Big Bend National Park encompasses more than 800,000 acres in southwest Texas on the US boundary with Mexico in the place where the Rio Grande makes a sharp turn from southeast to northeast -- the Big Bend. Natural environments merge here, with desert meeting mountain, south meeting north, and east meeting west. Within the park, the river flows for 118 twisting miles. It has cut deep canyons with nearly vertical walls, including the spectacular Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas canyons, through three uplifts comprised primarily of limestone. The range in altitude at the park -- from approximately 1,800 feet along the river to 7,800 feet in the Chisos Mountains -- makes for dramatic contrasts in climate, temperature, and precipitation. These variations contribute to an exceptional diversity in plant and animal habitats. The park is also known for fossils and for archaeological remains of prehistoric peoples. Big Bend''s backcountry areas provide excellent opportunities for hiking, backpacking, camping, driving unpaved roads, and river running. One of the largest and least visited national parks, it is a treasure.
Big Bend National Park is home to 19 species of bats and 3,600 species of insects. Many people fear bats, but if we didn''t have bats there would be a lot more insects on the planet. Some bats are known to eat an average of 3,000 mosquitoes in a single night of feeding! Big Bend National Park has 446 species of birds recorded on its bird checklist. That''s more than any other national park in the United States. Birders come to the Big Bend area to add rare species to their lifelists, such as the Black-capped Vireo, Painted Redstart, Crissal Thrasher, Elf Owl, and Varied Bunting.
Have you been to this park? How many stars would you give it?