Val Verde County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: March 12, 2002
Author: Scott Surgent


We awoke and got on the road about 7 am. We went north about 20 miles up TX-349 to a paved spur called FM-3166 that leads 3 miles to an enormous refinery plant stuck incongruously in the middle of the bleak desert flats. From here we used the Delorme to drive in about 10 miles on good oil roads all the way to the Pecos River bottom. Here, we sensed we were not on the road we thought we were on. After driving up and down the limited roads in the river bottom, we drove into a residence. A bunch of friendly dogs stopped me in the road, and out came the landowner and a few of his buddies/family members. They were kind but firm that we were on private land and should not be there. We backtracked out the same road we came in on. We did explore some other roads in the oil-road net and it's possible one may be the one we wanted, but the Delorme was not clear at all. We really needed the individual topos.

Anyway, back out to the highway. We parked at this refinery plant, which is loud, ugly and smelly - and people live there. It's called "Terrell Plant".

We went south on TX-349 to Pumpville Road, a maintained dirt road that, 32 miles later, led us to the tiny settlement of Pandale. Here, my map showed a road that came near the Val Verde highpoint from the southeast. We went in about 3 or 4 miles before coming to a gate with emphatic "No Trespassing" signs, the kind that really mean it. We returned to the main road and went north some more, finally coming out to pavement again (FM 2083). Our final option was via the Mitchell Ranch Company, but again met with signs that best suggested we stay out.

After almost 5 hours of driving and meeting dead ends, we called it quits. We did get a couple names of ranches to follow up for future possibilities, but this time Val Verde won out. We drove up to Ozona for lunch and a new air-filter for my truck.