Plan your Visit to
Big Bend National Park
A True Treasure in Texas
Apart from being one of the largest parks at 801,163 acres is also borders the Rio Grande which acts as a natural border between Mexico and the United States. Big Bend National Park is one of the more unique national parks on the registry. Apart from being one of the largest parks at 801,163 acres is also borders the Rio Grande which acts as a natural border between Mexico and the United States. Regulations for the park boundaries are always under scrutiny because of its unique position. Visitors to the Big Bend National Park however need to keep one thing in mind, once you reach the Roi Grande stop walking. This will ensure that you never have to worry about inadvertently walking into another country.
When to go
January – February – March – April – May – September – October – November – December
Bird-Watching – Boating – Hiking – Wild flowers – Scenic Drives – Rafting – Kayaking – Stunning Vistas – Wildlife
When people think of Texas they often think of cactus plants and very dry conditions. On a day trip to Big Bend National Park you will see that mentality come to life with a very dry and deserted desert area, but those who are fortunate to visit the park and stay overnight in one of the remote backcountry camping areas are awarded a completely different view of that area of the country. Desert creatures are largely nocturnal meaning that they do not venture out during the day when the sun is burning the land. At night, however the desert begins to live. Animals venture out in search of food. Among the numerous smaller desert animals that you may encounter in the Big Bend National Park, you will want to be aware of some possible dangerous predators. There are around 2 dozen cougars that call the park home and approximately 150 sightings of these animals are reported each year. They do not attack people unless provoked, so during the night stay close to your campsite by the fire as a precaution.
Those that choose to camp out in the backcountry of Big Bend National Park are given the chance to view something that most of us only dream about; the untouched and unfiltered view of the night sky. Some may not see the significance of the stars, but those people have never had the opportunity to view them from one of the few international dark sky places. In 2012 the International Dark Sky Association gave the park the honor certifying it as the go to place for stargazers. On clear nights where the moon is not visible, the clarity of the night sky comes into play and viewers can see for seemingly ever with just an average telescope or just enjoy the view from their own two eyes. It is worth the journey to enjoy the stars at their very best.
Float the Rio Grande
Although we have previously discussed the fact that the Rio Grande is the border between Mexico and America it remains a popular destination for those looking to float river. This is a great option, but be aware of what side of the river you choose to venture on for getting out of the water for any reason. Incidents are rare but can occur when visitors choose to disobey the natural boundaries separating the two countries. The incidents are usually only limited to fines, but are something you should be aware of. There is also a permit required for use of the Rio Grande waterway so be sure to acquire the proper permit before simply putting your water craft in the river.
Things to Know
Big Bend National Park does maintain the park through entrance fees. 80% of the fees collected are used for maintaining the park for use with the remaining 20% awarded to the national parks that do not require entrance fees from visitors. This allows for even parks without many visitors annually to remain open and running for future generations. The park fees are $25 for passenger vehicles, $20 for motorcycles, and $12 for individuals arriving on foot. The pass allows for 7 days entry into the Big Bend National Park, but for the best deal however visitors are encouraged to purchase an annual pass for $50 that is good for a full year after the purchase.
Fees for camping are available for an additional cost. There are three developed campgrounds throughout the park, Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin Campground, and Cottonwood Campground. Reservations are limited and should be made in advance. Big Bend National Park also offers the chance to enjoy the true nature of the park through backcountry camping. The fee for this is $12 and a permit can be acquired at any of the visitor’s centers. If you choose to camp in the backcountry manner, you need to make certain that what you carry in is what you carry out. The Big Bend National Park desires to keep the grounds clear of any human objects that could hurt the animals if they are ingested and keep the park as beautiful as possible. Clean up after yourself and respect the Big Bend National Park for being a national park and you will enjoy your stay. Happy hiking and camping!