Big Bend National Park

Posted in North America | April 20, 2010 | Comment Now

Big Bend National Park is located in Texas (Brewstar County) in the United States. The park authority administers almost 400 km area along the US-Mexico boundary formed by Rio Grande / Río Bravo. Big Bend National Park is the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States spread over an area of 3,242 square kilometres. The park was founded in 1944. The park is administered by National Park Service. The park has been named Big Bend after the huge left-turn made by river Rio Grande that meanders its way through the Texas desert.


Big Bend National Park has three distinct geographical features, namely, desert, mountain, and river. Emory Peak is the highest point at 2,387 metres.


Big Bend experiences extreme climatic conditions. Late spring and summer days are hot and dry. Winters are generally mild with occasional sub-freezing temperature. The varying altitude causes a wide differentiation in the weather. May-June are the hottest months while July-October is the rainy season.


The park is home to variety of cactus and other plant types (over 1,200 species). Common cactus types found in the park include prickly pear, claret cup and pitaya. Several flowering plants like desert marigold, desert willow, rock

nettle, lechuguilla and bluebonnets are found. Juniper, ponderosa pines, piñon pine, douglas fir, Texas madrone, quaking aspen, the unique Chisos Oak trees are also found.


Big Bend is home to about 75 types of mammal and 56 reptile species. The park area is mostly inhabited by nocturnal animals. Cougar or mountain lion, jackrabbit, kangaroo rat, roadrunner, raccoon, javelin, rock squirrel, black bear and coyote are spotted here.


More than 450 species of birds are found here. Tufted Flycatcher and Colima Warbler are common sights. Migratory birds are also located.

  • Hiking (Chimneys Trail, Marufo Vega trail, Outer Mountain Loop trail, Santa Elena Canyon, Grapevine Hills, Mule Ears and many other notable locations)

  • River tour of Rio Grande
  • Birdwatching
  • Swimming
  • Stargazing
Best time to visit:

Mid-November to early January

Reaching Bend National Park:
  • By air:
    El Paso airport is the closest. Del Rio International Airport is about 385 km from the park. Midland International Airport, San Angelo Regional Airport are also there.
  • By road:
    Two entrances to the park accessible by US-385 south from Marathon, TX-118 south from Alpine, Ranch Road 170 east from Presidio.

A seven-day pass can be procured by paying the entrance pass.

Getting around:

By car (on routes TX-118 and US-385), bicycle, foot or horse.

  • North Entrance to Panther Junction
  • West Entrance to Panther Junction
  • Chisos Basin Road

  • Panther Junction to Rio Grande Village
  • Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
  • Castolon Visitor Center
  • Panther Junction Visitor Center
  • Persimmon Gap Visitor Center
  • River tour in Rio Grande (Boquillas Canyon, Mariscal Canyon,  Santa Elena Canyon)
  • Camping at developed sites or in the back country (limited to 14 consecutive days). Prior booking is essential. Chisos Basin Campground, Cottonwood Campground, Rio Grande Village Campground are some of the camping sites.
  • Chisos Mountains Lodge

  • The Stillwell Store (outside of the park)
  • Lodging option is available in the nearby Study Butte-Terlingua area
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