Big Bend National Park

Overview

Big Bend National Park is a land of borders. Situated on the boundary with Mexico along the Rio Grande, it is a place where countries and cultures meet. It is also a place that merges natural environments, from desert to mountains. It is a place where south meets north and east meets west, creating a great diversity of plants and animals. The park covers over 801,000 acres of west Texas in the place where the Rio Grande makes a sharp turn - the Big Bend. The park is open 24 hours daily, all year. The Panther Junction Visitor Center is open daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but may be closed on Christmas Day. The entrance stations and other visitor centers have variable seasons and hours. Hiking, camping, and biking are popular activities at Big Bend National Park.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

Big Bend is relatively uncrowded much of the year. Visitation is highest in March and April. The park is extremely crowded during spring break, which is usually the second and third week in March. Easter weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day are also very busy. All lodging and campsites are usually full during these periods. Visitation is lowest in August and September. There are five visitor centers; Panther Junction, Chisos Basin, and Persimmon Gap Visitor Center are open year round; Castolon and Rio Grande are open seasonally from November through April.

Fall and spring are usually warm and pleasant. Summers are hot, although temperatures vary greatly between the desert floor and the Chisos Mountains; May and June are the hottest months. Afternoon and evening rains often cool the desert from July to October. Winters are generally mild, although periods of cold weather (including light snow or ice) are possible. Winter visitors must prepare for a variety of conditions.

Directions

Driving: 

Several highways lead to Big Bend National Park: TX 118 from Alpine to Study Butte or FM 170 from Presidio to Study Butte (then 26 miles east to park headquarters) or US 90 or US 385 to Marathon (then 70 miles south to park headquarters).

Flying: 

The nearest airports served by major airlines are located in Midland/Odessa, Texas (235 miles from park headquarters) and El Paso, Texas (330 miles from park headquarters). Rental cars are available at both airports.

Public Transport: 

The nearest Amtrak station is located in Alpine, Texas (100 miles from park headquarters). Call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL for schedule information. Greyhound provides daily service to Alpine, Texas (100 miles from park headquarters). Call Greyhound at 1-800-231-2222 for schedule information. A rental car will be required to reach the park.