Big Bend Ranch State Park
Welcome to the Other Side of Nowhere!
Big Bend Ranch State Park offers outdoor recreation for the truly adventurous. This remote park features rugged mountains, steep canyons, amazing views, unparalleled night skies, and solitude in a high desert setting. The park stretches along the Rio Grande in far west Texas, on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Things to Do
Visitors can hike, mountain-bike, backpack, paddle, ride horses or explore by vehicle (the park has two- and four-wheel-drive roads). This is Texas’ biggest state park, so there’s a lot to explore!
The park has 238 miles of multiuse trails (for hiking, biking and horseback riding). Visitors can explore 70 miles of unmaintained dirt roads in high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles. The Rio Grande/Rio Bravo area offers great day-use access. Visitors can float, fish and hike, or drive the scenic Camino del Rio (FM 170). Each February, the park helps host the Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest. Visit our Activities page to learn more.
Campers can choose from vehicle-accessible, backcountry or equestrian sites. All sites (except backcountry) can be reached by vehicle. Some roads require four-wheel-drive or high clearance. Campsites offer solitude and great vistas; all (except backcountry) offer some camp amenities. Lodging is available at the Sauceda Ranch House and Sauceda Bunkhouse.
The park also has a 5,500-foot paved airstrip. If you plan to fly in, read the park’s airstrip and aircraft guidelines (PDF), and be sure to call ahead to to get up-to-date information and let park staff know when you will arrive.
Pick up backpacking, camping and river-use permits at the following places. You can also purchase maps and hunting and fishing licenses, as well as find information about the Big Bend region.
- On the east side, near Lajitas: Barton Warnock Visitor Center
- On the west side, near Presidio: Fort Leaton State Historic Site
- In the park’s interior: Sauceda Ranger Station.
For more information on visiting the park:
- El Solitario Newsletter: Overview and Visitors Guide
- What to do in one day, three days, or one week!
- Policies on Dogs at Big Bend Ranch State Park
- Swimming Safety Tips
Volunteers are always needed at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Visit our Volunteer page and zip code search for “79843”
Park rangers lead tours throughout the year. These include hikes and four-wheel-drive trips to learn about archeology, geology and nature. Rangers also lead mountain-biking and photography tours. Call the park at least seven days before your visit to request a tour.
- For more information, visit our Activities page.
- Check the Events page for upcoming activities.
- Ask about the Junior Ranger Explorer Packs available for free checkout at the park!
Guide Service Providers
Commercial outfitters lead guided tours and rent sports gear. They rent kayaks, canoes and mountain bikes, as well as other camping equipment. Outfitters lead horseback rides, river rafting trips, 4×4 tours, mountain bike tours, camp-outs, nature and birding hikes, and art and photography classes.
Are you uneasy about tackling this rugged park on your own? Do you want to try a new activity, like mountain-biking? An outfitter may be able to help. Visit our Guide Service Providers page for contact information.
On your way in or out, stop for a dip in the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool at Balmorhea State Park.
Near Fort Davis, you can visit Fort Davis National Historic Site or Davis Mountains State Park. Learn about desert plants and animals at theChihuahuan Desert Nature Center. Enjoy a solar viewing or star party at the McDonald Observatory. You can also tour museums and art galleries, and road bike and hike through scenic areas.