Winter Camping: Big Bend National Park in Texas

by on March 3rd, 2011
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My last two articles–“Winter Camping: Enchanted Rock in Texas” and “Winter Camping: Lost Maples in Texas”–elaborated on the amazing opportunities for camping during the winter months in Texas.

For my next installment, I will be discussing the wonders of Big Bend National Park, located in western Texas along the Rio Grande River.

Big Bend is a massive 1,252 square miles of wondrous nature, including hundreds of varieties of flora and fauna. The park offers visitors many opportunities for outdoor activities. There is mountainous terrain, secluded desert and water to explore. Primitive backpacking trails give people who visit the park some of the most remote experiences in all of the United States. There are also designated campsites with accommodating restrooms and day trails for the less adventurous.

Another popular activity at Big Bend National Park is bird watching. Big Bend is home to over 450 different species of birds alone. This includes rare species like the Slate-throated Redstart and American Bittern. Big Bend National Park is one of the premiere bird observing parks in the entire nation.

My experience at Big Bend was one that I’ll never forget. From Austin, it took me and my travel companions the better part of a day to get to the park; nearly eight hours. We stayed the night at a motel and got up early the next day for the journey. Our trip took us on a several-day backpacking adventure in which we traversed and explored both mountain and desert. Water was a big issue because sanitation is somewhat questionable in that part of country. As a group before the trip, we elected to carry our three-day supply. In case of emergency, we also brought along some iodine capsules and plenty of propane for our portable stove in case we needed to boil water. The weather did get cold during the evening, as it was winter, but never dropped below freezing. I was fine with my 30-degree sleeping bag.

A note of caution: Big Bend National Park is on the border with Mexico. As such, it is recommended that visitors bring with them a proper form of identification, such as a passport, in case of any mix-ups. This is mandatory for river exploration on the Rio Grande, as you are leaving and reentering the country. Use precaution and be aware of any potential problems that could arise and how to mitigate them before entering the park.

Make sure to contact visitor information if you have any questions at (432) 477-2251.

I am a native Texan that enjoys many outdoor activities, most notably, backpacking, camping, snowboarding and skiing.


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