Far West Texas, a place where night skies are as dark as coal, broken only by the luminous pinpoints of millions of stars; a place where rivers carve crevices into the ancient limestone canyons; it is here at the end of the road; the end of civilization as I like to see it, where hundreds of birds and wildlife take refuge against the influx of humankind. It is in this solitary mountain range, surrounded by the isolated yet beautiful desert, that true beauty exists. It’s te tenacious cactus bloom, the sunset of the southwestern sun and the diversity of flora and fauna that presents a certain magic here; a magical environment that no one should miss. It’s a place known as Big Bend; a national park that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
Camping in the Big Bend is Unforgettable
While West Texas may seem a desolate place, once you get off the highways and deep into the wilds of the desert, you’ll find beauty that is unexplainable, and endless. Yes. Some people come and visit for just a day, but to get the true gist of what the Big Bend is, you really need to stay for more than a few days. To truly feel the solitude that Big Bend National Park can offer, try camping at one of the many backcountry camping sites in the park. You’ll just need to be sure that you have a high clearance vehicle to get there.
To give you a little more insight into what the Big Bend is, and why this is a destination you want to make time for, I want to tell you my story.
My family and I ended up on a camping vacation at the Rio Grande Village Campground in Big Bend National Park. The campground is located right on the banks of the Rio Grande, and you can see the majestic Sierra del Carmen Mountains in Mexico. It’s a moment of sheer awe when you stand there and think, “That’s Mexico, and this is the US. But there really are no borders, no defined lines – just impressive mountain ranges, the river and an incredible array of cactus and desert life.
Personally, we decided to tent camp in the campground, as it makes the experience so much more real. You really become attuned to the desert sounds, the views and the environment when you tent camp versus RV camp.
Our campsite had a picnic table and a charcoal grill, and the food storage locker was bear-proof. Not that we spent a lot of time at the campground. Still it was nice to know we had a safe place to go when our day was over.
What To Do In Big Bend
There’s actually quite a bit to do at this national park. Kayaking is one of the preferred sports here, as it’s a great way to see the big bend without having to walk it all. Besides, it’s also a nice way to meet other families and for the kids to have fun. Families enjoy motor boating, tubing and kayaking along the river, and there are quite a few places that can rent kayaks or even motor boats.
Campfires are prohibited in Big Bend National Park, but if you stay in one of the outlying areas, you very likely will be allowed to build one. Be sure you come up with some great campfire recipe ideas, like this tex-mex migas recipe, for your trip. A great campfire meal can make the difference between a good trip and a great trip.
Bird Watching is Spectacular
At Big Bend visitors love bird watching, even if they aren’t avid Audubon society members. Visitors even hold contests to see how many blue jays, hummingbirds or other birds flock to the area.
There are many different hiking trails in the Big Bend. Some are easier than others, but they all offer a variety of scenery and sights. Yes, the desert does have very interesting panoramic views. In fact, you will be surprised at the number of times you have to stop to admire the scenery.
On one such hike down Juniper Canyon Trail, we were impressed by a spectacular sunset. The mountains just lit up with reds and oranges. It was beautiful.
Tomorrow, we are going to go to Hot Springs, just 10 miles or so away. So far, no two places are the same here in the Big Bend National Park. I really find it an amazing and wonderful place to vacation. It’s inexpensive, yet really beautiful.