Big Bend Ranch: Where solitude meets adventure

Spectacular scenery and unmatched adventure await visitors to Big Bend Ranch State Park. The 300,000-plus-acre park in Presidio and Brewster counties is the largest in Texas.

The West Texas desert landscape’s geological features and recreational opportunities draw outdoors enthusiasts from around the country.

One of the easiest ways to take-in the vastness of the state park is a drive along FM 170 or Main Park Road. But the best way to connect with nature here is a hike, horseback ride, or mountain biking the park’s expansive network of trails. Dirt roads also allow for a bit of adventure in the right four-wheel-drive vehicle.

On the south end of the park, the Rio Grande River provides a unique experience for rafting, kayaking, and canoeing.

While the list of significant geological features in Big Bend Ranch is long, must-see destinations include:

  • El Solitario. A collapsed and eroded volcanic dome nearly 10 miles across. Spanish for ‘hermit’ or ‘loner.’ The park’s signature landscape feature is easily visible from the Fresno Overlook on FM 170 between Lajitas and the Teepee Picnic Area.
  • Closed Canyon. A narrow slot canyon that divides Colorado Canyon in two. Over millions of years, a small stream eroded the canyon’s high walls. Located along FM 170, hikers can take a short trail to the arroyo at the opening of the canyon. “Because the canyon walls are so tall and narrow, little sunlight reaches the floor and the temperature in the cayon is substantially cooler than out in the exposed desert for most of the day,” a park brochure noted.
  • Hoodoos Trail. Features unique geological features along the Rio Grande River. “The word hoodoo originated in Africa and referred to rock structures with strange animal shapes and embodied evil spirits,” a park publication stated. The irregularly-shaped columns are the product of erosion.

Big Bend Ranch also features a number of other canyons, waterfalls and tinajas, a rock basin that holds water.

Click the video below to look around.

The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Gray Television. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2020 Lane Luckie

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