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A Photographic Journey through Big Bend National Park

In April, my friend Jessi 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
Cerro Castellan, formed of volcanic rock
Desert camping
The view goes for miles and miles
Desert road
Shale peak
Sunset and storm clouds
Rivers appear quickly in previously dry areas after rain
Pink glow of sunrise
Sunrise after a stormy night
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
View of Rio Grande from the Hot Springs Trail
Natural hot spring in a historic bath house on the river
Boquillas Canyon Trail
Boquillas Canyon with a boat
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
The iconic Window from the Basin at sunset
Base of Lost Mine Trail
Lost Mine Trail lookout
On the Lost Mine Trail
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.

Flowering cactus
Flowering cactus
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, indigenous people for thousands of years before, and dinosaurs millions of years ago.

Langford hot springs resort store and post office
Inside of the store
Langford resort motor court door
Daniel’s Ranch
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, Mexico
A box was nearby for donations
Handmade scorpion

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

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