Join a Ranger

Ranger Program
Join a ranger and learn the stories of Big Bend!
 

Guided Ranger Programs

Big Bend interpretive rangers provide a variety of fun, informative, and free ranger-guided activities. Join us for a guided hike, patio talk, or engaging evening program and discover the many "stories behind the scenery" of YOUR national park.
 

December 5 - 14, 2019

Thursday, December 5

9:30 AM Program – “Lions Snakes, and Bears… Oh My!” Do you find yourself questioning going on a hike because of the creatures that could be on the trail? Begin facing some of your fears by joining Ranger J. Deger for a discussion about some of Big Bend National Park’s most feared and often misunderstood creatures. Meet on the patio outside the Chisos Mountains Lodge. Wheelchair accessible. 30 minutes.

Friday, December 6
9:30 AM Program – “Desert River: The Story of the Rio Grande” The Rio Grande courses through the parched landscape of the American Southwest and defines our international border with Mexico. The river brings life to what its waters touch, and for much of its journey through Big Bend, it is a federally designated Wild and Scenic River. Join Ranger J. Duke for a discussion of the Rio Grande at the historic Barker House, .2 miles past the Boquillas Port of Entry on Boquillas Canyon road. 45 minutes.

7:00 PM Evening Program – “Beyond the Scenery: Treasures of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive” The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive threads through some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. But there’s more than just scenery. Join Ranger C. Hoyt to learn more about the hiking trails along the scenic drive and what “treasures” there are to discover. Meet at the Chisos Basin Amphitheater. Bring a flashlight. Wheelchair accessible. 1 hour.

Saturday, December 7
7:00 PM Evening Program – “A Park Ranger’s Guide to the Galaxy” Join Ranger J. Swab and a team of volunteers to view the wonders of Big Bend’s dark night skies. We’ll begin with an indoor orientation to the universe as the sun goes down, followed by outdoor telescope viewing. Indoor program will begin at 7:00 PM followed by outdoor activities. Park in the Panther Junction Visitor Center parking lot and follow the signs to the program. Bring a flashlight and jacket. Wheelchair accessible. 2 hours.

Sunday, December 8
9:30 AM Guided Walk – “Life at the Windmill” The desert may seem to be an impossible place to live but a significant number of living things thrive in this extreme environment. Join Ranger B. Smith for an hour of discovery and exploration into the secret, and not so secret, stories of life at the windmill. Meet at Dugout Wells, six miles southeast of Panther Junction Visitor Center. Bring water and a hat. ¼ mile. 1 hour.

7:00 PM Evening Program – “Big Bend’s Top 10” What makes Big Bend special or unique among national parks? What fascinating plants, animals, and fossils can be found nowhere else? Join Ranger J. Jurado for a look at the top ten things Big Bend can boast and a look into its national significance. Meet at the Chisos Basin Amphitheater. Wheelchair accessible. Bring a flashlight. 1 hour.

Monday, December 9
9:30 AM Guided Walk – “Sun, Wind, and Never Enough Rain: Desert Survival for Plants” Over 1200 species of plants grow in Big Bend National Park – an unbelievably high number considering the harsh desert environment. Join Ranger C. Hoyt for a look at the ingenious ways plants have adapted to survive – and even thrive – in the intense sun, moisture-sucking winds, and paltry rainfall. Meet at Dugout Wells, six miles southeast of Panther Junction Visitor Center. Bring water and a hat. 1/2 mile. 1 hour.

7:00 PM Evening Program – “The Rio Grande” Some of the most interesting and dramatic scenery in Big Bend National Park is visible only from canoe or raft floating along the Rio Grande on the park’s southern border. Join Ranger J. Duke for a photographic story that showcases scenic canyons, exciting rapids, and areas of the park that many never visit. Meet at the Chisos Basin Amphitheater. Bring a flashlight. Wheelchair accessible. 1 hour.

Tuesday, December 10
9:30 AM Guided Walk – “ In Search of Wings” Whether you’re new to birding or are working on your life list, Big Bend is a special “must see” destination, offering one species that cannot be found anywhere else in the United States. Join Ranger C. Negele on a walk in search of some of Big Bend’s winged beauties and find out why this park is so attractive to birds. Meet at the Daniels’ Ranch Picnic Area, located at the west end of Rio Grande Village. Bring binoculars if you have them, water, and sunscreen. ½ mile. 1 hour.

7:00 PM Evening Program – “Before There Was a Park…History of the Big Bend Region” Ranchers, farmers, miners, traders, cavalrymen, and even bandits thrived in the Big Bend region long before the national park was established. Join Ranger D. Dosedel for a discussion on the rugged men and women who called this remote region “home” long before the creation of Big Bend National Park in 1944. Meet at the Chisos Basin Amphitheater. Bring a flashlight. Wheelchair accessible. 1 hour.

Wednesday, December 11
9:30 AM Guided Walk – “A Walk Through Time” The dramatic landscapes and vistas of Big Bend National Park are the result of powerful natural forces working through immense periods of time. Join Ranger J. Duke for a short walk to discuss these forces, and how they have shaped the modern Big Bend region. Meet at the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, located near Campsite 18 in the campground. Bring water and a hat. 1 mile. 1 hour.

Thursday, December 12
9:30 AM Guided Walk – “Life at the Windmill” The desert may seem to be an impossible place to live but a significant number of living things thrive in this extreme environment. Join Ranger B. Smith for an hour of discovery and exploration into the secret, and not so secret, stories of life at the windmill. Meet at Dugout Wells, six miles southeast of Panther Junction Visitor Center. Bring water and a hat. ¼ mile. 1 hour.

6:30 PM Full Moon Program – “Shedding Light on the Moon” While a bright moon may not help us see the stars, gazing up at its massive craters can be just as mesmerizing. Join Ranger J. Deger for a short walk and discussion on how the study of our celestial neighbor can shed light on a range of subjects here on Earth ranging from the extinction of the dinosaurs to the sheer willpower of the human race. Meet at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, 8 miles north of Panther Junction Visitor Center. Bring a flashlight and a jacket. ¼ mile. 1 hour.

Friday, December 13
9:30 AM Program – “Rocks and Bones” Ever wonder about the fossils in Big Bend National Park? Explore geologic layers and life forms from the time of the dinosaurs up to the present and come away thinking about the future. Join Ranger J. Swab at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, 8 miles north of Panther Junction. Wheelchair accessible. 45 minutes.

7:00 PM Evening Program – “Beyond the Scenery: Treasures of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive” The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive threads through some of the most spectacular scenery in the park. But there’s more than just scenery. Join Ranger C. Hoyt to learn more about the hiking trails along the scenic drive and what “treasures” there are to discover. Meet at the Chisos Basin Amphitheater. Bring a flashlight. Wheelchair accessible. 1 hour.

Saturday, December 14
3:00 PM SPECIAL EVENT - "Grand Opening Celebration for Magdalena House Exhibits" After years of planning and design work, we are proud to celebrate new exhibits at the Magdalena House! Join members of the park's management team as well as descendants of Magdalena Silvas for a brief ceremony and light refreshments. Meet at the Castolon Historic District. 45 minutes, plus time to explore the new exhibit.

7:00 PM Evening Program – “A Park Ranger’s Guide to the Galaxy” Join Ranger T. Coe and a team of park staff and volunteers to view the wonders of Big Bend’s dark night skies. We’ll begin with a tour of the night sky followed by telescope viewing and an astrophotography demonstration. Park at the Panther Junction Visitor Center parking lot and follow the signs to the back of the building. Bring a flashlight, jacket, and lawn chair. An indoor astronomy program will be held in the Panther Junction Community Room in the event of inclement weather. Wheelchair accessible. 2 hours.

Last updated: December 5, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129

Phone:

(432) 477-2251

Contact Us