In April, one of the Outbound Adventurers and I traveled to Big Bend National Park. Like all national parks, Big Bend is stunning in its physical beauty. What follows are my best photos of the trip.

Chihuahuan Desert

Located in an expansive desert that reaches deep into Mexico and as far west as Arizona, Big Bend is an arid place full of stunning natural wonders.

Near Persimmon Gap

Near Persimmon Gap

Cerro Castellan, formed of volcanic rock

Cerro Castellan, formed of volcanic rock

Desert camping

Desert camping

The view goes for miles and miles

The view goes for miles and miles

Desert road

Desert road

Shale peak

Shale peak

Sunset and storm clouds

Sunset and storm clouds

Rivers appear quickly in previously dry areas after rain

Rivers appear quickly in previously dry areas after rain

Pink glow of sunrise

Pink glow of sunrise

Sunrise after a stormy night

Sunrise after a stormy night

The moon was still high in the sky at sunrise

The moon was still high in the sky at sunrise

Rio Grande

A hallmark of Big Bend National Park is the Rio Grande, a mighty river that has carved some stunning canyons through the mountains. Visitors enjoy rafting trips, scenic vistas and dipping their toes in the water.

Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon

View of Rio Grande from the Hot Springs Trail

View of Rio Grande from the Hot Springs Trail

Natural hot spring in a historic bath house on the river

Natural hot spring in a historic bath house on the river

Boquillas Canyon Trail

Boquillas Canyon Trail

Boquillas Canyon with a boat

Boquillas Canyon with a boat

Storm and rainbow over the Rio Grande

Storm and rainbow over the Rio Grande

Chisos Mountains

Although Big Bend is located in the Chihuahuan Desert, it is also the location of a "mountain island" — a distinct and lusher ecosystem created by the high altitude Chisos Mountains. The drive from the desert into the Chisos Basin is one of the most scenic I've ever experienced, and our hike up the CCC-created Lost Mine Trail was nothing short of spectacular.

Green Gulch drive

Green Gulch drive

Green Gulch drive

Green Gulch drive

Green Gulch drive

Green Gulch drive

Green Gulch drive

Green Gulch drive

The iconic Window from the Basin at sunset

The iconic Window from the Basin at sunset

Base of Lost Mine Trail

Base of Lost Mine Trail

Lost Mine Trail lookout

Lost Mine Trail lookout

On the Lost Mine Trail

On the Lost Mine Trail

Lost Mine Trail

Lost Mine Trail

At the summit of Lost Mine Trail

At the summit of Lost Mine Trail

Flora and Fauna

Big Bend National Park is home to a surprising variety of animals and plants, with its three major ecosystems and its location on the path of some migratory birds.

Sotol

Sotol

Flowering cactus

Flowering cactus

Wildflowers

Wildflowers

Flowering cactus

Flowering cactus

Mexican Jay

Mexican Jay

History in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend's history stretches much farther back than its establishment in 1944. It served as a home to ranchers in the early twentieth century, native people for thousands of years before, and dinosaurs millions of years ago.

Langford hot springs resort store and post office

Langford hot springs resort store and post office

Inside of the store

Inside of the store

Langford resort motor court door

Langford resort motor court door

Daniel's Ranch

Daniel's Ranch

Pictographs on a cliff wall

Pictographs on a cliff wall

Crossing the Border

As of 2013, visitors to Big Bend National Park may cross the Rio Grande on a ferry at Boquillas Crossing. The colorful Boquillas is visible from several scenic lookouts in the park in case you forgot your passport.

Boquillas Crossing

Boquillas Crossing

Boquillas, Mexico

Boquillas, Mexico

A box was nearby for donations

A box was nearby for donations

Handmade scorpion

Handmade scorpion

Do you like to tell your camping stories through photographs? Share some of your favorites in the comments.

Related posts: