Big Bend is rich with history, and there are many historical sites throughout the park, some of which require hours of driving on dirt roads, which we opted out of. However, several can be accessed from the main roads. I mentioned some of these in the previous posts about camping and hiking: Castolon historical area, Homer Wilson Ranch, and Hot Springs. In addition to these, we enjoyed Sam Nail Ranch, which is a short walk from a pull-off on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The story of this ranch and how they survived in the middle of the desert is pretty amazing.
We also drove a short distance on Old Maverick Road, a wash-boarded dirt road, to see the Terlingua Abajo ruins, which are rich with history. The driveway to the ruins is pretty rough and I’d recommend a high clearance vehicle to reach it.
While we’re on the subject of backcountry dirt roads…there are miles and miles of them in the park, which seem excellent for exploring and sight-seeing. Most of them require 4WD or high-clearance vehicles and take a good chuck of the day to drive. It’s a fun option for a lot of park visitors but something we didn’t do much of, as we were more interested in hiking and were trying to keep some miles off the truck (which was due for service and we were in the middle-of-nowhere) .
One of my favorite things that we did during our time at Big Bend was drive up to Sotol Vista, a pull-off along Ross Maxwell Drive, late in the evening to watch the sun set and see the stars come out. I can’t recommend this enough. Be prepared to stay a while, as the sun sets very slowly, and take a blanket, extra layers, and comfy chairs.
This short post wraps up our Big Bend series. As always, we love hearing from you, so leave a comment or shoot us an e-mail if you have questions, thoughts, or additional recommendations for folks interested in visiting Big Bend. Thanks for reading!