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Title: Big Bend National Park - Land of Dramatic Contrasts and Scenic Grandeur
Author: Scott, W. Ray
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                                Big Bend
                             National Park
                                Land of
                           Dramatic Contrasts
                                  and
                            Scenic Grandeur


                         Story and Photography
                                   by
                              W. RAY SCOTT

                              Published by
                    NATIONAL PARK CONCESSIONS, INC.

          Copyrighted 1950 by National Park Concessions, Inc.

                         _National Parks_

  ACADIA                                                   MAINE
  BIG BEND                                                 TEXAS
  BRYCE CANYON                                              UTAH
  CARLSBAD CAVERNS                                    NEW MEXICO
  EVERGLADES                                             FLORIDA
  GLACIER                                                MONTANA
  GRAND CANYON                                           ARIZONA
  GRAND TETON                                            WYOMING
  GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS               NORTH CAROLINA & TENNESSEE
  HAWAII                                                  HAWAII
  HOT SPRINGS                                           ARKANSAS
  ISLE ROYALE                                           MICHIGAN
  KINGS CANYON                                        CALIFORNIA
  LASSEN VOLCANIC                                     CALIFORNIA
  MAMMOTH CAVE                                          KENTUCKY
  MESA VERDE                                            COLORADO
  MOUNT McKINLEY                                          ALASKA
  MOUNT RAINIER                                       WASHINGTON
  OLYMPIC                                             WASHINGTON
  PLATT                                                 OKLAHOMA
  ROCKY MOUNTAIN                                        COLORADO
  SEQUOIA                                             CALIFORNIA
  SHENANDOAH                                            VIRGINIA
  VIRGIN ISLANDS                                  VIRGIN ISLANDS
  WIND CAVE                                         SOUTH DAKOTA
  YELLOWSTONE                              WYOMING-MONTANA-IDAHO
  YOSEMITE                                            CALIFORNIA
  ZION                                                      UTAH

    [Illustration: Decorated capital]

Southwestern Texas, along the Big Bend of the Rio Grande, one of the
last scenic frontiers of America is located in a remote and unspoiled
setting. Vast stretches of plains and range land, interspersed with
numerous outcroppings of buttresses and ridges, end abruptly against a
mass of mountains near the Mexican border. Etched and carved by the
master hand of “Erosion” giant arroyos and imposing gorges are spread
through the area in wild abandon. Towering, jagged peaks of the Chisos
Mountains merge with the desert, plains and valleys in Big Bend National
Park to create a kaleidoscopic pattern of dramatic contrasts and
striking grandeur.

The northern approach to Big Bend is through Marathon. Leaving U. S.
Highway 90 from this point, the Park boundary at Persimmon Gap is about
forty miles over State Road 51. The Big Bend area is about 330 miles
west of San Antonio and 220 miles southeast of El Paso. Alpine, the
western gateway to Big Bend is 118 miles from the Basin of the Chisos
Mountains, in the center of the Park.

Embraced in the gigantic curve of the Rio Grande, the Park lies just
across the river from Old Mexico, where many geological features have a
profound influence on the scenic aspects of this area. On the east,
majestically rising above the Boquillas Canyon, the Sierra del Carmen
Range provides a picturesque backdrop for the mesquite and cactus
covered plains. Two other canyons complete the international features on
the south and west. At the southernmost boundary of the Park, and almost
inaccessible, is the rugged Mariscal Canyon, where the Rio Grande has
carved its tortuous channel through more than seven miles of limestone
rock. Precipitous walls of this abyss are almost sixteen hundred and
fifty feet in height. The most imposing and the most easily accessible
of the three canyons is the Santa Elena, along the western boundary of
Big Bend.

    [Illustration: SANTA ELENA CANYON—The majestic grandeur of the Big
    Bend area is emphasized by the towering walls of the Santa Elena
    Canyon. Here, where the Rio Grande emerges from the winding gorge,
    Mexico appears at the left, the United States on the right.]

Here, a deep gash in the mesa de Anguila and Sierra Ponce marks the
course of the river for eighteen miles. Through millions of years, the
silt and gravel laden waters have continued their endless task of
grinding away the limestone bit by bit until now the walls of the canyon
rise perpendicularly more than fifteen hundred feet above the waters of
the river.

    [Illustration: BOQUILLAS, MEXICO AND SIERRA DEL CARMEN RANGE—The
    Village of Boquillas is located in a picturesque setting along the
    Rio Grande and at the base of the Sierra del Carmen Range.]

    [Illustration: SIERRA DEL CARMEN RANGE—One of the outstanding scenic
    features of the eastern section of Big Bend National Park is
    Mexico’s picturesque Sierra del Carmen Range, which exceeds 8,000
    feet in elevation.]

    [Illustration: SPIRES AND PINNACLES IN THE GRAPEVINE HILLS—Erosion,
    like a master sculptor, has carved many weird and grotesque forms
    throughout the Big Bend area.]

The geological story of Big Bend is vividly revealed in the rock strata,
the spires, buttresses, erosive remnants, arroyos and canyons. The
entire Big Bend area was submerged by an ocean millions of years ago.
Sediments of sand, mud and lime deposited on the floor of the sea later
hardened into rock. Common to all oceans, various types of aquatic life
abounded in these waters, many of which were fossilized in the forming
of the rock. Igneous action within the earth’s interior caused an
uplifting of the surface and receding of the ocean waters. It was during
this period that giant trees grew and later became petrified. (Evidence
may be noted on the Tornillo Flats.) Swamp and shoreline vegetation
provided food for the dinosaurs during this period. As the igneous
action increased, molten rock was deposited in some sections and
mountains were formed along the lines of greatest pressure. This newly
formed rock was soft and highly susceptible to the processes of erosion,
which gradually broke down the softer portions of the mountains, making
deposits in the valleys and lowlands.

    [Illustration: ROCK FORMATIONS IN THE GRAPEVINE HILLS—Fantastic
    shapes have been created by erosive action in the Big Bend National
    Park. Here, the massive boulders form a frame for the mountains in
    the distance.]

Evidence of the tremendous force of erosion is very pronounced
throughout the Big Bend National Park. Here nature has carved a cross
section out of the earth leaving the rocks of various geological eras
etched in bold relief. The Big Bend country reveals to the novice a
greater understanding of the geological evolution through which the
earth has passed. Scientists, who have searched the arroyos, buttresses
and canyons, have obtained vital information and substantiating facts
which have contributed to the knowledge and advancement of the science
of geology.

Climatic conditions throughout the Big Bend region are mild and arid.
Here again, in this land of contrasts, it is possible to experience a
variation of temperatures and weather conditions. During the hottest
part of the summer the high altitudes of the Chisos Mountains remain
moderate and cool, while the temperatures are much higher along the
lower plains, the desert and river valleys. The annual rainfall is
light, varying from 8 to 20 inches. Although there is some snow and
freezing weather in the mountains during the winter months, extreme
temperatures normally are of short duration. In other sections of the
Park the temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Throughout the winter
the temperatures are mild along the Rio Grande.

    [Illustration: ARROYO—Arroyos dip below the plains in appalling
    vistas of sand and desert wasteland revealing the continuous
    processes of erosion. The foothills of the Chisos Mountains are in
    the distance.]

Outstanding in natural phenomena the scenic features of Big Bend
National Park comprise a variety of spectacular attractions. In addition
to the canyons of the Rio Grande, numerous colorful arroyos dip below
the plains in appalling vistas of sand, rock and scrub vegetation of the
desert. Buttresses push their towering masses into the azure sky,
revealing a graphic account of endless battles with the elements. The
uncovered strata opens the book of geologic history. High in the Chisos
Mountains, majestically reigning over the Basin, Casa Grande, an erosive
remnant of rhyolite, rises 7,300 feet above sea level. This massive
monolith is a conspicuous landmark, photogenic in its moods of shifting
lights and shadows. Climaxing the mountain scenery are the outstanding
vistas that unfold from the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains. From this
lofty plateau, more than 7,000 feet above sea level and a mile above the
sprawling valley of the Rio Grande, the extensive awe-inspiring view
reaches far into Old Mexico. To the east, blue and purple in the
distance, ranges of the Sierra del Carmen and Sierra Fronterisa pose in
their grandeur. More than a hundred miles to the south the distant
Sierra Madres form the horizon line in Mexico and the Mesa de Anguila
forms a sharp outline to the west. Dropping sheer from the South Rim,
precipitous cliffs slope into the Lower Chisos, more than 1,000 feet
below the rim.

    [Illustration: TULE MOUNTAIN—Erosion has carved innumerable spires
    and buttresses out of Big Bend’s igneous rock.]

    [Illustration: WEST FACE OF THE SOUTH RIM—Dynamic and spectacular,
    the view from the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains reaches across
    the Rio Grande and far into Old Mexico.]

    [Illustration: THE SOUTH RIM OF THE CHISOS MOUNTAINS—Looking west
    along the face of the South Rim where perpendicular cliffs drop more
    than 1,000 feet to the lower Chisos. The Rio Grande valley is in the
    middle distance.]

    [Illustration: SOUTH RIM VISTA—One of the most spectacular views in
    Big Bend National Park is the amazing expanse that unfolds from the
    South Rim of the Chisos Mountains. In the middle distance is the Rio
    Grande—and Mexico beyond.]

Among the lesser peaks of the Chisos Mountains, many of the names are
closely related to resemblance or legendary origin. Crown Mountain,
Pummel Peak and Mule Ear Peaks are formed in the image of their
namesakes. Legends of a lost silver mine center around Lost Mine Peak,
supposed to be the scene of mining operations by the early Spanish
explorers. Historical episodes of the Spanish Conquistadors, legendary
stories of the Apache Indians and the drama of bandits, rustlers and
Texas rangers of the Wild West, have all made a definite contribution
toward the fascination of the Big Bend country.

    [Illustration: PUMMEL PEAK—From the plains, Pummel Peak in the
    Chisos Mountains, rises to form the replica of a massive saddle.]

    [Illustration: ANTELOPE—The natural habitat of the antelope is along
    the grassy slopes of Big Bend’s foothills, while mule deer roam the
    plains and the flag tail deer live in the higher elevations of the
    mountains.]

The Chisos Mountains have been classed as a biological island due to
their isolation from other mountain groups or ranges. While the Chisos
are erroneously considered as the southern extremity of the Rocky
Mountains they are widely separated by a vast expanse of desert and
plains. This factor has influenced the types of wildlife that are
prevalent in this area and many species are more closely related to the
Sierra Madres in Mexico than to the environs of the Rockies. The
flagtail deer, mountain lion and black bear are found at the higher
elevations in the Chisos Mountains, while mule deer, antelope and
javalina frequent the foothills and plains. Due to excessive hunting
before Big Bend was established as a National Park, antelope and big
horn sheep had completely disappeared from the area. Antelope have been
restocked in recent years and are gradually on the increase. Along the
Rio Grande beaver and badger comprise the principal types of wildlife.
Many rare species of birds found in Big Bend include the Colima warbler,
aplomade falcon, Inca dove, white-necked raven and golden eagle. More
common types are the orioles, tanagers, cardinals, hummingbirds,
thrashers and wrens.

    [Illustration: THE GOLDEN EAGLE—Rocky spires and crags in the high
    elevations of the Chisos Mountains provide an ideal setting for the
    Golden Eagle.]

Vegetation in Big Bend National Park has been influenced by climatic
conditions as well as the various elevations above sea level. These
factors, contributing to species and types of plant communities, have
provided for four separate groups—desert, foothills, mountains and river
valley types. Many of the desert plants are typical of the vegetation of
the desert and plains throughout the southwest. Some of the more common
varieties include mesquite, petaya (or strawberry cactus), sotol, yucca,
lechiguilla, prickly pear and cholla cactus. In the foothills and along
the mountain slopes, pinion and juniper trees as well as maguey and
lesser plants, comprise the principal vegetation. Ponderosa pine and
Douglas fir are the dominant types of forest trees found in the ravines
and canyons of the higher mountains. Near the South Rim trees are sparse
and many are dwarfed and twisted as a result of the continuous battle
for survival. The trees and plants along the Rio Grande reflect the
influence of moisture—cottonwoods, willows and cane reeds being common
to this area.

    [Illustration: BIG BEND VEGETATION—Typical vegetation of the Big
    Bend area includes ocotillo, yucca, cactus, and mesquite.]

The early history of the Big Bend country is linked with Indian legends
and stories of the Spanish Conquistadors. In 1530 Cabeza de Vaca
traveled through Big Bend during his expedition and exploration of the
southwest. In his report on the area near the Rio Grande he mentioned
the beans and melons that grew along the river valleys.

    [Illustration: YUCCA OR SPANISH DAGGER—The yucca grows throughout
    the lower elevations of Big Bend National Park. During the spring
    blossoming season, the yucca exhibits a rare floral display in
    Dagger Flats.]

    [Illustration: MAGUEY OR CENTURY PLANT—The golden yellow blossoms of
    the Century Plant make their appearance during late spring and early
    summer. This is one of the typical plants of the Big Bend area.]

    [Illustration: LOST MINE PEAK—As the road to the Basin winds up
    through Green Gulch, colorful peaks rise majestically on all sides.
    The summit of Lost Mine Peak, which is 7,000 feet in elevation, is
    reached by a trail from the Basin.]

For many years Indians of the Apache and Comanche tribes lived and
traveled through the Big Bend. They sought the seclusion and protection
of the Chisos Mountains after raids in the United States and Mexico. The
fighting Comanches of the Great Plains traveled through what is now a
part of the National Park, enroute to Mexico where they raided and
pillaged the ranches. The park entrance road now follows closely the
route of the historic “Comanche Trail” through Big Bend.

    [Illustration: EMORY PEAK—With an elevation of 7,835 feet above sea
    level, Emory Peak is the highest mountain in Big Bend National Park.
    One of the dominating features of the Basin, Emory Peak was named
    for Major Emory.]

    [Illustration: THE WINDOW—From the Basin of the Chisos Mountains,
    the “Window” provides the only vista of the lower plains. Unique and
    colorful rock formations may be observed along the trail to the
    “Window.”]

    [Illustration: SANTA ELENA CANYON—The Rio Grande has carved its
    channel for eighteen miles through the Mesa de Anguila and Sierra
    Ponce. Here at the river’s exit, the walls of the canyon rise 1,500
    feet above the Rio Grande.]

Legendary stories of the Apache Indians and of lost silver mines are
prevalent in the Big Bend region. A popular legend of Spanish and
Mexican origin is related to Lost Mine Peak. More than one hundred years
ago, when Texas was a part of Mexico, a prison was located at San
Vincente, on the south side of the Rio Grande. On many occasions the
prisoners were assigned to work in a mine located in the Chisos
Mountains. None of the prisoners ever returned to San Vincente as those
persons in command did not intend to divulge the location of the mine.
To this day Mexicans like to relate that on Easter Sunday morning, if a
person will stand in the doorway of the San Vicente Mission and wait for
the sun to rise, the first rays of the sun will strike a cave in the
side of Lost Mine Peak, indicating the location of the mine. Many
investigations and diligent searches for the mine have been
unsuccessful, and Lost Mine Peak retains the secret of this legend in
mute repose. Another phase of the lost mine story is that the miners
were about to be attacked by a hostile band of Indians and blasted the
opening of the mine, which was covered by an avalanche of igneous rock.
The group of miners were pursued and killed by the Indians, carrying
with them the secret of the mine’s location.

Following the early explorations of Cabeza de Vaca, the history of the
Big Bend region is linked with Spanish Missionaries and the settlers and
ranchers who began to push westward in the 1800’s. The Big Bend area was
surveyed by Major W. H. Emory of the International Boundary Survey
Commission of the United States and Mexico in 1852. Emory Peak, with an
elevation of 7,835 feet, the highest in the Park, was named for Major
Emory.

A later episode of historical significance is associated with the
expedition of Lt. Echols in 1859-1860. Lt. Echols was sent from Fort
Stockton to locate a site for an Army post in the Big Bend area, near
the Comanche War Trail. During this expedition, in which camels were
used to test their value in the desert southwest, Lt. Echols traveled
along the Comanche Trail through an extensive section of the Park. In
his report, which was published in Messages and Documents, Lt. Echols
described his visit to the Santa Elena Canyon. He selected a site for a
post near Castolon and reported favorably on the use of camels in the
southwest.

After the Civil War settlers moved farther into the southwest and
ranching became the principal industry throughout western Texas. The
Southern Pacific Railroad, in keeping apace with this western movement,
reached the present site of Alpine in 1882. Alpine was settled in 1883
and Marathon in 1886.

    [Illustration: GREEN GULCH—Visitors entering the basin, follow the
    road up Green Gulch. Rock outcroppings include Casa Grande of upper
    left and erosive spires of Pulliam Mountain on the upper right.]

Following this period, southwestern Texas passed through an era of
cattle rustling, bandits and outlaws, with much of the activity
centering around the Big Bend country. Texas rangers wrote vivid pages
in this phase of Texas history, which was truly the “Wild West.” Graphic
accounts of the daring and bravery which these men portrayed in
establishing law and order has been dramatized in hundreds of stories
and motion pictures.

The epic events of the “Old West” have contributed extensively to the
popularity of the western cowboy, who might well be placed in the Hall
of Fame with other American immortals.

    [Illustration: THE CHISOS MOUNTAINS—At a distance of ten miles
    across the plains, the Chisos Mountains form a bold outline against
    the sky. This mountain group reaches an elevation of 7,835 feet
    above sea level.]

The story of Big Bend’s development into a National Park reflects the
interest and enthusiasm of the people of Texas. It was through the
diligent effort and unselfish action of these people that this new Park
has been set aside by the Congress of the United States for the
preservation of its many natural features and the enjoyment of the
people.

In 1933, through legislative action by the state of Texas, parts of the
Big Bend area became Texas Canyons State Park. Later the same year
another bill was passed which created Big Bend State Park.

Congressman R. E. Thomason in 1934 introduced a bill to establish a
National Park in the Big Bend country. In 1935 Senator Morris Sheppard
suggested in a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the
establishment of an International Park along the Texas-Mexican border. A
copy of this letter was sent to the Secretary of the Interior for study
and a report which was favorable to the International Park idea. The
establishment of Big Bend National Park was authorized by Act of
Congress June 20, 1935.

    [Illustration: SPIRES OF PULLIAM MOUNTAIN—Spires and rock formations
    jut skyward, revealing unique patterns of light and shadows. Pulliam
    Mountain is one of the dominant features of the Basin.]

    [Illustration: THE BASIN FROM LOST MINE PEAK—A magnificent panorama
    of mountains and plains unfolds from Lost Mine Peak. At the upper
    left is Casa Grande and Bailey Mountain is at the upper-right
    center.]

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram announced in July, 1937 a campaign to raise
$1,000,000 by public subscription to purchase lands for the proposed Big
Bend National Park. The next year, in May, 1938, Governor James V.
Allred appointed an executive committee to work out plans for collecting
$1,000,000 with which to acquire the lands for the Park. Later that
year, when the Big Bend Park Association was organized, Amon G. Carter,
of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, was named President of the
organization.

The Texas Legislature passed a bill in 1941 which provided for
$1,500,000 to purchase lands for the Big Bend National Park. In
February, 1944, the Governor of Texas, Coke R. Stevenson, gave the Deed
of Cession to Amon G. Carter with instructions to give it to the proper
officials in Washington, D. C. In June, 1944, Amon G. Carter delivered
the Deed of Cession to the President of the United States, and the
Secretary of the Interior accepted the deed to Big Bend lands on June
12, 1944, establishing Big Bend as the 27th National Park.

Today, the Big Bend visitor travels through the Park near the Old
Comanche Trail. South of Persimmon Gap the Park road dips into an
expansive plain, which is traversed by Tornillo Creek and the Tornillo
Flats. Many miles beyond a hazy blue ridge marks the outline of the
Chisos Range.

From the winding road across the flat, the bold profile of the mountains
becomes more pronounced; then the serpentine roadway climbs into Green
Gulch, where towering, craggy peaks rise to imposing heights. Ascending
to an elevation of 6,000 feet at the pass, the road then slopes down
into the Basin, where the Mountain Cottages, Dining Room, Store and
Service Station provide accommodations for Big Bend visitors. The
facilities, which are located at an elevation of 5,400 feet above sea
level, are open throughout the year. Temperatures in the Basin are
pleasingly comfortable during the spring, summer and fall and cold
weather is rarely experienced during the winter. The Basin, completely
surrounded by the rugged peaks of the Chisos Mountains, is in the center
of the natural phenomena of the Park.

Innumerable attractions beckon the Big Bend traveler to new adventures.
The wide expanse of the plains, towering spires and monoliths of the
mountains, erosive arroyos, canyons and valleys of the Rio Grande have
classed Big Bend National Park as a land of rugged beauty, amazing
contrasts and unique natural features. The shifting of the light and
shadows paints a constantly changing picture of this scenic grandeur,
which is accessible by automobile, horseback or hiking along the trails.

    [Illustration: THE CHISOS MOUNTAINS—The plains gradually slope up
    into hills that end against the Chisos Mountains. Just left of
    center is Casa Grande and the profile of Chief Alsate is at the
    upper right.]

Some of the most spectacular features are accessible only by trail
trips, either horseback or on foot. Interesting short trips may be made
to the “Window” or juniper Flat. The trail to the “Window” leads down
into Oak Canyon, where towering cliffs of Vernon Bailey Peak and Ward
Mountains rise like majestic sentinels above the picturesque canyon.
From Juniper Flat, the entire Basin appears like a gigantic
amphitheater, enclosed by mountains of the Chisos range. The Corral is
conveniently located to the guest facilities in the Basin where saddle
horses, under competent guides, are available for either short rides or
for all-day trips to the South Rim of the Chisos Mountains. The South
Rim Trail leads to the higher elevations of the Park. The Rim, itself,
is 7,000 feet above sea level and is the climax of Big Bend’s scenic
panoramas. The trail skirts the South Rim for a mile, then loops back
along the West Rim. From this lofty vantage point the tremendous sweep
of distance is spell-binding in its magnitude.

    [Illustration: GREEN GULCH—Interesting lights and shadows are
    created by the rock outcroppings in Green Gulch. The road to the
    Basin winds through this gap in the mountains.]

Scenic trips to many of the outstanding features of the park may be made
by automobile. One of the most popular points of interest is the Santa
Elena Canyon, about 40 miles from the Basin. The road to the canyon
passes through a variety of terrain, skirting the Chisos Mountains on
the north and west. Barren desert wasteland, colorful arroyos and
buttresses dominate the landscape in this area. Gravel covered plains,
once the bed of an ancient sea, are dotted with cactus and other typical
species of southwest vegetation.

    [Illustration: MOUNTAIN COTTAGES IN THE CHISOS BASIN—The Cottages
    and other accommodations, located at an elevation of 5,400 feet, are
    completely surrounded by towering mountains. Emory Peak, at the
    upper right, is the highest in the park.]

    [Illustration: CHISOS MOUNTAINS COTTAGES AND CASA GRANDE—The
    Mountain Cottages are located high in the Chisos Basin at an
    elevation of 5,400 feet above sea level. Casa Grande, towering more
    than 2,000 feet above the cottages is one of the outstanding
    mountains of the park.]

From a distance of ten miles, the Santa Elena Canyon forms a purple “V”
in the Mesa de Anguila and Sierra Ponce. The approach to the canyon
becomes more striking with each receding mile, until the sheer cliffs of
the yawning gorge rise majestically above the waters of the river. Since
it is possible to drive within a few hundred feet of the canyon, this is
an ideal trip for all-age groups. Picnic lunches are enjoyable on the
sand bars along the Rio Grande or under the shade of the cottonwood
trees near the canyon. This spectacular attraction provides an
interesting all day outing and scenic trip from the Basin.

    [Illustration: THE RIO GRANDE—The Big Bend of the Rio Grande
    provides the Southern boundary of Big Bend National Park. Within the
    park boundary, the river courses through three spectacular canyons:
    Santa Elena, Mariscal and Boquillas.]

    [Illustration: OAK CREEK CANYON—The trail to the “Window” descends
    into this chasm where the towering mountain masses dwarf the figures
    of men.]

    [Illustration: PINNACLES AND CANYONS OF PULLIAM MOUNTAIN—Many unique
    and interesting rock formations have been created by the erosive
    action on Pulliam Mountain.]

    [Illustration: CORRAL—Located in the center of the Chisos Basin, the
    corral depicts a true western atmosphere. Saddle horses are
    available for short rides or all day trips into the mountains.]

Boquillas, located in the eastern section of the park, is also
accessible by automobile. The Rio Grande area retains much of the
frontier atmosphere of Texas and Mexico. Farther east near the Boquillas
Canyon, Mexico’s Sierra del Carmen Range stands bold and magnificent,
one of the most beautiful and inspiring sights of the Park.

    [Illustration: PANORAMA FROM THE SOUTH RIM—Sheer perpendicular
    cliffs drop more than 1,000 feet from the Rim, sloping into the
    foothills of the Lower Chisos. Beyond the Rio Grande, in the middle
    distance, lies the varied terrain of Mexico.]

Numerous evening activities provide fun and entertainment for the Park
visitor. National Park Service Naturalist and Rangers interpret the
natural features and historical background of Big Bend around a campfire
circle or in the ranger station.

    [Illustration: SANTA ELENA CANYON—Perpendicular walls of the Canyon
    rise more than 1500 feet above the Rio Grande. Mexico is on the
    left, the United States on the right.]

Far removed from the conventional world, there is a certain friendliness
of the Big Bend country that depicts an atmosphere of the old frontier.
Devoid of any pretentions, the community high in the Chisos Mountains
greets the traveler with the genuine hospitality of the southwest, where
informality is the keynote to pleasant living.

    [Illustration: From the Lost Mine Peak Trail ridges and valleys
    unfold in a striking panorama of mountain scenery.]

    [Illustration: TRAIL RIDERS AT THE SOUTH RIM—Climaxing the scenery
    along the South Rim Trail is the spectacular vista from the Rim
    itself. In the distance, the Sierra del Carmen range is visible in
    Mexico.]

In Big Bend National Park nature rules supreme. Untamed mountains and
canyons flaunt a challenge to the adventuresome traveler. Undefiled and
unblemished by the annals of time, Big Bend retains its scenic treasures
for those who would prospect on the “Last Frontier.”

    [Illustration: BOQUILLAS RANGER STATION—In the southeastern section
    of Big Bend National Park, the Boquillas Ranger Station is located
    near the Rio Grande. The Chisos Mountains form the horizon line in
    the distance.]

    [Illustration: CASTELLAN PEAK—Colorful strata reveals various phases
    of geology in the eroded remnants throughout the Big Bend area.]

    [Illustration: BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
    TEXAS]

  PARK ENTRANCE
    SANTIAGO MTS
    SIERRA DEL CARMEN
    PERSIMMON GAP
    _TO MARATHON_ 19 MILES
    _TO PARK HEADQUARTERS_ 29 MILES
    ROSILLOS MTS
    DAGGER FLAT
    GRAPEVINE HILLS
  PARK ENTRANCE
    LANTAS
    TERLINGUA
    _TO ALPINE_ 81 MILES
    MAVERICK
    TO CAMPGROUND 13 MILES
    _TO BASIN ROAD_ 19 MILES
  {BASIN ROAD CUTOFF}
    _TO PARK HEADQUARTERS_ 3 MILES
    _TO THE BASIN AREA_  7 MILES
  THE BASIN AREA
    CHISOS MOUNTAINS
    FOOD, LODGING
    CAMPGROUND
  PARK HEADQUARTERS
    _TO BOQUILLAS_ 20 MILES
    PANTHER JUNCTION
  RIO GRANDE RIVER
    MESA DE ANGUILA
    SANTA ELENA CANYON
    CASTOLON
    RIO BRAVO DEL NORTE
    TORNILLO CREEK
    BOQUILLAS
    BOQUILLAS CANYON
    MARISCAL MT
    MARISCAL CANYON
    TALLEY MT
    CHILCOTAL MT
    SAN VICENTE
  {KEY}
    Ranger Station
    Paved Road
    Improved Road
    Park Boundary
  MEXICO
    The International Boundary is at the Rio Grande



                          Transcriber’s Notes


—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by
  _underscores_.





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