Chisos Basin Road

Big Bend National Park, TX

January, 2017 – While I was camped at Big Bend National Park, friends said I shouldn’t miss Chisos Basin Road if I wanted to see some amazing scenery. I’m always open to that kind of advice and from what I read, saw that it’s only 7 miles long, so I figured it would be a really short scenic trip.  (Click pictures for larger versions)

Chisos Basin Road

The road is well paved and maintained but is packed with enough hairpin curves and elevation changes that it has a sign at the start saying “Road not recommended for trailers over 20 feet or RVs over 24 feet.”  The next sign you see tells you that you’re in bear and mountain lion country. OK, be careful when you’re getting out and taking your normal hundreds of pictures, Malia!

Chisos Basin Road - photographer

And as usual, I stopped at every given opportunity, as did several others looking to preserve these memorable sights.

Chisos Basin Road boulders

I oohed and aahed at all the massive boulders that looked like sentinels guarding a magic kingdom, giving them their proper respect and appreciation.

Chisos Mountains Lodge

Arriving at the Lodge complex, the buildings are dwarfed by the mountainous main features.

Chisos Mountain Lodge restaurant

Chisos Mountains Lodge burgerI had packed my usual peanut butter & jelly sandwich lunch since I’m not usually a Lodge type diner. But on my way up the road, a friend posted to my Facebook page that I shouldn’t miss eating there – that it was not the dreaded “hoity-toity” type of place I avoid and their food was good and prices reasonable. That turned out to be true, so I even treated myself to a cold brew with my hamburger and fries. They even offered “Texas Toothpicks” (breaded & fried jalapeno and onion strips) as toppings, something I can never resist. Their french fries were wavy and unique, too, plus the views were great – I’m so glad I didn’t miss lunch here!

Window View Trail start

Since (as usual), I didn’t opt for healthy diet fare, I figured I’d offset one of the french fries anyway with the 1/2 mile Window View Trail.

Windows View Trail 2

I really enjoyed this stroll among my favorite beings – rocks and mountains!

Chisos Mountains

So many interesting formations, shapes and shadows, that I wasn’t ready for the treats to end, so I walked it twice. A major treat for such little effort – don’t miss this drive and walk!

More Info on Chisos Mountains and Basin Road

Chisos Basin Road (NPS) – 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.

Chisos Basin Maps (NPMaps) – Detail map of Chisos Basin, showing the lodge, visitor center, and many Chisos Mountains trails.

Chisos Mountains (Visit Big Bend) – The Chisos Mountains are the heart of Big Bend National Park. They extend twenty miles from Punta de la Sierra in the southwest to Panther Junction in the northeast. It is the only mountain range totally contained within a single national park.

Chisos Mountains Lodge – Uniquely located and nestled in the basin of the majestic Chisos Mountains. The only lodging in Big Bend National Park and also features a restaurant and some shopping.

All Malia’s Miles Big Bend Pages: (more coming soon)

Main pageRio Grande Village CampgroundBoquillas Border CrossingChisos Basin Road and Mountains LodgeRoss Maxwell Scenic DriveSanta Elena Canyon

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  • Susie Fasig Smeal

    Am enjoying reading your blog. Was supposed to go to Big Bend this spring but roof on motorhome had other plans for me. Will have to do next year.

    • I sure understand what you mean about needed repairs sometimes waylaying our plans – I hate it when that happens, too. But like you said, just keep on truckin’ and planning!

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