Located in the northern section of the Chihuahua Desert, West Texas is characterized by dry, arid plains at high elevations, with cool nights and hot days. The area’s strong winds sometimes bring in snow storms in the winter. Ranches and oil derricks dominate the region, giving evidence of its most important economic contributors.
El Paso, located near the state’s westernmost border, is strongly influenced by both Mexican and American southwestern culture. Abilene, another important city in the region, was once known as a rough-and-tumble frontier town; these days, its downtown has recently undergone revitalization, restoring the Paramount Theatre and the Grace Museum. This was followed by the construction of the Frontier Texas! Museum in 2004, the construction of an $8 million new campus for Cisco Junior College, and the rise of new businesses and residential neighborhoods, making Abilene an important commercial, medical, and transportation center in the region.
But the region also offers plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten track. Big Bend National Park extends here, as does Big Bend Ranch State Park. The wilderness in West Texas tends to be more isolated and remote than many other areas of Texas; Big Bend Ranch State Park alone offers more than 300,000 acres of undeveloped wilderness for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities.
Amistad National Recreation Area is also a popular destination, offering beautiful waterways, many miles of hiking trails, and a rich historical background. Visitors can even visit ancient petroglyphs created by Native American cultures in the area.
One of the state’s less developed areas, West Texas is nevertheless a huge region with a lot to offer—from stunning arid and semi-arid landscapes to beautiful waterways and thriving urban centers.
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