November 07 2014
Written By
Paul Jaworski
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The Great 59 - Part 4: Big Bend National Park

The Great 59 is a series on America’s National Park Service.

Big Bend National Park

State: Texas

Created: June 12, 1944

Size: 800,000 Acres

There is a helluva lot to do in Big Bend National Park. There are over 200 miles of hiking trails to be discovered as well as opportunities for photography, horseback riding, rafting, and kayaking. Did we mention that the park borders the Rio Grande for approximately 118 miles?

The best part is that this is surprisingly one of the least visited of the National Parks, as it only receives 300,000 visitors a year. The park also has a diverse blend of ecosystems that supports more than 450 species of birds, 75 species of mammals, 56 species of reptiles, and 11 species of amphibians. This means that you can spot tons of wildlife and not be crowded while you do it!

What To Do:

River Trips – With 118 miles of access to the Rio Grande River there is ample opportunity for you to kayak or raft. There are guided tours and you can also go out on your own because it’s pretty novice friendly.

Hiking- There are 200 miles of trails in the park that provide plenty of opportunity to see wildlife and amazing views.

Horseback Riding – Apparently, one of the best ways to see the park is from the back of a horse. There are quite a few guided tours that last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Air Tours – You can actually take an air tour of the park in a helicopter. Talk about a birds eye view.

Places Of Interest:

Chisos Basin - The mecca of Big Bend. The basin is central to a lot of trailheads and also has a lodge, restaurant, camper store, and campground..

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive- This drive stretches for 30 miles and leads to the Castolon Historic District and Santa Elena Canyon, which are both sights to see.

The Rio Grande – Yes, the river itself. It does form the border between the US and Mexico afterall.

Big Bend National Park is open all year round. The busiest season is during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring Break. Their website recommends pre-booking your stay if you can.

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Photos via Wiki Commons


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