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VIEJA PASS. Vieja (Viejo) Pass is a gap in the Sierra Vieja range in northwestern Presidio County 1½ miles south of the Jeff Davis county line (at 30°33' N, 104°41' W). At an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, the pass is encircled by desert mountain peaks and rugged canyons with elevations of 4,000 to 5,000 feet. The pass stands between Cottonwood Canyon on the northwest and ZH Canyon on the east. Vieja Pass and the surrounding terrain were formed by volcanic deposits of rhyolite and tuff; loose rubble covers the surface. Area vegetation consists primarily of sparse grasses, cacti, and desert shrubs of conifers and oaks. Vieja is a Spanish word meaning "old." The pass was used by prehistoric people who took advantage of its good supply of water and grass. On the morning of June 12, 1880, the pass was the scene of the last Indian attack in Presidio County. Four Pueblo Indian scouts and Lt. Frank H. Mills of the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry fought off twenty Apaches. In 1918 the army built Camp Holland at Vieja Pass as a base for pack trains that supplied Col. George T. Langhorne's Eighth Cavalry as it patrolled the Mexican border.


Cecilia Thompson, History of Marfa and Presidio County, 1535–1946 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1985). Kim Thornsburg, "Camp Holland," Junior Historian, December 1967.

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"VIEJA PASS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.