Hancock Hill Trails (The Desk)
The trail up Hancock Hill in Alpine, behind the Sul Ross State University campus, isn’t particularly challenging or long. So, what makes this spot a must see for so many visitors to the Big Bend region? It’s what you find at the top and the story of how it came to be!
In 1981, three Sul Ross students decided they needed a quiet spot to study. Together they carried a large metal office desk up to a secluded spot on Hancock Hill. Soon they were spending many hours there studying and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
One day, one of them left his notebook in the desk drawer and later found that someone else had written in it. He replied, and a tradition was born. Ten years later, a sizable collection of notebooks filled at the Desk was brought to the Archives of the Big Bend in the university library, which was added to as further notebooks were filled.
41 years after it arrived, The Desk is still on Hancock Hill and thousands of people each year take the hike up to visit The Desk and leave their own thoughts in the notebook.
The network of trails has gradually developed with the assistance of the Big Bend Trails Alliance, now providing approximately 3 miles of moderately strenuous hiking and advanced mountain biking.
Perhaps as a comment on the difficulty of the trails for cyclists, about twenty years ago a damaged bicycle was hung from a tree near The Desk. Other bikes, and even a tricycle, have joined it over the years and created a curiosity that keeps amused visitors pulling out their cameras.
The Hancock Hill trails provide lovely views of Alpine and its surrounding mountain landscape as well as a taste of quirky and affectionate “homemade history”.