Viva Terlingua

Jul 24

Viva Terlingua

Terlingua, Texas is about 17 miles from Lajitas. It’s a former mining community that was abandoned in the 1940s. At the time about 2000 people lived there. Today, the community is known as Terlingua Ghost Town and about 58 people live there.

Terlingua is a tourist attraction even though it’s very off the grid. There are places to stay nearby in Lajitas and Study Butte, and Big Bend National Park is about 50 miles away and Big Bend Ranch State Park is closest, just past Lajitas. Terlingua is also the site of a popular chili cookoff, a music festival, and the birthplace of the Shelby Cobra race car.

We spent our time there first having breakfast at the cafe. The food was good and they offer gluten-free options for sandwiches. The cafe also has free wi-fi. We sat at a table under an awning and enjoyed the breeze and the view. Then we stopped at the Terlingua Trading Post to look around and get a pamphlet about the walking tour.

We spent about an hour walking around the small town. There are a few capped off mine shafts, ruins from the 1940s when this was a bustling mining town, and an abandoned mansion on the hilltop that was owned by the mine owner. The desert area is beautiful, though, and the people who live there have found a way to make it work. Homesites consist of combinations of trailers, storage buildings and containers. I had a great phone signal from Verizon there and could see satellite dishes on most of the buildings. Water is the biggest concern in the desert. A lot of the off-the-grid homes rely on water tanks and either use a rain catchment system or buy water and have it pumped into their holding tanks. Some homes also use solar or wind power to generate electricity.

See our photos from Terlingua / Study Butte in the Google Photos album

There’s plenty of land available for sale around the Ghost Town and the surrounding area. Some people use their land as a winter getaway while others have decided to live there full-time. The jobs in the area include the nearby resort, the tour guide / sports related companies, or self-employment. Several artists live in the area.

All it took was one visit to the area and we fell in love with the mountains and the land. After we travel for a while, we’re planning to buy land and settle somewhere in the Terlingua / Study Butte / Lajitas area and use it as our home base.

Have you ever been to Terlingua, Texas? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.


  1. I visited as a child, but never forgot this place. I love the unique beauty of the land there.

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