Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

Last week I was really feeling down and depressed as my trip to Iceland was put off and my trip to Namibia was canceled for this year due to the damn COVID. My great travel buddy and fellow retired Army Combat Photographer Russell Klika said, “Why don’t we just go down to Big Bend for a couple days and camp?”

Let me tell you, it was just what the doctor ordered and got me out of the funk I was in!!! Our campsite was beautiful, and this AMAZING park I have never visited did not disappoint and comes highly recommended! We explored the back roads and small towns around; we hiked (park has 238 miles of multiuse trails) a lot and ate great at our campfire laughing and telling stories into the night.

Summer is supposedly their monsoon season and we enjoyed amazing clouds and late afternoon rain.

I am not a landscape type photographer at all and asked Russell not to photograph me shooting a damn flower, but there was so much beauty around us and inspired the creativity that the COVID pandemic had taken from me. Here is my take on the breathtaking Texas State Park that is called Big Bend. I WILL BE BACK!

Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas

This remote park features rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies, and solitude in a high desert setting. It is located in far west Texas in the high desert setting of the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Summers are hot, winters are mild, not much rain falls, and the scenery is magnificent.

Temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees by late morning and can reach as high as 130 degrees in the sun.

The State Park is over 300,000 acres and extends along the Rio Grande from southeast of Presidio to near Lajitas, in both Brewster and Presidio counties. The landscape varies from river lowlands to deep canyons, from high plateaus to steep-sided mountains. The elevation ranges from about 2,300 feet along the Rio Grande up to 5,135 feet at Oso Mountain.

A wide variety of mammals, snakes and birds make their home in the high desert environment as well as some wild Texas Longhorns.


The full moon at 7am still rests in the sky above the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Sunrise in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Agua Adentro Mountain, Sauceda Road in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Greater Roadrunner, River Road, FM 170.


Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) at our campsite Pila Montoya 3 in the Upper Fresno Backcountry Zone. These unusual looking plants remain dormant throughout much of the year, but leaf out within 24–48 hours after sufficient rains. The leaves drop when the plant can no longer wick moisture from the soil.


Agua Adentro Mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Adult male Greater Earless Lizard - (Cophosaurus texanus scitulus) on the Puerta Chilicote Trailhead in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Sotol cactus (Dasylirion liophyllum) is composed of a cluster of numerous linear, flattened leaves that have hooked teeth along the margins of the leaf. The leaf bases are spoon-like. A tall flower stalk is produced each spring that has light colored, nondescript flowers clustered together.


Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) frames the Sotol cactus on the Puerta Chilicote Trail.

West Fresno Rim: The Puerta Chilicote Trailhead provides access to a system of trails in the wild and rugged areas of the Bofecillos Highlands and Fresno Canyon.


Dragonfly, West Fresno Rim: The Puerta Chilicote Trailhead at Ojo Chilicote.


Closed Canyon Trail. This slot canyon carved its way through a mesa as it makes its way to the Rio Grande. The trail is approximately 1.4 miles long, round-trip.


Clouds and the canyon walls reflect in a puddle at Closed Canyon Trail.



Echinocactus horizonthalonius. Two species of echinocactus are found in the Big Bend area - e. texensis, which has pronounced ribs and very heavy, sharp spines, and the slightly less threatening horizonthalonius where most spines lie against the body, apart from the central spine which points out and downwards.


Ocotillo on the Puerta Chilicote Trail.


Telephone pole at Rio Bravo Restaurant, Hwy 170, Terlingua, TX.


Ocotillo flowers. When in bloom, Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) is among the desert's most beautiful plants. In mid-spring, brilliant, fiery red-orange tubular flowers appear in clusters at the tips of the plant's tall, sharply-spined stems. Flowers are pollinated by bees, butterflies, and many other insects, but they are also flashy beacons, attracting hummingbirds and orioles who appreciate their sweet nectar.


Bofecillos Mountains in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.

The Bofecillos are the remains of an extinct volcano, composed primarily of conglomerate sandstone, tuff, and basalt and featuring great examples of tertiary volcanic activity.


Wild Texas Longhorn in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Rock Art was left here at Las Ceuvas as early as 3000 years ago, long protected by the overhanging rock in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Cat Tails at the lush springs and a seasonal waterfall named Ojito Adentro. Its name translates to “little spring within.” Ojito Adentro is unique because it contains water most of the year, an unusual feature in the dry desert of Chihuahuan in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Ojito Adentro Trail looking at Cuesta Primo in the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Late afternoon storm rolling through River Road, FM 170.


Chihuahuan Desert storm and sunset in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


The night sky at Solitario (on the left) and Pila de la Posta (on the right).

The Solitario is a large geologic formation in Big Bend Ranch State Park in West Texas. When viewed from above, it suggests an impact crater; though it is actually the eroded remains of a laccolith.