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Big Bend National Park

Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Texas Big Bend National Park

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Introduction

Great sunset in Big Bend NP, Texas

Great sunset in Big Bend NP, Texas

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Big Bend National Park is one of the natural beauties of Texas. The park covers about 1,250 square miles and is located in the western part of the Lone Star State, bordering Mexico where the Rio Grande bends, hence its name. Most of the people visit the Chisos Mountains and Basin, where you will also find the only accommodation within the park proper.

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Opening Hours

The park is open 24 hours daily, all year. The Panther Junction Visitor Center is open daily, 8:00am to 6:00pm, but may be closed on Christmas Day. The entrance stations and other visitor centers have variable seasons and hours. The Chisos Basin Visitor Center is open from 8:00am to 3:30pm from November to March. Closed for lunch. Reduced hours on Christmas day. From April to October, opening hours are 9:00am to 4:30pm daily and closed for lunch as well.

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Cost

Entrance Fees for a single visit up to seven days are:

  • Vehicle - $20 for a seven day pass; obtain at any park entrance station or visitor center.
  • Individual - (on bicycle, motorcycle, or group members) $10 for a seven day pass.
  • Children 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge.
  • Non-commercial groups, such as scout or church groups traveling as a group in a 15-passenger van or a bus, pay $10 per person for everyone 16 years and older (instead of $20 per vehicle). Non-commercial and family groups traveling in family-sized vehicles (such as sedans, minivans, station wagons) will pay the $20 vehicle entrance fee.

There are also passes with unlimited entry for up to a year or lifetime:

  • $40 - Allows unlimited entry to Big Bend National Park for one year from month of purchase.
  • $80 - Allows unlimited entry to all federal recreational lands for one year from month of purchase.
  • Senior Pass - $10 lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for people 62 years and older.
  • Free lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for permanently disabled persons.

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Sights and Activities

Old working tools, Big Bend NP, Texas

Old working tools, Big Bend NP, Texas

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

  • Castolon Historic District
  • Chisos Basin and Mountains
  • Santa Elena Canyon
  • Boquillas Canyon
  • Hiking
  • Scenic Drives

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Getting There

By Train

The nearest Amtrak station is in Alpine, about 100 miles north from the park. From here, about 3 weekly trains go in both the western direction (towards Los Angeles), as well as the eastern direction (towards New Orleans.

By Car

The best and in fact the only way of getting to the park (apart from tours) is by car. It's a solid 1 or 1.5 hour drive south from Marathon, which itself is just east of Alpine, along Highway 385. From Alpine, it's slightly longer and you travel along road #118. You can also reach the park from the west along the extremely scenic road # 170 from Presidio, a town on the border with Mexico.

By Bus

The nearest Greyhound bus station is in Alpine, about 100 miles from the park.

By Boat

Although there is no public transport along or across the Rio Grande, there are rafting and canoe trips along it.

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Sleep

The only accommodation within the park, apart from campgrounds, is the Chisos Lodge, where you will have a choice ranging from relatively basic but comfortable motel style rooms to secluded stone cottages, perfectly suitable for larger groups and families. Book well beforehand if you want the latter ones. During high season (mainly spring and fall, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Springbreak and Easter), other rooms might be booked solid as well.

There is a campground in the Chisos Basin, as well as several more in both eastern and western directions, towards the Rio Grande Village and Santa Elena Canyon respectively.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 19:42 on Jun 3, 11 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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