Scenic drives in Big Bend National Park part 1

As part of the 100 year anniversary of the national park system we thought that it would only be appropriate to mention some options when traveling to Big Bend National Park.

There are many things to do in Big Bend Park ..but let’s start with something simple: How about a scenic drive?


Let’s begin!

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
30 miles (48km)

A trip along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive highlights the geologic splendor Big Bend is famous for, and offers many scenic overlooks and exhibits along the way. Sotol Vista, Mule Ears Overlook, and Tuff Canyon are all worthwhile stops.

History is highlighted at Sam Nail Ranch, Homer Wilson (Blue Creek) Ranch, and the Castolon Historic Compound. Castolon has a visitor center, camp store, and nearby is the Cottonwood Campground.

Continue the drive to the magnificent Santa Elena Canyon, where limestone cliffs rise 1,500′ above the Rio Grande. A short trail leads into the canyon.

Return by the same route, or take the gravel Old Maverick Road to the western entrance of the park. The Old Maverick Road is usually passable for most vehicles, but may be impassable after heavy rains. Once you get there its suggested that you stop by the visitor center for additional information and status on current weather conditions.


Chisos Basin Road
6 miles (10km)

A drive to the Chisos Basin is an excellent way to experience the transition between arid desert and cooler mountain habitats. As this scenic, winding road rises over two thousand feet above the desert floor, it offers breath-taking vistas of the mountain peaks and the erosion-formed basin area. This road was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The road is not recommended for trailers longer than 20 feet or RVs over 24 feet due to its sharp curves and steep grades (as much as 15%). The Chisos Basin has a visitor center, campground, lodge, restaurant, camp store, and access to miles of hiking trails.

Tomorrow I’ll mention a couple more options for scenic drives in Big Bend National Park ..but if you want to read more about the 100 centennial just go to the national park service site.  Go go Rving!

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