Big Bend Ranch State Park

Quick Facts

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Texas

(432) 358-4444

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Big Bend Ranch State Park, the largest state park in Texas, over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness in a remarkably rugged, remote and unpopulated setting. The park extends along the Rio Grande from southeast of Presidio to near Lajitas in both Brewster and Presidio Counties. Embracing some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the Southwest, it encompasses two mountain ranges containing ancient extinct volcanoes, precipitous canyons, and waterfalls. The area has been a crossroads of human activities for over 11,000 years, as diverse people and cultures have been drawn by the abundant resources of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo corridor. Currently the park offers more than 66 miles of trails with many more in development. In addition to primitive roadside and backcountry campsites, the park also has food, lodging and Wi-Fi available at the Saucedo Complex. The three-bedroom "Big House" provides luxury accomodations that sleep eight and has a full kitchen. Meal service can also be arrainged. Larger groups can be accommodated at the casual Sauceda Lodge Bunk House.

With twenty-three miles of Rio Grande/Rio Bravo frontage Big Bend Ranch makes an excellent starting point for paddling excursions. Multi-use recreational activities such as hiking, backpacking, horseback riding and mountain biking is available on trails along River Road and in the interior. Anglers can fish in the Rio Grande. The dark skies offer amazing stargazing opportunities. With over 300 bird species the area is a birders paradise.

The park has picnic areas along the scenic River Road and offers Guided jeep/four-wheel and horseback tours. Mountain bike and horse rentals are available at Sauceda. In addition to many other events the park also offers a semi-annual longhorn cattle roundup.

Map of Big Bend Ranch (TX)

Latitude, Longitude: 29.531440, -104.005232

READ MORE

Activities

  • Boating

    The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo corridor is an easily accessible area of the park for day use, including rafting, canoeing and free bank fishing. Several river access points are found within the park along FM-170. Colorado Canyon includes Class II and Class III rapids. This section of the river is not considered dangerous under normal flow conditions. The walls of Colorado Canyon, unlike the limestone canyons of Big Bend National Park and the Lower Canyons, are entirely of igneous rock. Raft trips may be arranged through local outfitters in Terlingua and Study Butte.

  • Bird Watching

    Big Bend Ranch State Park offers the opportunity to explore Chihuahuan Desert habitats including grasslands, desert scrub, canyons, and riparian woodlands and thickets. The greatest diversity and abundance of birds is normally found near the numerous springs and along streams scattered around the park. Large springs normally are found in association with riparian woodlands (cottonwood-willow-hackberry and shrub thickets). Over 300 species of birds reside in Big Bend Ranch State Park.

  • Bicycling

    Trails provide the only means of accessing many areas within Big Bend Ranch State Park, and allow visitors an intimate rapport with the outdoors. Ultimately the park will boast 65 routes comprising 236 miles of interconnected trails. The system strives to capture the spirit of the land by offering trails that are scenic and educational, and offers varying levels of accessibility and challenge to people of all ages and abilities.

    Due to rough terrain some of the park's trails are suitable for hiking only. Many trails are available for mountain bikers and equestrians as well. Refer to the park map or speak with a ranger for details. Bike rentals are available at the Sauceda Visitor Center or through local outfitters. When biking, always wear a helmet. Carry plenty of water and wear appropriate, protective clothing.

  • Camping

    Sites are available in the interior or Big Bend Ranch and along the River Road. Sites include a tent area, picnic table and fire ring. Some interior campsites are still under development and may temporarily lack some of these amenities.

    Campers are required to place tents in designated areas only. Desert resources are fragile. All visitors are required to haul out their human waste and pack out all trash. Portable privies are available for purchase at all permit issuing stations. Downed wood is critical to desert ecology. Gathering firewood is prohibited. Visitors may bring firewood or purchase it at Sauceda. Charcoal cooking fires and containerized fuel stoves are allowed. Ashes must be packed out or deposited in the fire ring. The maximum stay per permit is 14 nights. Individual campsites have an 8 person and 3 vehicle limit. Group campsites have a 12 person and 5 vehicle limit. Equestrian staging campsites have a 24 person and 12 vehicle limit. No other facilities, water/electrical hookups, or dump stations are available. Due to road conditions motor homes and large recreational vehicles may not be able to enter backcountry park areas. Shower and restroom facilities are available at the Visitor's Center at Sauceda Headquarters.

  • Hiking

    Trails provide the only means of accessing many areas within Big Bend Ranch State Park, and allow visitors an intimate rapport with the outdoors. Ultimately the park will boast 65 routes comprising 236 miles of interconnected trails. The system strives to capture the spirit of the land by offering trails that are scenic and educational, and offers varying levels of accessibility and challenge to people of all ages and abilities.

    Due to rough terrain some of the park's trails are suitable for hiking only.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is available on certain trails. Contact the park for more information.

  • Picnicking

    The park has picnic areas along the scenic River Road.

  • Water Sports

    Rafting, canoeing and free bank fishing. Colorado Canyon includes Class II and Class III rapids.

Directions

Driving

The west entrance at Fort Leaton State Historic Site is located 4 miles southeast of Presidio, on the River Road (FM 170). The east entrance at Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center is located 1 mile east of Lajitas on the River Road (FM 170).

The scenic drive along the River Road (Texas FM 170), following the meanders of the Rio Grande, is among the most spectacular in the nation. Due to road consitions motor homes and large recreational vehicles may not be able to enter backcountry park areas. FM 170 allows access to small recreation areas along the river and to rafting and canoeing "put-in" and "take-out" points.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(432) 358-4444

Links