Big Bend Ranch State Park– the Other Side of Nowhere!
While many people are familiar with Big Bend National Park, fewer people are familiar with the Texas State Park that is located near the National Park. Big Bend Ranch State Park is about half the size of the National park and is also about the same size as all the Texas State Parks put together. It takes some patience and time to visit this park as the ranger station and most of the camping and lodging facilities are located 27 miles of rugged, dirt road from the main highway (FM 170) and this is after the 5 hours it takes to get to the entrance if you are driving from Marathon, Texas via the scenic route.
I visited the park with 7 other hikers in January 2015. Due to the time of year, we stayed at the Hacienda House and I would recommend it and the bunk house for small or large groups. And the campgrounds are amazing and very secluded if you like to camp. We had a guided tour by one of the rangers that really helped me understand more about the geology, plant life and history of the area. I highly recommend this if you have the time. It is a great park for novice to experienced hikers and bicyclists; however, select the proper vehicle to take there as many of the trail heads require a 4 wheel drive, high clearance vehicle to access. It is also a great place to check out the stars and the park is working towards it’s International Dark Sky certification.
Trails hiked: Closed Canyon, Fresno Canyon, Puerta Chilicote, Cinco Tinajas, and Ojito Adentro.