There isn’t much that can qualify as “scenic” as you drive through West Texas on Interstate 10. The landscape isn’t quite “flat” — this isn’t Kansas — but it does lack many interesting features. As a result, you’ll probably be very happy to find a scenic detour to break up the monotony of I-10, in between mile markers 325 and 343.
Texas 290 is a fragment of US 290, which used to run across Texas, but was shortened when I-10 replaced much of the US highway. But before the Interstate, this was the road you’d have to travel to head into West Texas.
For the first few miles after leaving the Interstate, you’ll probably be thinking, “This is scenic?”. TX-290 doesn’t offer much in scenery, until it suddenly reaches this spot: a dramatic drop, with the road cut into the mountainside. There’s a picnic area here, that provides a great viewpoint.
The valley below is the location of Fort Lancaster State Historic Site. There are a few ruins of the fort, which dates back to 1855, as well as a few camels. You won’t be able to see much from the highway, but if you have some extra time, the fort might be worth a brief stop. (Admission is $4)
As you head back to I-10, you’ll pass the town of Sheffield. It’s a short distance away from TX-290, and I didn’t pass directly through the town — but from the highway, it didn’t appear that there was much to see.
[tmt_info =””]Get back on I-10 and head towards Fort Stockton, Texas.[/tmt_info]