Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park in Texas features broad expanses of Chihuahuan Desert shrubland and grassland interspersed with smaller areas of high-elevation woodland in the Chisos Mountains, near the center of the park. Riparian and wetland areas hugging the Rio Grande and associated with springs throughout the park represent geographically small but ecologically valuable contributions to the park, while deep canyons along the river are among the park's most striking features.

The black bear, mountain lion, and javelina, along with bats, turtles, frogs, toads, and 450 species of birds, either reside in the park or use park resources. The area's rich and varied human history is clearly evident through widespread archaeological and historical sites.

In February 2012, Big Bend National Park was designated a Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association, becoming only the second U.S. national park and one of ten parks in the world to earn the distinction. (The first U.S. national park, Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah, was designated as the world’s first Dark-Sky Park in 2007.)  Big Bend is thought to have one of the darkest measured skies in the lower 48 states and is located within 150 miles of the McDonald Observatory, a leading center for astronomical research.

Big Bend National Park


Like most of the parks of the National Park System, the national parks of Texas face serious challenges as we move toward the National Park Centennial Year of 2016.  These include the need to acquire adjoining, threatened lands, air and water pollution, under-funding and under-staffing, inappropriate use of off-road vehicles, and the challenges of Texas’s location on an international border. 

In addition, according to an assessment by the Center for the State of the Parks in 2003, while Big Bend may appear pristine, historical land uses have caused the loss of several native species, considerable soil erosion, and a general decline in the condition of both natural and cultural resources. Insufficient funds prevent the Park Service from hiring staff needed to preserve historic structures, archival documents, and other cultural resources. Air and water pollution stemming from outside the park and ever-growing demands for water from the Rio Grande are seriously degrading visibility and water resources within the park. The results? Diminished visitor experiences and widespread effects on all species that rely on the river for survival.

Air pollution is among the most serious threats to national parks. The National Park Service has established the NPS air quality webcam network to show “live” digital images of more than a dozen parks. Click here to see current air conditions at Big Bend National Park.








September 1, 2015

Thanks NPCA for the info! :)


May 3, 2015

I think to save this park we can stop hunting the wildlife


January 15, 2015

absolutely in luv with this park. looking in to marrying it- anyone know if thats something i can do? like and comment! thx


January 14, 2015

this place is amazing and beautiful love it

Mexican Buffet

May 15, 2014

you cant hunt because the purpose is to preserve the park.

Dalton Arnaud

May 5, 2014

why cant we hunt some game in the park

bella 101

April 21, 2014

I went here for my summer vacation. It was so much fun when me and my family went camping there.


March 26, 2014

im doing a report on this park how do you guys protect the plants and animals


March 20, 2014

who are the founders of big bend national park


January 5, 2014

I am doing a project on big end national park and I am very fascinated about all these facts I am finding out about this park.


December 3, 2013

this park is awesome

Michael Jordan

October 21, 2013

what was the budget of big bend in 2010


October 12, 2013

Can you hunt bears and cougars in BIG BEN PARK?


October 5, 2013

Enjoyed our time in BBNP. Saw a rattlesnake in Boot Canyon on 10/1//2013.


September 7, 2013

Just came back from a 4 day stay in the cottages at the Chisos Lodge. Worth every penny! I wish we could have stayed longer but this is the first vacation in 5 years and can't leave work for to long :-)


May 7, 2013



March 18, 2013

I am doing a report on Big Bend and so far its really cool! I would really like to go but i am pretty sure i am not for awhile!


March 17, 2013

Would like updates on the the proposed paleontology exhibit


February 24, 2013

Went on a trip to Big Bend in 2011, it was AWESOME. The park is HUGE. Chisos Basin has wonderful campsites. Also went to the McDonald Observatory Star Party, a thing you don't want to miss. It is deffinetly worth some planning to go! 2-3 days isn't enough, try 4-5 because there is just so much to see.


November 5, 2012

Just got back from Big Bend. What an amazing area. Everyone should make an effort to see the mountains and the views.


September 9, 2012

We visited Big Bend last weekend - it was a 540 mile drive one way; we stayed 2 nights, and drove home - the almost 1100 mile trip in a long weekend was worth it to visit this park. It was amazing! We camp in the Chisos Mountains basin, and woke up surrounded by gorgeous peaks. A 25 mile drive from that campground takes you to the Rio Grande; the contrast between the mountains and the desert was amazing.


May 4, 2012

Big Bend has mountain lions and black bears? Cool!


April 26, 2012

Im doing a report on this for my school and this place is so cool! I'd love to viit it sometime.


February 13, 2012

i love this park

Capt'n Randy

December 16, 2011

Dark black clouds can mean lightning,hail,rain & high winds. We got caught in a thunderstorm, the rate the water rises in the washes is amazing!!


December 10, 2011

I herd for first time about Big Bend at a wildlife conference in Mexico in the 80's, I never visited the park until December 2011. What I like most about US is the National Parks and the preservation of nature. It is heartbraking to hear the parks are in trouble. We must help as we can (money, volunteer, donate)to help them recuperate.

Ron A

November 10, 2011

Have been to B.B. 2 times Both great trips. And no other place like it in TEXAS. Just got back in Dec. 2010. Looking forward to returning .. Same thing with Estes Park Co.


November 10, 2011

I have only been going to Big Bend for several years, but it has made me fall in love with the National Parks. It's beauty is amazing. As a hiker there is just so much to choose from. But even if you cannot or do not hike there is alot to see from your car or bike, but if you can get off and get out, it is worth it!


November 10, 2011

We visited this park in the late 70's, I had never seen mountains before, breathtaking! We pitched a tent at 1 in the am, woke up at 6, we were by a lake. I saw a roadrunner for the 1st time. I'd love to go back again.


November 2, 2011

Big Bend is a wonderful park


October 13, 2011

I love this park!!

Post a Comment

Share your park story today. Post your park experiences, recommendations, or tips here.*

Enter this word:

* Your comments will appear once approved by the moderator. NPCA staff do not regularly respond to postings. We reserve the right to remove comments that include profanity or personal attacks, promote products or services, or are otherwise off-topic. Opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the position(s) of NPCA. By submitting comments you are giving NPCA permission to reuse your words on our website and print materials.


Want to learn more about the  ?

The   can be seen in the wild in America’s national parks. Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect parks in   & other states

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Sign up to protect   and other National Parks

Why not join the National Parks Conservation Association Community to protect and preserve our national parks?

Please leave this field empty
Yes, please sign me up for NPCA’s newsletter and other emails about protecting our national parks!

National Parks Conservation Association
National Parks Conservation Association

Log In

Or log in with your connected Facebook or Twitter account:


Welcome to our growing community of park advocates. Thanks for signing up!

Sign Up:

Or sign up by connecting your Facebook or Twitter account: