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Terlingua, Texas

In the 1800s the area around Terlingua was inhabited by a few scattered Mexican herders, living in a precarious relationship with Apache and Comanche tribes who regularly moved through the wild country. Mercury was discovered in 1890, and soon thriving city of almost 2,000 was devoting its energies to extracting the rich red ore (cinnabar) from beneath barren hills. Millions of dollars worth of quicksilver was marketed before the boom tapered off. The hundreds of wooden shacks are gone entirely; many rock and adobe buildings stand roofless, walls crumbling.

Some modern residents have come of late-leisure homes in the remote desert setting, a country store with grocery staples, souvenirs and mineral specimens, a few motel-type accommodations, a couple of restaurants, and the Terlingua Ranch Resort.

Once a year, on the first Sat. in Nov., some 5,000 "chiliheads" converge on the desolate area for the International Championship Chili Cookoffs. The first, started in 1967 as a contest both of wit and chili between humorists Wick Fowler and H. Allen Smith, has become a cherished Texas tradition. The other contest includes individuals and representatives from the Chili Appreciation Society International.

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Things to do near Terlingua, TX

Scenic Drives

Scenic Drive traces a winding course on southern flank of Mount Franklin above downtown El Paso, with view of Juárez across t...

Wilderness Park Museum

Dioramas depict ancient Indian tribes of the Southwest, their survival in the desert, and life to a changing environment. Als...

San Elizario Presidio Chapel

Founded 1777 to serve Spanish military garrison and government. Still in daily use, chapel stands as built 200 years ago, pre...

Presidential Museum

The Presidential Museum is one of the few museums in the country dedicated solely to the office of the President. Permanent e...

Davis Mountains State Park

In a sloping basin among scenic Davis Mountains, 1,869 acres host more than 155,000 visitors annually. Primary service facili...