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Family Vacations to Big Bend
Big Bend National Park is one of the most popular vacation destinations in Texas. It is located in the southwest
corner of the state, along the border of Mexico, and is about a 9-10 hour drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
Open year-round, it is a beautiful park with rugged mountains, scenic vistas, unspoiled desert scenery, diverse
wildlife and includes over 800,000 acres of open spaces to enjoy and explore. Hopefully, this little bit of
information about the park, will peak your interest and cause you to seriously consider making a trip here in the
|Chisos ridgetop view
NPS Photo/Big Bend National Park
Sometimes referred to as a hiker's dream, Big Bend has over 150 miles of trails
for day hikes and backpacking trips. This includes a wide range of hiking
opportunities from desert hikes to mountain hikes or river hikes. Because of the
varied terrain, elevations range from 1800 feet along the Rio Grande to over
7800 feet on Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains and the temperature can
vary considerably between the lower and higher elevations.
All together, this huge expanse of public land includes hundreds of miles to
explore of hiking trails and dirt roads that wind their way through the park.
Opportunities abound to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, explore back
roads and enjoy some of the best back country adventure that Texas has to
offer. If you enjoy rafting or canoeing, the Rio Grande borders the park for
about 118 miles and offers a wide variety of water activities.
To give you a little better idea of how the park is laid out, the
Chihuahuan Desert covers most of the park, with the Chisos Mountains
acting like an island in the middle of it. At 7832 feet, Emory Peak is the
highest point in the park. From here, visitors can enjoy some
spectacular scenery. Relax in the shade of a forest of oaks, pines and
junipers while enjoying the wonderful view of the mountains and desert
below. The mountain area of the park includes almost 20 miles of
hiking trails just by itself.
Big Bend offers many opportunities for those who like to camp. There
are three developed campgrounds with individual campsites, picnic
tables, water, grills and restrooms, plus a number of primitive camping
options. About 70 primitive roadside campsites can be found along the
park's dirt roads. These sites do not offer the same amenities as the
developed campsites, but many of these have spectacular views. Backpackers in the Chisos Mountains can
choose their own campsites in open zone areas or they can choose from 42 designated campsites. All and all, the
park offers ample opportunities for those who like to camp.
For those of you who live in the city, it is sometimes difficult to get a clear view of the stars at night because of the
glow from the city. However, Big Bend is one of the most outstanding places in North America for star gazing.
Compared to other National Parks in the lower 48 states, it has less interference from ground lighting and offers
great views of the stars at night. In fact, its not uncommon to see approximately 2000 stars on a clear night here
as opposed to a few hundred in a medium sized city. So, while you are sitting around relaxing after a big day in the
park, be sure and treat yourself to a little star gazing to round out the day.
Big Bend National Park is by far one of the most interesting and beautiful spots in the United States. Everyone
should add this to their bucket list and make a point to visit this vast unspoiled wilderness at some time in their life.
Hopefully, this brief introduction to the area has wetted your appetite and given you some ideas for your next
family vacation. Whether its a vacation or a long weekend trip, consider a visit to Big Bend for your next family trip.
Have fun and stay safe!
|View of Basin from Emory Peak