Discover Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Welcome to the gateway of rugged beauty and untamed wilderness: Big Bend Ranch State Park. Located in the majestic Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, this park spans over 300,000 acres of awe-inspiring landscapes and diverse ecosystems. From dramatic canyons carved by the Rio Grande to panoramic views of the desert plains and mountains, every corner of Big Bend Ranch State Park offers a unique adventure for outdoor enthusiasts.

Explore over 238 miles of multi-use trails, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, each trail promising breathtaking vistas and encounters with native wildlife. The park’s remote location ensures a serene and unspoiled environment, ideal for stargazing under some of the darkest night skies in the United States.

Whether you’re seeking a challenging backpacking trek through rugged terrain or a peaceful day of birdwatching along the riverbanks, Big Bend Ranch State Park invites you to discover the essence of untouched Texas wilderness.

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Top 3 Facts about Big Bend Ranch State Park

01

Size & Wilderness

Big Bend Ranch State Park covers over 300,000 acres, making it one of the largest state parks in Texas. It is known for its remote and rugged terrain, offering visitors an authentic wilderness experience.

02

Rio Grande & Canyons

The park is situated along the Rio Grande, with spectacular canyons carved by the river. These include the impressive Closed Canyon and Fresno Canyon, which provide stunning geological formations and views.

03

Dark Sky Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park. Its remote location and minimal light pollution make it an ideal destination for stargazing and astrophotography enthusiasts.

Where to Sleep

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Mason Street Getaway

555 Mason St, Saugatuck, MI 49453, USA
Number of Guests 5
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 2
Sq Footage 1,165
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$475.00 / day
sparkles New

JP Rest House

V262+C5P, Manikganj, Bangladesh
Number of Guests 4
Bathrooms 2
Bedrooms 4
Sq Footage 2,400
Carbon monoxide detectors, Fire extinguisher, First aid kit, Generator, Smoke detectors
$300.00 / day
sparkles New

Juniper Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$198.00 / day

Hemlock Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$194.14 / day

Greenash Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Dogwood Cabin

3601 Monck Road,Kawartha Lakes,ON,CA,K0M 2L0
Bathrooms 1
Bedrooms 2
$182.42 / day

Camping and transportation in Big Bend Ranch State Park

info_iconBackcountry camping permits required for wilderness camping opportunities.

How to Get to Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park is tucked away in a remote area of West Texas, but don’t worry; getting there is straightforward. The park is located along Highway 170, located between the towns of Lajitas and Presidio. Here’s the easiest way to reach this scenic wilderness:

  • From Midland/Odessa: Travel south on Highway 67 through Alpine, then head west on Highway 90 to Marfa and Presidio. In Presidio, switch to Highway 170 and head east towards the park.
  • From El Paso: Take Highway 20 to Fort Davis, connecting to Highway 67 southbound through Alpine, and follow the instructions above.

For the Scenic Route: Consider driving El Camino del Rio (Highway 170), known for its breathtaking views alongside the Rio Grande River.

Closest Airports:

  • Midland International Air & Space Port (4-hour drive to the park)
  • El Paso International Airport (longer drive but scenic route option)

Places to Stay Near Big Bend Ranch State Park

When visiting Big Bend Ranch State Park, accommodations range from rustic camping experiences to more comfortable lodging options. Here are some places to stay in and around the park:

  1. Camping in the Park: Big Bend Ranch State Park offers various campsites, including primitive campsites and backcountry camping areas. Visitors can enjoy camping under the expansive West Texas skies, immersing themselves in the rugged beauty of the desert landscape.
  2. Lajitas Golf Resort: Located approximately 30 miles from the park, Lajitas Golf Resort offers a luxurious stay with amenities such as a spa, golf course, and fine dining. It provides a comfortable retreat after a day of exploring the park.
  3. Terlingua: This historic ghost town near the park offers a range of accommodations, from cozy cabins to unique vacation rentals. It’s an excellent option for those looking to experience local culture and enjoy proximity to Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend National Park.
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Best Time to Go to Big Bend Ranch State Park

Summer

Summer

Summer brings hot temperatures to Big Bend Ranch State Park, often exceeding 100°F (38°C) during the day. Despite the heat, early mornings and evenings can still be enjoyable for activities like hiking and photography. Visitors should plan for the extreme heat by carrying plenty of water, seeking shade during midday, and being cautious of heat-related risks. Summer also offers fewer crowds, providing a quieter experience for those willing to brave the heat and explore the park’s rugged beauty.

Winter

Winter

Winter brings cooler temperatures to Big Bend Ranch State Park, with daytime highs typically ranging from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C). Winter is a great time for hiking and exploring the park’s trails without the intense heat of summer. The park’s desert environment offers stark beauty during this season, and wildlife sightings can be more frequent as animals are active during cooler periods. Clear winter skies make for excellent stargazing opportunities, continuing the park’s appeal as a destination for astronomy enthusiasts. Visitors should be prepared for colder nights and occasional chilly winds, especially in higher elevations.

Spring

Spring

Spring is a fantastic time to visit Big Bend Ranch State Park. Temperatures are mild and pleasant, ranging from comfortable daytime highs to cooler evenings, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking and wildlife viewing. Wildflowers bloom across the desert landscape during this time, adding vibrant colors to the rugged terrain. Spring also offers great opportunities for birdwatching as migratory birds return to the area. It’s a popular season, so early reservations for accommodations and campsites are recommended.

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Fall

Must-See Attractions

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Closed Canyon

This striking slot canyon offers a dramatic hike through narrow passages with towering walls that provide shade and relief from the desert sun. The hike leads to stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Madera Canyon

Known for its scenic beauty, Madera Canyon offers hiking trails that wind through a picturesque canyon with lush vegetation and rock formations. It’s an ideal spot for birdwatching and enjoying the tranquility of the desert oasis.

Hoodoos

Located near Ojito Adentro, these unique geological formations resemble tall, thin spires or columns of rock. They are a captivating sight and provide excellent photographic opportunities.

Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Adventure to Big Bend Ranch State Park

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Research the park’s trails, attractions, and facilities before your visit. Understand the distances between points of interest and plan your activities accordingly.

Pack Appropriately

Pack Appropriately

Carry plenty of water, sunscreen, and protective clothing, as temperatures can vary widely and the sun can be intense. Bring a map, compass or GPS device, and an emergency first-aid kit.

Respect Wildlife

Respect Wildlife

Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding or approaching animals. The park is home to diverse species, including desert bighorn sheep and various bird species.

Stay Informed

Check Road Conditions

Many roads in the park are unpaved and may require high-clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicles, especially after rain. Check current road conditions with park staff or online before heading out.

Big Bend Ranch State Park2 scaled
Big Bend Ranch State Park3 scaled

Frequently Asked Questions about Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park covers over 300,000 acres, making it one of the largest state parks in Texas.

Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, birdwatching, stargazing, and scenic drives through the park’s diverse landscapes.

Yes, the park offers various camping options, including primitive campsites, backcountry camping areas, and designated RV camping sites.

Yes, pets are allowed in the park but must be kept on a leash at all times. Be aware of wildlife and respect other visitors by cleaning up after your pet.

Spring and fall offer mild temperatures and vibrant landscapes, making them popular times to visit. Winter is great for stargazing, while summer can be very hot but less crowded.

Fishing is allowed in the Rio Grande within the park with proper licenses. Swimming is discouraged due to strong currents and safety concerns.

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