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Unmatched Big Bend National Park – When I Saw It, I Can’t Believe What I’m Seeing.

Last updated on August 21st, 2016 at 06:29 pm

Breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, historic sites – these are among visitors’ favorites in Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend is touted as one of the few parks in the United States with abundant wildlife. Nestled into the southwest curve of Texas, Big Bend has over 1200 miles of open land that are just waiting to be explored.

big bend national park desert

Interesting Facts

      • Big Bend National Park has more or less 100 miles of paved road, over 150 miles of dirt road, as well as 200 miles of hiking trails.
      • It is also often referred to as a 3‐in‐1 national park with its mountain, desert, and river environments.
      • It has over 800,000 acres of remote mountains and rivers.
      • The Rio Grande borders the park for about 118 miles giving river enthusiasts endless opportunities for rafting, canoeing or kayaking.
      • The park is named after the “big bend” that changes the flow of the Rio Grande River from southeast to northeast.

What To Do in Big Bend?

If one day is all you have at Big Bend National Park, check out the following wonderful activities you can do.

Panther Junction Visitor Center

It is always a good idea to start the tour at the Panther Junction Visitor Center located in the middle of the park. The Center was renovated in 2008, and features excellent exhibits, a comfortable bookstore that stocks everything about the park, and staff who are always ready to answer your questions. It is also a good place to learn about current road conditions, weather forecasts, recent wildlife sightings, temporary restrictions, and to obtain any necessary permits.

Chisos Mountains

You should make it a point to visit Chisos Mountains to take in the spectacular views. The road also takes you to Green Gulch and up towards Panther Pass. The road winds down steeply into the Chisos Basin where you’ll be awe‐struck by the Casa Grande Peak and Emory Peak. Further on is an overnight lodging, a restaurant, and one of the Park’s three campgrounds and camper stores.
big-bend-chisos mountains

Window View Trail

The Window View Trail offers a non‐guided chance to get a better feel of the mountain scenery. Benches have been strategically built in a number of places along the trail and it is also wheelchair accessible. This trail provides one of the best sunset views in the park.
big-bend-national-park-window view trail

Lost Mine Trail

If you want to go for something more difficult, try the Lost Mine Trail which begins near the summit of Panther Pass. The Lost Mine Trail is a great introduction to the plants and animals of the Chisos Mountains.
big bend national park lost-mine-trail

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

The 31‐mile Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, on the other hand, offers a taste of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Rio Grande. These sites have short trails, great overlooks, and exhibits.
big bend national park scenic drive

Santa Elena Canyon

At the very end of Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive is the Santa Elena Canyon – one of Big Bend’s most scenic spots. You should not miss the opportunity to see it. It has a short trail and offers the grandest views in the entire Big Bend consisting of a towering 1500‐foot vertical cliffs of solid limestone… or you can just simply look at the view via the overlook.
big bend sta elena canyon

Things to be considered when preparing for a camping trip at the Big Bend


There are three campgrounds available in Big Bend National Park: The Chisos Basin campground, Cottonwood and Rio Grande Village.

big bend national park campground

Chisos Basin

Chisos Basin Campground is the most stunning campground in the park. It is located up in the mountains and contains 60 campsites. The Chisos Basin offers flush toilets and running water, but does not have showers or hookups. This campground fills up fast because it offers an unparalleled view of the Window and is surrounded by tall rocky cliffs which provide an excellent sightseeing beauty.

Cottonwood Campground

This is the best campground if you intend not to use a generator, dump station, hookups, and showers .This is also a good choice if you do not mind pit toilets. Cottonwood campground is open year round and has 24 campsites with picnic tables, grills, and water.

Rio Grande Village Campground

If you would like to visit the park’s hot springs, do some bird watching or hiking and camp under the river’s shade trees, choose a spot in Rio Grande Village.This 100-site campground is open year round and is adjacent to the Rio Grande. Picnic table, grills, running water, some overhead shelters, and flush toilets are available. Camp store and showers are within walking distance.


Pets are only allowed to go where vehicles can go such as roads and primitive campsites. Pets are not allowed on trails, off roads, or on the river. Pet owners must familiarize themselves with pet regulations before bringing their pets in Big Bend. For more information about pet regulations,read here.
bid bend pets policy


Before your visit, check the weather forecast as it is important to be prepared. Weather changes can be unexpected. In the summer you would experience hot days and warm nights. Winter days are sunny and warm, but during night time it tends to be cold. Rains usually begin in June and last into the fall. Rain can cause flash floods even at a great distance. In general, watch the weather and time your visit to make the most out of your time in Big Bend.


Cell phone coverage in Big Bend is limited and not dependable. In some developed areas, pay phones are available.


Most of the wildlife in the park are nocturnal – that is, the animals are active at night.The best time for wildlife viewing is during dusk and dawn. Do note that feeding wildlife is prohibited in the park.

Food and Supplies

Chisos Mountain Lodge is the only restaurant in Big Bend National Park. Informational materials are available at the Big Bend Visitor Centers. Bringing you own food is allowed in the park.

Tips for Planning your camping trip

        • Plan your camping trip in advance to ensure availability.
        • If you plan to camp in the spring break season (March or April), Thanksgiving, or Christmas holidays, make reservations in advance as these are the busiest times of the year where park and campsites fill up quickly.
        • Reservations for camping are taken from the middle of November to the middle of April and can be made up to six months in advance.
        • Reservations may be made by visiting or by calling 1-877-444-6777.
        • Reservations are not accepted less than four days in advance.
        • Bring appropriate supplies such as plenty of water, camping and survival gear, appropriate clothing, first aid kit, and other essentials.

The Big Bend offers limitless opportunities for camping, biking, hiking, riding on horseback, and other fun‐filled adventures. Whatever you plan to do, there’s a lot in store for you at Big Bend National Park.


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