15 Best Things to Do in Alpine, TX

Alpine, TX skylin
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City slickers who want out of the metro but don’t feel like the beach might want to visit the small city of Alpine, Texas.

Once there, travelers can connect with the vibrant community, a thriving arts and culture scene, as well as the rich history, shared between Texas and Mexico.

For a fuller appreciation of Alpine, think of the city like a wheel with many spokes.

You start at the city, at the center, and then venture out into its many attractions.

Along the way to these attractions, you’ll also admire the high-desert view along the city’s various scenic routes.

The city itself sits on an elevation of 4,475 feet, so you can live your dreams as a desert cowboy looking out over the plains, with the sun at your back and warm air on your face.

Check out everything Alpine has to offer by reading this list below.

Enter Local History at Hancock Hill

Bicycle Burial Ground on Tree in Hancock Hill
Kelly vanDellen / Shutterstock.com

Write your name in the annals of Alpine history by finishing the Hancock Hill trail and signing your name onto The Desk at the peak of the hill.

In 1981, three students at the Sul Ross State University got the bright idea of lugging along a school desk to the hill above the university campus.

Since then, this desk has become its own tourist attraction, capping off a 20-minute hike along Hancock Hill.

Bicycle Burial Ground on Tree in Hancock Hill
Kelly vanDellen / Shutterstock.com

Marvel at your achievement by writing your name in the notebook on the desk, and then admire the view of the campus and the town.

You can find the trail at the university’s Mountainside Dormitory parking lot and begin your climb toward the rock pile at the top.

The trail is visible from this spot.

Relive History at the Museum of the Big Bend

Perhaps no state in the US is more historic than Texas, for even a small city like Alpine contains centuries of shared history between Texas and Mexico.

If you want to witness this history, drop by the Museum of Big Bend.

The Museum contains artifacts and dioramas portraying the early history of the United States.

Through these displays, you can learn about the lives of the early settlers and the history of the cowboys of legend.

Likewise, visitors can study the natural history of Alpine through the museum’s collection of geological maps, called “Truth and Beauty.”

You’ll need to enter the Sul Ross University campus to reach the Museum. Its address is Box C-101, Alpine, TX 79832.

Walk Down History With the Alpine Historic Walking Tour

Starting at the Railroad Depot, at Holland Avenue & 5th Street, the Alpine walking tour takes you on a stroll down the historic streets of downtown Alpine.

The tour finishes across Avenue E, near the Brewster County Courthouse.

Among the sites and sights, you can see along the tour are the Ritchey Hotel, the Alpine Studio, and Alpine’s first firehouse.

Constructed in the 1880s, the Ritchey Hotel is still standing today.

It is also one of Alpine’s oldest commercial buildings. In 1908, the hotel got a frame addition.

Pioneer photographer John Thain built the Alpine Studio in 1907, which was remodeled along the Mission style in 1928.

Alpine built its first firehouse in 1924, which housed its 1923 Ford fire truck.

Take Yourself to the Ballgame at Kokernot Field

View of Kokernot Field
Leaflet (talk) 03:20, 19 October 2008 (UTC), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re itching for live sports while at Alpine, you can head over to Kokernot Field for a few innings of baseball.

Not only will you enjoy cheering for every homer, but you’ll also get to surround yourself with nature.

Still not convinced? Sports Illustrated itself once named Kokernot Field as “The Best Little Ballpark in Texas.” Save this spot for your trip and maybe even catch some foul balls!

The Kokernot Field is at Loop Road, Alpine, TX 79830.

Rockwall at at Kokernot Field
Leaflet, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Chow Down the Famous Hot Dogs at the Cow Dog

A tour along downtown Alpine and a nature visit will make anyone hungry.

Good thing Alpine is also home to the iconic local food truck, the Cow Dog, which sells the city’s famous 100% beef grilled hot dogs.

Among the many delicious hot dogs are The Hangover, the Wing Dog, the Vegomatic, the Artisan, and several others.

Take a bite of these hot dogs to taste a little bit of heaven, one mouth-watering morsel at a time.

You can usually find the Cow Dog at 215 East Holland Avenue, Alpine, TX 79830.

Enjoy a Nice Cup of Joe at Cedar Coffee Supply

If you’re not up for touring, why not spend a lazy Alpine afternoon with a nice cup of coffee?

For your caffeine fix, drop by Cedar Coffee Supply and while away the day with your friends or loved ones.

The café also allows visitors to enjoy a laid-back, worry-free day through its casual ambiance that lets in a lot of natural light.

The light enters the café and bathes everyone inside thanks to its friendly interior design accentuated by fitting décor.

You can find the Cedar Coffee Supply at 103 North 4th Street, Alpine, TX 79830.

Enjoy the Desert Air Along the Blue Creek Trail

While you’re already outside anyway, take advantage of the picturesque hiking trails available in Alpine.

One of these is the Blue Creek Trail, which takes hikers toward the sun-glazed Chisos Mountains.

The hike begins at the Homer Wilson Ranch.

However, the trail offers some fairly arduous slopes, which means inexperienced hikers will have a hard time.

But if you reach the top, you’ll get to look out over the ochre plains that teem with different species of wildlife.

Live Out Your Cowboy Dreams at the Big Bend Saddlery

Outside View of Big Bend Saddlery
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Dreaming of living the frontier life? How about riding your trusty steed toward the sunset a la John Wayne?

Better go down to the Big Bend Saddlery at Alpine and make your dreams come true!

The Big Bend Saddlery sells a variety of cowboy souvenirs fit to prepare you for a swashbuckling adventure on the plains and mountains of Texas.

What’s more, these items, such as belts, saddles, and hunting equipment, are handcrafted to reach high-quality standards.

You can find the Big Bend Saddlery at 2701 US-90, Alpine, TX 79830.

Enjoy Music and Beer at the Railroad Blues

Everyone knows that any vacation is incomplete without a night out.

Likewise, Alpine doesn’t disappoint when it comes to night spots for friends to enjoy some drinks and live music.

One of these spots is the Railroad Blues, a rustic bar that gives tourists a taste of the quiet desert life.

The bar offers tasty craft beer paired with delicious food, which should give you enough energy to dance the night away to live music.

If you don’t like dancing, you can also play some darts and pool.

The Railroad Blues can be found at 504 West Holland Avenue, Alpine, TX 79830.

Relax With More Drinks at Harry’s Tinaja

Of course, any veteran tourist knows that the more choices for attractions, the better.

So, if you can’t decide where to get your drink on, you can always check out Harry’s Tinaja, an Alpine pub.

The well-decorated pub offers tourists a chance to connect with the Alpine locals over some drinks and snacks.

Otherwise, you can also bring your drinks outside and relax while looking at the splendid view.

You can visit Harry’s Tinaja at 412 East Holland Avenue, Alpine, TX 79830.

Indulge your taste for the arts while at Alpine by going to the Gallery on the Square, sponsored by the Big Bend Arts Council.

As an artists’ cooperative, the Gallery on the Square hosts artwork created by the local artists of Alpine.

The place has displayed countless of the best works of these local artists since 2009.

If you want to prove your chops as an artist, you can also apply for the Big Bend Arts Council membership.

For a minimal fee, you can become a member and get a chance to show your work at shows throughout the year.

The Gallery on the Square is located across the train depot at 115 West Holland Avenue, Alpine, TX.

Look at the Murals in Downtown Alpine

View of Downtown Alpine
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If you’d rather stay in downtown Alpine, don’t worry, because you’d still find many things to do.

One of them is to walk downtown and check out the various murals painted on the walls of several local businesses.

Inside the Museum of the Big Bend is one mural, which is a historical map of the entire region.

Enrique Espinoza painted the map in 1940.

Next, go to the Brewster County Tax Appraisal office, formerly the post office, for another mural.

This time, you can see the “View of Alpine” painting created by Jose Moya del Pine in 1940.

Two other murals stand perpendicular to each other at the stoplight on Holland Avenue and 5th Street.

One of these murals is titled “Big Brewster,” which contains images of faces and places that define the county, like the CF Ranch and the Big Bend National Park.

Don’t worry about where to start. Just follow wherever your feet take you, and you’re bound to see all of these murals.

Marvel at the Gems on Display at the Last Frontier Museum

If you’re interested in some precious crystals, you can visit the Last Frontier Museum in Alpine.

The museum offers an arrangement of valuable crystals and minerals to catching the eye of any prospective collector or gem enthusiast.

The museum provides guided tours of the crystal displays, teaching tourists all about these rare stones, including where to find them in the Big Bend region.

You also learn about the different ways these rocks have been used throughout the years.

Amateur paleontologists will also appreciate the Last Frontier Museum for its fossil collections of the region’s prehistoric wildlife. Brush off your magnifying glasses!

Visit the Last Frontier Museum at Alpine, TX 79830.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Admire Texas’ Unique Landscape at the Big Bend National Park

Santa Elena Canyon at Big Bend National Park
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Texas isn’t just home to cowboys and movie gunslingers, but it also bears some awe-inspiring natural wonders and lovely scenery.

One example is the Big Bend National Park.

Located in the middle of the Texan Desert, the park contains rivers that sparkle with life, surrounded by awe-inspiring valley views.

Mountains in Big Bend National Park
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

Aside from river life, the park is also home to a variety of desert flora and fauna.

Better bring your best camera with you when you visit, because you’ll fill up your camera roll very quickly at the park.

Get Down to Earth at the Mariscal Mine

View of Mariscal Mine
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Once the hotbed for the mining economy of the Big Bend region, the Mariscal Mine is now one of Texas' many historical sites.

At its height, the mine once produced almost a quarter of the US’ entire mercury supply, totaling 1,400 seventy-six-pound flasks.

View of Mariscal Mine
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Today, the mine is deserted, but tourists can go there to recall the hardworking men and women who built up Big Bend’s economy and helped them settle the region.

Make sure to obey all the safety regulations at the site on your visit. The Mariscal Mine is located in the Big Bend National Park.

Final Thoughts

When you get the itch to leave the city, why not try visiting a new place by heading to Alpine, Texas?

The city is proof that you can still enjoy a vacation out of town even if you’re not sunning yourself on the beach.

Alpine offers visitors a rich selection of tourist attractions, natural sights, and artistic hotspots to satisfy every visitor’s tastes.

You can even learn much about the unique history of Texas by tracing the town’s connections to neighboring Mexico.

Likewise, you can finally realize your dreams of starring in a cowboy movie by immersing yourself in the rugged plains of the Texas desert.

You can even hit up a few pubs to deepen your immersion.

Are you convinced? Start planning your Alpine trip today!