• 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.

Frequently Asked Questions about park resources and wildlife

Below are commonly asked questions about park resources and wildlife in the Big Bend. Please contact us, use the site index, or look elsewhere on the website if your question is not answered here.

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Didn’t you recently get a new addition to the park?
When do the wildflowers bloom?
Are there many snakes in Big Bend?
Do I have to worry about mountain lions?
Where can I go to see the Colima Warbler?
How deep is the river?

 
Didn’t you recently get a new addition to the park?
The Harte Ranch (North Rosillos) became part of the park in 1989. The Fay Ranch, a 10,000 acre inholding near Persimmon Gap, was purchased in 1994.

Big Bend Ranch State Park, to the west of Big Bend National Park, was purchased by the State of Texas and is now part of the system of state parks. It was opened to the public in January of 1991. The new state park is a little under 250,000 acres. Information is available at the Barton Warnock Environmental Education Center in Lajitas (tel. 432-424-3327) or at Fort Leaton State Historical Park, near Presidio (tel. 432-229-3613).
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When do the wildflowers bloom?
Generally, desert plants bloom in the spring, while plants in the Chisos Mountains bloom in the late summer, during the rainy season. March and April are probably the best time to see the park in bloom, but flowers can be seen almost throughout the year. Every year is different, depending on rainfall levels. Big Bend does not always look like the pictures on postcards. It is very difficult to predict when the best weeks will be.
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Are there many snakes in Big Bend?
Big Bend has 30 species of snakes, only 7 of which are poisonous. They include 4 types of rattlesnakes (Rock, Mojave, Western Diamondback, and Black-Tailed) as well as the Trans-Pecos Copperhead and 2 species of rear-fanged snakes. Most of the snakes that people see here are not poisonous, such as patchnose snakes, garter snakes, and bull snakes. Snakes, like all other animals in the park, are protected. Please do not harass or harm them.
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Do I have to worry about mountain lions?
Lions are most active at night, and few people see them during the daytime. Most sightings occur in the Green Gulch area (the road into the Basin), but sightings can occur anywhere in the park. A lion sighting is a rare event. Report any sightings to the nearest visitor center, and follow the safety rules concerning mountain lions if you should encounter one on a trail.
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Where can I go to see the Colima Warbler?
This bird is often sought after by birdwatchers, as Big Bend is the only place it can be seen in the United States. It is usually in the park from mid-April through August. Since it is only found in high elevations of the Chisos Mountains, plan to hike several hours to look for it. The best places are Boot Canyon, the Colima Trail, Laguna Meadows, and the upper section of the Pinnacles Trail. Sometimes people report Colima Warblers along the Lost Mine Trail, too.
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How deep is the river?
The depth of the Rio Grande is variable with the seasons; highest water is in the summer and early fall, lowest in the winter. It can range from only a couple of feet deep to 20 feet or more when flooding.
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Did You Know?

Johnnie Ward, 1886

Ward Mountain (6,925'/2,111m), which forms the southern boundary of "The Window" is named for Johnnie Ward, a cowboy who worked for the G4 ranch in the Big Bend area in the mid-1880s.