Big Bend National Park includes several visitors centers offering maps, and, most importantly, informed guides who help enhance visits by suggesting the perfect activities for travelers’ particular comfort levels.
The main center is at the park’s headquarters at Panther Junction, about 26 miles from the north entrance gate (arriving from Marathon) and 25 miles from the western gate. Renovated in 2008, the visitor center offers interpretive exhibits and scores of books, brochures, and maps.
The park’s other visitor centers—Chisos Mountains, Castolon, and Rio Grande Village—are slightly smaller and are typically closed in the summer, but they’re still packed with valuable information and helpful professionals.
A handy way to plan your trip to the Big Bend region is via the Visit Big Bend website (www.visitbigbend.com), offering interactive maps and handy resources for food, lodging, and activities.
Another helpful option is the Texas Mountain Trail Region (in nearby Van Horn, 432/284-0002, www.texasmountaintrail.com, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri.), a subsidiary of the Texas Historical Commission’s heritage tourism initiative.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition