Historical evidence in the West Texas Chihuahuan Desert region
indicates habitation for centuries prior to arrival of white men.
Fort Pena established there 1879 to guard frontier against Indian
uprisings; town developed 1882 with arrival of Texas and New Orleans
railroad. Name suggested by sea captain who said the area reminded
him of Marathon, Greece. Today the town on U.S. 90 at the junction
with U.S. 385 is a tourist crossroads, a major gateway to Big
Bend National Park, and a headquarters for vast ranching activities.
Ft. Pena/Colorado County Park, locally known as "the post,"
4 miles south of town, is surrounded by mountains: a popular place
to picnic and swim.
- BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK-Approximately 80 miles south
via U.S. 385.
- BLACK GAP WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA-100,000 acres devoted
to management study of native wildlife. Visitors welcome, though
formal tours not available. Species include bobcat, mule deer,
pronghorn, antelope, javelina, fox, coyote and reintroduced desert
bighorn sheep. Permit hunting and fishing in Rio Grande at specified
times. Camping area for authorized hunters and fishermen only.
South 55 miles via U.S. 385 and R.M. 2627.
- GREAT MARATHON BASIN-Widely known geologic area noted
for extensive surface outcroppings of varied rocks and minerals,
popular with professional geologists and amateur rockhounds.
Inquire locally for directions to many interesting spots.
- HISTORIC INN: Gage Hotel-Restored West Texas hotel
of the 1920s, original pine floors and woodwork; utilitarian rooms
(19) with ranch-style furnishings, 7 baths. Traditional Texas
fare in restaurant. U.S. 90 in town.
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