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Big Bend National Park 'Pillar of Clouds' © Ratna Devi
It was early fall. There had been a lot of rain that year in Big Bend and the whole park was filled with color.
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USA Parks
Texas
Big Bend Country Region
Big Bend National Park
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park, Texas   79834

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Big Bend National Park
'Pillar of Clouds'

It was early fall. There had been a lot of rain that year in Big Bend and the whole park was filled with color.

Big Bend National Park
'Path'

The path leading to the hot spring at Big Bend. Sept.2004

Big Bend National Park
© Digital Perspectives Photography

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Big Bend National Park
'Wild Flower'

A strange Fall at Big Bend. It was filled with wild flowers. Exact year us Sept.2004

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park
'Pictograph'

Art made by Native Americans

Big Bend National Park
'Floral Big Bend'

website

Besides the scrub and cactus there are lots of bright flowers in the park.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park
'Rainbow'

Who would think this is a desert. Sept. 2004

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park
'Hot Spring'

The hot spring was in level with the river. We could barely trace the origin of the spring.

Big Bend is one of the largest and least visited of America's national parks. Over 801,000 acres await your exploration and enjoyment. From an elevation of less than 2,000 feet along the Rio Grande to nearly 8,000 feet in the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend includes massive canyons, vast desert expanses, and the entire Chisos Mountain range. Here, you can explore one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States, and experience unmatched sights, sounds, and solitude.

The Big Bend has been a home to people for many centuries, but knowledge of the Rio Grande among non-Indians dates back less than 150 years. Spanish people crossed the Rio Grande in the 16th and 17th centuries searching for gold, silver, and fertile land. Comanche Indians crossed the river in the 19th century, traveling to and from Mexico with their raiding parties. Mexican settlers began farming on both banks of the river's floodplain around 1900. Anglo-Americans joined in the farming after 1920, when boundary unrest ended. Cotton and food crops were grown around Castolon and what is now Rio Grande Village even after the park was established.

Big Bend National Park also marks the northernmost range of many plants and animals, such as the Mexican long-nosed bat. Ranges of typically eastern and typically western species of plants and animals come together or overlap here. Here many species are at the extreme limits of their ranges. Latin American species, many from the tropics, range this far north, while northern-nesting species often travel this far south in winter. Contrasting elevations create additional, varied micro-climates that further enhance the diversity of plant and animal life and the park's wealth of natural boundaries.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseFishingyes
 Hiking Trailyes
 Picnickingyes
Camping
Backcountry Campsites, Open All Year

Details : Big Bend's backcountry offers ample opportunity of exploration and solitude. Backcountry campsites are available along the unpaved roads and along the trails in the Chisos Mountains.

For those who wish to camp in the backcountry without having to backpack, Big Bend offers a number of primitive campsites along backcountry roads. Most sites are located in the desert and along the River Road. Other than a nice view, isolation, and a flat gravel space, these sites offer NO amenities. There is no charge to use these sites, but a backcountry permit is required.

Chisos Basin Campground, Open All Year

Details : 63 campsites. Flush toilet : , running water, grills, and picnic tables are available. NO HOOK-UPS. $10 per night($5 per night for bearers of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passport). Elevation 5,400'.

Due to the narrow, winding road to the Basin, and small campsites, trailers over 20' and RV's over 24' are not recommended at this campground.

RESERVABLE CAMPSITES: Reservations available for 26 sites November 15 to April 15. Contact www.reserveusa.com or call 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations.

GROUP CAMPING: The Chisos Basin Campground has six group camp sites that are available only by advance reservation. The total overnight occupancy for the Chisos Basin group campground is 118 persons. All sites in this campground have a minimum occupancy of 10 persons. Sites L, P, Q, and R hold a maximum of 20 persons each. Sites N and O hold a maximum occupancy of 14 persons each. Site M has a maximum occupancy of 10 persons. Tents larger than 8' X 8' are not recommended because of site layouts.

Cottonwood Campground, Open All Year

Details : 31 campsites. $10 per night($5 per night for bearers of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passport). Pit toilets, picnic tables, grills, and water are available. No Hook-ups. No dump station. NO GENERATORS ALLOWED. Elevation 1,900'.

GROUP CAMPING The Cottonwood Campground has one group camp site that is available only by advance reservation. Maximum occupancy for this group campground is 25 persons. Minimum capacity is 10 persons. This group campground is walk-in tent camping only.

To reserve the group campsite, contact www.reserveusa.com or call 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations.

Rio Grande Village Campground, Open All Year

Details : $10 per night ($5 per night for bearers of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passport). This 100 site campground has flush toilets, running water, picnic tables, grills, and some overhead shelters. Dump Station nearby; NO HOOK-UPS.

RESERVABLE CAMPSITES: Reservations for 43 sites may be made November 15 to April 15. www.reserveusa.com or call 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations.

GROUP CAMPING: The Rio Grande Village Campground has four group camp sites that are available only by advance reservation. The total overnight occupancy for the Rio Grande Village group campground is 120 persons. All sites in this campground have a minimum occupancy of 10 persons. Sites A and B comprise the area on the east side of the comfort station. Maximum occupancy for each site is 20 persons. Sites C and D comprise the area on the west side of the comfort station. Maximum occupancy for each site is 40 persons. This group campground is walk-in tent camping only.

Rio Grande Village RV Park, Open All Year

Phone: 432-477-2293

Details : 25 sites. This is the ONLY campground with hookups in the park. It is a concession-operated trailer park, and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Register at the Rio Grande Village Store/Service Station. Full hookup capability is required. Prices starts at $21 per night double with a $3 additional person charge.
Boating
The Rio Grande, or El Rio Bravo del Norte, borders Big Bend National Park for 118 miles. A 1978 Act created the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River and charged the National Park Service to care for an additional 127 miles downstream from the park. Providing protection and maintaining the pristine character of the Rio Grande along this stretch, the Wild and Scenic River designation actually begins at the Coahuila/Chihuahua, Mexico, state border upstream from Mariscal Canyon and continues downstream 196 miles to the Terrell/Val Verde County line in Texas; approximately 69 miles of this designation lie within Big Bend National Park. Both the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River and the river along the park's boundary are managed for recreation and preservation by the National Park Service.

Three options are available if you desire to make a river trip: you can bring your own equipment, rent equipment, or hire a guide service that will provide all permits, food, equipment, and shuttles.

Canyon TripsColorado CanyonAlthough this canyon lies within Big Bend Ranch State Park and is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, it is included here because of the many requests for a relatively easy, one-day trip. This float can vary from nine to 21 miles depending on put-in and take-out points. The most popular section is from the Colorado Canyon put-in to the Madera Canyon take-out on Highway 170, a river distance of nine miles; floating on to Lajitas makes the run a total of 21 miles. Colorado Canyon is cut through igneous rock, unlike the three major park canyons, which are cut through limestone. This trip offers some fun rapids of Class II and Class III. Permits are available and user fees may be paid at the Barton Warnock Center (432-424-3327) in Lajitas or at the west entrance to Big Bend Ranch State Park at Fort Leaton (432-229-3613). Self-registration is also possible at both locations.


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Nature Programs
Big Bend's habitats range from the Chihuahuan Desert to the Rio Grande to the Chisos Mountains, and all are rich with plants, animals, and stories of human history, giving children plenty of opportunity to explore.

Kids visiting the park enjoy visiting the exhibits and touchable map of the park at the Panther Junction Visitor Center, the Fossil Bone Exhibit area, the Hot Springs, the sand dune in Boquillas Canyon and the mountain lion exhibit at the Chisos Basin Visitor Center.

There are several easy hikes that kids of all ages can go on, including the Window View Trail and the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail. For older children, the Lost Mine Trail provides a good challenge and is an excellent day hike.

Get kids involved in ranger-led programs. These include guided hikes, slide programs, bird walks, and guided explorations of various park features. Check the schedule at any visitor center to make sure you take advantage of all the available programs. Stop by any of the park's visitor centers for directions or further suggestions. See below to learn how to become a Big Bend Junior Ranger.

Junior Ranger Program :

The Big Bend Junior Ranger program is designed for kids 7-15. Through activities, games, and puzzles, children can have fun as they learn about the park. Required activities include attending a ranger-led program, visiting a historic area, hiking on a park trail, and completing activity pages that encourage direct experience and discovery learning in diverse park environments. They can also earn certificates, badges, patches, and bookmarks.

The Junior Ranger activity book costs $2.00 and is available at all park visitor centers. Both children and adults benefit by sharing the fun of becoming a Big Bend Junior Ranger.
Area Attractions
Fort Davis National Historic Site, 125 miles.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 275 miles.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, 305 miles.

Amistad National Recreation Area, 248 miles.

Chamizal National Memorial, 328 miles.

White Sands National Monument, 417 miles.

Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park, 486 miles.

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, 405 miles.

Padre Island National Seashore, 558 miles.

Big Bend Ranch State Park, (432)229-3416, 50 miles.

Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center, (432)424-3327 3 0mi

Davis Mountains State Park, (432)426-3337, 130 miles.

Fort Leaton State Historic Site, (432)229-3613, 100 miles.

McDonald Observatory, (432)426-3640, 130 miles.
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Directions
Car - Three paved roads lead to the park: 1) U.S. 385 from Marathon, TX to the north entrance, <P>2) State Route 118 from Alpine, TX to the west entrance, <P>3) Ranch Road 170 from Presidio to Study Butte, and then State Route 118 to the west entrance. <P>Big Bend National Park headquarters is located 70 miles south of Marathon, TX and 108 miles from Alpine, TX via Hwy. 118. <P> <br>Public Transportation - There is no public transportation to or from the park. Amtrak serves Alpine, TX, 108 miles to the north. Bus service is available to Alpine and Marathon. The nearest airports are in Midland, TX (230 miles to the northeast), and El Paso, TX (325 miles to the northwest). <P>

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