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Madera Canyon Hiking Trail: Nature Conservancy’s Small Slice of Heaven in the Davis Mountains

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The Nature Conservancy’s Madera Canyon Hiking Trail is provided free of charge to the public, and is located not far from, but also not a part of Davis Mountains State Park. With an entrance way at one of the various roadside parks with little signage on the road to identify it, many people going through the Davis Mountains don’t even realize this hike is in existence! But it does, and it’s a gem if you ever get the chance. The Nature Conservancy’s Davis Mountains Preserve is a remarkable piece of the Texas Trans- Pecos, surrounding one of Texas’ few “sky islands” (an isolated mountain area enclosed by extremely different lowland surroundings). Madera Canyon is a 4,000-acre parcel of the preserve, more than 900 feet deep in some places, and covered with springs, endangered species, volcanic dikes, and sometimes, elk. Offering a journey into this unique area, you’ll see a number of plants and animals which are found nowhere else in the world, as a sky island holds a wilderness which has remained largely untouched by human activity.

Madera Canyon Hiking Trail: Nature Conservancy’s Small Slice of Heaven in the Davis Mountains

Photo: FreeCampsites.net

Taking Highway 118 northwest from Fort Davis (approximately 24 miles) or taking 118 south from I-10 (2 a couple exits west of the Saragosa and Balmorhea exits), the trail begins in the Lawrence E. Wood picnic area (left side if you’re coming from For Davis, and right if you’re driving south from I-10). Take plenty of water, wear sturdy shoes, and bring some sunscreen. The hike’s distance is a 2.4-mile loop consisting of some fairly easy terrain and a few elevation changes. Beginning on the far eastern side of the roadside park, you’ll follow Madera Creek for just shy of a quarter-mile, where there’ll be a creek crossing.

Madera Canyon Hiking Trail: Nature Conservancy’s Small Slice of Heaven in the Davis Mountains
Photo: Facebook/Marc Grant

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