3 Parks in 1 - Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA

3 Parks in 1 - Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA

It is easy to divide Big Bend National Park in Texas into 3 areas, Mountain, Desert and River.  I spent a day in each ecosystem.
 
The Chiso Mountain Basin is located in the heart of the National Park, and it is where the only lodgings and the only restaurant can be found, it is here also, where I set up camp.  There are a variety of hiking trails through the mountains, ranging from the 0.3 mile Window View Trail to much longer ones exploring Juniper Canyon and Emery Peak. The more adventurous and experienced can apply for a backcountry pass to head off for more uncharted territory.  It is also a great spot to spend the evening watching the sunset behind the mountains. A great informative visitors centre open all year round is located here too.
 
The second day, I drove the scenic 30 mile road along the West of the park to the Castalon Historic District and the Santa Elena Canyon. It is along this route that you pass the original homesteads where people used to live, you can explore these now abandoned ranches and if you are lucky see their new inhabitants, Javalinas and hummingbirds. There are great opportunities to stop and hike along the way, with the Sotol Vista Overlook and Mule Ears Viewpoint being amazing places to explore the Chihuahuan desert.

Day 3 was all about the Rio Grande River and the border between the United States and Mexico. Its a 20 mile drive down to the rivers edge, make sure you stop off at Dugout Wells, for a great nature trail into the desert first. Once you arrive at the Rio Grande Village, take the nature walk right down to the river bed, for outstanding views of the Sierra del Carmen and Hot Springs Canyon. Often local Mexicans reside at the other side of the river, tempting you to buy local crafts, but beware, it is actually illegal to purchase them. A great short trek, with the most amazing views of both America and Mexico, is the Boquillas Canyon Trail too.
 
With opportunities to go biking or boating down the River and evening guided walks and moonlight talks by the rangers, I would recommend making the trek down to Big Bend National Park for anyone lucky enough to be in this corner of America.