Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site

West Texas

The best art galleries in south central Texas are right here along the Rio Grande, and their works have been on view for at least 4000 years. This state park (9 miles west of Comstock), is famous for Fate Bell Shelter, a natural canvas of ancient rock art. If the art here were merely decorative, it would be magnificent, but the pictographs are more than just images – they're windows into their creators' daily routines, dreams, hopes and fears.

Rangers lead guided tours ($5; 10am and 3pm Tuesday to Sunday September to May, 3pm only Tuesday to Sunday June to August) of Fate Bell Shelter; these last up to 90 minutes and include a fairly strenuous hike down and up a canyon. Before or after the hike, stop by the visitor center to see excellent exhibits on the area's human history, from prehistoric times to more recent railroading and ranching days. Check the online calendar for dates for strenuous tours ($25) to secluded the sites in Presa Canyon, where you'll see different rock-art styles.There's also a short nature trail and longer trails through the often scorching but fascinating desert terrain. You can look across the canyon at the pictographs in Panther Cave from an overlook on the 6-mile round-trip Rio Grande River Trail.

The park's campgrounds, with 46 sites in total, have showers and makes a good base for exploring the Seminole Canyon area. It's on a hill, surrounded by beautiful desert vegetation.

The nearest town along US 90, Comstock, has limited services. Del Rio, 40 miles southeast, is a good base.

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