• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

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  • Extreme Water Shortage

    Extreme water shortage throughout park. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons per day, and are encouraged to conserve further when possible. Please consider bringing your own water to the park.

Historic Documents

From Big Bend's past, these documents provide a glimpse into the by-gone days of the park. These historical publications are freely distributed by the National Park Service. All require Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing.


The Big Bend National Park Project, 1940
This document provides an introduction to the possible park area, a discussion of projected park facilities (including a CCC-built lodge in the Chisos Basin and a dude ranch at K-Bar), and photographs and drawings showcasing the geology of the region.
Read it! [5.32mb PDF file]


Official Park Brochure, 1944
Brochure produced for visitors during Big Bend's first year of operations. Provides an overview of natural and cultural history as well as the recommendation that, "those who visit . . . should be prepared to camp, bring their own food, bedding, and tents."
Read it! [1.41mb PDF file]

Cover of 1953 Backcountry Guide

The Backcountry, 1953
Written by Chief Ranger George Sholly and Etta Koch, this document was the park's first attempt to provide guidelines to visitors for backcountry use. Note: many of the rules included in this document have changed dramatically in the fifty years since this was written.
Read it! [1.01mb PDF file]


Lost Mine Trail Guide, 1956
Brochure for the park's oldest self-guiding trail. Includes a telling of the legend of the Lost Mine as well as vintage travel recommendations.
Read it! [1.68mb PDF file]

Image of document

Visitor Information, 1957
Mimeograph page of basic visitor information. Includes descriptions of park facilities and attractions, with a number of differences as compared to the modern experience.
Read it! [2.01mb PDF file]

Image of document

Living in Big Bend, 1958
Mimeographed handout intended for National Park Service employees moving to the Big Bend. Includes descriptions of park facilities existing at the time and explores the difficulties of living at an isolated park. and attractions, with a number of differences as compared to the modern experience.
Read it! [1.72mb PDF file]

Did You Know?

Weathered rocks at the Grapevine Hills

Water erosion created much of the present landscape in Big Bend National Park. The igneous rock exposed in the Grapevine Hills and the Chisos Mountains, lay far underground millions of years ago. Erosion has stripped away the upper layers to reveal today's landscape. More...