Zip Code:


Latitude / Longitude:

29°19’17″N 103°36’57″W


2,891 ft (881 m)

Time Zone:

Central (CST) (UTC-6)


Terlingua (/t”r’l””gw”/ t”r-LING-gwa) is a mining district and census-designated place (CDP) in southwestern Brewster County, Texas, United States. It is located near the Rio Grande and the villages of Lajitas and Study Butte, Texas, as well as the Mexican village of Santa Elena. The discovery of cinnabar, from which the metal mercury is extracted, in the mid-1880s brought miners to the area, creating a city of 2,000 people. The only remnants of the mining days are a ghost town of the Howard Perry-owned Chisos Mining Company and several nearby capped and abandoned mines, most notably the California Hill, the Rainbow, the 248, and the Study Butte mines. The mineral terlinguaite was first found in the vicinity of California Hill.


According to the historian Kenneth Baxter Ragsdale, “Facts concerning the discovery of cinnabar in the Terlingua area are so shrouded in legend and fabrication that it is impossible to cite the date and location of the first quicksilver recovery.” The cinnabar was apparently known to Native Americans, who supposedly used its brilliant red color for pictographs.





Current Status:

The population of Terlingua as of the 2010 census was 58.


Terlingua features in Wim Wenders’ movie Paris, Texas. Travis is brought there to the German physician. Terlingua was the focus of the 2015 National Geographic Channel show “Badlands, Texas.” The reality show followed the case surrounding the 2014 murder of Glenn Felts.