Don’t go alone to the Sierra Diablo Mountains. If you do, do not get lost. This beautiful and rugged range is not for causal adventurers and has been known to keep its secrets well within its steep canyons and stony soils. With an elevation of 6,578 feet, this Texas range encompasses 19 miles of mule deer and bighorn sheep, plus flora such as piñon, Arizona cypress, madrone, and ponderosa pine. In October 1854, the Battle of the Diablo Mountains occurred between the U.S. Army and the Lipan Apache over reports of pinched livestock. The battle was short and most of the animals were recovered.
Camping is allowed in the Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area, which is 11,624 acres. No amenities exist here, however, and all water and supplies must be carried in. Restrooms are not available and high clearance 4X4 vehicles are strongly recommended. Texas Parks and Wildlife first acquired the land in 1945 to serve as a reserve for Texas’s the last remaining desert bighorn sheep. Today, this area is home to the state’s largest free-ranging population. Van Horn is the nearest town of size to the Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area; distance-wise it is 37.6 miles, but travel time is an hour and a half.
Photo: @k.h via Twenty20
To those who are familiar with the area, the Sierra Diablo Mountains have a special place. A San Antonio salsa company is named after this region, and Jeff Bezos has chosen the site for a self-maintaining, 10,000-year clock. A preservation venture by the name of Pitchstone Waters is also located there, with the goal of increasing biodiversity. Also adjacent to the Sierra Diablo Mountains is the Diablo Plateau. Underneath the plateau is an aquifer that is “locally significant” to the area. Ultimately, the mysteries of this mountain range are buried deep, like its history of past eons. Visiting this giant is not for the weak!