingua Ghost Town to light candles and make offerings to loved ones long past, remember old friends and make new ones as everyone visits and honors those who’ve gone before them. Come experience a local tradition that is as unique as Terlingua itself.
The inaugural Big Bender festival will take place in Terlingua, Texas in the Fall of 2018! Big Bender festival will feature craft beers from independent breweries across Texas, local and touring bands and artists, food options from local vendors, and much, much more. Brought to you by an assortment of Terlingua locals and benefitting Voices From Both Sides (a 501c3 nonprofit) and other charities in the Big Bend, the event will be held at the Boathouse! Come sample some of the best beers in the state, dance to your new favorite bands, taste some local flavor, and take home some art to remember it all.
Yes. This is happening. A festival who's time has come, and all are welcome to join in celebrating the Chihuahuan Desert's greatest gift to a good time. Come one, come all! Details to follow in fall 2019.