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Big Bend vs. The Rest

Big Bend National Park sunset over the rocky peaks

Big Bend National Park: an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Established as a US national park in 1944, Big Bend is named after the enormous bend in the Rio Grande that winds through the Chihuahuan Desert. But how does it compare to the US’s other national parks? Throughout this piece, we’ll share Big Bend’s most interesting facts, delve into its history, and ultimately—why you should visit Big Bend national park!

The US is blessed with a wonderful array of incredible national parks. Names that come to mind are Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone, The Great Smoky Mountains, Zion, and who could possibly forget the Grand Canyon National Park?

Before we go any further, each of these parks is unique in its own amazing way and we aren’t telling you not to visit them, in fact, we recommend visiting as many as you can! But we want you to know why Big Bend should be at the top of the list… We love all outdoor spaces but there’s a special place in our hearts for Big Bend. Without any further ado, here’s how and why Big Bend fits into the best parks in the USA.


Big Bend is the only national park in the United States to contain a complete mountain range—the Chisos, and it’s a hikers paradise. Boasting the largest number of roadless public lands in Texas and more than 150 miles of stunning hiking trails, it’s the perfect place for day hikes or a location for some incredible backpacking adventures! Some of the area’s highest peaks include Emory Peak (7,835 feet above sea level), Lost Mine Peak (7,535 feet), Toll Mountain (7,415 feet), and Casa Grande Peak (7,325 feet).

Not only that but it also has some of the best camping places in Texas! For those not big on camping, check out our cozy casitas… they’re perfect for recharging after a day’s hike.

Takeaway: There are trails for beginner to expert hikers and what sets Big Bend apart from the other more popular parks is that there are very few other people here! According to the National Park Service, Big Bend didn’t even see the Top 10 of the most visited US National Parks in 2020! Wide-open spaces, incredible scenic vistas, and not another soul around—pure bliss.


Coming in at just over 800,000 acres, it is the fourteenth largest national park in the United States and is larger than the state of Rhode Island. This equates to a whole lot of room for critters—big and small. Big Bend holds the accolade of being one of the most biodiverse barren places on planet earth as the mountains, the Rio Grande, and the desert blend together beautifully to create an incredibly diverse landscape. According to the National Park Service, Big Bend boasts 11 species of amphibians, 56 species of reptiles, 40 species of fish, 75 species of mammals, more than 450 species of birds, and about 3,600 species of insects—it’s an animal wonderland. It’s also home to 1,200 species of plant and for those keen geologists out there, it has been described as your paradise…so, what are you all waiting for?

Takeaway: Big Bend is unique and there are very few other places like it. It is abundant with wonderful animals, natural history, and scenery here and one fun fact that sets Big Bend apart is that it’s also home to more types of birds, bats, butterflies, ants, and scorpions than any other national park in the United States. Just another reason why Big Bend is up there with the best national parks in America.


If you do decide to visit, there is no shortage of things to do in Big Bend. First thing’s first, get out onto the river. The Rio Grande is spectacular and provides some of the best and most unique views of the park itself. The river snakes its way through deep canyons, towering mountains, and vast desert plains.

Secondly, you can explore the lesser-known corners of the park on an all-terrain vehicle. A guided ATV tour with a local expert allows you to see places that not many others have, on your own quad bike!

And finally, no trip to Big Bend would be complete without seeing a trip to the thermal features! The Rio Grande National Wild and Scenic River, located in the park, features Spring No. 1 (hydrothermal), Spring No. 4 (hydrothermal), and the Hot Springs (hydrothermal). Visitors can take a load off and relax in the hot springs themselves, just keep up to date on the official website for all opening/closure information.

Takeaway: Whether you’re out for a hike, paddling on the awesome Rio Grande, exploring the untouched corners on an ATV, or bathing in the hot springs, Big Bend’s wilderness coupled with its expansive vistas will provide memories that will last forever. One thing’s for sure, you won’t be short of things to do if you come to Big Bend. And don’t forget to bring the kids!

Whether you’re traveling from Houston to Big Bend or from even further afield, we encourage everyone from young to old to come and explore this amazing national park. Read here on how to get to Big Bend and if you’re looking for more expert advice on options in and around Big Bend, then get in contact with us or just send me an email at

– Greg