Thursday, November 17, 2022

Big Bend National Park - Day Three

Thursday, November 10, 2022 

Our last day visiting this beautiful National Park and another Blog with picture overload.

Big Bend National Park is located in the southwestern part of Texas along the Texas-Mexico border. Big Bend was established as a national park in June of 1935, preserving the largest tracts of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States.

The park is comprised of 1,252 square miles of land, making it larger than the state of Rhode Island. Within Big Bend National Park are numerous geographical contrasts. These include the vegetation belts along the Rio Grande, the sparseness of the Chihuahuan Desert, the peaks of the Chisos Mountains, and the limestone outcrops of Persimmon Gap and Boquillas Canyon. (from park site)

Our last time, this visit, entering the Big Bend National Park.

This is the drive we took today. It took us through more
 beautiful mountain scenery and to the Santa Elena Canyon.

We are headed towards the "split" in the mountains
we can see in the distance.

We actually stopped here on our way back.
The decisions was to drive straight through to the Santa Elena
Canyon then make some stops on the way back.

The Santa Elena Canyon is just ahead.

The paper they hand you as you enter a National Park filled with information about the park and what to do and see describes this hike as: Easy This trail crosses Terlingua Creek (usually dry) and gradually climbs up to an overlook before dropping to the river bank. Trail had some steep steps and can be very hot midday.

The sign mentions a 80 foot elevation gain but we thought,
we can do this so we kept going.

This is where we stopped.
If you look closely you can see some people on the other side.
 I was watching instead of taking a picture as they 
walked across in chest deep water.

Tom took a walk to another crossing about a block up river
where is it was dry but there was what he called a steep
bank to get up on the other side. He said, no way.

Never the less we are glad we walked this far.
It was beautiful to see even just this much.

After walking to the Jeep we back tracked to the Santa Elena Overlook.

This was today's

lunch view.

After lunch we drove a few miles down the Old Maverick
Road. Then decided to turn around and go back the way we
came. There were a couple of stops we wanted to make.
We will save this ride for another time.

You can still see evidence of the 2019 fire.

The 2019 Castolon Fire
On May 22, 2019, a fire in Mexico jumped the Rio Grande. With temperatures around 110°F the fire spread rapidly. Wind gusts showered embers across the Castolon Historic District, igniting the latrine building and barracks (which housed the La Harmonia Store and Visitor Center) and threatening the other buildings.

The shade structure served as a wick drawing flames into the attic. Despite valiant efforts, structural and wildland fire crews were unable to safely extinguish the fire before both buildings suffered extensive damage. Some 950 acres on both sides of the river burned before the fire would be fully contained 13 days later.

Through extensive efforts in extremely difficult conditions, firefighters saved the many other historic buildings and artifacts, as well as vital utilities and the nearby Cottonwood Campground. Fortunately, there were no injuries associated with this tragic loss. (information from the Big Bend website)

There is a store open at the Castolon Visitor Center.  We were told by the gentleman at the store, that the Visitor Center itself was suppose to open on November 1, 2022. It was still not open when we stopped.

After taking a quick walk through the area and snapping a few pictures we continued on our way.

Going back by the Cerro Castellan

I am pretty sure those are the tips of the Mule Ears.

Mules Ears

Turned here for Mules Ears View Point.

Guessing there may have been information here at
one point.

The only information was at the trailhead.

Leaving Mules Ears View Point.
Same view just closer.

 Continuing on our next stop was at the Sotel Vista.

The views in all the directions were beautiful

and seemed to go on forever.

One last picture and we headed back to the 
Ros Maxwell Scenic Drive.

Leaving Big Bend National Park.

It was a wonderful drive to end our visit at Big Bend National Park. Will we be back? Honestly, we are not sure what the future will hold. What we do know is if we do spend more time in this area there is a lot more to explore and visit including Big Bend Ranch State Park. Plus, driving through the area in the spring when all the wild flowers are in bloom that the gentleman who writes the Blog, Old Fat Man Adventures and comments as Barney, The Old Fat Man mentioned would be something wonderful to see.

Heading back we passed these guys eating an afternoon snack and they were in a fenced in area on the side of the road. Since we started visiting Texas in 2014 my question has always been, where are the Longhorns? There should be some in plain view,  preferably fenced in by the road, so tourist can take pictures. Well today my wish came true. To whoever owns these guys, thank you for having them right there along the road in plain view.

Today was a good day. Tomorrow we will continue West; it is time to move on.

We are glad you stopped by!
If you have time to leave a comment we would enjoy hearing from you


  1. The views are stunning. I love the ribbon of highway through the valley, very pretty. The colours are amazing, so varied. The Mule Ears is a very apt name.


    1. I had taken several pictures of the Mule Ears along the way; when I saw what they were called I thought makes sense...:)

  2. I agee with Deb. That is a beautiful park. It is a huge place with lots to see. Hope I make it there. Now those were Longhorns!

  3. Yes, finally Longhorns next to the It is a beautiful park for sure.