A few days off in South Texas with a good running Jeep presents an opportunity not many take. Perhaps because it is too far off the beaten path, Big Bend National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in the nation. We are big fans of National Parks, so we made the trip on a rare week off.
Our first stop was our campground, nestled in the valley between Terlingua and Presidio is Lajitas, a wide spot in the road that has been built in to a destination resort. There is a large RV park with a pool and clubhouse, a hotel, restaurant, shops, golf and horse riding. They also had an awesome general store with anything you could imagine, including fresh coffee and cheese. The campground hosts ended up being friends of friends from Montana, I love the small world we live in.
After settling in at the campground, we mounted our trusty Jeep for a trip in to the National Park. Big Bend is large in terms of acreage and the terrain is varied. You could find long vistas to hike, lots of mountain ranges to view, and great open fields filled with flowers and wildlife. We found the only open four wheel drive trail, some back dirt roads, as well as the well-travelled path that most park goers take.
There are hot springs you can sit in, down close to the Mexican border. You can even cross the border on foot, if you’d like to visit the little enclave across the Rio Grande, just be sure to do that at the official border crossing.
My favorite part of the visit was the number of historic areas available, from a crumbling smelter plant to old ranch houses, there are a number of historic structures on Big Bend property. And because there are so few people in the area during the summer season, it is easy to picture yourself alone in the wild, wooly west. A trip to Big Bend State Park will add many hikes and trails to your agenda, as well.
If given the opportunity, make the trek, it’s hours from anywhere, but the only place in Texas where you will find true mountains. That, in itself, is worth the trip, especially if you’ve ever spent time in West Texas.