Make the most of your visit - An Itinerary for Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP) in Texas. Published by Texas Parks & Wildlife.
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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 outfitters can provide guides and assist you with equipment needs. Potential services may include nature/birding hikes, mountain biking tours, horseback rides, river trips and campouts. © 2013 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department PWD LF P4501-152Q (11/13) 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.