BIG BEND Ranch State Park
“ The Park encompasses 801,163 acres , an area of over 1,200 square miles ” where pioneer life can be seen up close . The Chimneys Trail is more challenging ; five miles there and back will offer a juxtaposition of ancient petroglyphs and a primitive ranchers ’ camp .
The Ross Maxwell Drive offers stunning views and many adventures , short or long ; as with all parts of the park , extreme caution should be used when planning hikes , even when in sight of your vehicle . The paved , well-maintained Drive is not a loop ; be prepared for the same scenery coming and going , and slow progress around many curves and dips .
When exploring Big Bend , preparedness is key . Getting to trailheads early and
planning to finish a hike before noon is vital to safety , even in the cooler seasons . A minimum of one gallon of water per person per day may not be adequate for more advanced hikes , and visitors should be mindful that electrolyte loss is just as deadly as dehydration . Salt tablets or other electrolyte supplements are recommended . When planning a long hike in the park , talk to rangers to get advice about current conditions . Backpacking , camping and floating the Rio Grande require permits that can be obtained at the visitor ’ s center . And as in all national parks , collecting of plants , animals and artifacts is strictly prohibited — take only pictures !
Big Bend Ranch State Park
largest state park
in Texas , Big Bend
Ranch State Park encompasses 311,000 acres and spans Brewster and Presidio counties . Adjacent to the National Park on its eastern side , the State Park includes several open range cattle ranches , which raise longhorn cattle . Known for its less-visited backcountry , the state park offers hiking , horseback riding , river trips and mountain biking .
The state park shares the same Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem as the national park , and common animal sightings include fox , javelina , mule deer , coyote , owl , mountain lions , bob cats and a host of reptile species . There is also a herd of feral burros .
Big Bend Ranch State Park is the home of the second highest waterfall in Texas , Madrid Falls . The falls are difficult to access but provide a special reward for the advanced adventurer . Colorado
Canyon is the only canyon in the park carved from volcanic rock , making it a wonderland of native desert plants such as yucca , cacti and grasses . Other canyons in the park were eroded from limestone , creating vertical walls more inhospitable to plant life . Short river trips through the canyon and viewing points from the road make Colorado Canyon a popular destination .
Though the area was once referred to as El Despoblado , or The Uninhabited , it has a rich and varied history . In the early 1900s a few hardy ranchers began buying holdings along the Rio Grande between the town of Presidio and Lajitas . Gus , Gallie , Graves and Edward Bogel headquartered their ranch at Sauceda ,