OverviewEagle Peak is the highpoint of the Eagle Mountains in west Texas. It is also the highpoint of Hudspeth County. Some sources refer to these mountains as the Devil Ridge Mountains. Eagle Peak is located in a remote desert region south of I-10 between the towns of Van Horn and Sierra Blanca. The glistening white radar dome atop Eagle Peak can easily be seen from I-10, and it is the most prominent mountain in the area. However, very few people ever venture into the Eagle Mountains. Eagle Peak is not well known, and it is in a remote area close to the Mexican border. Access to Eagle Peak requires a fairly long drive on backcountry dirt roads. The FAA maintains a radar site on Eagle Peak, and the site is accessed by a paved road. However, this road is off-limits. Eagle Peak has a prominence of 3,114'.
Like almost all of Texas, Eagle Peak is located entirely on private land. That's probably why few people ever travel to this area. Everyone probably assumes that Eagle Peak is off-limits, but we found out that wasn't necessarily the case all the time.
Getting ThereFrom the town of Sierra Blanca on I-10, drive south several miles on the paved Texas Ranch Road 1111. There's a good chance you'll encounter the Border Patrol around here. We did, and our vehicles got searched. At some point, the road turns to dirt at a road fork at Fivemile Point. Turn left here onto a dirt road. Drive about 10 to 20 miles southeast on this road until you reach a signed road junction that says Hayter Ranch. I didn't keep track of the exact mileage, but this junction is located just north of the BM 3781 mark on the Cedar Arroyo topo map. This road leads to the Hayter Ranch. I wasn't sure if this was a private road or not. Although we didn't see any No Trespassing signs anywhere, I really didn't want to go on. I was almost looking for an excuse to turn around, but the guys I was with wanted to press on until we encountered a No Trespassing sign. However, we pretty much all agreed that if we saw such a sign, we would turn around.
We started up the road, unsure of what to expect. None of us wanted to end up in the county jail on trespassing charges. We soon encountered a pickup coming at us. I thought we might be in trouble, but the guy was just a worker at the Hayter Ranch, and said we were still on a county road. He said the county road ended up at an antenna site, which was still a few miles ahead of us. We pressed on, and soon saw another guy in a pickup who told us the same thing. We then parked the cars and started discussing our strategy. We decided that we would drive all the way to the Hayter Ranch, and ask permission to cross his land. If he said no, we were out of there. However, luck was with us on this day. While we were still parked along the road, another pickup came driving up the road behind us. We waved at him, and he waved back - a good sign. I was the first one to talk to him, and noticed a gun on his front seat. I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought that he might call the sheriff on us even though we were told that this was a county road. I told him that we were trying to get to Eagle Peak, and asked if he could help us get there without causing any trouble. It turned out that he was the owner of the Hayter Ranch, and much to our amazement, he was very friendly. He said we could cross his property, told us how to get to the top of Eagle Peak, and even said he liked having visitors. He just told us to follow him to his ranch house, so we did. We soon arrived at his house, which is impressively-situated in the heart of the Eagle Mountains. They really have some tremendous views around here. He told us we could camp in a scenic little arroyo next to his house, and gave us directions on how to get to the top of Eagle Peak. He said he owned all the land on this side of the mountain all the way to the summit, so we wouldn't have to worry about trespassing. He basically owns a dirt road that goes all the way to the top, which is something that we didn't know previously. I thought that we might have to bushwhack to the top, but that wasn't the case.
If you're ever planning on attempting Eagle Peak, you must ask for permission at the Hayter Ranch, and don't trespass. If no one is home, you should leave and not try to "stealth" the summit. You should also have alternate plans, such as Big Bend or the Davis Mountains, in case the access issues don't work out for you. If you try Eagle Peak and find out that the access issues have changed, you should post that information on this page so others will know.
Mountain ConditionsAccess to Eagle Peak is by permission only from the Hayter Ranch.
Maps: Eagle Mountains NE, Eagle Mountains NW, and the Cedar Arroyo 7.5 minute USGS topo maps.