The Back Roads of Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Ranch State Park is located in Brewster & Presidio Counties near Lajitas, Texas on the northernmost parts of the Chihuahuan desert. The park covers 300,000 acres and includes 20 miles along the Rio Grande border between the U.S. and Mexico. Elevations range from roughly 2,350 feet along the river to over 5,000 feet at Oso Mountain and Fresno Peak. The climate is what you might expect from the high desert with warm springs, very (VERY) hot summers, almost no winter and extremely low annual rainfall.

From the eastern park entrance to the headquarters at Saucedo, you drive 27 miles of the toughest backcountry dirt roads you’re likely find anywhere in the U.S. In fact, much of Big Bend Ranch State Park can’t be explored without a backcountry permit and the appropriate vehicle and survival gear. That means a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle with a full-size spare tire and appropriate jack. This is no place for a Honda Civic on a spring afternoon!

Back Roads of Big Bend Ranch

The Best Road in Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/14 for 1/200th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Luckily, my Subaru Forester performed like a champ and was able to navigate the roughest and rockiest sections of the road with no trouble at all. Its all-wheel drive and high-torque engine provided more than enough horsepower to pull us up the steepest inclines and all we had to do was drive around the worst ruts and sharp rocks. The going was mighty slow but we made it there and back without a hitch.

We were prepared for the worst however and brought along a full-size spare and high-clearance jack just in case. We also carried enough water to last 2 – 3 days which is about the amount of time the park ranger said it might take for them to find us if we broke down. Like I’ve always said, Texas makes you work for those great landscape shots and is an unforgiving place if you’re not prepared.

I wonder if the folks at Subaru would like to see what my beautiful Forester looked like after a 50 mile drive through Big Bend Ranch? 😉

Desert Forester

Desert Forester – Medera Canyon, Texas
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/14 for 1/25th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

One thought on “The Back Roads of Big Bend Ranch State Park

  1. LOL. The “main” road is enough to make you question your sensibilities in places, isn’t it?! Believe it or not, when I was there in February during the snowpocalypse, someone had driven their rental Ford Focus to Sauceda… and the first time I was there, some kids drove their Mitsubishi eclipse to the HQ!!!

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