big bend national park

Your Guide to Maximizing Texas Wildflower Season

February 27, 2024 | By Dina Gachman

A First-Timers Guide to Big Bend National Park in West Texas

August 31, 2023 | By Pam LeBlanc

Texans love the prickly wilds of Big Bend National Park, where a sky island of mountains rises from a vast desert floor, and everything looks straight out of a John Wayne Western.

Best Friends Bond Through Misadventures at Big Bend National Park

January 6, 2023 | By Scott Bedgood

Ancient Mosasaur Discovery Has Us Wondering Where Texas Ranks for Fossils

August 16, 2022 | By Asher Elbein

This spring, an amateur fossil hunter prospecting around the North Sulphur River happened upon a skeleton emerging from a streambed 80 miles northeast of Dallas.

Flash-Flooding Prompts a Soaking Hiatus at Big Bend National Park’s Hot Springs Pool

June 8, 2022 | By Pam LeBlanc

Big Bend National Park‘s soothing hot springs along the Rio Grande is a popular draw for visitors—even during the summer.

Vandalism at Big Bend National Park a ‘Gut Punch’ for Texas Heritage

January 10, 2022 | By Pam LeBlanc

Vandals defaced prehistoric rock art at Big Bend National Park over the holidays, the latest example in an uptick of such incidents on West Texas’ sprawling public lands.

Big Bend for the Rest of Us

January 1, 2022 | By John Spaulding

Meet the Vinegaroon, Big Bend National Park’s Elusive, Vinegar-Spewing ‘Wild Scorpion’

July 28, 2021 | By Asher Elbein

Sometimes, when the summer rains sweep the deserts of West Texas, strange arthropods stir in their burrows.

A New PBS Documentary Captures Rare Views of Big Bend National Park’s Elusive Wildlife

February 8, 2021 | By Pam LeBlanc

Most people never see the beavers that live near the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande, or the big horn sheep and black bears that prowl the rugged mountains and canyons of the Big Bend in far West Texas.

Big Bend National Park Announces Plan to Build a New Hiking Trail Around Lone Mountain

January 29, 2021 | By Pam LeBlanc

A new trail at Big Bend National Park will take hikers on a 3-mile loop around Lone Mountain, a Texas-sized hill that bristles with scrub brush and cactus just north of the Panther Junction Visitor Center.

In the Absence of Crowds, Wild Animals Wander Into Normally Human-Heavy Territory at Parks

July 10, 2020 | By Pam LeBlanc

My Favorite Texas Trip: To Marfa and Big Bend with Low Expectations

June 19, 2020 | By Ciara O'Rourke

Texas Conservationists Want to Keep the ‘Wilderness’ in Big Bend National Park

April 11, 2020 | By Matt Joyce

Ask fans of Big Bend National Park about their favorite qualities of the rugged West Texas expanse, and you’ll get a common answer: the untainted desert mountain scenery.

Big Bend National Park in West Texas Closes in Response to COVID-19 Concerns

April 3, 2020 | By TH Staff

Big Bend National Park has announced that it is closing to visitors in response to growing concern that travelers seeking escape from COVID-19 could introduce the virus in this remote corner of far West Texas.

Nature Beckons, But Officials Urge Restraint When it Comes to Visiting Texas Parks

March 26, 2020 | By Pam LeBlanc

As of 5 p.m. on April 7, all Texas State Parks are closed to the public at the direction of Gov.

Changes Afoot in the New Year for Reservations at Big Bend National Park

December 23, 2019 | By Pam LeBlanc

Soon it will be both easier and more expensive to book a site in Big Bend National Park’s vast desert expanses.

New Postage Stamp Depicts Big Bend’s Santa Elena Canyon

December 20, 2019 | By Pam LeBlanc

Coming soon to a package near you: A glimpse of Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend Rafting Trips Combine Scenery, Food, and Live Music

August 27, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

Amid the spectacular scenery of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park, catered trips offer the chance to row, hike, relax, and listen to world-class live music under the stars

Big Bend Fossils Reveal New Dinosaur Species

July 17, 2019 | By Anna-Kay Reeves

Recent research reveals that fossils found in Big Bend National Park 35 years ago belong to an entirely new species of duck-billed dinosaur.

1,200-Acre Fire in Big Bend National Park Mostly Contained; Conservancy Raising Funds for Rebuilding

May 28, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

The Big Bend Conservancy has started a fundraising effort to help reestablish visitor services in the Castolon Historic District of Big Bend National Park after a wildfire last week burned La Harmonia Store and Castolon Visitor Center. The Castolon Fire had burned more than 1,200 acres but was largely contained as of Monday, according to Big Bend National Park.

In Big Bend National Park, Wildfire Burns Visitor Center and La Harmonia Store in Castolon

May 23, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

A wildfire in Mexico jumped the Rio Grande River into Big Bend National Park and burned down a camp store set in a historic U.S. Army barracks in Castolon on Wednesday night, the national park reported. The fire started from unknown causes on Tuesday or Wednesday, sending a plume of smoke into the sky. Wednesday afternoon, when temperatures were over 100 degrees, heavy winds blew burning embers into the riverside mesquite forest in the national park.

Join Texas Highways as It Celebrates Big Bend National Park’s 75th Birthday

April 26, 2019 | By

Tracking Elusive Mountain Lions in the Mountains of West Texas

April 25, 2019 | By Asher Elbein

The cat has been gone for hours by the time Bert Geary comes upon the footprint. He sees it as our utility-terrain vehicle bounces over a rough ridgeline trail, the wind gusting over golden grass, heavy and cool with incoming August rain. The tracks are perhaps 5 inches across, clear and distinct. “It’s too big to be a bobcat,” Geary says, swinging out of the vehicle to examine it. “I think that’s a mountain lion. Young one, too. Maybe 60 pounds.”

Photographer Sean Fitzgerald on the Secrets of Capturing Big Bend’s Majesty

February 18, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

Photographer Sean Fitzgerald shares Big Bend photography tips and a time-lapse video documenting his hike to shoot the Window pour-off

Photo: The Window in the Chisos Basin

January 31, 2019 | By

Big Bend National Park boasts several distinctive and must-visit geological features, and the Window in the Chisos Basin is among the most iconic. The natural break in the rim serves as a picturesque frame for the distant desert landscape below. The Window can be seen from various parts of the basin, including the Chisos Mountain Lodge’s restaurant patio. However, a moderately difficult descent of less than 1,000 feet over a couple of miles of Oak Creek Canyon along the Window Trail provides the most spectacular view.

Where to Find 4 Hidden Gems off Big Bend’s Beaten Path

January 31, 2019 | By Clayton Maxwell

Jaw-dropping hikes like the Window Trail and South Rim draw visitors back to Big Bend National Park year after year. But with 1,252 square miles to roam, the park also teems with trails less traveled. Many visitors stick to five or six popular trails, but for hikers who want to go farther, go wilder, and get off the beaten path, park officials recommend these four secluded options.

Epic Photos Reveal Big Bend’s Splendor in Black and White

January 30, 2019 | By

Rob Decker and his wife, marceia decker, arrived in Big Bend National Park in April 2017 with the goal to capture a single iconic photograph he could use as the centerpiece of a poster he was designing. Decker found plenty of options: He says he was taken aback by the craggy peaks of the Chisos Mountains and the remoteness of the desert. “While most national parks are somewhat out of the way, I was surprised at just how far Big Bend is from most anything, how vast it is, and the different opportunities for recreation it offers,” he says.
The couple explored Big Bend from Rio Grande Village and Panther Junction, to the Chisos Basin and Santa Elena Canyon, where Decker hiked to the banks of the Rio Grande. He then took off his shoes and waded into the river. “Even though it was spring, it was a hot day, and the cool water was a welcome relief,” he recalls. “As I sat on the rocks overlooking the Rio Grande, I thought about the Native Americans, ranchers, miners, and pioneers who at one time or another had called this place their home.”
Decker calls Longmont, Colorado, home. He was just 19 years old when he studied under legendary photographer Ansel Adams at Yosemite National Park, an experience that shapes his work to this day.
Decker is on a journey to visit, photograph, and create a poster for every national park in the United States. His endeavor, fittingly enough, is called The National Park Poster Project, with stylings that hark to the popular New Deal-era national park posters of the late 1930s and early 1940s. With each poster, he hopes to raise awareness of both the grandeur and the continued need to protect America’s natural treasures—and with 43 parks down, he only has 17 to go.
After four days in Big Bend, he left with a trove of images, including an epic shot of Santa Elena Canyon. It fit perfectly on his poster.

10 Tips for Big Bend First-Timers

January 30, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

Plan to spend at least a few days in the park. You could visit for one day, but why do that when you’ve probably already driven at least a day to get there?

A Q&A With Big Bend National Park’s New Superintendent Bob Krumenaker

January 30, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

Big Bend National Park got a new superintendent last fall
with the arrival of Bob Krumenaker, a 36-year veteran of the National Park Service who spent the past 16 years as superintendent of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin. A native of New York, Krumenaker has worked in 14 national parks, including two years in the early 1980s at Big Thicket National Preserve in East Texas. Krumenaker sat down with Texas Highways in November, seven weeks into the job.

With Shutdown Over, Big Bend and Other National Parks Reopen

January 30, 2019 | By TH Staff

After the federal shutdown ended Friday night with an agreement to reopen the government for three weeks, Big Bend started rolling out the reopening of its campgrounds, visitor centers, and other facilities on Sunday. The process was complete by Wednesday when public access to the international Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry was also restored.

“We’re overjoyed to be back,” said Tom VandenBerg, the park’s chief of interpretation. “It took a few days to get everybody’s mind back in the game. It’s been a little bit stressful and weird, but we’re easing into things, and visitors are showing up.”

Big Bend and other federal properties had been closed, or operating with significantly reduced services, for more than a month during the 35-day government shutdown. The majority of Big Bend’s staff furloughed during the shutdown, while the park’s law enforcement officers were kept on duty without pay throughout.

A 1930s Photograph Shows CCC’s Role in Building Big Bend National Park

January 29, 2019 | By

Big Bend National Park was little more than a hopeful idea when about 200 young men arrived in the Chisos Mountains in 1934 on deployment with the Civilian Conservation Corps. Hungry for work amid the hardship of the Great Depression, the workers, ages 18 to 25 and mostly Hispanic, toiled in isolated, harsh conditions to construct infrastructure for what was then Big Bend State Park. The CCC established a camp in the shadow of Casa Grande peak—still the location of the Chisos Basin campground—and blasted 10,000 truckloads of rock to build Green Gulch Road from the desert floor into the basin. A second CCC crew stationed in Big Bend from 1940 to 1942 built the popular Lost Mine Trail, a store, and four cottages that have been used for lodging since the national park opened in 1944.

Fossils Tell a Story of Vanished Worlds in Big Bend National Park

January 29, 2019 | By Asher Elbein

The northbound road through Big Bend National Park winds between scab-colored volcanic hills and the baking white flats of the Chihuahuan Desert. During the day, little moves out here but the wind; the heat presses down heavy and hard on the rock shelves. The landscape feels frozen, dry, and dead. In a word, timeless.

An East Coaster Learns to Live in (And Love) the Wide-Open Space of West Texas

January 28, 2019 | By Rachel Monroe

The Inspiring Story Behind Big Bend National Park’s Founding 6 Days After D-Day

January 28, 2019 | By Emily Roberts Stone, Executive Editor

Seventy-five years ago this summer, the country was gripped by news of the Allied invasion of Nazi-
occupied Europe. But even at the height of the conflict, the commander-in-chief could not resist turning his attention, at least for a few minutes, to West Texas. On June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt met with a Texas delegation to discuss the future of what would become Big Bend National Park. Six days later, he signed legislation establishing it, capping a decades-long effort to preserve a state and national treasure.

Best of the Rest: Big Bend for Everyone Photo Gallery

January 28, 2019 | By TH Staff

In our February 2019 issue, Senior Editor Matt Joyce shared 3 ways anyone can easily enjoy Big Bend National Park, even visitors who aren’t experienced outdoorsmen. These are some of our favorite photos from photographer Sean Fitzgerald that we didn’t have room for in the issue.

Big Bend and Other National Parks Feel the Pinch as Federal Shutdown Persists

January 16, 2019 | By Pam LeBlanc  

The government shutdown is limiting operations at Big Bend National Park and other Texas national parks, while some National Park Service properties in are closed because of the shutdown.

A Big Bend Backup

January 15, 2019 | By Justine Harrington

A few weeks ago, my husband, Alex, and I were preparing to backpack the Outer Mountain Loop in Big Bend National Park—a rugged 30-mile trail that crosses the Chisos Mountains and dips into the Chihuahuan Desert—when, only three days before our departure to West Texas, the federal government shut down, meaning no backcountry permits were unavailable. We were forced to come up with a new plan for our Christmas break.

Join Texas Highways’ Celebration of Big Bend National Park’s 75th Anniversary

December 10, 2018 | By

In cooperation with Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Conservancy, Texas Highways has created a special ranger-led itinerary that’ll have you falling in love with the park. And the timing is right for romance, since the event is just days before Valentine’s Day–Feb. 8-10.

The Daytripper Goes to Big Bend National Park

January 12, 2018 | By Chet Garner

It’s a near-mythical destination where distances stretch and time slows down, a place that can be as dry as a scorching desert or as wet as a raging river. Those who seek great adventures need look no farther than Big Bend National Park.

Looking Back at The Best Texas Snow Photos

December 11, 2017 | By

With a slight chance of snow flurries in the Texas forecast this week, we decided to look back at photos from last December’s snowstorm.

Chasing Quicksilver History in Beautiful Big Bend

October 15, 2017 | By Matt Joyce

The Big Bend’s desert mountains are like magnets for modern nomads seeking isolation and adventure. But the region’s wide-open wilderness hasn’t always been valued as a haven for escape and personal renewal.

Texas’ Top Natural Wonders: Big Bend

August 7, 2017 | By

“Vast is just too small a word. It is a world apart from the flat, sprawling suburbs and plains of North Texas, where I was raised. For me, Big Bend is a cruel mistress. Her raw beauty is intoxicating—and she’ll
kill you if you’re not careful.” – Andrew R. Slaton

Big Bend National Park Fossil Discovery Exhibit Grand Opening

November 7, 2016 | By

Big Bend National Park contains a fascinating collection of fossils. For a long time, the park had no specialized display to provide information to visitors.

Traffic grows at Big Bend’s Boquillas border crossing

June 1, 2015 | By

In the two years since the Boquillas border crossing reopened in Big Bend National Park, about 18,000 people have used the port of entry to cross the Rio Grande from Texas into Mexico.

Texas to-do’s

December 29, 2012 | By Helen Bryant

Sometimes you can spy a whooper or two in the marsh through a free telescope on the refuge’s observation tower.

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