• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

Air Quality

Nature and Science

Park staff monitor air quality equipment.

NPS/Big Bend National Park

How Far Can You See?
Big Bend National Park—the name inspires varied impressions of the Southwest. One portrait is of majestic mountains towering above rugged badlands. Another is of the ribbon-like Rio Grande charging through sheer-walled canyons. But most commonly, Big Bend evokes images of panoramic vistas panning across endless miles of Chihuahuan Desert as far as the eye can see. As far as the eye can see—perhaps?

On some days of the year Big Bend’s air quality is so good that visitors can actually see the detail of large objects over 100 miles away. Unfortunately, pollution is destroying the very scenic resources many people seek. Generally, park visitors find moderately hazy views on most days, with poor conditions of less than 30 miles visibility 6% of the time.

On a few days of the year Big Bend experiences the worst air quality, in terms of visibility impairment, within any western national park!

Did You Know?

Luna's Jacal, 1930s

There are eight National Register of Historic Places sites or districts in Big Bend National Park. They are Burro Mesa, Castolon Historic District, Hot Springs Historic District, the Mariscal Mining District, the Homer Wilson Ranch, Rancho Estelle, Daniel’s Ranch and Luna’s Jacal. More...