Big Bend Ranch

State Park - Texas

Big Bend Ranch State Park is located on the Rio Grande in Brewster and Presidio counties, 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. Big Bend Ranch is located adjacent to Big Bend National Park and shares the national park's Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem. Big Bend Ranch has a herd of longhorn cattle and there is a semi-annual longhorn roundup. The Big Bend Ranch manages 23 miles (37 km) 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.

maps

Discovery Map of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Discovery Map

Discovery Map of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Exploration Map of the Fresno Canyon area in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Fresno Canyon

Exploration Map of the Fresno Canyon area in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Exploration Map of Bofecillos Highlands in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Bofecillos Highlands

Exploration Map of Bofecillos Highlands in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

brochures

Brochure of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Brochure

Brochure of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Complex Map of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Complex Map

Complex Map of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Park Newspaper 'El Solitario' of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Newspaper 2019

Park Newspaper 'El Solitario' of Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of Campsites in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Campsites

Brochure of Campsites in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Rack Card at Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Big Bend Ranch - Rack Card

Rack Card at Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Roads to Nowhere - A guide to unmaintained 4X4 high-clearance roads in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Guides - Roads to Nowhere

Roads to Nowhere - A guide to unmaintained 4X4 high-clearance roads in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Make the most of your visit - An Itinerary for Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Guides - Itinerary

Make the most of your visit - An Itinerary for Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Airstrip Guidelines for Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Guides - Airstrip Guidelines

Airstrip Guidelines for Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Cinco Tinajas Trail and Leyva Escondido Loop Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Cinco Tinajas Trail and Leyva Escondido Loop Trail

Brochure of the Cinco Tinajas Trail and Leyva Escondido Loop Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Encino Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Encino Trail

Brochure of the Encino Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Horsetrap Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Horsetrap Trail

Brochure of the Horsetrap Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Sauceda Nature Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Sauceda Nature Trail

Brochure of the Sauceda Nature Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Rincon Loop Geology Tour in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Rincon Loop Geology Tour

Brochure of the Rincon Loop Geology Tour in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Fresno Divide Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Fresno Divide Trail

Brochure of the Fresno Divide Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Hoodoos Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Hoodoos Trail

Brochure of the Hoodoos Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Ojito Adentro Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Ojito Adentro Trail

Brochure of the Ojito Adentro Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Closed Canyon Trail

Brochure of the Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Contrabando Multi-Use Trails System in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Trails - Contrabando Multi-Use Trails

Brochure of the Contrabando Multi-Use Trails System in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Brochure of the Sauceda Historic District in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.History and Science - Sauceda Historic District

Brochure of the Sauceda Historic District in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Geology at the Crossroads in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.History and Science - Geology at the Crossroads

Geology at the Crossroads in Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Birds at Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Nature - Birds

Birds at Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Texas Longhorns at Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Nature - Texas Longhorns

Texas Longhorns at Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Official Texas State Parks Guide. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Texas State - Official Texas State Parks Guide

Official Texas State Parks Guide. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Official Texas State Parks Guide (español). Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.Texas State - Guía de Parques

Official Texas State Parks Guide (español). Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Dinosaur Valley SP https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/dinosaur-valley https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bend_Ranch_State_Park Big Bend Ranch State Park is located on the Rio Grande in Brewster and Presidio counties, 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. Big Bend Ranch is located adjacent to Big Bend National Park and shares the national park's Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem. Big Bend Ranch has a herd of longhorn cattle and there is a semi-annual longhorn roundup. The Big Bend Ranch manages 23 miles (37 km) 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.
PHOTO: E. DAN KLEPPER texas parks and wildlife Interpretive Guide to: WATER: THE DESERT’S WEALTH Water, the desert’s life-giving wealth, softens and tames el despoblado to make it habitable, even welcoming. An important water source, the Rio Grande carves a verdant ribbon through the harsh grandeur of the Chihuahuan Desert along the park’s southern boundary. Other perennial watercourses and abundant springs provide unexpected oases in an otherwise dry environment. BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK Barton Warnock Visitor Center MORE INFORMATION Barton Warnock Visitor Center, named for a prominent area botanist and educator, serves as the eastern entrance for Big Bend Ranch State Park. The center interprets 570 million years of geological history and the five biological landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert and includes the exhibit, “Una Tierra – One Land.” A self-guided two-acre botanical garden allows visitors to walk among the characteristic plants of the Big Bend region. Big Bend Ranch State Park Presidio, TX (432) 358-4444 www.tpwd.texas.gov/bigbendranch Barton Warnock Visitor Center Lajitas, TX (432) 424-3327 www.tpwd.texas.gov/bartonwarnock EL DESPOBLADO MEANS “THE UNPOPULATED PLACE.” IT’S A NAME LONG USED TO DESCRIBE THE NORTHERN CHIHUAHUAN DESERT, INCLUDING THE BIG BEND REGION, WHICH MAY IMPLY A SENSE OF EMPTINESS. YET BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK IS FAR FROM EMPTY. THE PARK OFFERS 500 SQUARE MILES OF UNRIVALED GEOLOGY, SPECTACULAR VISTAS AND NIGHT SKIES, DIVERSE PLANT AND ANIMAL LIFE, AND EVIDENCE OF OVER Proud Sponsor of Texas Parks and Wildlife Programs © 2016 TPWD. PWD BR P4501-152H (7/16) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. 10,000 YEARS OF HUMAN OCCUPATION. OO OO O Vegetation throughout the park exists in a moisturedependent mosaic – sometimes lush, more often sparse. Native plants range from arid-adapted cacti to waterloving cottonwoods. Animals exhibit similar variety, from water-dependent beavers along the river to desert specialists like the blackthroated sparrow. R A N C H S T A T E P A R K GEOLOGY: WINDOW INTO THE PAST T he geology of Big Bend Ranch State Park reminds us of profound changes over the past 600 million years of Earth’s history – changes born of water and fire. A deep ocean, the Ouachita Basin, covered the Big Bend and much of the southeastern United States some 570 million years ago, long before the age of dinosaurs. One may see remnants of the Ouachita Mountains in parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and West Texas, including The Solitario at Big Bend Ranch State Park. The ancient Ouachitas formed through the tremendous forces of plate tectonics, which folded-up layered sedimentary rock from the ocean floor like a rug being pushed against a wall. Water continued to shape the region as a shallow inland sea spread from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska. Erosion and uplift worked together to expose the limestone rock of this ancient sea floor in the Contrabando lowlands and the upended “flatirons” that form the rim of The Solitario. The Solitario is a feature born of fire. Between 36 and 35 million years ago, magma from deep within the Earth pushed upward in three pulses to create a blister-like bulge nearly 10 miles across near the park’s eastern boundary. Following erosion and a complex series of eruptions, the uplifted sedimentary rock and the underlying lava chamber collapsed to form the almost circular basin-like feature known today as the Solitario. Volcanism remained at work in the region. As you pass the dark peaks and mesas between Redford and Lajitas or along the Sauceda road, imagine glowing cone-like vents and gaping fissures that once spewed red-hot ash and molten rock. Lava from these eruptions eventually hardened into the rhyolite and basalt rock that form the Bofecillos Mountains, whose many cracks and fissures trap groundwater and account for the region’s numerous springs – life-giving oases in the desert. H U M A N H I S T O R Y Diverse people have lived among the canyons, mountains and valleys of Big Bend Ranch State Park for centuries, typically near water sources. The materials and structures they left behind tell stories of triumph and hardship in this sometimes hospitable but often relentless land. Hundreds of prehistoric camps, cooking areas and rock art sites dot B
CLOSED CANYON THE HOODOOS FORT LEATON STATE HISTORIC SITE OJITO ADENTRO THE FLATIRONS OF THE SOLITARIO WELCOME TO THE BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK COMPLEX – EL DESPOBLADO El Despoblado means “the uninhabited place.” It is a name used over centuries to describe the northern Chihuahuan Desert — a name that implies a sense of emptiness. Yet Big Bend Ranch State Park is far from empty. The park offers 500 square miles of unrivaled geology, spectacular vistas and night skies, diverse plant and animal life, and evidence of over 10,000 years of human occupation. GEOLOGY COMPLEX MAP BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK VISITOR CENTERS Barton Warnock Visitor Center (Eastern Entrance) 21800 FM 170, Terlingua, TX 79852 (432) 242-3327 Fort Leaton State Historic Site (Western Entrance) 16952 FM 170 E, Presidio, TX 79845 (432) 229-3613 Sauceda Ranger Station (Interior) 1900 S. Sauceda Ranch Road, Marfa, TX 79843 (432) 358-4444 www.tpwd.texas.gov Cover Photo: Chase A. Fountain, TPWD ©2021 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Interior Photos: Gary Nored PWD MP P4501-0152AA (2/21) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TTY) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989 or by email at accessibility@tpwd.texas.gov. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. The geology of Big Bend Ranch State Park reminds us of profound changes over the past 600 million years of Earth’s history — changes born of water and fire. A deep ocean, the Ouachita Basin, covered the Big Bend and much of the southeastern United States some 570 million years ago, long before the age of dinosaurs. One may see remnants of the Ouachita Mountains in parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma and West Texas, including The Solitario at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Erosion and uplift worked together to expose the limestone rock of this ancient sea floor in the Contrabando lowlands and the upended “flatirons” that form the rim of the Solitario. The Solitario is a feature born of fire. Between 36 and 35 million years ago, magma from deep within the Earth pushed upward in three pulses to create a blister-like bulge nearly 10 miles across near the park’s eastern boundary. Following erosion and a complex series of eruptions, the uplifted sedimentary rock and the underlying lava chamber collapsed to form the almost circular basin-like feature known today as the Solitario. Volcanism remained at work in the region. As you pass the dark peaks and mesas between Redford and Lajitas or along the Sauceda road, imagine glowing cone-like vents and gaping fissures that once spewed red-hot ash and molten rock. Lava from these eruptions eventually hardened into the rhyolite and basalt rock that form the Bofecillos Mountains, whose many cracks and fissures trap groundwater and account for the region’s numerous springs — life-giving oases in the desert. HUMAN HISTORY Diverse people have lived among the canyons, mountains and valleys of Big Bend Ranch State Park for centuries, typically near water sources. The materials and structures they left behind tell stories of triumph and hardship in this sometimes hospitable but often relentless land. Hundreds of prehistoric camps, cooking areas and rock art sites dot Big Bend Ranch. Grinding stones, bedrock mortars, flint tools and burned rock middens indicate that the hunter-gatherers living here used every natural resource available to survive in the demanding environment. Prehistoric pictographs (rock paintings) and a few petroglyphs (rock etchings or carvings) showcase the amazing diversity of rock art styles preserved in the park. A handful of traders and freighters such as Ben Leaton and Milton Faver were the first Anglo-Americans to settle the area in the mid-1800s. By the 1870s, small family ranches began to spring up, raising much of their own food and herding sheep and goats. Park visitors today can see remains of the Crawford-Smith, McGuirk, Reza and Madrid houses among others. Remnants of a wax factory and several camps remain in Fresno and Contrabando Canyons, where thousands of pounds of wax were extracted from candelilla plants and sold as waterproofing for World War I army tents. Nearby, the Whit-Roy Mine produced flasks of mercury from cinnabar ore into the 1960s. FLORA Vegetation throughout the park exists in a moisturedependent mosaic, sometimes lush but more often sparse. Nat
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE Big Bend Ranch SP Map Be Our Friend What’s Up? Stars! Pages 6 — 7 Page 10 Page 11 Black Bears Return el SOLitarIo TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT | Page 12 BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK To the Fort! TPWD By Cassie Cox Regional Interpretive Specialist Fort Davis, TX Still today, people come and go clean and maintain the fort and from all over the world to Fort learn skills that will help them Leaton, now a State Historic along their future career paths. Site and gateway to Big Bend They work on weekends and Ranch State Park, looking to when out of school for breaks. learn about the fascinating As the only program of its type history of the area and recre- in Texas State Parks, we are so ational opportunities in the Big proud to have the students of Bend. Should you visit the fort, Presidio represent their school some staff you might encounter and community to visitors from include Presidio High School all over the world. Stop by Student Docents. and ask if a student docent is These ambitious teenagers apply available to lead you on a tour. for paid positions that allow If not, there are self-guided tour them to learn about the history brochures along with exhibits of the fort, lead visitors on tours, and knowledgeable staff. Table of contents When available, student docents lead public tours at Fort Leaton State Historic Site. Cassie Cox Since its 1848 founding, people have come and gone from Fort Leaton. Early on it was home to Ben Leaton, wife Juana Pedrasa and their children who also ran the fort as a trading post. Explorers, soldiers, traders, Native Americans, Mexicans and Anglo settlers sought the fort for business as well as a refuge from Native American raids and other borderland outlaws. Beastly Bones. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Make the Most of Your Visit. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Certified Commercial Guides and Outfitters. . . . 3 BBRSP Camping. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Be Aware. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Fees and Visitor Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Big Bend Ranch Geology: El Solitario. . . . . . . . . . 5 (cont. on page 2) Big Bend Ranch State Park Map. . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Access and Visitor Services. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Featured Hikes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Be Our Friend. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Volunteer Activities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 What’s Up? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 The Return of Black Bears to BBRSP. . . . . . . . 12 El Solitario is published by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the orientation and education of visitors to Big Bend Ranch State Park. To the Fort! (cont. from page 1) We’d like to highlight two special Student Docents for this issue of El Solitario. Crystal and Omar were both Presidio High School seniors who graduated in May 2019. We interviewed them about what they gained from their time at Fort Leaton State Historic Site. Cassie Cox Crystal has learned a lot about the history of the area. Crystal exclaimed “It’s the best job I’ve ever had!” Omar shared that this position has been a big boost in his confidence. Omar says that thanks to his time at the fort, he’s less shy when meeting Omar is more confident in public speaking. Cassie Cox When asked about their favorite part of the job, they both mentioned enjoying telling the stories of the fort to visitors from all over world, including some visitors they met from Belgium and Iceland. They appreciate the reactions of visitors as they share the amazing history of the fort and Big Bend region. new people, more knowledgeable for job interviews, and he understands what constitutes good customer service. As a part of their jobs, they’ve both learned “pro tips” in cleaning skills, what invasive species have done to habitat in their region and how special it is to live on the border of the U.S. and Mexico. “The river unites us,” Crystal declares. We discussed what the region would have looked like if invasive salt cedar (tamarisk) was not planted for erosion control due to the loss of grasslands. The conversation also led to what they learned about wildlife in the area. Both docents have become very familiar with the Mexican free-tailed bats that call the fort home, as a part of their duties are to clean up after the squeaky little guests. Park staff have greatly enjoyed working with these docents and wish them well as they move to El Paso, TX for college. Beastly Bones By Amber Harrison, Park Inter
Campsites of the Big Bend Ranch State Park This document was written and produced by Gary Nored for the Big Bend Ranch State Park in Texas. Photography by Gary Nored. This document was written and produced by Gary Nored for the Big Bend Ranch State Thanks go to It Barrett Durst, under park superintendent, who had the idea for publication Park in Texas. is released the Creative Commons License forthe non-profit use as long as attribution of authorship is included. Commercial use is prohibited without and whose unflagging support helped make it possible. I’d also like to thank David written permission of the author. Riskind and all the other park staff who contributed information and helped ensure that the accurate. Thanks godocument to BarrettisDurst, park superintendent, who had the idea for the publication and whose unflagging support helped make it possible. I’d also like to thank David Riskin and all the other park staff who contributed information and helped ensure that the document is accurate. Copyright 2013 by Gary Nored 4200 Smith School Road Austin, Texas 78744 © 2014 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BK P4501-2059 (3/14) Introduction The Big Bend Ranch State Park is the largest state park in Texas and one of the largest state parks in the country. Within its boundries you will find limitless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Silence and solitude, expansive vistas, quiet canyons and dark skies make the Big Bend Ranch State Park one of the best wilderness experiences in Texas, and we do everything we can to keep it that way. We have campsites in the Bofecillos Highlands, the Solitario, the Cienega Mountains and along the Rio Grande. Sites were selected for their views and/or their proximity to park attractions. Some are “sleepers” — you may have to walk a bit or climb a nearby hill to see why we chose them. Others will instantly wow you. But all pay rich dividends to those who explore the area. A handfull of campsites are accessible in a passenger vehicle but most are located in remote areas; the rugged terrain and unimproved dirt roads make access challenging. High clearance vehicles will take you to many sites; others require high clearance and four-wheel drive to reach. With few exceptions the site you select is yours and yours alone — no other camps are visible. The silence is palpable and the night skies truly extraordinary. About This Book The campsites are arranged alphabetically. For each, a brief description of the area, the amenities it offers, and the type of vehicle you will need to reach it is accompanied by photographs. In writing the book I’ve personally visited and camped at every campsite in the park. The descriptions here reflect my personal experience of the area. The photographs were all taken within easy walking distance of the campsites and are representative of the surrounding scenery. A Few Words About Safety All deserts are unforgiving environments. Extreme temperatures, low humidity, and lack of water can be hazardous to the unprepared. While exploring be sure to carry water — lots of water. Always carry first aid supplies and other self-rescue gear. Carry the park’s Exploration Map any time you intend to be out of sight of your vehicle, along with a compass and the knowledge of how to use it. Carry a GPS if you have one and set it to record your “track” as you go. If at all possible, travel with a partner. While on the road, be prepared for emergencies. Make sure your tires are in excellent condition. If at all possible, carry two spares, and make sure you have all your tire changing gear in the vehicle before you leave. Carry extra water and food along with clothes you can wear in a variety of conditions — desert weather may change dramatically and quickly! Don’t rely on cell phones — there’s no service out here. Above all, please tell the ranger station where you are going and when you expect to return. This information is vital to park personnel in an emergency. Gary Nored Table of Contents Agua Adentro Pens Arenosa Campground Chorro Vista Campsite Fresno Canyon Campsite Fresno Vista Campsite Grassy Banks Campsite Guale Mesa 1 Campsite Guale Mesa 2 Campsite Jackson Pens Campsite Javelin Campsite Javelin Pens Campsite La Cuesta Campsite La Monilla Campsite La Mota 1 Campsite La Mota 2 Campsite La Posta Campsite Las Burras 1 Campsite Las Burras 2 Campsite Las Burras 3 Campsite Los Alamos Campsite Los Cuates Campsite Los Hermanos Campsite Los Ojitos Campsite Madera Canyon Campgrounds McGuirk’s Tanks Campsite 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 Mexicano 1 Campsite Mexicano 2 Campsite Ojo Escondido Campsite Ojo Escondido Pens Campsite Papalote Colorado Campsite Papalote Encino Campsite Papalote Llano Campsite Papalote Llano Nuevo Campsite Papalote Nuevo Campsite Paso al Solitario Campsite Pila de los Muchachos Campsite Pila Montoya 1 Campsite Pila Montoya 2 Campsite Pila Montoya 3 Campsite Rancherias Campsi
Big Bend Ranch S TAT E PA R K B I G B E N D C O U N T RY Big Bend Ranch STATE PARK A rugged mix of desert mountains, canyons and grasslands forms the dramatic landscape of Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas’ largest state park. Hugged by the Big Bend of the Rio Grande, the 300,000-acre area features spectacular rock formations, unique plants and animals and records of human occupation dating back some 11,000 years. Access is by way of a breathtakingly scenic highway that follows the river. Camping: Primitive camping only. Drive-in sites along the river, also back-country sites. Primitive equestrian area. Group Facilities: Sauceda Bunk House (capacity 30). Rafting: Run the Rio Grande and drift through spectacular Colorado Canyon. Wildlife Watching: Great for birds and mammals (falcons, peccaries, deer). Trails: Hiking, biking, and equestrian multi-use trails. Interpretive Centers: Exhibits about park, natural, and cultural history located at Sauceda Ranger Station and Barton Warnock Center. Texas State Parks Store: One-of-a-kind gifts, shirts, camping supplies, books, etc. 67 Presidio Ft. Leaton 118 27 (di mi. rt) Ri Sauceda oG Big Bend Ranch State Park MEXICO ra nd e Barton Warnock Center 170 Lajitas Located in Brewster and Presidio counties. Sauceda facilities are accessible east of Presidio on FM 170 by way of 27 miles of unpaved road. Big Bend Ranch State Park Sauceda Ranger Station 1900 Sauceda Ranch Rd. Presidio, TX 79845 • (432) 358-4444 Barton Warnock Visitor Center 21800 FM 170 Terlingua, TX 79852 • (432) 424-3327 www.texasstateparks.org Rates and reservations: (512) 389-8919. For info only: (800) 792-1112. © 2021 TPWD PWD CD P4501-152F (7/21) TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TTY) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989 or by email at accessibility@tpwd.texas.gov. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041.
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE roads to nowhere A guide to unmaintained 4X4 high-clearance roads in Big Bend Ranch State Parks By David Riskind and Dan Sholly El Paso Public Library, Aultman Collection “We don’t need no stinkin’ pavement.” Anonymous (apologies to the screenwriters of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”) CONTENTS 2 History 3 Basic equipment recommendations 4 For a great outback road trip 6 Additional safety admonitions 7 Roads to nowhere, and back 8 11 13 15 15 Cienega Solitario Los Alamos Camino del Rio Bocefillos Mountains www.tpwd.state.tx.us/bigbendranch HISTORY There have been trails and travel routes for people in the Big Bend for over 10,000 years. In early historic times Spanish explorers entered the region. The military scouted and blazed trails throughout the area, including the famous Echols’ Camel expedition that used Terneros Creek. Early traders first used wagons on the Chihuahua Trail, part of which traversed Alamito Creek, in what is now the northwestern area of Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP). By the 1890s, ranching and mining had begun in earnest, and by the first decade of the 20th century the first motor vehicles began using the old wagon roads. Additional roads were established with the invention of the bulldozer and hardier 4X4 trucks. The roads which are now within BBRSP were constructed to support public commerce and settlement, fence building, waterline construction, livestock production, and for mineral prospecting and mining. Today - When BBRSP was established in 1988 there were approximately 700 miles of these old “ranch and mining” 2 roads within the park, and about 50 miles of the roads were kept opened to support public use. In 2008, the BBRSP Public Use Plan was approved. Today this plan allows for 153 miles of road to be used by park visitors. Of these, nearly 70 miles are unmaintained and available for those adequately prepared. All roads in BBRSP are dirt. 4WD HC – Unmaintained – These roads are not maintained except by the users. Roads are not brushed and may not be passable. Users may need to use pick and shovel to fix some sections, especially creek crossings or eroded areas. Desert pin-striping (brush scratches) is likely. The “4WD HC – unmaintained” roads provide a different kind of opportunity for park users. There are approxi- mately 70 miles of park roads that are not maintained, but which are available for visitors to travel at their own risk. These roads will lead visitors to less-traveled, and in most cases, very remote and beautiful desert landscapes. Unmaintained roads in BBRSP are not considered “extreme 4X4.” There is no rock crawling or rating system, and not every mile requires 4X4. These roads simply are not maintained, which means they are rougher and more difficult and challenging to travel. Unmaintained roads of BBRSP should only be attempted by experienced 4X4 drivers, with a capable vehicle and adequate “self-rescue” equipment. These roads are not patrolled on a regular basis. You are pretty much “on your own” should you have a problem. ! Road guides available upon request. Basic equipment recommendations Special preparation highly recommended! •Two well-maintained 4X4 highclearance vehicles. It is always safer to travel in pairs. • 6-ply tires - absolute minimum • Two inflated spare tires • Plenty of fuel (there is NO fuel for sale in BBRSP) • Work gloves • Good maps of the area • GPS with extra batteries • First aid kit • 4-way lug wrench • Air pump • Shovel and pick • Rock bar • High-lift jack - at least 48 inches • Heavy-duty nylon recovery strap (3”wide x 20’ long - no hooks) • 10’ chain with hooks • Tool kit • Abundant drinking water (at least 5 gallons extra) • Food for at least two days www.tpwd.state.tx.us/bigbendranch | 3 FOR A GREAT OUTBACK ROAD TRIP “Show me a 4X4 driver who has never been stuck, and I will show you a 4X4 driver who has not been down many bad roads.” Anonymous For a great “outback” roadtrip: Roads may be overgrown with the ubiquitous white-thorn acacia or other desert shrubs, and your vehicle will be exposed to desert pin-striping. Your trusty steed will get scratched and very dirty. Those who choose to drive unmaintained BBRSP roads (Special Use Permit required) may have to fill the washout, rut or track to progress. If your four-wheel drive goes out, you may get stuck. You must use these roads ever-mindful of the consequences of your driving skill and be prepared for self-extraction. These roads are old ranch roads for the most part. They were installed with economy of effort. They are short wheel-base roads 4 where a high angle of attack is required. If you have a big honking front bumper or running boards, or a receiver hitch with a removable three-ball setup, be prepared to either modify your rig or get stuck in a steep, short dip. If your vehicle’s exhaust tailpipe hangs low and is not up and out of the way, it is going to get rearranged! If your towing wiring harness is
BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK Make the most of your visit Some people have limited time to explore and sample the wonders of Big Bend Ranch State Park. The following is offered as a brief guide. Remember that orientation requirements and park entrance fees apply. Photo: © E. Dan Klepper all your food, water and other supplies and truly get away from it all for three days of hiking and bird-watching, or simply kick back and enjoy the solitude. See exhibits at Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center in Lajitas. ONE DAY 1. From Presidio headed eastward, stop at Fort Leaton State Historic Site for orientation and to visit the exhibits. Enter the park at the Botella Junction entry station. Continue on, stopping frequently to take in the scenery and read the interpretive waysides along the 20+ mile route. Stop at Cuevas Amarillas to check out the prehistoric rock art and bedrock mortars (grinding holes). Once at Sauceda Ranger Station, peruse the interpretive exhibits on the park’s ranching heritage. Enjoy a picnic lunch under a shade tree outside the bunkhouse, then drive to the Solitario Overlook a few miles further. There you can actually see the exterior of the park’s signature geologic formation. 2. If a short hike appeals to you, take either the Cinco Tinajas or Ojito Adentro trail as you are exiting the park. Both trailheads are immediately adjacent to the Sauceda road. The Ojito Adentro Trail traverses desert scrub into moist riparian woodland. This oasis-like patch of green is a particularly good spot to bird-watch. The Cinco Tinajas Trail near Sauceda is well marked; elevation change is only 200 feet and the vistas of the inner reaches of the park are breathtaking. Tinajas are naturally formed “bowls” that hold water when many other sources are dry. 3. If you are coming from Study Butte/Terlingua, stop at Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center in Lajitas for orientation and to peruse the interpretive exhibit on the region’s natural and cultural history as well as the desert gardens. Stop in the park store for a wide range of informative books, maps and pamphlets. Then, continue westward on the River Road, stopping at the many pull-outs to enjoy a picnic lunch, revel in the view and check out the wayside exhibits. Near the east end of the drive, turn northward to Sauceda Ranger Station as described above, or continue on to Fort Leaton. three days 3. Combine a campout with hiking and biking on the Horsetrap Hike and Bike Trail with short excursions to the interior of the Solitario in your 4x4. Parts of Horsetrap offer dramatic views of the interior of the park including the Cienega Mountains and Fresno Peak. And, of course, the Solitario is unforgettable. Many park trails are mountainbike accessible. Check with a ranger for options. ONE WEEK ONE WEEK With an entire week, we suggest you develop your own customized itinerary from the numerous options available. Many people spend several days camping, hiking, biking and/or horseback riding, then go to the River Road for a relaxed day excursion that might include a raft, canoe or kayak trip on the Rio Grande. You have many choices. The world is yours at Big Bend Ranch State Park! THREE DAYS 1. The Rancherias Loop Trail is a two-night, three-day camping and hiking experience. Be sure to receive orientation at Barton Warnock Center or Fort Leaton and secure a permit. The elevation changes are dramatic, but for hearty souls the hike is well worth it. 2. Receive orientation, secure your permit and choose a campsite that suits your interests and your vehicle type. Many campsites such as Los Ojitos and Fresno Vista are accessible by two-wheel drive vehicles. Others, such as Las Burras and Yedra 1 & 2, require a 4x4 vehicle with high clearance. Always check with a ranger on road conditions. Take Certified Commercial Guides and Outfitters Big Bend River Tours 432-371-3033 or 800-545-4240 Desert Sports 432-371-2727 or 888-989-6900 Angell Expeditions 432-229-3713 Far Flung Outdoor Center 432-371-2489 800-839-7238 Lajitas Stables 432-371-2212 800-887-4331 Know before you go Multi-Use Trails Some of the park’s trails are suitable for hiking only. Other trails are available for mountain bikers and equestrians also. Speak with a park ranger for details and use options. Remember to take plenty of water, regardless of your activity! Biking When biking, always wear a helmet and protective clothing. Know your ability and limits. Horseback Riding All pack-and-saddle stock users must obtain a backcountry use permit, whether for day use or overnight. Equestrians must bring their own weed-free horse feed. All horses must have documentation of a current Coggins test. River Access The Rio Grande provides opportunities for rafting, kayaking, canoeing and free bank fishing. Several river access points are found along F.M. 170. Colorado Canyon includes Class II and Class III rapids — not considered dangerous under normal flow conditions. Outfitters Local outf
CODE OF CONDUCT Each pilot is an ambassador to the non-flying public. A few rogue pilots can destroy the public trust and set efforts backwards for years. Please do your part by practicing these few rules. We want to insure access for general aviation for the years to come. This information applies to all aircraft, including helicopters. Pilots will abide by all state and federal regulations regarding the use of aircraft. Big Bend Ranch State Park is Texas’ largest state park, at over 300,000 acres. The park is in an area so remote and rugged that it has been called El Despoblado, or “The Uninhabited.” In spite of that name, this awe-inspiring region boasts a rich human history and offers outdoor recreation for the truly adventurous. The park features rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies, and solitude in a high desert setting. BBRSP is located in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Summers are hot, winters are mild, not much rain falls, and the scenery is magnificent. 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. Geologic changes born of water and fire and taking place over millions of years created this dramatic terrain. Big Bend Ranch State Park Airstrip, 3T9, is open to the public and serves as an access point to the interior of this rugged state park. Park staff have worked to make this access possible and to further improve the airstrip. The future of continued public use depends greatly on the pilot community’s behavior when using this airfield. It is recommended that you call (432) 358-4444 prior to arrival. Staff can transport you from the airstrip to the Sauceda Ranger Station, but arrangements must be made in advance. Reservations for camping or the other accommodations available at the park should be made through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Central Reservation Center at (512) 389-8919. • Act with all possible courtesy to those on the ground who are hiking, biking, horseback riding or observing wildlife, by maintaining reasonable distance and altitude. • Know wildlife refuge boundaries as well as seasonal areas of wildlife congregation to avoid inadvertent low level over-flights. • Avoid putting potential stress on wildlife with low level flights and excessive noise. Pilots will practice good wilderness and backcountry flying ethics. • Keep the noise signature of the aircraft to a safe minimum. • Practice “leave no trace” camping. Fly it in, fly it out. • Avoid very early morning departures unless safety of flight demands a deviation. • Be courteous to other users in the area and adjacent landowners. MAILING: HCR 67 Box 33 • Marfa, TX 79843 PHYSICAL: 1900 Sauceda Ranch Road • Presidio, TX 79845 (432) 358-4444 • fax (432) 358-4679 © 2014 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-152P (4/14) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives federal assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies and is subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and state anti-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any TPWD program, activity or facility, or need more information, please contact Civil Rights Coordinator for Public Access, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop: MBSP-4020, Arlington, VA 22203. 3T9 Airstrip Guidelines B I G B E N D R A N C H S TAT E P A R K HAZARDS • • • • • • Mountainous terrain surrounds the area High winds are common High density altitude Wildlife on or near the RWY Brush and vegetation on either side of RWY edge High terrain is present just south of the 08 threshold. • High straight-line and crosswinds and up and downdrafts typical of mountainous terrain AIRPORT INFORMATION Elevation: TPA: Length: CTAF: 4,250 ft 5,300 ft 5,500 ft 122.9 Runway 08 / 26 5500 ft x 80 ft Hard surface, left pattern, no ILS No glideslope, no REIL, no markings Parking of aircraft should be done on the ramp located on the west end of the runway; pilots need to bring their own tie-downs. PRS’s AWOS (118.0) is the closest weather information, but conditions can vary greatly from PRS to 3T9. WINDSOCK 26 08 SAUCEDA RANGER STATION HIGH TERRAIN AREA AIRPORTS WITH FUEL FEES Presidio (PRS) Lat/Long: 29-38-03.1650N / 104-21-41.3800W 29-38.052750N / 104-21.689667W 29.6342125 / -104.3614944 The normal state park entrance and camping fees apply to airfield visits. Payment is made at the Sauceda Ranger S
D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT The Cinco Tinajas Trailhead is located approximately 1.3 miles west of Sauceda Headquarters. In Spanish, “cinco tinajas” loosely means “five pools” (technically, waterfilled rock basins). You will indeed find five pools just a short hike from the trailhead. These pools contain water most of the year and as such are unusual features in the otherwise dry desert. The pools and nearby springs support many species of plants and animals and have been an important resource for people throughout history. Cinco Tinajas and the surrounding terrain is most suitable for hikers and equestrians. Mountain biking is not recommended. Hiking in the immediate vicinity of the trailhead and overlook is considered easy with few physical challenges. The Leyva Escondido Spring Loop is considered moderate-to-difficult with deep sand, steep climbs and unmaintained trail tread. Be mindful of wildlife such as Javelina and rattlesnakes and always bring water! Cinco Tinajas Trail and Leyva Escondido Loop Trail © TPWD, Chris Hunt This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. ©2018 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152Q (10/18) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. © Gary Nored There are two options for scenic hiking in this area. The first is a short, easy walk to the tinajas. The second is a longer hike (Leyva Escondido Spring Loop) that takes you beyond the tinajas to Leyva Escondido Spring via Leyva Creek (to the east), up to a vista with 360-degree views, then southeast back toward the tinajas and the trailhead (see map). To Cinco Tinajas: From the trailhead, follow the trail (an old road) to the top of the ridge. There, look for stacked rock cairns and a rock alignment on the right (east) that mark the trail to the overlook. Note the prominent landmarks known as La Mota Mesa (north), Oso Peak (southwest) and Cerro Boludo (south). Oso Peak is the highest point in the park. To get to the upper tinajas, backtrack from the overlook a short distance and follow the cairns left (south) down to the creek. There follow the cairns to the left (north) over an historic rock wall to the tinajas. To return, follow the same path back to the trail or follow the creek to the southwest back to the road and trailhead. To get to the lower tinajas and pour-off: From the overlook turnoff, continue downhill (north-northeast) into the creek. Turn right (south) at the creek and follow it until you reach the narrow canyon and pools. Backtrack through the creek and up the same trail to return. Use caution as the smooth rocks around the tinajas are very slippery when wet and the pools can be difficult or impossible to get out of alone. The tinajas are sensitive habitats for plants and animals; swimming is not allowed. To Escondido Spring Loop: Follow the same route as above, but when you reach the trail marking the overlook, continue straight (northnortheast) downhill into the creek. On your way down you will pass through two fence posts a short distance past the junction with the overlook trail. From this vantage point you can see most of your route to the spring and up to the vista. Take note of the short jog at the confluence of two drainages in the creek where you will trend to the right (east) toward a low rocky hill on the north side of the creek and to the spring just beyond. An archaeological site containing prehistoric pictographs (rock art) on large boulders occupies the lower slopes of the hill. Photographs of the rock art are okay, but please do not pick up any cultural materials or touch the rock art. Removal of cultural or natural materials from the park is illegal. To continue the loop beyond the archaeological site, travel east in the creek bed approximately 0.5 of a mile. Leyva Escondido Spring is marked by dense vegetation and a stand of cottonwood trees. Just beyond the spring, cairns mark the trail out of the creek on the left (north) side of the creek. The trail ascends a steep hillside. It is faint and eroded in places, but head towards the top of the hill and it will pick up again. Continue trav
D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT The Encino Loop Trail is an approximately 7.2-mile-long loop that is located a short distance east of Sauceda Ranger Station. It is a combination of double-track, single-track and graded dirt road. Short stretches of access roads connect the north and south segments. The terrain consists of the low rolling hills and mesas that are characteristic of the central interior portion of the park. La Mota Mesa (Cerro la Mota or La Mota Mountain), a feature of the Boffecillos range, is the nearest and most prominent landmark that is situated a short distance to the north along La Mota Road. A second smaller, unnamed mesa lies to the southwest of La Mota that has a distinguishing “gun sight” or “key hole” feature. These two landmarks are easy to find and can be seen from most of the trail. Keep these in sight and there is no getting lost. © Gary Nored This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. ©2019 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152R (2/19) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. © Gary Nored The trail is situated along the upper edge of the Llano Pasture. “Llano” is Spanish for “plain” and is here used to describe a landscape characterized by desert grassland with low hills and rocky outcrops. The vegetation is typical of the Chihuahuan Desert, dominated by creosote bush, sotol, lechuguilla, prickly pear and several species of grasses and cacti. Encino Trail Equestrians and hikers are welcomed on this trail, but it is mostly enjoyed by mountain bikers as it lacks the uninterrupted vistas of other nearby areas such as the Cinco Tinajas, Horse Trap and Chilicote trails. For cyclists this trail offers fast flowing singletrack with variable terrain. There are a few challenging spots with loose and rocky surfaces and some areas of deep sand. The northern segment is called the Encino Trail and is part of Big Bend Ranch State Park’s IMBAdesignated Epic Ride that runs from the Barton Warnock Visitor Center to the Sauceda Ranger Station and back, covering over 70 miles of rugged backcountry trails. The southern segment, called the Power Line Trail, follows an old power line road that has been mostly reclaimed by native vegetation and converted to single-track. This trail is most enjoyable as a loop – traveling from west to east. There are two trailheads along La Mota Road that are marked by trail signs. Vehicle parking is limited along La Mota Road so riding from the Sauceda Ranger Station (approximately 3 miles) is recommended. Directions Note that riding to the trails from the Sauceda Ranger Station will add approximately 6 miles to the 7.2-mile-long loop, making the round trip 13.2 miles. From the Sauceda Ranger Station go west (right) along the main park road for approximately 2 miles. Take a left (north) at La Mota Road and follow it for approximately 1 mile to the Encino Trail Trailhead. Turn right (northeast) and follow the trail approximately 2.9 miles to the Papalote Encino campsite. At the campsite you will exit the trail and follow the road 0.4 miles to the intersection with the main park road. Turn right (south) and follow the main road approximately 1 mile and veer to the right at the Power Line Trail sign to follow the single-track along the old power line road and back to La Mota Road (see map). These trails can be traveled from either direction and are used by all user groups, so please be courteous of others and yield the right-of-way as indicated. Be mindful of wildlife such as javelina and rattlesnakes and always bring plenty of water! © TPWD, Earl Nottingham
D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT Horsetrap Trail is an approximately 4.3-mile-long loop that is located a short distance from the Sauceda Ranger Station. It is a combination of decommissioned doublet-rack and single-track with gentle grades and outstanding views of the rolling hills and low mesas of the central interior portion of the park. The trail is named for its proximity to Horsetrap Springs located near the trailhead along Javelin Road. The spring was once used to supply the Sauceda complex with drinking water. The trail itself runs through an old pasture where horses were kept during the early years of the ranch, beginning around 1910. © TPWD, Earl Nottingham As a hike or horseback ride, this trail offers few challenges and can be traveled with ease from either direction. Counterclockwise travel is recommended for mountain bikers. For cyclists, this trail is challenging with loose and rocky surfaces and a few areas of deep sand. The counterclockwise option begins on an old double-track with a gradual ascent and transition to single-track on exposed rock surfaces. The ascent is a hike-a-bike section (for most). Beyond this initial portion, the trail evens out and continues with a gradual, flowing descent. The trail is popular among all user groups so please be courteous of others and yield the right-of-way as indicated. Be mindful of wildlife such as javelina and rattlesnakes and always bring plenty of water! This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. ©2019 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152S (2/19) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. Horsetrap Trail Horsetrap Trail has two signed access points; one located approximately 0.2 miles west of Sauceda Ranger Station on the main road, and the other approximately 0.5 miles southwest of the ranger station on Javelin Road. Parking is available at Sauceda Ranger Station. Geographically, the trail is situated at the junction of the Llano Pasture and the foothills of the Boffecillos Mountains. “Llano” is Spanish for “plain” and is here used to describe a landscape characterized by desert grassland with low hills and rocky outcrops. The vegetation is typical of the Chihuahuan Desert, dominated by creosote bush, sotol, lechuguilla, prickly pear and several species of grasses and cacti. Occasional springs, marked by thick stands of cottonwood trees, punctuate the area. Fresno Peak and the Flatirons of the Solitario are visible in the distance to the southeast. La Mota Mesa (Cerro la Mota or La Mota Mountain), a feature of the Boffecillos range, is the nearest and most prominent landmark situated to the north. The Sauceda complex is most visible from high points along the western segment of the trail. Sauceda Ranch was established around 1905 and was used intermittently as a goat, sheep and cattle ranch until the property was designated as a park in 1988. Evidence of ranching activities can be seen here and throughout the park. A corral, said to be an old rodeo grounds used from around the 1950s through the 1970s still stands along the old road segment near the trailhead. The grounds were created by the people who lived and worked at the ranch as a source of entertainment.
The Sauceda Nature Trail is an easy 0.9 mile hike that loops the Sauceda complex just to the south. It passes through country typical of this part of the Chihuahuan Desert, comprised of remnant desert plains grassland interspersed with desert shrubs and succulents. The trail traverses a ridge composed of lava like that found in the Bofecillos Mountains to the west. It is mostly exposed rock and does not have a maintained tread. There are signs along the route that identify some of the most common plants you will see elsewhere during your visit to the Big Bend. From the top of the hill you can enjoy the park’s best views of La Mota Mountain and the historic Sauceda complex. LECHUGUILLA (Agave lechugilla): the marker species of the Chihuahuan Desert. The spines (aka “shin-daggers”) are very sharp and the leaves are very tough and fibrous. Historically the leaves have been used to make basketry and sandals and the points used as needles. The plants flower once, and then die. NIPPLE CACTUS (Mammillaria heyderi): a flattopped hemispheric cactus that grows at the base of large rocks or narrow crevices. There are two species of this plant that bloom March through May. Flowers usually circle around new growth starting in the middle. OCOTILLO (Fouquieria splendens): the only member of its family living in our area. Its closest relative is the boojum tree of Baja, Mexico. The plants stems are completely covered with spines. RAINBOW CACTUS (Echinocereus dasyacanthus): a small, cylindrical cactus found in dry, rocky areas. Its flowers are bright yellow with greenish throats. They can grow as a single cactus or in dense clumps. They get their name from alternating pink and white bands that create a rainbow-like appearance. SOTOL (Dasylirion species): a member of the lily family, and a relative of asparagus. This succulent shrub sports a trunk up to three feet long, growing erect or reclining. The shiny, green, fibrous leaves grow up to 30 inches by 1 inch wide. The margins have sharp protective pines. WHITEBRUSH, BEE BRUSH (Aloysia gratissima): a tall, narrow shrub with sharp tips. A favorite among bees and butterflies, it produces fragrant, white flowers in the spring, summer and fall. This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. © Gary Nored Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. ©2019 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152T (2/19) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. © Gary Nored TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT Sauceda Nature Trail Common plants of the Chihuahuan Desert CANE CHOLLA (Opuntia imbricata): a tall cactus comprised of cylindrical jointed stems covered in spines and glochids. Cane cholla can grow large and usually exist with the low grasses and forbs that are abundant in disturbed soils. CATCLAW ACACIA (Acacia greggii): most common where its roots have access to deep water. These shrubs are armed with sharp, recurved prickles that give them the name, “catclaw.” The fruit is flat, twisted and 2–6 inches long, containing several hard, dark brown seeds. CATCLAW MIMOSA (Mimosa biuncifera): a thicket-forming shrub also with catclaw-shaped prickles. Plants typically reach 3–6 feet tall. Flowers are globose (ball-like) and occur in late spring to mid-summer. Seeds usually turn red in the fall. CHRISTMAS CHOLLA, TASAJILLO (Opuntia leptocaulis): named for its bright red fruits that ripen around December. Its spines are very thin, long, and barbed. CLARET CUP (Echinocereus coccineus): one of Texas’ most beloved cacti. It’s an early bloomer and is often the first sign of color you’ll see here in the spring, with bright red cup-like flowers. Directions From the main Sauceda Ranger Station entrance, the trailhead is located across the driveway a short distance to the west of the bunk house and east of the fence. Look for the “Nature Trail” sign marking the trailhead (see map). Be mindful of wildlife such as javelina and rattlesnakes and bring plenty of water. Please, no pets on the trail. Once underway you’ll pass over a berm, go through an opening in the fence, and cross a flat sandy area populated mostly by creosote bush and mesquite. The trai
INTRODUCTION The geology of the lower Fresno Canyon area includes rock deposits that represent the diverse geological history of the Big Bend region. The rocks visible in the area span the time frame from Cretaceous to recent (~100 million years to present). The Cretaceous rocks were deposited during the last major marine transgression onto the North American continent, in a shallow inland sea that extended from Texas to Alaska. These deposits are divided into two groups, an older group that represents the maximum of this transgression (“Comanchean” group) and a later group that represents a time when the sea was receding (“Gulfian” group). As the Cretaceous sea was receding, a major mountain building event referred to as the Laramide orogeny caused regional folding and faulting. This is the event that created the Rocky Mountains. Locally, this event uplifted the Cretaceous limestones and resulted in the deposition of coarse gravel deposits due to the erosion of the uplifted rocks. Volcanism from 48 million to 17 million years ago followed the Laramide orogeny. This volcanism occurred throughout what is now west Texas, and in the Fresno canyon area, the volcanic products include basalts, rhyolites and tuffaceous rocks. Associated with this volcanism was the intrusion of a large magma mass that uplifted the overlying rocks to form the Solitario dome and other smaller domes in the area. Following the volcanism, the area experienced a period of deformation associated with crustal extension. During this period, strike slip faults and other structures developed small basins in the area. This faulting began as the volcanism was waning, and continues in an abated form to this day. Our current terrain has developed through the modern evolution of the Rio Grande Basin and with contributions by natural landscape processes, especially erosion. In our area these drainages include Fresno, Contrabando and Commanche creeks. The landscape we observe today has been subjected to further modification through a myriad of anthropogenic episodes (land-uses) in addition to ongoing natural processes. This guide briefly describes five locations in the Rincon Loop area that represent this diverse geologic history. The text is based upon the author’s knowledge and Henry, 1998. View west of Rincon Mountain and Arroyo Mexicano from stop 4. The mountain is capped with basalt. The rock debris in the foreground is peralkaline rhyolite from the mountain due south of this stop. actual fragmentation of the lava as it hardened. One can see evidence of this in the boulders near the trail. 5 The Jeff Conglomerate This stop is located in Fresno Creek. It is best accessed by walking up the creek 20 meters from where the trail enters the creek from the north. From here we can see Chisos strata to the east similar to what we saw at stop 3. A layer visible at the bottom of these rocks, and on top of the Cretaceous strata, is the Jeff conglomerate. This is a coarse gravel conglomerate composed of rounded limestone clasts (Comanchean series) and basalt that is a basal conglomerate for the Tertiary section of rocks in this area. The conglomerate formed as the result of erosion of the Terlingua uplift associated with the Laramide orogeny. Henry, Christopher D. 1998. “Geology of Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas.” Guidebook - Bureau Of Economic Geology, University Of Texas At Austin. PWD BR P4501-0152U (6/15) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. D N E B BIGANCH R PARK E T A T S Rincon Loop Geology Tour by Kevin Urbanczyk 4 5 3 2 1 intruded into one of the Gulfian series rock units referred to as the Boquillas formation. You can see it as the dark wedge shaped rock outcrop in the cliff across the canyon. 2 Flower Structure To the west across the small arroyo where you can see evidence of a particular style of strike slip faulting referred to as transpressional. This strike slip faulting with a component of compression. A careful observation of the outcrop here reveals individual wedge shaped segments of Boquillas flagstone, wide at the top, pushed upward to form the “flower.” Drag folds can be seen, particularly in the north section visible to the right in the following image (folded rocks delineated in red, offset indicated by green arrows): Qal, ls
The Fresno Divide Trail is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians. As a hike, this trail offers few challenges and can be easily traveled from either direction. For mountain bikers this trail is considered moderate-to-difficult and offers climbs, fast descents and technical drainage crossings. For equestrians this trail is easy-to-moderate with areas of exposed rock which can be difficult for horses unaccustomed to the footing. This trail is popular among all user groups so please be courteous of others and yield the right-of-way as indicated. This trail is a 6.5-mile round-trip hike to an overlook starting from the West Contrabando Trailhead parking area. Be mindful of all wildlife and always bring water! Look for signs of wildlife such as scat and tracks. If you encounter a mountain lion do not run, slowly back away and try to look as big as possible. Pick up small children. If you are attacked, fight back. Please report any lion sightings or signs of lions to park rangers immediately. D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT Fresno Divide Trail © Amber Harrison © Amber Harrison This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. ©2016 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152W (7/16) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. © Amber Harrison The Fresno Divide Trail is located at the West Contrabando Trailhead–6.5 miles west of the Barton Warnock Visitor Center and approximately 42 miles east of Fort Leaton State Historic Site. Named for its geographical location on the divide between Fresno and Contrabando creeks, this 3.2-mile-long segment is part of the larger Contrabando Multi-use Trail System. It can be accessed from the West Contrabando Trailhead at the south end or the Dome Trail at the north end. The trail is comprised of well-defined single-track with exposed rock surfaces and segments of old road. Exploration of this trail will expose you to some of the most spectacular natural and historical landscapes in Big Bend Ranch State Park. To get to the Fresno Divide Trailhead, park at the semi-circular parking area on your left (west) at the West Contrabando Trailhead and follow the road (roughly 0.3 mile) past the campsite, through the wooden bollard and down to the wooden bollard on your right (east). Follow the trail to the left (north) at the metal sign that says Fresno Divide Trail. From that point it is 3 miles with a gradual increase in elevation up to the overlook. Look for rock cairns (stacked rocks) and rock alignments if the trail becomes hard to follow. The trail will lead you through relatively flat desert scrub lands and up onto a low terrace. Travel north along the terrace a short distance then descend into a braided drainage then back up onto an exposed layer of red volcanic rock and on to the overlook. Along the way you will see stunning views of the Bofecillos Mountains, Fresno Creek, the Contrabando Dome, and the Flatirons of the Solitario. From the overlook the trail descends steeply another 0.2 mile to the junction with the Dome Trail. Proceed downhill if you wish to continue on a longer adventure or turn back and follow the same route to return to the trailhead for a 6.5-mile round-trip hike. The vibrant colors and textures of the landscape are the result of complex geological processes associated with the development of volcanoes in the Bofecillos Mountains and exposure of marine limestones uplifted by the formation of the Wax Factory Laccolith millions of years ago. Subsequent erosion caused by wind and rain has resulted in the formation of the landforms, arroyos, canyons and drainages that make the terrain so unique and difficult to navigate. Vegetation along the trail is typical of the Chihuahuan Desert, dominated by creosote bush, sotol, lechuguilla, prickly pear, ocotillo and several species of grasses and cacti. This trail is most colorful from March to May when many of the cacti and flowers are in bloom. Multiple blooms may occur if rain is plentiful. Water in Fresno Creek and nearby locales such as the Contrabando Waterhole attracts wildlife. Mountain lions, deer, jack rabb
This site is named for its unique geological features called “hoodoos.” The Hoodoos Trail is located approximately 26 miles west of the Barton Warnock Visitor Center and 22 miles east of Fort Leaton State Historic Site on FM 170. The word hoodoo originated in Africa and referred to rock structures with strange animal shapes and embodied evil spirits. Hoodoos are also referred to as “fairy towers” because of their fanciful shapes. In other parts of the southwest they are called “goblins.” D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT Hoodoos Trail © Amber Harrison At the trailhead there is a parking area, a map of the trail, a self-pay station and shaded picnic table. The hoodoos, Rio Grande River and Mexico are all visible from the parking area. Bring your camera as this easy hike will afford you a walk down an old historic road, closeup views of the Rio Grande, Mexico, remarkable geology and stunning views of Big Bend’s landscape. Be mindful of all wildlife and always bring water! Look for signs of wildlife such as scat and tracks as you are hiking. If you encounter a mountain lion do not run, slowly back away and try to look as big as possible. Pick up small children. If you are attacked, fight back. Please report any lion sightings or signs of lions to park rangers immediately. Always check in with a park ranger about trail and weather conditions before taking any trail in the park. © Gary Nored This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. ©2016 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152X (7/16) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. © Gary Nored A typical hoodoo exhibits a prominent capstone of hardened material with a column of softer, more erodible material such as mudstone or tuff. The irregularlyshaped column is formed from millions of years of erosion by rain and wind. What does each hoodoo look like to you? Long before the modern “River Road” (FM 170) was completed in 1961, this was part of an old road that was used by the Border Riders who were looking for stray Mexican livestock during a major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease between 1946 and 1952. The portion of the trail that takes you to the overlook and up to the trailhead is a remnant of that road. Before the road was established it was a pack trail locally referred to as Muerte del Burro, meaning “the death of the donkey.” The trail once connected the communities of Lajitas and Redford and was very difficult and dangerous to navigate due to the rugged terrain of the area. You can see remnants of the historic trail and road in various locations along the River Road such as near Closed Canyon, a short distance to the east of Hoodoos Trail. There is a short 1.1-mile loop trail that spurs off to an overlook. Traveling counterclockwise from the trailhead, the trail takes you down past the hoodoos, along the bank of the Rio Grande, up an old historic road to an overlook and back to the trailhead. The Hoodoos Trail is one of only two trails where pets are permitted at Big Bend Ranch State Park; the other is the Closed Canyon Trail. Leashed pets are allowed and leashes must be no longer than 6 feet. Always pick up and properly dispose of pet waste. Never leave your pet unattended. Make sure to bring water for your pet too! The trail is easy to follow and is marked with rock cairns (stacked rocks), rock baskets and rock alignments. Be aware that the trail segment along the river bank can become very muddy and difficult to navigate due to fluctuating river levels. The hoodoos can be seen up close without taking the loop trail – just follow the rock cairns and rock alignments for easy access. Although they may appear rock-hard and stable, hoodoos are actually comprised of relatively soft material that erodes easily if disturbed. For your safety and to help preserve these features, please do not climb on or otherwise disturb them or the surrounding rocks. © Gary Nored
D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT The Ojito Adentro Trail is located within the Bofecillos Mountains just below Agua Adentro Mountain – 8.5 miles east of Botella Junction (un-manned park entrance) on the Main Park Road to the Sauceda Ranger Station in the park’s interior. The short 0.4-mile-long trail leads to lush springs and a seasonal waterfall Ojito Adentro Trail named Ojito Adentro. Its name translates to “little spring within.” Bring a camera and binoculars as Ojito Adentro features a © Gary Nored distinctive community of riparian plants and animals and is one of the top birding sites in the park. Like other spots such as Cinco Tinajas, Ojito Adentro is unique because it contains water most of the year, an unusual feature in the dry desert. The springs support many species of plants and animals and has been an important resource for people and wildlife throughout history. The © Amber Harrison springs are sensitive habitats for plants and animals, so please stay out of the water. Be mindful of all wildlife and always bring water! Look for signs of wildlife such as scat and tracks as you are hiking. If you This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. encounter a mountain lion do not run, slowly back away and try to look as big as possible. Pick up small children. If you are attacked, fight back. Please report any lion sightings or signs of lions to park rangers Always check in with a park ranger about trail and weather conditions before taking any trail in the park. ©2018 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152Y (10/18) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. © Gary Nored immediately. The spring and its associated habitat are known as a riparian zone. A riparian zone is an ecosystem that lies between land and water where water-dependent plants and animals live. Riparian zones can be very extensive and follow the course of entire river systems such as the Rio Grande or they can be small, isolated areas occurring along intermittent streams, creeks, seeps and springs which are common in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Note the environmental transition from desert scrubland to riparian zone as you get closer to the springs. The landscape near the trailhead is typical of the Chihuahuan Desert, dominated by creosote bush, sotol, lechuguilla, prickly pear and several species of grasses and cacti. As you approach the spring cottonwood trees, willows, grasses, ferns and a variety of forbs dominate the landscape. These plants are reliant on the water that is produced by the springs. Keep your eye out for poison oak when exploring the area. Like the plants, many animals rely upon the springs for water, shelter and food. Mountain lions, deer, jackrabbits, javelina and a variety of lizard and snake species including copperheads and the western diamondback rattlesnake may be encountered. The trailhead is marked by a wide path between two rock cairns (stacked rocks). Hiking is relatively easy with a few sloping and brushy areas with loose rocks. To reach your destination, walk down to the thick grove of cottonwoods that you can see from the trailhead. Once there, veer to your right and follow the path to its terminus at the pour-off. Some rock scrambling is necessary to get a close view of the springs. Be aware that the path might be dense with vegetation and the ground can be very muddy after heavy rains. The environment also attracts many native and migrating birds. Birds common to the area include: scaled quail, mourning dove, greater roadrunners, ladder-backed woodpeckers, Say’s phoebes, loggerhead shrikes, canyon and Bewick’s wrens, northern mockingbirds, curve-billed thrashers, canyon towhees, blackthroated sparrows, pyrrhuloxia, vermilion flycatchers, swallows, yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds. Raptors such as zoneand red-tailed hawks and peregrine falcons have been sighted at the springs. As early as the 1880s, ranchers relied heavily on springs like those at Ojito Adentro. Many riparian areas contain remnants of windmills, watering tanks, and stock ponds. The fences and tanks that still stand ar
D N E BIGABNCH R E PARK STAT The Closed Canyon Trail is a short hike through a narrow slot canyon. The trailhead is located approximately 22 miles west of the Barton Warnock Visitor Center and 26 miles east of Fort Leaton State Historic Site on River Road, FM 170. The trail is approximately 1.4 miles long, round-trip. There is a parking area, a self-pay station and a shaded picnic table at the trailhead. Closed Canyon Trail This trail is only for hikers and is one of only two pet-accessible trails at Big Bend Ranch State Park; the other is the Hoodoos Trail. Pets are permitted on leashes no longer than 6 feet. Please pick up after and properly dispose of pet waste. Never leave your pet unattended. Make sure to bring water for your pet too! Be mindful of wildlife and always bring water! Look for signs of animals such as scat and tracks as you are hiking. If you encounter a mountain lion do not run, slowly back away and try to look as big as possible. Pick up small children. If you are attacked, fight back. Please report any lion sightings or signs of lions in the canyon to park rangers immediately. Do not enter the canyon if there is a chance for rain. Canyons and creeks can flash quickly and without notice, especially during the summer rainy season (roughly June-August). Always check in with a park ranger about trail and weather conditions before hiking any trail in the park. © Roy Morey This guide is made possible by the Compadres del Rancho Grande (Friends of Big Bend Ranch). Please recycle your brochures at any of the BBRSP Visitor Centers, Trailheads, or Ranger Stations. Visit www.parkfriends.org to contribute or get involved. ©2016 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD BR P4501-0152Z (7/16) TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TDD) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. © Gary Nored © Gary Nored In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. Unlike most trails there is no defined path; rather, the extremely high and narrow walls guide you along the way, progressively becoming narrower as the canyon trends towards the river. The canyon bottom is characterized by bars of sand and gravel deposited during heavy rains. The exposed rock along the floor and lower portions of the walls has been polished smooth from the friction of swiftly moving sand and gravel during flooding events. Exercise caution in areas of slick and smooth rock. There are many circular depressions in the exposed rock that serve as water catchments and are referred to as tinajas. Tinajas can be small and very shallow or large and very deep. They offer a natural source of water for many species of plants and animals. Tinajas are sensitive habitats, so please respect our wildlife by leaving them alone. Closed Canyon is a narrow slot canyon that divides Colorado Mesa in two. Colorado Mesa was created around 28 million years ago from the deposition of welded tuff (pyroclastic rock) from the Santana and San Carlos calderas – volcanic features to the south of the river. A small stream was established in the tuff that was subsequently eroded away to create the canyon. Millions of years of carving through the Santana Tuff of Colorado Mesa divided it into two – Mesa de la Cuchilla to the east and Mesa de Nueve to the west. The canyon entrance is visible from the parking area and access is gained by taking a short walk down a low hill, into an arroyo to the opening of the canyon. The canyon leads you toward the Rio Grande River, but river access is not possible without vertical climbing gear. © Amber Harrison Because the canyon walls are so tall and narrow, little sunlight reaches the floor and the temperature in the canyon is substantially cooler than out in the exposed desert for most of the day. The canyon is home to a variety of plants and animals. Owls, turkey vultures and other bird species, as well as bats roost in the nooks and crannies of the high walls. Yellow trumpet flowers, rock nettle, bicolored mustard and a variety of cacti and other plants grow along the margins of the canyon floor, in cracks and high up on the walls. Mountain lion, javelina, rock squirrels and a variety of lizard and snake species including the greater earless lizard, desert spiny lizards and the western diamondback rattlesnake may be seen in or near the canyon.
The Contrabando Multi-Use Trail System © E. DAN KLEPPER The Contrabando Multi-Use Trail System is composed of 25 miles of interconnecting wagon paths and single-track trails. In the early 1890s the East Main Trail was part of the supply and stage route that connected Lajitas and the Terlingua Mining District to the Marfa Railhead of the Southern Pacific Railroad located 80 miles to the north. This route also connected several ranches and homesteads in the area. From the 1890s to the 1950s, prospectors blazed many of the trails in this area in search of cinnabar. The West Main Trail began as a rugged jeep and wagon road that served as the main passageway from Presidio to Lajitas and Terlingua. It was abandoned in the early 1960s when FM 170 was completed along the Rio Grande. Today the Contrabando Trail offers the modern-day adventurer a chance to experience the rugged beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert. The trail offers dramatic vistas — from the Rio Grande River corridor to hidden canyons. The geology and landscape are constantly changing, and you will find several historical points of interest along the trail. While using the trails please remain conscientious, helping us protect our natural and cultural heritage for the enjoyment of present and future generations. Hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders share the Contrabando Trail System. Some special considerations must be observed in order for all users to enjoy the trail. We ask your help in observing the following: ● ALL TRAIL USERS ● ● ● Big Bend Ranch State Park P. O. Box 2319 Presidio, TX 79845 ● ● Barton Warnock Visitor Center: (432) 424-3327 Sauceda Ranger Station: (432) 358-4444 Fort Leaton State Historic Site (432) 229-3613 ● ● ● 4200 Smith School Road Austin, TX 78744 www.tpwd.state.tx.us ● © 2010 TPWD. PWD MP P4501-152I (7/10) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives federal assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies and is subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and state anti-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any TPWD program, activity or facility, or need more information, please contact Civil Rights Coordinator for Public Access, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop: MBSP-4020, Arlington, VA 22203. Big Bend Ranch State Park Obtain day-use permits and camping permits at Barton Warnock Visitor Center, Fort Leaton State Historic Site or Sauceda Ranger Station. Always let park personnel know when you are going to be on the trail and when you expect to be off. Yield the trail as follows: Hikers and mountain bikers yield to horsebackriders; mountain bikers yield to hikers. Be self-sufficient; carry at least one gallon of water per person per day, and carry food, and sun protection. First-aid kits are recommended. Check weather reports for hazardous conditions before taking to the trail; thunderstorms and flash floods can appear rapidly without warning. Practice “leave no trace” skills and ethics (park staff can provide guidance). Pack out what you pack in; take only pictures, and leave only footprints. Dogs and pets are allowed only within 1/4 mile from the trailhead, for their own safety and to protect the wildlife. Keep pets on a leash not more than 6 feet in length. Pick up after your pet — feces can spread diseases and viruses to wildlife. Natural water sources are fragile ecological zones in the desert. Keep equestrian stock away from all water holes and seep springs. Use buckets to water your animals. Since lotions and oils on your skin will dramatically affect aquatic life, do not bathe in natural water sources. Always filter and/or treat drinking water. Leave backcountry camps as clean as, or cleaner than you found them. Camp stoves are permitted, as well as fires built in fire rings at designated campsites (provided no burn ban is in effect). Open ground fires are strictly prohibited. Be careful not to leave food behind; doing so can artificially attract unwanted insects and wild animals. Toss grey water away from your camping area. If you cannot pack it out, dispose of all human waste by digging a “cat ● hole” 6 to 8 inches deep, 300 feet from the trail or camping area and 300 feet from any water source. Pack toilet paper out. Help us preserve the rich heritage of historic ruins by staying off of walls and foundations. Look, but leave artifacts where you find them. If you notice any looting or vandalism of a historic site, please report it to a park ranger or the nearest visitor ce
Early maps call this area Saucita— Thank you for visiting Sauceda Historic District. We hope you enjoyed your stay. But don’t stop now. Big Bend Ranch State Park has even more to offer. Explore! COVER IMAGES Unidentified ranch hand with J.M. Fowlkes, Jr. on Grey Boy at tack room, c. 1942. Courtesy of the Fowlkes family B.F. Hill and guide during a 1902 mineral survey sponsored by the University of Texas’s Bureau of Economic Geology. The structure was likely built by rancher Theo Barnhart in the 1880s or by W.W. Bogel at the turn of the 20th century. The site is located west of the nearby arroyo near Sauceda. Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin 4200 Smith School Road Austin, TX 78744 www.tpwd.state.tx.us PWD BR P4501-152K (6/12) In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. TPWD receives federal assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal agencies. TPWD is therefore subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, in addition to state anti-discrimination laws. TPWD will comply with state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any TPWD program, activity or event, you may contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Federal Assistance, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop: MBSP-4020, Arlington, VA 22203, Attention: Civil Rights Coordinator for Public Access. named for the willows growing around Walking Guide to the a spring that once flowed in the nearby Sauceda arroyo. Its name evolved to “Sauceda” over time. One century ago, what we now call the historic district looked quite different: the buildings were Historic District Big Bend Ranch State Park fewer and less refined than today. Just fifty years ago, Sauceda was a shipping hub with many pens and PHOTO BY DOUG PORTER The tract surrounding Sauceda was the second one settled by George A. Howard who originally occupied nearby uplands where he established the Chillicothe Ranch. He then purchased this site to form the Chillicothe-Saucita Ranch in 1905 and developed the core of the historic district’s main building. Howard moved to Marfa and Gus, Gallie, and Graves Bogel— sons of the early Presidio County settler and rancher W.W. Bogel, who lived to the north on Alamito Creek— acquired the land by 1915. The Bogel sons established their ranch headquarters here. They began running stock on the once rich grasslands of the surrounding plateau, turning later to raising sheep and goats. In the years before the widespread use of barbed wire, stone fences helped manage the livestock, and the fences stand today as reminders of the Bogels’ enterprise. By 1923, the Chillicothe-Saucita Ranch exceeded 25,000 acres. The Bogel brothers introduced their brides to this place and modified the complex to suit their growing families and ranching needs. Gus’s wife, Maude, remembered seeing Sauceda Ranch for the first time, describing it as “beautiful, [with] a running creek just in back of the house—and beautiful cottonwood trees on both sides of the stream. There were several places where natural waterfalls and clear deep pools with beautiful maidenhair ferns were growing around the falls.” World War I interrupted the ranch’s calm when members of the Bogel family were called into military service. Drought and the Great Depression finished off many family ranches in the area, and by 1934 the brothers were forced to sell their ranch. corrals extending over several acres. ranch viable. Fowlkes’ employees built long stretches of wire fences and built stone dams for water and erosion control; they laid hundreds of miles of pipelines, along with accompanying water storage and distribution facilities, in order to move water for stock to the far-flung reaches of the huge and rugged tract. But drought and a crash of the global wool market, combined with the family’s ambitious ranch expansion, forced the Fowlkeses off the land. Like many prosperous Texans during the 1950s, Midland oilman and lawyer Len G. (Tuffy) McCormick wanted a bigger ranch, so he bought one that was described as half the size of Rhode Island and among the 15 largest in the United States: he called it Big Bend Ranch and formed the Big Bend Ranch Corporation to manage it. Purchased in 1958 from banking institutions that held notes on the ranch, McCormick had it mapped (including pastures, roads, and waterlines), and he built the bunkhouse, pole barn and several outbuildings. He arranged for the upgrading of a river access road, which is now the scenic Camino del Rio, by granting an easement to the Texas Highway Department. But
BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK 4 Blaine R. Hall Geology at the Crossroads By Blaine R. Hall Crossroads: Intersection, Junction, Gathering Place. Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP) has been all of these for at least the last 11,000 years as Native Americans, ranchers, miners, freighters, travelers, and now park visitors have lived and traveled here. The scenery is magnificent and the landscape varies from river lowlands, through deep canyons, across high plateaus, and up steep mountains. Ultimately all of this is controlled by the character and variety of the underlying geology and the processes that created it over millions of years. hi an Rocky Mountains Trans-Pecos Volcanic Field 1 A N D E Adapted by Blaine R. Hall G R 3 Buri ed Bur ied Marathon Llano Uplift Basin Big Bend Ranch State Park 2 Big Bend National Park 4 evident in the white band of rocks that bends and contorts along the hillside and across the saddle. 2 Rocky Mountain Trend. About 200 million years later, the park area was again covered by an ocean basin, but this time the rocks were deposited in a shallow, near-shore environment and consisted mostly of thick-bedded limestone, shale, and sandstone. The second major geological event, building the Rocky Mountains, was completed about 50 Ma. here in West Texas. This time the folding, faulting, and uplift was driven by compression originating at the western margin of North America. Photo 2 shows how this event caused once-horizontal reddish and grey rocks to bend and fold from left to right. This one-sided fold marks what is known as the Fresno-Terlingua Monocline, located along the southeastern edge of the park in the Contrabando area. Trans-Pecos Volcanic Field. Undoubtedly the most dramatic geological event affecting the area was strong volcanism that occurred between 3 Trends of four major geological events converge at the park. Colored numbers indicate where each can be viewed. 3 Blaine R. Hall 2 Blaine R. Hall Blaine R. Hall Appalachian/Ouachita/ Marathon/Solitario Trend. Around 520 Ma. (million years ago) sandstone, conglomerate, limestone, shale, and chert formed in an ocean basin offshore from ancient North America. By 300 Ma. this old ocean was closed up and the rocks were strongly deformed and uplifted as what is now Africa collided with eastern North America to form the Appalachian Mountains. Concurrently, South America crashed into the southern edge of North America to form the Ouachita Mountains. This same event closed the old ocean further to the south, extending the mountain trend into West Texas. The strongly deformed rocks that are present today in the Marathon Basin can also be seen at BBRSP. Photo 1 documents this mountainbuilding event, where highly folded and faulted rocks are exposed in the interior walls of the Solitario. The strong deformation is particularly c la pa Ap Ouachita Mountains 1 1 4 Mo un tain s Basin and Range R I O But why a crossroads of geology? A look at the geological map above can answer that question just by following the variously colored areas to their convergence in the Big Bend region. The trends illustrated here represent the four major events that have shaped North America over the past 500+ million years, and all of them are represented in the park. So, get in your car, mount up your horse, hop on your bike or strike up a hike and visit the Crossroads of Geology! Road, and the Oso Loop passes directly through it. 47 Ma. and 18 Ma. throughout western North America. The large Trans-Pecos Volcanic Field was created at this time by the eruption of molten rock, called magma, which originated from a slab of oceanic crust driven from the west deep underground and then melted. This volcanism had the most direct and profound effect of the four events at BBRSP and is the most completely represented. The Bofecillos Mountains make up the high, central part of the park and were formed at 27 Ma. by the eruption of very extensive lava flows and abundant volcanic ash that forms rock called tuff. The interior of the Bofecillos Mountains is characterized by high rugged peaks marking old eruption sites and level plateaus where lava flows accumulated, while the edges of the mountains are incised by deep canyon drainages. Photo 3 provides a view of the central Bofecillos vent area, a source for most of the lavas and tuffs comprising the mountains. On the left is Oso Mountain, the highest peak in the Park at 5135 feet. The vent area is readily accessible from the Main Park Basin and Range Trend. The fourth geological event is marked by development of the Basin and Range Province. The map illustrates how the Basin and Range is characterized by north-trending mountains and intervening sediment-filled valleys or basins, which began forming about 25 Ma. These uplifted ranges and down-dropped basins are separated by parallel faults. This deformation is due to the west-to-east stretching of the earth’s crust that may have been caused
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE BIRDS OF BIG BEND RANCH STATE PA RK A ND VICINIT Y Including Lajitas, Redford, Presidio, Ruidosa, Candelaria, Shafter, Casa Piedra and Terlingua; also Chinati Mountains State Natural Area A FIELD CHECKLIST 2011 Cover: Illustration of Black-tailed Gnatcatcher by Jeremy Boehm. INTRODUCTION N ot to be confused with the similarly named national park to the east, Big Bend Ranch State Park, located in extreme southeastern Presidio County, encompasses 280,000 acres of vast Chihuahuan Desert habitat including grasslands, desert scrub, canyons, riparian woodlands and thickets, streams, rivers and numerous permanent springs. The bulk of the park includes the Bofecillos Mountains, an extinct volcano, and its outlier alluvial fans that form a mountainous plateau averaging 4,000 feet elevation. As such, the majority of the landscape is dominated by igneous soils and rock; however, a number of areas include outcrops of sedimentary rock (limestone) especially along Cienega Creek in the northwestern portion of the park. A prominent feature of the park is The Solitario, a collapsed volcanic dome or lacolith, approximately 10 miles in diameter, which pushed up several concentric geologic layers that are now exposed through the harsh actions of erosion. Overall, the geology of the park is as diverse as any comparable location in the United States. The climate of the area is warm to hot year-round; rainfall averages 8-10 inches per year, most of which (approximately 75%) falls during the late summer/ early fall monsoon season. The lowest elevation in the park is near Lajitas (approximately 2,300'), where the Rio Grande continues its pathway southeastward. The highest elevation is Oso Peak at 5,135'. Big Bend Ranch State Park was acquired in 1988. Long known as the Diamond ‘A’ Cattle Company, its ranching heritage dates back to the 1850s for limited portions of the property and to the 1880s for the bulk of the park. Sheep, goats, beef cattle, horses, exotic game animals and longhorns occupied the land at various periods of the ranching operation; only desert-hardy longhorns and some horses survived the harsh environment and were present at the time of acquisition. Artifacts of that heritage still persist today; watering structures 1 such as windmills, concrete troughs and dirt tanks provide locations for productive birding at times. Albeit, the landscape is adorned with numerous springs and permanent streams. Most of the deeper canyons have permanent water of some kind that is a great benefit to all species of wildlife. In many areas deep pools of persistent standing water called “tinajas” supplement water resources year round. Springs and streams are usually found in association with riparian woodlands (cottonwood-willow-hackberry and shrub thickets) which are often the most productive habitats for bird diversity and abundance. An area easily accessed by park visitors is Ojito Adentro (wayside stop #4) where a trail from the parking area traverses through desert scrub, then into riparian woodlands. This area serves as a prime representative of similar locations and habitats within this vast park and should be productive for birding at most times of the year. A 30' waterfall (seasonal) defines the limit of the woodland and is an excellent location to sit quietly and absorb the sights and sounds of a moist and cool desert enclave. Typical of many Chihuahuan Desert settings, common to abundant resident birds include such species as Red-tailed Hawk, Scaled Quail, White-winged and Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Verdin, Cactus, Rock, Canyon and Bewick’s Wren, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed and Crissal Thrasher, Canyon Towhee, Rufous-crowned and Black-throated Sparrow and Pyrrhuloxia. In aquatic-related habitats such as pools, streams and marshes (called cienegas) one can expect to find birds typically associated with these habitats including waterfowl, rails, Common Moorhen, American Coot, shorebirds, Black Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, swallows, Marsh Wren, Common Yellowthroat and Red-winged Blackbird. A number of locations in close proximity to the Sauceda Headquarters can be accessed to watch birds. These include Cinco Tinajas, Leyva Canyon and its associated drainage and the Llano Pasture loop road. 2 Winter months can often be very productive in desert scrub and desert grassland settings. Look for various species of sparrows including but not limited to Green-tailed and Spotted Towhees, Brewer’s Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Lark Bunting, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow and Dark-eyed Junco. Longspurs have been observed in the vicinity of the airport runway just east of Sauceda. In these desert settings in winter, look for pools of water, which have persisted from the rains the previous summer and/or fall. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of birds will make multiple trips daily to t
T E X A S S T A T E P A R K S Texas Longhorns at Big bend ranch When Big Bend Ranch was purchased in 1988 for a state park from the privately held Diamond A Cattle Company, a small herd of Texas Longhorns was included as part of the purchase agreement. This breed was introduced on the Diamond A in the late 1960s because of its well-known adaptability to sparse range conditions, and its disease resistance and ease of reproduction. In addition, during this STATE PARK Two unpaved roads allow dry-weather, two-wheeldrive public access into the Llano Pasture, where the exhibit animals may be seen. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended for driving into the interior of the pasture, although the northeastern leg of the Llano Loop is suitable for most sedans. Roads may be impassible when wet, even with four-wheel drive. Check with park staff about current road conditions and the suitability of your vehicle. Remember to drive slowly, cautiously and quietly. Always view Texas Longhorns from a safe distance. www.texasstateparks.org period, it was popular to have a few iconic Texas Longhorn on ranchland. For the majority of its history, however, To learn about the Official State of Texas Longhorn Herd located at Fort Griffin State Historic Site, go to www.visitfortgriffin.com what today we call Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP) was a sheep and goat operation, the peak of which occurred during the Fowlkes brothers’ ownership In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. from the 1930s to the late 1950s. © 2013 TPWD PWD BR P4501-2708 (5/13) TEXAS LONGHORN LEGACY Accounts from travelers crossing Texas in the early 1700s include stories of the presence of many wild cattle, often misidentified as native species. Free-range longhorns were considered game, much like deer and buffalo, but were regarded as very wild and even more difficult to hunt. Initially referred to as “Texas cattle” and, later, Texas Longhorns, the animals populated a widespread area by the time Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836. At that time they ranged from the Red River to the Rio Grande, east to the Louisiana line and west to the upper breaks of the Brazos River. These early longhorns continued to roam Texas, almost completely wild until the end of the Civil War. The Great Cattle Drives After the Civil War, Texas veterans returned home to a poor state and devastated economy, but they had access to a boundless marketable commodity—millions of wild longhorn cattle. However, the distance and transportation northward to beefstarved markets presented a challenge. Thus arose the overland cattle drives via the famous cattle trails including the Western, Chisholm, and the GoodnightLoving trails to the great rail yards in Kansas, Wyoming, and other northern states. The End of an Era By the early 1900s, the longhorn was regarded as a less desirable breed of cattle. Rail access improved, barbed wire closed the open range, trail drives become memories, and beef cattle were no longer being transported to faraway markets. European breeds that yielded more beef per animal became more popular, and the number of longhorns decreased. Texas Conservation Efforts Western writer J. Frank Dobie recognized the decline of the Texas Longhorn in the early 1920s and felt it was important to preserve the breed that held such a significant place in Texas history. With assistance from businessman Sid Richardson and rancher Graves Peeler, Dobie helped organize a herd of typical longhorns. The animals were donated to the Texas Parks Board in 1941 as the state herd, and were kept at Lake Corpus Christi State Park near Mathis. Since they were becoming more scarce, the search continued for longhorns, and in 1942 a herd was compiled and kept at Lake Brownwood State Park in Brown County. Due to challenges at these locations, the Texas State Parks Board began looking for a more permanent home for the herd. Fort Griffin State Park (now the Texas Historical Commission’s Fort Griffin State Historic Site) was selected as the permanent home in 1948, and the official herd has been based there ever since. The Official State of Texas Longhorn Herd is now jointly managed by the THC and Texas State Parks, with part of the herd being retained at San Angelo State Park. BBRSP retains a few longhorns in the park for visitors to view. The cattle you can observe today in the Llano Pasture represent true-to-type Texas Longhorns and provide examples of the highly variable coloration and patterns that occur within the breed. In the words of J. Frank Dobie, Texas Longhorns are “more varied than the colors of the rainbow.” The roans, brindles, speckled patterns, linebacks, grullas, reds, yellows, oranges, browns, and blacks come from varying amounts and patterns of only two pigments— red and black—on different parts of the body. The characteristic horns for which
-Official- FA C I L I T I E S MAPS Get the Mobile App: ACTIVITIES texasstateparks.org/app Toyota Tundra Let your sense of adventure be your guide with the Toyota Official Vehicle of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation Tundra — built to help you explore all that the great state of Texas has to offer. | toyota.com/trucks BUILT HERE. LIVES HERE. ASSEMBLED IN TEXAS WITH U.S. AND GLOBALLY SOURCED PARTS. Contents 4 6 8 10 Activities and Programs Parks Near You Places to Stay Recreational Vehicles 12 Tips for Time in Nature Ray Roberts Devils River 14 Visitor Fees and Passes Directory TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT 18 Big Bend Country 26 34 48 56 64 80 86 Gulf Coast TPW COMMISSION S. Reed Morian, Chairman Houston Arch “Beaver” Aplin, III, Vice-Chairman Lake Jackson James E. Abell Kilgore Oliver J. Bell Cleveland Anna B. Galo Laredo Jeffery D. Hildebrand Houston Jeanne W. Latimer San Antonio Robert L. “Bobby” Patton, Jr. Fort Worth Dick Scott Wimberley T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman-Emeritus Houston Lee Marshall Bass, Chairman-Emeritus Fort Worth Hill Country Panhandle Plains Pineywoods Prairies and Lakes South Texas Plains Carter P. Smith Executive Director Rodney Franklin State Parks Director Josh Havens Communications Director Facilities and Activities Index 44 State Parks Map Special thanks to Toyota and advertisers, whose generous support made this guide possible. Texas State Parks is a division of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Cover photo: Tyler State Park, Chase Fountain Texas State Parks Official Guide, Seventeenth Edition © TPWD PWD BK P4000-000A (5/20) TPWD receives funds from the USFWS. TPWD prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, and gender, pursuant to state and federal law. To request an accommodation or obtain information in an alternative format, please contact TPWD on a Text Telephone (TTY) at (512) 389-8915 or by Relay Texas at 7-1-1 or (800) 735-2989 or by email at accessibility@tpwd.texas.gov. If you believe you have been discriminated against by TPWD, please contact TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. In accordance with Texas State Depository Law, this publication is available at the Texas State Publications Clearinghouse and/or Texas Depository Libraries. WELCOME from Rodney Franklin, State Parks Director   Texas contains some of the most diverse public lands in the country. There is a wealth of cultural heritage. Wildlife abounds, landscapes flourish with beauty and our history is abundant. Your state parks are a part of the legacy that makes Texas proud. The people of Texas recently helped secure that legacy for future generations by voting yes to Proposition 5. Thank you! These 630,000-plus acres showcase some of our state’s greatest treasures. Parks help people make memories with family and find respite in nature’s playground. They strengthen local economies and bind communities. Most of all, parks enable each of us to spend time outside to recharge, be healthy and relax in our own way. I invite you to enjoy your state parks, exploring the best of Texas with friends and family. The parks are here for you. They belong to you. Please visit, have fun, and help protect them forever! Thank you, Texas! Texans voted to approve passage of Proposition 5 in the November 5, 2019 election. Now 100% of the sporting goods sales tax will go to fund the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas Historical Commission. This funding will help secure the future of local parks, state parks and historic sites for generations to come, all without increasing taxes. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude. See what’s in store for Texas State Parks: texasstateparks.org/better ACTIVITIES & PROGRAMS What is there to do in state parks? Enjoy a family picnic, tour a hallowed historic site or choose from some of these visitor favorites: Bike Pedal across parks at any speed, in any style, with any group. Choose the routes, surfaces and distances that fit your comfort zone. Walk Start with a shorter loop, tackle tougher terrain or join a guided tour. Fish Fish without a license in as many as 70 state parks. Many offer tackle loaner programs and special learnto-fish events. Boat or Paddle Rent canoes and kayaks, explore a Texas Paddling Trail or launch a boat. View Wildlife Discover the birds, mammals and plants that live in Texas. Many parks have signage and checklists to help you learn more about the wildlife around you. 4 Camp Swim Find a site that meets your needs. Test out new recipes, share your favorite stories and enjoy the stars. Beat the heat at creeks, rivers, lakes, springs, pools and ocean beaches. More information & reservations: texasstateparks.org (512) 389-8900 Many state parks offer special guided and self-guided progra
Guía de Parques INSTALACIONES Descarga la Aplicacíon Móvil MAPAS ACTIVIDADES texasstateparks.org/app ¡Los niños entran gratis! La entrada es gratis para los niños de 12 años y menores. Encuentra un parque: parquesdetexas.org Contenido Estero Llano Grande SP 2 4 6 8 9 10 18 Actividades y Programas Parques Cercanos Lugares para Quedarse Tarifas y Pases Directorio Mapa de Parques Instalaciones y Actividades BIENVENIDO Rodney Franklin, Director de Parques Texas tiene algunas de las tierras públicas más diversas del país, con una gran riqueza natural y cultural. La vida silvestre está por todas partes, los paisajes florecen con belleza, y la historia es abundante. Sus parques estatales son parte del legado que nos enorgullece. La gente de Texas ayuda a asegurar ese legado para las generaciones futuras al visitar y ser voluntarios. ¡Gracias! Estos más de 630,000 acres exhiben algunos de los grandes tesoros del estado. Los parques nos ayudan a crear recuerdos con la familia y a encontrar consuelo en la naturaleza. Los parques fortalecen las economías locales y unen a las comunidades. Sobre todo, los parques nos permiten pasar tiempo al aire libre para recargar energías, estar saludables y relajarnos a nuestra manera. Les invito a disfrutar de sus parques estatales, explorando lo mejor de Texas con amigos y familia. Los parques están aquí para todos. Nos pertenecen a todos. ¡Visítelos, diviértase y ayude a protegerlos para siempre! Foto de portada: Estero Llano State Park, Chase Fountain © 2021 TPWD PWD BK P4000-000A (5/21) TPWD recibe fondos del Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre de EE.UU. (USFWS por sus siglas en ingles). TPWD prohíbe la discriminación por raza, color, religión, nacionalidad de origen, discapacidad, edad y género, conforme la ley estatal y federal. Para solicitar un acomodo especial u obtener información en un formato alternativo, por favor contacte a TPWD en un Teléfono de Texto (TTY) al (512) 3898915 ó por medio de “Relay Texas” al 7-1-1 ó (800) 735-2989 ó por email a accessibility@tpwd.texas.gov. Si usted cree que TPWD ha discriminado en su contra, favor de comunicarse con TPWD, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744, o con el Servicio de Pesca y Vida Silvestre de EE.UU., Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041. De acuerdo con la Ley de Depósito del Estado de Texas, esta publicación está disponible en el centro de Distribución de Publicaciones del Estado de Texas y/o las Bibliotecas de Depósito de Texas. ACTIVIDADES Y PROGRAMAS ¿Qué puedo hacer en los parques estatales? ¡Disfruta de un día de campo, visita un sitio histórico o elige entre muchas otras opciones! Bicicletas Pedalea a lo largo de los parques a cualquier velocidad, en cualquier estilo, con cualquier grupo. Elige las rutas, el tipo de terreno y las distancias que cumplan con tu zona de confort. Caminatas Empieza con un circuito más corto, avanza a terrenos más difíciles o únete a una caminata guiada. Pescar Puedes pescar sin licencia en tantos como 70 parques estatales. Muchos parques ofrecen equipo para pescar a manera de préstamo y eventos especiales para aprender a pescar. Barcos Renta canoas y kayacs y explora uno de los senderos acuáticos en Texas. Nadar Animales Silvestres Acampar Descubre aves, mamíferos y plantas que tienen su hogar en Texas. Muchos parques tienen señalamientos y listados que te ayudan a aprender más. Encuentra un lugar que cumpla con lo que quieres. Prueba nuevas recetas, comparte historias favoritas y disfruta de las estrellas. 2 Más información y reservaciones: parquesdetexas.org Escape del calor en arroyos, ríos, lagos, manantiales, piletas y playas del mar. Tu seguridad en el agua es muy importante. Lleva el chaleco salvavidas. Aprende a nadar. Guarda a los niños. (512) 389-8900 ¡Pregunta en tu parque cuáles están disponibles! Los niños de 12 años y menores entran GRATIS Cielos Estrellados Escapa de las luces de la ciudad y goza de maravillosas vistas del cielo que no encontrarás en ninguna otra parte. Ven a una fiesta de estrellas o toma una excursión de constelaciones auto-guiada. Familias en la Naturaleza Elige un taller o diseña tu propia aventura. ¡Monta una tienda de campaña, cocina al exterior, prende una fogata y juega al exterior! Nosotros te Toma una publicación gratuita de actividades o pregunta por los paquetes gratuitos con los parques proporcionamos todo el equipo. No es necesario tener experiencia. participantes. Usa los binoculares, lupas, libros de bosquejos y libros de guías para explorar el parque. Mochilas para Exploradores Soldados Búfalo de Texas Descubre la historia con cuentos, vestuarios y herramientas. Sigue la pista de un animal, pesca con caña, cocina sobre una fogata, visita los fuertes y más. Adéntrate en las historias de vida de aquellos que sirvieron valientemente en los primeros regimientos Áfrico-Americanos de las Fuerzas Armadas. ! Seguridad en el Parque Ten cuidado con el agua Pr

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