I’ve just returned from a trip to Big Bend National Park, and I can still feel the pure, fresh mountain air in my lungs! I can also feel the sore, tired muscles in my legs from all of the hiking I did…but that’s a small price to pay, considering how refreshed and rejuvenated I feel!
Big Bend National Park is really three parks in one: you’ll find mountain, desert, and river environments which are home to a wide variety of plants and wildlife, historic buildings, artifacts, fossils, and some of the most stunning scenery you’ll ever see!
Today I am going to focus on the heart of Big Bend National Park, the Chisos Mountains, home to Emory Peak, the highest peak in the park. With a reputation like that, of course I was going to hike up to the summit! I made it, and let me just say the experience was not only an adrenaline rush-the trail can be a bit challenging at times, especially at the top when you have to scramble up a rock face to reach the summit-but also a peaceful experience for me as I marveled at the beauty all around me. I loved seeing the changes in the terrain and smelling the different scents in the air as I proceeded up the trail. Seeing a black bear scampering into the woods, and hearing what I’m pretty sure was a mountain lion wasn’t too shabby, either! And then there’s that awe-inspiring view at the top where you can see hundreds of miles in all directions. Incredible!
I also hiked the Lost Mine Trail, and since this was my third hike in 2 days, I admit my legs were starting to complain a bit as I proceeded up. But once I crested the top, and was greeted by a pair of soaring eagles, it was worth it!
If you are looking for a less taxing way to experience the Chisos, then I would suggest the Window View Trail, a short hiking trail (wheelchair accessible) with benches and lookout points along the way. Besides being introduced to some of the flora and fauna of the mountain, you’ll also get to see an amazing view through The Window, a V-shaped gap in the mountains and a classic Big Bend landmark.
Before tackling the mountain, I suggest you pay a visit to the Panther Junction Visitor Center. The Center features informative exhibits, a book store, maps and brochures, and a helpful staff who will help you plan your adventure. You will also be able to get up-to-date information on wildlife sightings, road conditions, restrictions, and pick up any permits you may need.
Exploring the Chisos Mountains is just one of the many wonderful things to do in Big Bend National Park, a Texas treasure y’all must experience.