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Big Bend

235 mi S of Midland, TX




801,163 acres


463,832 in 2019


Big Bend National Park, located in southwest Texas along the border with Mexico, is a vast and diverse wilderness area renowned for its dramatic landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and rich cultural history. Established in 1944, the park encompasses over 800,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert terrain, encompassing the sweeping Chisos Mountains, the rugged canyons carved by the Rio Grande, and the vast desert expanses dotted with unique flora and fauna. Visitors to Big Bend can explore a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, birdwatching, and river rafting along the Rio Grande. The park is also home to a rich cultural heritage, with evidence of human occupation dating back thousands of years, including Native American rock art sites and historic structures from the region's ranching and mining past. With its stunning natural beauty and abundant recreational opportunities, Big Bend National Park offers visitors an unforgettable experience amid the remote and untamed landscapes of the American Southwest.


Big Bend National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, adapted to the rugged and varied landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Rio Grande corridor. Mammals such as desert bighorn sheep, javelinas, and mountain lions roam the park's remote mountain ranges and desert valleys, while smaller mammals like foxes, rabbits, and coyotes are also common sightings. Birdwatchers can spot over 450 species of birds, including colorful songbirds, majestic raptors like golden eagles and red-tailed hawks, and the endangered peregrine falcon. The park's waterways, including the Rio Grande and its tributaries, provide habitat for diverse aquatic species, including fish, turtles, and river otters. Reptiles such as rattlesnakes, lizards, and desert tortoises thrive in the arid desert environment, while amphibians like toads and frogs can be found near water sources. With its rich biodiversity and unique ecosystems, Big Bend National Park offers visitors unparalleled opportunities to observe and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.

Sounds of the Park

Things to Do

Visitors to Big Bend National Park can go hiking, kayaking in the Rio Grande, biking, camping, stargazing, birdwatching, and more. Though most activities are open year-round, be prepared for extreme heat if visiting during the summer, and don't over exert.

When to Visit

Big Bend has a hot desert climate, with hot summers and mild to warm winters. Precipitation is rare year-round. Warm, pleasant weather tends to occur most in the spring (March-April) and fall (October-November), though crowds also tend to be highest at this time. To avoid crowds, the best time to visit during these seasons would be in the middle of the week rather than on weekends.

Ties to Stephen Mather

Big Bend National Park has a Stephen Mather plaque located on the Window View Trail in the Chisos Basin.

stm plaque.jpg

Fun Fact

The Chisos Mountains, located in Big Bend National Park, are the only mountain range in the U.S. to be located entirely within the confines of a National Park.

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