Sunday, November 27, 2011

Texas' Balmorhea State Park

We’ll be at Balmorhea State Park in tiny Toyahvale, Texas until tomorrow.   The park includes what looks like a motel complex right out of the 1950s, but was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in in 1935.    
The centerpiece of the campground is a two acre swimming pool also built by the CCC. Most of the pool is 25 feet deep and used by both swimmers and scuba divers; the bottom of the deep area is natural rock and has turtles and fish.  The pool is fed by the San Solomon Spring, and the water is about 74 degrees year round.  The spring also feeds a small pond and several canals at the park, plus the park’s cienega or desert wetlands.
Because the park is so quaint, I asked the rangers if movies had been made here.  They told me no, but that the film “Giant” was made in Marfa, about 60 miles south.  “Giant” starred Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean and was made in 1956, so it’s been a while.    
And I know I’m breaking a promise to Steve H. to run photos of Jim and me in our blog --- but here are photos I took this morning of Balmorhea State Park.
Some scuba divers take advantage of the park's huge swimming pool. This photo was actually taken yesterday -- and you can see we went from sunny to cloudy.
These buildings are shelters over picnic tables at each camp site.  The ranger also told me that the lead singer for Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, camped here recently.  Right now, the only people here are me, Jim, three other motor home campers and a tent camper.
One of the canals that run through the park.  The water in the canals and the pool is crystalline. All of the buildings -- including the campsite shelters -- are made of white plaster and have red tile roofs.
The Davis Mountain Range as seen from the park.
The motel-like complex at the park. Jim says it looks like ones he and his sister stayed in with his parents while traveling to his dad’s jobs building dams in the western US.
The Balmorhea State Park office. Jim thought "Balmorhea" was a biblical reference; I thought maybe it was Spanish.  Turns out it’s a combination of the first few letters of the names of three people who developed the nearby city of the same name.  It's pronounced Ball-more-ray.


  1. I love the looks of this campsite. Certainly should count as a ball of string. How do you find these places? We also appreciated the picture of our namesake mountain range. Keep warm.

  2. Isn't it pretty? You should see where we are now -- you'd love it. It's called "Rockhound State Park" in NM. Just got here this afternoon.