Marathon is on U.S. 90 near the juncture of US 385 South and is known as the eastern Gateway to Big Bend National Park. It was originally settled when the railroads moved west, and in the early 20th century was a busy shipping point for cattle from nearby ranches and ore shipments from mines to the south along the Rio Grande. Union Pacific tracks still bisect the northern and southern portions of the town. Amtrak passenger trains pass through town four times weekly, and they stop in Alpine.
Marathon's nearest commercial airport is Midland/Odessa, a distance of about 170 miles and 2 1/2 hours, where rental cars are available.
From the Midland/Odessa airport, which is halfway between the two cities, drive west toward Odessa and pick up Interstate 20 to Monahans. Then take the last Monahans exit off I20, U.S. 18 south, and drive through Royalty and Grandfalls to Fort Stockton.
At Fort Stockton, cross W. Dickinson Ave. to N. Front St.,and turn right along Railroad Avenue for a few blocks until a sign indicates Marathon and Big Bend National Park to the left, which is 385 South. After crossing the Glass Mountains you enter the Marathon Basin. Continue along 385 South to US 90, turn right, drive past the 385 sign to the park and Marathon is just ahead.
Some visitors also fly to the El Paso airport, west of Marathon. From the west, El Paso is about 4 hours driving distance along Interstate 10, taking US 90 east at Van Horn, and then driving through Marfa and Alpine before reaching Marathon.
The town's galleries and shops are largely on the northern side of the street. The Gage Hotel is at the mid-point of the town, the Adobe Rose Inn is to the south, across the railroad tracks, and the Marathon Motel is further west, along US 90.