Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest state park in Texas, over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness in a remarkably rugged, remote and unpopulated setting. The park extends along the Rio Grande from southeast of Presidio to near Lajitas in both Brewster and Presidio Counties. Embracing some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the Southwest, it encompasses two mountain ranges containing ancient extinct volcanoes, precipitous canyons, and waterfalls. The area has been a crossroads of human activities for over 11,000 years, as diverse people and cultures have been drawn by the abundant resources of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo corridor. Chase Fountain photo Tx. Parks & Wildlife Dept. View a larger version of this image. If you are looking for a wild west experience, Big Bend Ranch State Park has an abundance of options. Currently the park offers more than 66 miles of trails with many more in development. In addition to primitive roadside and backcountry campsites, the park also has food, lodging and Wi-Fi available at the Saucedo Complex. The three-bedroom "Big House" provides luxury accommodations that sleep eight and has a full kitchen. Meal service can also be arranged. Larger groups can be accommodated at the casual Sauceda Lodge Bunk House. With twenty-three miles of Rio Grande/Rio Bravo frontage Big Bend Ranch makes an excellent starting point for paddling excursions. Multi-use recreational activities such as hiking, backpacking, horseback riding and mountain biking is available on trails along River Road and in the interior. You can fish in the Rio Grande. The dark skies offer amazing stargazing opportunities. With over 300 bird species the area is a birders paradise. The park has picnic areas along the scenic River Road and offers guided jeep/four-wheel and horseback tours. Mountain bike and horse rentals are available at Sauceda. In addition to many other events the park also offers a semi-annual longhorn cattle roundup. Permits are required for use of Primitive Road and Front Country Campsites and for Backcountry Zone Camping. Day Use visitors are required to obtain a free permit for motorized entry into the Primitive Road Zone.
Marbeth R. on Big Bend Ranch Trails
Beautiful and amazing place you can't believe you have all these different environments in one same place. Beautiful in the border with Mexico. Big park so one weekend camping will not be enough to discover it all. Amazing to come back over and over again.
Inside the canyon, the path is easy to follow; you'll hike across smooth rock with bars of small gravel around occasional puddles. As you continue south, the walls narrow and there are deep depressions created by rapidly flowing water. Depending on recent rains the depressions, known locally as tinajas (the Spanish word for jar), may contain fairly deep water and the pools could make scrambling or wading necessary to continue.
After the second tinaja, the canyon begins dropping steeply toward the Rio Grande with larger and larger steps (10, 12, 25, then 50 feet in height) that require rappelling gear to descend. Without the extra gear, plan to turn around about 0.75 miles from the road.
Caution: Check weather forecasts before tackling the hike, steep canyon walls leave no escape routes and flash floods are possible.
We've done this trail twice now and love it. Some of the pour offs close to the end are pretty high and we had to help each other get down and then back up but even the 8 year old with us loved it. It is one of two trails in Big Bend Ranch State Park that you can take a dog on.
If you want to get away from it all, this is the place. Almost 300,000 acres, many of the campsites are serviced by "unimproved" dirt roads. The first time I went the campsite was a full 1.5 hours in 4-lo off the main (gravel) road. Our group of 3 didn't not see another human being for 4 days, except when going up to the Ranger Station/Park Hdqts. And this was over spring break week!
If you like the Chihuahuan Desert for its emptiness, ruggedness, and beautiful light, this is your place.
I'm going back!
I hiked this trail in April '12. It is pretty easy and, while short in duration, it is very impressive. Feels like 10 ft wide with 200 ft high walls though not quite that narrow. I was not able to make it all the way through due to water in the middle which reminded me that this is not a place to get caught in a flash flood. If you are in the area though definitely stop and check it out.
This Big Bend Ranch State Park is huge! It runs along the Rio Grande from Presidio to Lajitas; it was a private ranch in years past. There are miles and miles of 4X4 trails, and just about that many for hiking. A very rocky area; one should not go out alone, and make sure you have water, and minimum 6 - 8 ply tires! It is referred to as "The other side of nowhere!"
Big Bend Ranch State Park is probably Texas' largest state park. It covers much of the area between Presidio and the Big Bend National Park. Miles and miles of 4X4 roads, as well as hiking trails are there. A word of caution: You need 8 ply or better tires on your vehicle as the terrain is quite rocky. The park is referred to as "The other side of nowhere". Very remote.