Big Bend Conservancy
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We always thought of Big Bend National Park as a place that didn't get the r-e-s-p-e-c-t it deserved. Way down south, in out-of-the-way Texas, it gets only a handful of the visitors that other parks do. And it has room for more people, too: It's bigger than even Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks. We're surprised folks aren't flocking, especially given the treatment National Geographic is giving it.Maybe it's because the park isn't exactly convenient. You'll find it after a five-hour drive from the nearest airport in Midland-Odessa. (It's served by Continental, American Eagle and Southwest.) Once you get driving, make sure to keep that rental car gas tank full. Gas stations don't come easy in West Texas, pardner.What to do once you arrive at Park HQ in Panther Junction? Well, you've got your standard option of hiking around the marked trails. But why stop there? Big Bend is known for its fall Monarch migration, but there are plenty of other types of butterflies around right now. You'll also be able to spot other wildlife and plants from south of the border--things you won't see anywhere else in the States. Floating down the Rio Grande and biking are also on tap. What's that? You're even up for camping in the backcountry? Respek!
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