Big Bend National Park Information:
This 800,000 acre national park was Texas’ first national park. The U.S. Congress authorized the park in 1935 and established it in 1945. The park is larger than the state of Rhode Island. The park is named for the Rio Grande River’s “big bend” on the park’s south boundary. The park is located in the Chihuahuan Desert in a very isolated area of southwest Texas, just east of Big Bend Ranch State Park. Habitat consists of the Chisos Mountain Range, canyons, desert, and the Rio Grande River. Most of the acreage is rugged and undeveloped backcountry. A major attraction is the stunning Santa Elena Canyon. Major shopping areas (Alpine, Fort Stockton, Del Rio and Marathon) are located over an hour away; Park visitors should carry plenty of food and water, and fill up the tank before traveling in the area. Small area community stores and the park’s 4 camper stores sell a limited selection of supplies. The Chevron service station located adjacent to the Panther Junction park headquarter sells diesel fuel. The Rio Grande Village Store in the Rio Grande Village Campground area sells gas during store hours, but does not sell diesel fuel Park activities include camping, hiking (day hikes), backpacking, biking, mountain biking, nature studying, bird watching, rock climbing, scenic drives, river trips, attending ranger led programs, and visiting historical sites and natural wonders. A 16 page information brochure
is available in addition to a history brochure
and a number of other brochures
. The park produces the Big Bend NP Paisano Newspaper
. Wood fires are prohibited within the park. May and June are the hottest months in the park. The western park entrance is located just southeast of Study Butte. Maps of Big Bend National Park
Boquillas del Carmen, Coahuila, Mexico:
The international crossing between Big Bend Park and Boquillas del Carmen was closed after 911. Prior to the closing, the town had over 300 residents. Park visitors and staff were ferried across the Rio Grande and carried by burros to the town, and Mexican residents crossed to the U.S. to visit relatives and purchase goods. When the border crossing reopened in April 2013, the town had slightly over 100 residents and only two businesses which included the Falcon Restaurant, open since 1973. Visiting Information
Big Bend National Park & Boquillas del Carmen, Coahuila, Mexico Border Crossing:
The park shares 118 miles of border with Mexico. This international port of entry between Rio Grande Village in Big Bend National Park and Boquillas del Carmen was closed in 2002 after 911. The closing forced visitors on both sides of the border to travel over 100 miles to the next closest port of entry. The closing devastated the Boquillas’ economy. At the time of the April 2013 border opening, the town had only two businesses. One of the remaining businesses is the popular Falcon Restaurant, in business since 1973. Visitors are ferried across the Rio Grande River via a $5 row boat ride. They enter the U.S.at the U.S. National Park Service interagency facility in Rio Grande Village. This facility is staffed by park personnel during hours of operation. Visitors transport necessary travel documents via video feed at one of two kiosks, and are interviewed by CBP officials via a remote link. The crossing is open The crossing is open Wed-Sunday, 9am-6pm Summer Daylight time; Wed-Sun, 8am-5pm, Winter Standard Time.
Mexico Travel Warning
Mexico & Canada Travel Information
Duty Free Information
Border Bridge Wait Times
This mountain range, the most southern mountain range in the U.S., is located entirely within the boundaries of Big Bend National Park. It is the only U.S. mountain range located entirely within the boundaries of a national park. The 20 mile range extends from the northeast at Panther Junction to the southeast at Punta de la Sierra. At 7,825 feet, Emory Peak
is the highest peak in the Chisos Mountains. The mountain range is surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert. Camping permits are available from the park visitor centers. Some campsites and trails are closed from January through April to protect nesting birds.
These mountains are located adjacent to Big Bend National Park. The highest peak is 5,728 feet above sea level. In 1991, the Richard K. Mellon Foundation donated 9,270 acres of land (18 X 20 miles) to the State of Texas for use as a nature park, wildlife refuge, and/or recreation area. Because it is so expensive to maintain the land, the state put the land up for sale in 2007. When the sale fell through, the National Park Service offered to incorporate the land into Big Bend National Park. The state did not wish this to happen because at that time, firearms were not permitted on national park lands, and the state wished to preserve the hunting opportunities the Christmas Mountains offered. In 2011, the State of Texas passed control of the land to the Texas State University System for use as an outdoor wilderness classroom and laboratory. The University System must maintain the land in its present state. Hunting is permitted. The Christmas Mountains are located northeast of Terlingua and Study Butte. Maps
Rio Grande River:
The Rio Grande rises 12,000 feet above sea level in the Rio Grande National Forest in Colorado as a clear, spring and snow-fed mountain stream. The river cuts through the middle of New Mexico to the sites of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez at the junction of Chihuahua, Mexico and Texas. At that point, because of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
which terminated the Mexican War, the Rio Grande became the international boundary between the United States and Mexico. It forms the western or southern borders of El Paso, Hudspeth, Presidio, Brewster (where the river's sweeping curve gives Big Bend National Park its name), Terrell, Val Verde, Kinney, Maverick, Webb, Zapata, Starr, Hidalgo, and Cameron Counties. The river empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The river has many large and small tributaries including the Pecos and Devils Rivers which enter the Rio Grande at the Amistad Reservoir northwest of Del Rio, Texas. At El Paso the Rio Grande caused friction in the 1870s, when the river bit deep into the banks of Mexico and gradually transferred land to the United States. The famous Chamizal Dispute
was not settled until 1963, when 437 acres was ceded from downtown El Paso to Mexico. The agreement economically strengthened both cities. The international border at the two cities is now lined with concrete so that the river will never again shift its channel. In Mexico the river is known as the Rio Bravo del Norte, or Rio Bravo. Fish Stocking History USGS River Gages
From Alpine, take SH 118 to Study Butte. From Presidio, take FM 170 to Study Butte; then travel 26 miles east on FM 170 to the park entrance. From Marathon, take U.S. 385 South 70 miles to the park entrance.