Last week my mom and I went on a little road trip through West Texas and into New Mexico. Along the way, we stopped at Balmorhea State Park, a spring-fed pool in the middle of the Davis Mountains of West Texas. The landscape is rugged, dry, and lonesome, and Balmorhea’s springs are a welcome sight, gurgling out of the ground at a tropical 72-76 degrees.
It is a little oasis, unexpected if you were just passing through, and a respite from the searing heat of West Texas.
I have long had a big question mark over Balmorhea–could it possibly be worth five hours in the car?
But it was. Fortunately, we took the plunge so to speak last week and I am now a huge Balmorhea fan! It is one of the most charming parks I’ve ever been to.
It’s scenic, quiet, clean, and entertaining–all the things I like.
I was impressed to see three kids jump in. It was cold and I was wrapped up in a jacket! But they looked like they had done it before and knew that now, in the middle of January, was the only time they’d have the pool and its diving boards to themselves.
The main pool is huge, with depths ranging from just a couple feet to 25 feet, and the water is crystal clear all the way to the bottom.
Balmorhea is a diver’s haven.
(Not to worry, there are plenty of easy entrance points for those of us who don’t cannonball…)
I could tell this place had been loved by many many Texans over the years.
Ducks love it too!
Beside the pool there is a large building with restrooms and concessions, and it is pretty cute.
All of the buildings at Balmorhea are white stucco and completely charming.
The RV and camping sites are also charming, each including a white stucco shelter and picnic table. I recommend getting there early so you can get one of the sites on the edge of the area–though every spot has a great view of the surrounding mountains.
Also incredibly charming is the lodge. Throughout the park, spring fed canals flow under bridges and roads, connecting ponds and providing a landing place for ducks and herons of all sorts. You just might see a great Blue Heron fishing from your window.
The soothing sound of these creeks followed me wherever I went on the property, which I loved.
There is a cute picnic area with awesome Davis Mountain views.
Not a bad life for this guy!
Balmorhea is just the right size–not so big that you can’t see it in a day, but not so small that it’s not worth the journey. As someone who loves to camp, I could appreciate the size of the campsite area. At parks with dozens of campsites, it can feel like there are too many people. At Balmorhea, there are just enough campsites to where there’s a friendly atmosphere but you’re still surrounded by the mountain scenery and peace & quiet of nature..
No where else in Texas will you find a spot quite like this. I definitely recommend making the drive and seeing the other landmarks in the area.
Things to Know
- Website and Reservations: http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/balmorhea
- Nearby Attractions: awe-inspiring McDonald Observatory, always captivating Indian Lodge, iconic Prada Marfa, delicious Reata Alpine, and–far flung but mega hits–Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.