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Counties
Brewster, Presidio
Region
Big Bend
Nearby
Parks
Big Bend Ranch Texas State Park
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Big Bend Ranch State Park Information:  
This 300,000 acre Chihuahuan Desert park is the largest state park in Texas. The park extends along the Rio Grande River in both Presidio and Brewster Counties, from southeast of Presidio, Texas to near Lajitas, Texas. The landscape includes two mountain ranges, extinct volcanoes, dessert, canyons, plateaus, rivers, tinajas and waterfalls. Over 120 springs allow thousands of plants, birds, mammals, and insects to thrive in this desert. Madrid Falls is the tallest waterfall in Texas; access is difficult. Human habitation began in the area over 11,000 years ago. Viewing ancient rock art, some of it dating back 5,000 years, is one of the most popular park activities. Bring your camera because the park’s rugged beauty, spectacular sunsets, 3 foot tall Big Bend Bluebonnets, colorful cactus blooms, and over 300 species of birds provide many beautiful photo opportunities. The ranch is located in the southeastern quadrant of the park. Park activities include picnicking, camping, backpacking, astronomy, bird watching, wildlife viewing, viewing the prairie dog town, rock art viewing, canoeing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The movies “Rio Diablo,” “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada,” and “A Fronteira” were filmed at Big Bend Ranch State Park and in Presidio, Texas. The “Last Apache” segment of the TV series “Gunsmoke” was also filmed at the park and in Presidio. For more information read the park brochure, the Big Bend Ranch State Park Rack Brochure, and view the park video. Park entrance and camping fees apply.Park entrances and visitor centers are located at the Fort Leaton State Historic Site southeast of Presidio, and at the Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center just east of Lajitas.   Big Bend Ranch State Park Facilities Map   
 
Big Bend Ranch State Park May Gain 578 New Acres:
In January 2016, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department approved a proposed land swap of approximately 607 acres of TPWD land in exchange for 1,185 of LaMota Ranch land. In 2000, the LaMota Ranch donated 13,268 acres to TPWD (Big Bend Ranch State Park). The park and ranch currently share 18 miles of boundary. The land exchange shortens this shared boundary by 5 miles, straightens sections of the boundary, and would make it easier to fence the boundary. TPWD would also gain direct access to the Cienega portion of the park from the road.
 
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
 
Big Bend Ranch State Park Directions:
Fort Leaton State Historic Site, Western Park Entrance: From Presidio, take FM 170 (River Road), 4 miles southeast of town.
 
Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center, Eastern Park Entrance: From Lajitas, take River Road (FM 170), 1 mile east of town.