Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Garden

The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical garden is a gem in Fort Davis, TX. Learn everything you need to know for exhibits and hiking.

Fort Davis will fill your mind with wonder just on the history and the landscape but delve deeper into what comes up from the ground at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Garden. Here you’ll experience amazing birding, learn the history of the local mining, be amazed at the variety of cacti, and even get in some hiking.

According to the website, “The mission of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute is to promote public awareness, appreciation, and concern for nature generally and the natural diversity of the Chihuahuan Desert region specifically, through education, the visitor experience, and through the support of research”.

You can definitely spend a full day here just on the plant life alone. The botanical garden takes you through a wonderful lesson on west Texas plants and depending on when you visit, you’ll be in awe of different blossoms from the variety.

If you want a little extra, then head into the cactus & succulent collection. While the cacti on display are explicitly not for sale, they do have sales on occasion, so make sure you reach out for more information.

Inside the ‘museum’ you’ll be amazing at just how intricate the cactus and succulent varieties can be. The plants are individually named and numbered, and each category has some extra info including the history of the name.

Mining Heritage Exhibit

In the front of the main area is a really fun and interactive mining exhibit that takes you through the day in the life of the mining operations that once filled this area.

The exhibit includes machinery, mining ‘hall of fame’, even samples of what was being mined here. It’s a really neat hands-on area that gives a glimpse into the hard work that the miners were doing to acquire these materials.

Hiking at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center

Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center Trails:

There are four main trails that can be hiked here, and they’re accessible from the main parking lot. The trails here are natural paths, so make sure you’re wearing comfortable footwear with a good grip. These areas can have loose gravel and jagged rocks.

View a map of the trails

  • Modesta Canyon Trail (1.75 mile loop, Moderate)
  • Clayton’s Overlook (1.5 mile loop, Moderate)
  • Outside Loop (2.5 mile loop, Strenuous)
  • Upper Loop (.5 miles, Moderate)
  • Hummingbird & Butterfly trail (.33 miles, Easy. Located in the Botanical Garden)
A collection of cactus plants inside the greenhouse.

The nature center does offer guided tours with a minimum of 10 participants. You will be able to tour one of the trails with a volunteer to explore the amazing beauty. From the site: Contact programs@cdri.org or call 432-364-2499 if you are interested in scheduling a group tour.

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