Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is in south-western Texas, on the frontier with Mexico, round the great bend in the Rio Grande from which it takes its name. Lying at altitudes of between 1870 ft and 7875 ft, it is made up of three different zones: the valley of the Rio Grande, the desolate landscape of the Chihuan Desert and the Chisos Mountains. Thanks to its great extent and to its range of altitudes it is home to over 400 species of birds, including the golden eagle and the roadrunner, and over 1100 species of plants - a paradise for nature lovers.The park is open throughout the year. The best months for a visit are March and April. In summer it is often extremely hot. Visitors should fill up with gas before driving to Big Bend: there are only two filling stations in the park, both closing at 5 p.m. There are only 74 hotel rooms in the park and these are often fully booked a year in advance, so prior reservation is essential. Better accommodation is available in Terlingua, Alpine and Ford Stockton, and camp sites can be found in Chisos Basin and Rio Grande Village. The main car park is at Panther Junction (junction of the U.S. 385 and TX 118).Altogether the park has some 240 mi. of hiking trails. Among the shorter routes are the Lost Mine Trail, a 5 mi. nature trail affording beautiful views, the Window Trail and 17 mi. of other waymarked trails in the Chisos Mountains. There are a number of longer trails into the desert, allowing hikes of several days. On these trails it is essential to take enough drinking water - at least 7 pints per person per day.Apart from the flora and fauna the great attractions of Big Bend National Park are the three canyons on the Rio Grande, the Mariscal, Boquillas and Santa Elena Canyons, with rock faces rising almost 1650 ft above the river, and the Chisos Mountains, with Emory Peak (7835 ft), once a refuge of the Comanche Indians, a region of wild gorges, precipitous rock faces and gentle valleys.Boat trips through the breathtaking canyons on the Rio Grande can be booked in the Park headquarters.
Big Bend National Park - Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River
Approximately 69 miles of The Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River designation lies within Big Bend National Park, and an additional 118 miles borders the Park. Along the park's boundary recreation and preservation are highlighted.
Official site: www.nps.gov/rigr/
Address: c/o Big Bend National Park, Box 129, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834, United States
The small town of Alpine is a great stop for outdoor enthusiasts. The town is a good base for exploring the surrounding areas, including Big Bend National Park. Hiking, golfing, hunting, and camping are all popular year-round activities in the area.The town also has something for those interested in the arts and history with musicals, comedies and dramas, as well as art galleries and museums.
Museum of the Big Bend
Museum of the Big Bend features displays related to the history of the region, which has been shaped by a variety of cultures; Native Americans, Spanish, Mexicans and the Anglo-Americans.There is also a discovery center for children.
Official site: www.sulross.edu/~museum
Address: Box 210, Alpine, TX 79831-0210, United States
Theatre of the Big Bend
Theatre of the Big Bend, an outdoor theatre, puts on various musical productions as well as theatrical performances.
Official site: www.sulross.edu/pages/6756.asp
Address: Kokernot Outdoor Theatre, United States
Located along the Rio Grande, Presidio was settled in the 1600's by Spanish missionaries. The town's proximity to Big Bend National Park makes it a popular base for outdoor enthusiasts.
Fort Leaton State Historic Site
Built in the 1770's, the adobe fortress has been partially restored. On display in the fort are exhibits on American Indian, Spanish, Mexican and American cultures as well as the natural history of the area.
Official site: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/fort_leaton/
Address: Box 2319, Presidio, TX 79845, United States
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