Van Horn Travel Guide

Read this comprehensive guide to Van Horn and discover the top things to do, the best places to stay, and the most delicious local dishes to try.

Introduction to Van Horn

Located in the Big Bend Country of Texas, Van Horn is a small town with a lot to offer. Surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, this town is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or a history buff, Van Horn has something for everyone. In this comprehensive travel guide, we will take you on a tour of the best places to visit, things to do, and local culture in Van Horn.

List of Places to Visit in Van Horn

Van Horn has several attractions and landmarks that should be on any visitor’s itinerary. From culturally rich museums to natural attractions bursting in beauty, this list will help you discover the best sights of Van Horn.

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

The history and culture of Van Horn come to life in its museums and historic places. Here are some of the significant attractions that you should visit in Van Horn:

  • Clark Hotel Museum - A newly opened museum, the Clark Hotel Museum is a well-maintained historic building that now houses exhibits showcasing the local culture and heritage of Van Horn.
  • Culberson County Historical Museum - This museum features exhibits dedicated to the history of the county, Van Horn, and its surrounding areas.
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park - This park is home to unusual geological formations, fossilized reefs, canyons, and mountains that provide a unique experience for visitors.

Natural Attractions of Van Horn: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Van Horn is a paradise for nature enthusiasts, providing a variety of outdoor experiences and scenic views. Here are some of the significant natural attractions that you should visit in Van Horn:

  • Red Rock Ranch - This natural reserve provides visitors with opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and scenic drives in the Van Horn area.
  • Davis Mountains State Park - Established in 1933, this state park is approximately 74 miles from Van Horn but worth the drive. The park features several hiking trails, campsites, and cactus gardens displaying local fauna and flora.
  • Wylie Mountains - These mountains lie to the east of Van Horn and provide a beautiful view of the town’s surroundings.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Van Horn

Van Horn’s natural beauty is best appreciated by getting out and exploring on foot or bike. Here are some of the top-rated hiking and biking routes to try when in Van Horn:

  • The Guadalupe Peak Trail - This trail is the highest peak in the state of Texas and takes about eight hours to complete the round trip. It features a range of terrain, including rocky terrain and a wooded area that provides hikers with a stunning experience.
  • The Devil’s Hall Trail - This trail is about a 2.4-mile round trip and is rated easy. It takes hikers through a narrow canyon and prairies and is an excellent opportunity for taking photos.
  • The Frijole Ranch Trail - This trail is 3.4 miles round trip and takes about 90 minutes to complete. The trail leads hikers through the ruins of an old ranch house while offering great views of the surrounding desert and mountains.

Best Things to Do in Van Horn: Activities and Tours

There are numerous activities and tours to help you experience Van Horn’s best attractions. Here are some of the top-rated tours and activities to try when in Van Horn:

  • White Sands National Park Tour – Visitors can take a full-day tour from Van Horn to White Sands National Park, a unique place in southwestern New Mexico with white gypsum sand dunes.
  • Night Sky Photography Tours – Visitors can explore Van Horn’s stunning night sky with a professional astronomer tour guide. Capture magnificent photos of the universe’s most beautiful phenomena, including the Milky Way and constellations.
  • Stargazing – Visitors can enjoy the excellent stargazing opportunities in Van Horn, thanks to the town’s clear skies.

Week-Long Itinerary for Van Horn

For a week-long stay, here’s a comprehensive itinerary for Van Horn:

Day Activity
1 Arrive and check-in
2 Explore Red Rock Ranch
3 Day trip to Davis Mountains State Park
4 Visit the Clark Hotel Museum and Culberson County Historical Museum
5 Hike at Guadalupe Peak Trail
6 Photography tour or stargazing at Van Horn
7 Departure

Food and Drink Scene of Van Horn

The food and drink scene in Van Horn may be modest, but it has its gems:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Steak fingers with gravy – This dish features tenderized steaks that are breaded, fried to crispy perfection, and served with a rich gravy on top.
  • Breakfast burritos - Van Horn’s breakfast burritos are a local favorite, filled with eggs, bacon or sausage, cheese, and a variety of other ingredients wrapped in a warm tortilla.
  • Blue Bell ice cream – Although not a local product, the Blue Bell ice cream found in Van Horn is the perfect dessert after a long day in the sun.

Local Beverages

  • Dr. Pepper - A Texan classic, Dr. Pepper, is casually referred to as liquid gold in the area and is commonly available in Van Horn.

Where to Stay in Van Horn: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Van Horn may be a small town but offers a variety of lodging options:

  • Red Roof PLUS+ Van Horn - A budget-friendly and conveniently located hotel in Van Horn.
  • Desert Inn - This motel in Van Horn offers guests with spacious rooms that are comfortable and clean.
  • GuestHouse Inn Van Horn - This hotel offers visitors great amenities like a continental breakfast and a fitness center.

What to Buy in Van Horn: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Van Horn may be small, but visitors can still find unique and interesting souvenirs to bring back:

  • Cowboy hats and boots - Van Horn still boasts an authentic Western vibe, making it a perfect place to find unique cowboy hats and boots.
  • Cactus candy - Visitors can try the cactus candy, a local product made with a mix of sugar, prickly pear juice, honey, and pecans.

Local Culture and Customs of Van Horn

The locals in Van Horn take pride in their history and Western traditions. It is recommended to observe the following customs:

  • Proper attire is recommended when engaging in outdoor activities, and it’s essential to protect oneself from the sun and heat.
  • Always remove your hat when entering a store, restaurant, or other public place as a sign of respect.

Best Time to Visit Van Horn

The best time to visit Van Horn is in the fall (September to November) and winter (December to February) months. The summer months can be scorching and uncomfortable in Van Horn.

Do’s and Don’ts of Van Horn


  • Respect the local culture and traditions.
  • Wear appropriate gear when exploring the natural attractions of Van Horn.
  • Take care of the natural attractions of Van Horn and leave no trace.


  • Litter in any of the natural parks or trails.
  • Disrespect the local customs or heritage.

Safety and Health

Safety in Van Horn

Van Horn is a relatively safe town, but visitors should still abide by some guidelines:

  • Always lock your car doors and avoid leaving valuables inside your vehicle.
  • Check the weather before heading out to any of Van Horn’s outdoor attractions.

Health in Van Horn

Van Horn is a small town, and visitors should come prepared with their essential medical supplies. There is a hospital in Van Horn that visitors can access for any medical emergencies or health concerns.

Getting to Van Horn: Transportation Options and Logistics

Visitors can get to Van Horn through several transportation options:

Airports Near Van Horn

  • El Paso International Airport – 143 miles from Van Horn.
  • Midland International Air and Space Port – 198 miles from Van Horn.

Bus Stations Near Van Horn

  • Greyhound Bus Station – located in Van Horn, Texas.

Other Options

Visitors can opt to drive to Van Horn by taking US Highway 90 or US Highway 54.

How to Get Around in Van Horn

The best way to explore Van Horn is through a car. Public transportation is underdeveloped in the area, and ride-sharing services are limited.

Where to Go Next from Van Horn: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Van Horn offers visitors several nearby destinations and excursions:

  • Marfa, Texas – A cultural hub, located about 70 miles from Van Horn.
  • Alpine, Texas – An iconic, historic small town located southeast of Marfa on Highway 90.
  • Big Bend National Park – A golden desert oasis located around 125 miles south of Van Horn.


Van Horn is a small but vibrant town that boasts a rich culture and history. From outdoor adventures to significant museums, this Texan town has a lot to offer, making it an excellent destination for any traveler. With this comprehensive guide, visitors can enjoy the best of Van Horn while observing the local customs and traditions.