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Big Bend National Park, Texas

In the South western part of Texas, taking in more than 800 thousand acres sits Big Bend National Park.

Where the Rio Grande forms its boundaries between the United States and Mexico, a thousand miles long, nearly a quarter of that is part of, and overseen by the Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend received its name in fact from the twisting winding traversing of the river, whose 118 meandering miles through the park form what is known as the “big bend” of the river.

the mountain lions quite often will use the trails

The Big Bend Park has some unusual constraints regarding its administration and rules, as well as acceptable use policies and regulations that must be enforced by and large due to the fact that the park itself serves as an international boundary between two countries.
The jurisdiction of the Big Bend park runs only to the center of the deepest channel in the river, while the rest of the river is in the jurisdiction of Mexico.

The Big Bend National Park has significance nationally as the largest protected piece of the Chihuahua Desert and Desert ecology in the United States.
Very few areas in the US will rise above this parks value for the study of and protection of  the resources of geology and paleontology.

There are, within the park, organisms that exist today in a wide variety and abundance that are fossilized from both the  Cretaceous and Tertiary.

Archeologies have found artifacts here that are estimated to be over nine thousand years old.

cactus grow in the foreground of the park

In addition to these, the buildings and landscapes that are here afford the visitor a living picture of what life was like on the border at the turn of the century.

Big Bend National Park is a study in the extreme.
One day the temperature may rise well above 100 degrees in the lower aspects of the park, in the hot and arid spring and summer days, while winter time may bring  temperatures well below freezing.

The altitude in the park changes about 6000 feet, rising from 1800 feet near the river, to about 7800 feet in the Mountains, called the Chisos.

Because of this incredible climatic diversity, there is a wide diversity as well in the plants and animals that are found within the Big Bend Park.

The River Canyons include Santa Elena,  Mariscal, and Boquillas, and many of the canyons have been cut by the river as it wandered through the Desert.

Some canyons have nearly straight up, vertical walls, largely made up of limestone.
Through the entire area, the landscape shows its unique diversity, with riparian areas, vegetation belts which run into the desert promoting life along the creek beds, and wide areas of desert.

Those things worth seeing in the park are surrounding you and in any direction that you turn. From the mountains to the Native American history, to the history of the Spanish, the Mexican and the American rancher and farmer.

remnants of past inhabitants

If you choose to enjoy it the  best way to do so is on foot, hiking and exploring the area, which is breathtaking in its extremes and its beauty.
Because the Big Bend Park can present some dangers and some extremes, careful preparation is necessary when you come to hike here, however it is well worth your advance preparations for all that you will take home with you.

The wildlife, the flora and fauna alone will keep you snapping the camera from dawn til dusk and beyond.
Big Bend has more species of scorpion than any other park, and has some that are found no where else on earth.
The Big Bend park is also populated with owls, coyotes,skunks, raccoons, and even javelinas.

Big Bend is also Mountain Lion country and black bears are not at all uncommon here.

It is because of the parks rugged and isolated nature that people come to Big Bend Park, however pay attention to your surroundings and keep yourself safe.

Big Bend is desert area and the modern conveniences are not going to be something you find along the trails. While some are well maintained, others are not, and a first aid kit, as well as a gallon of water, per person, per day is the recommended amount that you should be carrying with you.

Desert wildflowers in the national park

Your visit to Big Bend, particularly if you plan overnight hikes or foot explorations should see you prepared with all that you need to get alone in a wilderness area.
Carry a first aid kit, and plan your hike wisely to make sure it is within the capabilities of all of your hikers.
Do not neglect to carry survival gear, make sure that you have a map and compass when hiking Big Bend and carry a signal mirror with you when you set out.

Your time in Big Bend National Park will be among the most challenging and the most enjoyable time that you’ve ever spent if you plan it wisely and pay attention to a few safety elements prior to setting out.

Before you plan your trip to Big Bend National Park, why not check out the National Parks Service Guide to Safety in Big Bend. Reading some of the accompanying literature and guides might help to make your trip to Big Bend national Park more safe and far more enjoyable.

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