Big Bend National Park Captures Raw Beauty

Pockets Of Isolation Make This A Camping Favorite

From a primitive hot spring to 200 miles of hiking trails, the Big Bend National Park captures the raw beauty of West Texas surrounded by breathtaking Rio Grande beauty. Here in the Lone Star state, where “where everything is bigger,” this national park heaps on nature, recreation and history for big-time family fun, earning it a spot on Fleetwood’s favorite national parks list.

 “There’s a vastness here, and I believe that the people who are born here breathe that vastness into their soul.” – Hotelier Conrad Hilton

Rising nearly a mile above the desert floor of Texas, the park’s solitary Chisos Mountains create a stunning landscape for orange-tinged sunsets, and with more than 100 miles of paved roads, 150 miles of dirt roads and 200 miles of hiking trails, visitors can enjoy the vista with plenty of isolation to go around. Did we mention, the Rio Grande River borders the park for 118 miles?
In fact, this destination is so serene — and varied — migrating birds take refuge in Big Bend National Park. According to the National Parks Service, northern species migrate here for the warm winter climate, while birds from the tropics range this far north to breed in the spring. Meanwhile, the Colima warbler is found exclusively in the United States in the Chisos Mountains from April to September. And if birds don’t catch your interest, watch for foxes, roadrunners, javelinas, black bears and even mountain lions – though hopefully from a distance.

Big Bend Things To See And Do

  1. Not just a birder’s paradise, it’s also a hiker’s paradise with the largest expanse of roadless public lands in Texas. Take a desert hike to the Mule Ears Peaks, a mountain hike to the Chisos ridge tops or a river hike to the Big Bend itself.
  2. With the lightest air pollution of the lower 48 states, the Big Bend is perfect for stargazing on summer nights. More than 2,000 stars are visible to the naked eye! The isolation of Big Bend creates primeval night skies that were once enjoyed decades before electricity.
  3. There’s nothing much more authentic in Texas than good old-fashioned horseback riding. You can bring in your own horse or rent one to ride on the Laguna Meadow, Southwest Rim, and Blue Creek trails.
  4. From half-day floats to multi-day excursions, float the Rio Grande through miles of canyons up to 1,500 feet deep. Some stretches of the river cross into Mexico, and while a passport is not required while you’re on the water, landing on the Mexican bank is illegal.
  5. Whether you’re hiking, driving or rafting, enjoy the foliage. You’ll find 1,200 species of wildflowers, 46 types of cactus and a number of different trees dotting the desert, like ash, sycamore, and cottonwoods.


Set in a large grove of cottonwoods adjacent to the Rio Grande River, the Rio Grande Village allows motorhomes up to 40 feet, and 25 of the concession-operated RV sites provide full hookups, paved lots and grassy, tree-lined edges. For reservations, call 1-877-386-4383 or 432-477-2293. Visitors can also stay at Cottonwood Campground, a shady retreat between the Castolon Historic District and the Santa Elena Canyon, but these sites don’t offer hookups. The Chisos Basin Campground, though convenient to the most popular trails, is not recommended for motorhomes because this campground is only accessible by narrow, windy roads.