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Big Bend National Park

 

Big Bend National Park is an interesting place to visit.  The park is essentially a circle with the Rio Grande on all sides except across he top and the center of the circle is a self-contained volcanic mountain range.  Surprisingly to us, the Rio is easily cross by foot because it is little more than ankle deep in many areas.

Big Bend is more than 100 miles from the nearest town of any size in Texas and it has the unique feature of being surrounded on three sides by the Rio and Mexico.  Once you get down in there you sort of feel isolated, trapped.

We spent nearly a week at Big Bend and we used the campground that is right on the Rio Grande in an area called the Rio Grande Village on the southeast border.  There's not much there and it's 20 miles from the nearest other area of civilization but we enjoyed it very much.  Since it was mid-February and the elevations within the park vary from about 2000 feet at the Rio to about 5000 feet at the park village up in the Chisos Basin, staying down by the Rio gave us significantly warmer temperatures at night.  During the day it ranged from 70 to 80, but at night it got down to the low 40's where we were and further down to the 20's up in the mountains.  There were periods of rain, sleet and snow through the park while we visited.

Big Bend park is huge.  We spent one whole day exploring the west side.  There was the required national park scenic road which was scenic at every turn.  We walked back into the Santa Elena Canyon where a school canoe trip was passing through.  We saw many big west type rock formations and spent some time on side jeep roads running through the desert.  The park has much contrast between the desert and the mountains. 

We spent part of a day in the Chisos Basin.  First we took a hike gaining 1100 feet of elevation which seemed to take us to the top of the world with miles of scenery.  We went into the basin where at every turn is another great mountain view.  We drove another jeep road to a desert wash that was surrounded by a jumble of rocks just right for some rock climbers.  We hiked to a balanced rock which was worth the effort.

We really loved visiting Big Bend National Park.  We cut down the 200 photographs we took to just 30 that you will find in the Big Bend Photo Gallery.