Dagger Flats

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park gets its name from its location, right at the “big” bend of the Rio Grande River. Situated in the heart of the Chihuahuan desert, Big Bend National Park has one of the most extensive primitive road systems found in any park. These primitive roads offer excellent opportunities to explore the desert in an off-road setting and Dagger Flats is one of the absolute best places to start an off-roading adventure.

Dagger Flats is a 7-mile one-way winding gravel road that takes visitors through the heart of the Chihauhuan desert. There are several indicators along the road that correspond to a trail guide available at the start of the drive. The Dagger Flats drive is not for the faint of heart as the road is bumpy and can take over 2 hours to complete. Those who make the journey will be rewarded as the drive ends in a forest of Giant Dagger Yuccas, one of the largest concentration found anywhere in the U.S.

Giant Dagger Yuccas, the size of those found in Big Bend, are rare. The plants at the end of the Dagger Flats drive range in size from 6 feet to nearly 20 feet tall and are the tallest living things in the park by a long shot. To survive in the desert these yucca are extremely well adapted including pointed leaves and an extensive root structure for making the most of the limited water.

When to Go:

The best time to travel Dagger Flats is late spring (April or May) when the yuccas are in bloom, sprouting clusters of white flowers from their stalk. During the summer the area is subject to rain and flash flooding which can make the Dagger Flats route impassible.

GPS:

N29° 29.0394', W103° 7.9326'

Getting There:

Enter the park from the north on Route 385, travel south on 385 through the Persimmon Entrance station. The Dagger Flats drive will be on your left about 10 miles past the entrance station.

Road Conditions:

Dagger Flats is a rough road.  Be sure that your vehicle and tires are equipped and checked before taking this trip.  Gravel ranges from fine to rather large stones.

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