January, 2017 – Even though I lived in Austin since 1971 and started fulltime RVing from there in 2001, it wasn’t until 2017 that I visited my first Texas national park. Big Bend National Park was certainly a good start!
I entered from the north on Hwy. 385. From this entrance, it’s about 30 miles to the main visitor center at Panther Creek which is most convenient to the most popular attractions in the park. Although the road is in good condition, at maximum speed limit of 45 mph, it’s not a quick trip. Early after the entrance, I stopped and posted to Facebook friends that I hoped it was worth it because I wasn’t impressed with the scenery so far, but then I’ve frequently said the desert is not my favorite environment. Quite a few agreed, but encouraged me to continue on, promising that it would get better.
I ended up being so glad I listened to that advice. I always love driving through national parks in the motorhome because the big windshield offers the big views!
It was endless blue skies with interesting cloud formations above ever changing mountain range shapes and sizes.
Another view from across that road – beautiful vistas!
Winding roads alongside breathtaking mountain ranges – wonderful companions!
When I came across this tunnel after the Hwy. 385 intersection at Panther Creek Visitor Center as I was on the way to Rio Grande Campground, I was a little concerned since I hadn’t heard about it and it did not have the height listed. I had read before that if there is no low clearance warning sign, there is at least 14′ clearance at the highest point. I knew I only needed a little less than 13′, so I sure hoped that info was correct. Since it was so short, it was easy to see nothing was coming, so I just moved over as close as possible to the center line and had no problem at all. I later talked to a ranger and he said it is 21′ at the tallest point in the center and at the shortest point by the curb, it is 11.5′.
Another surprise was finding dinosaurs! I learned that over a dozen species, including some previously unknown to science, have been discovered at Big Bend. This was taken at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit.
I am always interested in learning about the lives of early settlers to these remote areas. This is the grave site of Nina Hannold. She and her husband moved here in 1908 by covered wagon. Sadly, at age 29, she contracted uremic poisoning during pregnancy and died in 1911. She asked to be buried on this hill overlooking the spring where she often read to the children in the shade of the cottonwoods.
All Malia’s Miles Big Bend Pages:
More Big Bend Info:
Dick Shattuck: Really nice photos from my friend, Dick, who is a volunteer at Saguaro National Park and says Big Bend is his favorite. His pictures really show the love he has for the beauty here. I didn’t get to see everything he did, so I enjoyed his sharing. He says, “Ever since my first visit in 1973, Big Bend has been my favorite national park. It has so much to offer… river, mountains, desert. The Rio Grande isn’t powerful; on the contrary it’s usually very peaceful and always scenic. The Chisos Mountains aren’t the biggest or most awesome; they’re simply beautiful and are a great addition to any photo. I live in the Sonoran Desert so the Chihuahuan won’t ever be # 1 with me, but it just screams “Big Bend.” It’s barren and rugged and remote; you have to work to get there and survive there. Big Bend is truly one of the crown jewels of the National Park Service.” Great recommendation, eh?