RUIDOSA, Texas – When it comes time to mosey out of the quintessential west Texas town of Marfa, most folks take the main lanes that intersect in the middle of town. But those seeking additional adventures head out on FM 2810. It’s paved for the first 30 miles, and then the real fun begins.
As soon as you hit the gravel of pinto canyon road, the views are already breathtaking. And as you snake through the valleys and peaks of this particular mountain range, Chianti Peaks starts to come into view. For 45 minute, this 15 mile drive itself is well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List, but if you turn off at the clearly marked sign for the Chianti Hot Springs, you’re hot on the trail for one of the most serene stops in the Lone Star State.
Diana Burbach is the caretaker of this relaxing resort that’s been hidden away in the hills since the 1930s.
“It’s quiet. Not a lot of people,” said Burbach. “No traffic, to trains, no planes. Nothing. Nothing but the wildlife.”
Despite being one incredibly desolate location, mankind has been making their way here for thousands of years, all to soak in the springs.
“A lot of people will come out here if they have back aches or body aches, especially a lot of the locals,” Burbach said. “They really believe in it, and they will just sit in that water.”
These bubbling waters that come out of the earth at 110 degrees are soaked with minerals like lithium, arsenic and others that are said to cure the aches and pains of life. Everything from arthritis to skin conditions.
“This is our outdoor community hot tub,” said Burbach. “This is where people will gather in the evening time, share some drinks and some stories.”
With seven cabins and seven campsites, you’ll only find a dozen people at most here. And if soaking in your own mineral bath is more up your alley, you can do that too.
But the camaraderie of coming to a place like this is what this experience is all about.
“We do have a full kitchen. We’ve got two refrigerators. We have stove, microwave, we’ve got outdoor grills, pots, pans, dishes. We have all you need in here,” Burbach said. “Coffee, coffeemakers, you just need to bring your food and your beverages. The water’s good to drink.” \
Tom Mason is from Austin and came with his good friend Tom Smith from Pasadena.
“We were looking for, you know, an obscure, end-of-the-road place, and this is the perfect end-of-the-road place,” said Smith.
Here there’s only one kind of communication – face-to-face. Phones don’t work, TV’s aren’t present, and somehow life goes on.
“The people who come out here are really, really friendly because they want to come here and, so it’s nice,” Mason said. “There’s so few places left like this in the state, unfortunately. We’ve gotten so urbanized and most of us live in cities, and we forget what it’s like to be out somewhere where you can drive by starlight or actually see the constellations and have no pollution. It’s terrific.”
While many would find this seclusion superb, being secluded out in the middle of the southwest Texas desert with no way to contact the outside world, or the outside world to contact you is more than some can handle in this ever shrinking society.
“I’m not sure all Texans need to come out here,” said Smith. “I think a small fraction who aren’t afraid of spending time alone and discovering who they are or comfortable interfacing with strange people should only come here.”
So if you find yourself looking to reconnect to yourself and meet people you’ll enjoy having a conversation with under the incredible stars of the Lone Star State, stop by the Chinati Hot Springs to bathe in the waters, words, and wisdom of fellow Texans.
“They need to get to a place where they’re going to have solitude,” Burbach said. “They can, you know, have peace and quiet, get their mind stress free, and just come out and enjoy the peace and quiet.”