Big Bend Ranch State Park, Presidio
Categories: Wildlife Areas, Educational Sites, Nature & Parks, Tourist Spots
Big Bend Ranch State Park is a 311,000acre state park located on the Rio Grande in Brewster County and Presidio County, Texas. It is the largest state park in Texas. The closest major town is Presidio, Texas, where the state park's head office is located.FeaturesBig Bend Ranch is located adjacent to Big Bend National Park and shares the national park's Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem. However, in one significant aspect the state park is managed very differently from the nearby national park, as the state park encompasses a network of cattle ranches operated according to the principle of the open range. A herd of longhorn cattle is based here, and there is a semi-annual longhorn roundup.The Big Bend Ranch manages of frontage along the Rio Grande, and river rafting is popular here. Away from the river, visitors can hike, backpack, go horseback riding or enjoy mountain biking in the Big Bend Ranch's substantial backcountry. The park is open year round and an admission fee is charged.FloraDesert vegetation dominates the park including lechuguilla and grama. Other common plants include sotol, ocotillo and mesquite. Along the Rio Grande and around some of the springs in the park are reeds, willows, and cottonwood and ash trees. The park contains most of the existing populations of the federally threatened Hinckley oak.Choose to start, finish, or center your holiday on a trip to Big Bend Ranch State Park by using our Presidio vacation trip planner.
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After a few days in Big Bend National Park we drove to Marfa along the Rio Grande on Highway 170. There are several worthwhile stops (Closed Canyon, The Hoodoos, and Barton Warnock Visitor Center for ... read more »
I did a 20-mile r/t day hike down into Fresno Canyon from Pila Montoya. Rangers at the Visitors Center were helpful in describing conditions I would encounter. With the temp around 95 it was a toasty ... read more »
We drove from Fort Davis through Marfa to Presidio and I thought that route was beautiful. However, that was just a prelude to the awesome grandeur of FM 170 between Presidio and Terlingua. The road r... read more »
My wife and I went for labor day weekend. we love it. We camped at Fresno Vista, a primitive campsite. It has amazing views, and it being one of the furthest in campsites. The drive is worth it!
Such stark difference from the national park. Much more secluded, I believe in our entire weekend we saw 4 different cars and the same amount of people. Stayed at Mexicano 2 and was delighted to find a fire pit, picnic table and stack of firewood left behind by another camper. From our campsite we were able to do short hikes to some beautiful spots. Our site was accessible in our 4×4 Tacoma but took about an 1.5 hours to get to from the Sauceda Ranger station on a foggy day. We only heard of one car, a Fiat, getting stuck on one of the roads.
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Extraordinary experience. An adventure like no other. Driving down the rocky unpaved entry road to Sauced Ranger Station is like being transported back into time - wild, wild west style. Views are breathtaking and the experience makes you remember that we are merely visiting a world run by Mother Nature. There are actually 3 check-in points for this park - 2 are off the paved highway, FM170: Barton Warnock Visitors Center in Lajitas and Fort Leaton Historical Site in Presidio. Both are very unique stops with nice Visitors Centers (gift shops and museums). Then there's the Sauceda Ranger Station that leads into the heart of the park. The road is only 27 miles, but all unpaved and 17 miles are pretty rocky, so the speed limit is only 25 mph in the park. Enjoy the views along the way. Well worth the trip. Ranger Station offers private rooms in a guest house (the "Big House") and beds in the Bunkhouse, where it is more communal with spacious dining area and kitchen facilities. Showers/bathrooms are open 24 hours and bags of ice is often available by donation. I wouldn't assume anything though, because of the remote location it is best to plan for all contingencies. Tips - Flying in? Call first, if during office hours they will happily pick you up for a free ride to the main ranger station OR you can always walk the mile down to it. A lovely walk. Summer is the slowest period due to the heat, but it is much more temperate up at Sauceda Ranger Station, because of the high altitude. It is also monsoon season, so flash flooding is always on alert for those roaming/biking along arroyo areas. I hope this helps in your planning.
The vista from the drive is beautiful. Loved the Contrabando Movie Set and the Rio Grande launch sites. The park is well worth a visit. Stop by the TeePee rest area, it has not only a place to rest but a good view of the river and the canyon ahead.
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