Travelers can still experience the wild frontier in Big Bend National Park, in the far southwest corner of Texas, where the landscape remains defiantly untamed. Covering a huge swatch of the great Chihuahuan Desert along the mighty Rio Grande, Big Bend features some of the highest peaks in the Lone Star State. The park scenery is majestic, and the well-equipped explorer will find a lifetime of adventure.
My first encounter with Big Bend came 20 years ago. I remember crossing the tawny country south of Interstate 10 unsure what to expect. Edging closer to the distant mountains, where my companions and I would unfurl our bedrolls and sleep under some of the darkest night skies found in the Lower 48, the panorama left us slack-jawed. We could easily grasp why the early Spanish explorers who arrived in this remote desert referred to it as “El Despoblado,” or the unpopulated land.