The Best Sites to See in Big Bend National Park
The Big Bend National Park has a lot of exciting sites to see. It is located in southwest Texas and is home to the Chisos mountain range. In addition, there is a vast swath of the Chihuahuan desert, which is also a part of the park.
Boquillas Canyon is one of the most beautiful canyons in Big Bend National Park. It is also one of the most popular hiking spots in the park. The Canyon features a variety of plants, animals, and rock formations.
Boquillas Canyon has an unusual vertical relief of more than 7,000 feet. The Canyon is a narrow gorge that hugs the Rio Grande River. This makes it an ideal place to explore by boat or raft.
A guided rafting program is offered in the Canyon. In addition, several river hikes provide access to the banks of the river.
If you’re looking for something more active, rent a canoe and cruise along the Canyon. Alternatively, you can hike the Boquillas Trail, the only trail that gets you down into the Canyon.
Santa Elena Canyon
Santa Elena Canyon is a natural beauty and one of the more impressive canyons in Big Bend National Park. This Canyon stretched over seven miles and was formed by the Rio Grande River. It is located in far southern Texas.
A trip to the Canyon is a must. The rocky walls rise a whopping 1,500 feet from the river. These cliffs are home to Peregrine Falcons and Golden Eagles.
You can get to the trail from Old Maverick Road. There are plenty of parking spots available and restroom facilities.
If you plan to make this trip on your own, it’s a good idea to pick a day when the water is lower. Flow rates of under 100 cubic feet per second will make for a much more manageable trip.
Chisos Mountain Basin
The Chisos Mountain Basin is one of the most beautiful areas in Big Bend National Park. It is a small portion of the park’s total land area, but it’s usually the starting point for most mountains in the park.
Located in the heart of the Chisos Mountains, the Basin is home to a campground and a visitor center. This region is also the hub of an extensive network of hiking trails.
Some of the most popular hikes are the South Rim Trail, Window View Trail, and the Pinnacles Trail. These trails will give you amazing views of the Chihuahuan Desert. Depending on the season, the water may be in the pools.
For an easier, shorter trail, check out the Window View Trail. This is less than a mile round-trip and offers excellent views of the surrounding mountains.
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive is a scenic route in the Western region of Big Bend National Park. The 30-mile route was named after the first superintendent of the park, Ross Maxwell. It winds through the Chisos Mountains, presenting the rugged geological diversity of the park.
Aside from its natural beauty, the park also offers a wide variety of wildlife. For instance, jackrabbits and mule deer can be seen along the route. There are also ruins of old homesteads.
Santa Elena Canyon is one of the most popular natural features in the park. This Canyon is a 1,500-foot chasm of limestone that rises out of the river. During heavy rain, the Canyon is often impassable. However, you can enjoy a 1.7-mile round-trip hike when the river is dry.
One of the most popular attractions in Big Bend National Park is the Santa Elena Canyon. Its limestone cliffs reach up to 1500 feet above the canyon floor. The river in the Canyon defines the landscape.
You can hike to the top of the Canyon, or you can ride on an ATV. There is also a resort nearby, the Lajitas Resort, that offers horseback riding and a variety of other activities.
Another exciting feature of the Canyon is a massive sand drift. This is formed by the prevailing wind blowing sand from the desert into the mouth of the Canyon. Most of the time, the sand is dry, but during rainy seasons it can become dangerous.
A trip to Big Bend is not for the faint of heart. Some of the roads in the park are a bit rough, and some are four-wheel-drive only.