2020 will be remembered as the year of the road trip. I’m a native Texan and have traveled many places in our great state but I have never been to the Big Bend area. Imagine my excitement when we decided to travel to check out The Local Chapter near Terlingua, Texas. You’ll want to know about this magnificent place and we’re sharing our itinerary.
Pete and I just returned from a week in the Big Bend region of Texas. If you don’t know anything about this part of the lone star state, think of the movie Giant. While it was shot near Marfa, Texas in 1955, the landscape is the same. We took our private plane and landed in Marfa to explore the town and local area too. That will become a separate blog post that will publish next week. For now, let’s focus on glamping at The Local Chapter.
Native Texans and husband-and-wife team, Baxter Box and Amber Venz Box, created The Local Chapter as a private retreat for the design-minded adventurer. They were frequent visitors of west Texas and in 2017, secured over 400 acres of untouched, private high desert land on the western boundary of Big Bend National Park and began work on their private sanctuary. The property is a private wildlife preserve.
Since The Local Chapter shares a border with Big Bend National Park and sits high on an unobstructed mesa, the four luxury yurts provide a 360 degree view of the Chisos mountain range, Maverick Mountain and untouched desert landscape. There’s nothing but native rock, plants and cactus as far as the eye can see. It’s located in a designated international dark sky area, which provides a quality of starry nights like no other. In fact, you can enjoy them from the comfort of your king size bed through the clear dome of the yurt!
Each luxury yurt (round tent with permanent flooring) is 573 square feet, is air conditioned/heated, has a king bed with Sferra Italian linens, offers a personal telescope for star gazing and has a large bathroom with oversized shower and luxury bath products as well as a Dyson Supersonic hairdryer. A mini fridge, microwave & Keurig coffee maker are in each yurt for your convenience. You also have a private outdoor fire ring and wood-burning fireplace inside each unit.
What is there to do? Plenty and yet nothing. That’s the beauty of it all. There is no WiFi at The Local Chapter and you are doing good to have 3G cell service. It’s perfect to unplug and get away from it all. In other words, don’t plan on joining a bunch of Zoom calls for work. And when you are in the parks, there is no cell service at all. Just breath and enjoy nature!
How do you get there? If you are coming from Dallas plan on an eight hour road trip. Alternatively, you could fly from Dallas to Midland and rent a car. Once you get to Alpine, Texas, head south on TX 118 for 80 miles. The Local Chapter entrance is just past Terlingua/Study Butte and a few miles before the entrance to Big Bend National Park. Regardless of how you get there, you will definitely need a car to get around. Preferably something that has four wheel drive capability.
TRAVEL TIPS: The ecosystem in the area is home to many snakes, spiders and scorpions so boots are a must! Be mindful of where you are stepping when hiking in the parks and local area. This includes going outside at night to star gaze. The Big Bend area is also known for black bears, mountain lions, javelinas and coyotes. And yes, we saw a coyote and many road runners.
PACKING LIST: Pack sunscreen (50 SPF), chapstick, a hat, walking/hiking clothes, boots, sneakers, a jacket (it gets chilly at night), jeans and casual clothes. Bring all of your skincare products because the dry air will wreck your skin. I had all of my Colleen Rothschild products with me! Comfort is the name of the game. There is absolutely nothing to dress up for so leave your high heels at home!
Be sure to bring lots of water bottles with you. We stopped at The Cottonwood General Store and purchased a case of bottled water. We went through all of it! This part of West Texas is dry, desert land and you will be parched. You could also bring food with you for your yurt. We chose to eat out for all our meals (see below). All restaurants in Terlingua are within a 15 minute drive from The Local Chapter.
Your Private Yurt Awaits You
You can watch the beautiful sunrise each morning form your deck. We did this in our pajamas and robes while enjoying coffee.
What To Do
Explore Big Bend National Park. You can go hiking (there are easy trails) and just enjoy nature. We planned to drive through a lot of the park and were going to hike Santa Elena Canyon, however due to recent rain that part of the park road was closed. Instead we did the Ross Maxwell scenic drive and did the easy Sam Nail Ranch trail where we saw a working water mill. Big Bend National Park is over 800,000 acres. Visit their website for the most up to date information. They offer several ideas on what to do in park depending on the amount of time you have. You can actually cross over to Mexico into rural Boquillas so bring your passport if you want to do this. If you are in the park in the evening you can witness the most spectacular sunset.
Drive through and hike Big Bend Ranch State Park. Yes, I know – there are two parks. Honestly, this was our favorite! It’s more rugged than the national park. This beautiful state park offers over 300,000 acres to explore. You can go horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking and camping. Contact Big Bend River Tours, Desert Sports, Far Flung Outdoor Center or Lajitas Stables for excursions. Be sure to stop at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center to pay your entrance fee. Visit their website for the most up to date information.
Looking out over the Rio Grande towards Mexico in Big Bend Ranch State Park. The scenery is breathtaking! If you are not a hiker, you can simply drive the scenic route of FM170 from Lajitas to Presidio. We hiked the Closed Canyon Trail and Hoodoos Trail (both are easy) and were able to see the Rio Grande up close.
Star and planet gazing! While each yurt comes with its own telescope, Pete insisted that we bring our own. He has some sort of dial in system to locate constellations. We saw the Milky Way, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter with four moons and many stars at night. Pete also saw the Andromeda galaxy! The big dipper and little dipper as well as the North Star were easy to locate. It’s so dark that we walked from our yurt to the telescope with a flashlight.
Play cards, drink wine and just enjoy each others company. There are no TV’s in the yurts so be sure to bring a good book. There is also no WiFi so make sure it’s a hard copy book! I love this leather case playing card set (it comes with two decks of cards). Since you can personalize it, it makes a wonderful gift too.
Sit by the fire, roast s’mores and just enjoy the great outdoors. Each yurt has its own fire pit right in front of it making it easy to relax.
MORE OPTIONS: Go horseback riding, canoeing, ATV riding, go on a Jeep tour and more. Contact Far Flung Outdoor Center and Big Bend Stables for details.
Where To Eat
DB’s Rustic Iron BBQ is an absolute must! We made friends with DB while dining there. Open until 4 PM or until he sells out.
The Starlight Theater is a great place for dinner, drinks and local music. Ranch Water is the drink of choice – lucky me!
Head to Canyon Brew Coffee if you are in a hurry and want your coffee to go. Delicious homemade muffins and Texas kolaches too. It’s next door to the Far Flung Outdoor Center.
Chili Pepper Cafe has great burgers and Mexican food. We actually ate there twice because it was good and very convenient.
Breakfast at La Posada Milagro. They certainly have more than breakfast food. We found it a delicious way to start our day.
MORE OPTIONS: Long Draw Pizza, High Sierra Bar & Grill, The Thirsty Goat (Lajitas), and Cendelilla Cafe (Lajitas)
We had so much fun and really reconnected on this trip. Nature and endless time will do that for you. If you have never been to the Big Bend region, we highly recommend it. It’s very safe, laid back and tranquil. Life has a slower pace in this region. Book your luxury yurt by clicking HERE. It’s perfect for a girls trip, couples trip or even a family trip. There are a total of four yurts (2 people each) so the maximum occupancy at The Local Chapter is eight people. Talk about private!
Four days/three nights would be great but if you have more time to explore, I could certainly see a five night trip being ideal. More details on Marfa, Alpine, Marathon and the surrounding areas next week.
xoxo – Tanya
P.S. My packing list below is a bit varied as it was everything I needed for Marfa too. Check out this post of how I organized it.
shop the post
pin this image
Thank you to The Local Chapter for inviting us. All opinions are my own.Tags: Big Bend, glamping, Texas, The Local Chapter