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  • Brian Childress

Big Bend National Park - Texas

Updated: Sep 9

Big Bend National Park is an American national park located in West Texas, bordering Mexico. The park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States, and was named after a large bend in the Rio Grande/Río Bravo. The park protects more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. Additional park activities include scenic drives, programs led by Big Bend park rangers, and stargazing.


The area has a rich cultural history, from archeological sites dating back nearly 10,000 years to more recent pioneers, ranchers, and miners. The Chisos Mountains are located in the park, and are the only mountain range in the United States to be fully contained within the boundary of a national park. Geological features in the park include sea fossils and dinosaur bones, as well as volcanic dikes.


We found this park to be beautiful and interesting because it is situated next to Mexico and the vast wildlife in the park. Make sure you walk through the Santa Elena Canyon in the Rio Grande River.


Wildlife to Expect:


Nocturnal desert animals include the kit fox, ringtail, bobcat, kangaroo rat, and more than a dozen species of bats. Other animals such as mule deer, coyotes, badger, blacktail jackrabbits, and desert cottontails may be seen in early morning or at dusk. Thirty-one species of snakes, and twenty-two species of lizards have been found in Big Bend National Park. Look for the ornately decorated southern earless lizard, several species of whiptails, crevice spiny lizards, and tree lizards.


Things to Do and See:

Wade or boat through the Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande River which separates the US/Mexico.

Hike the South Rim Trail.

See the panoramic views on the Lost Mine Trail.

Watch the sunset from Window View Trail.

Drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

See the Rio Grande at Boquillas Canyon.

Ascend Emory Peak, the tallest point in the park.

Soak in the Hot Springs historic district.

Stargaze at Balanced Rock on the Grapevine Hill Trail.

Pay for a nighttime wildlife guide (plenty of outside guides/vendors on the internet) and see the desert come alive.


Tips:


This park is situated in southern Texas at the US/Mexico Border. This means the e area is a desert climate and very hot. Pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat for cover from the sun.


Contact Information:

PO Box 129 Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129


Phone: (432) 477-2551


Website: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm



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