PREPARE FOR YOUR VISIT
I'm going into the interior of the park. How should I prepare?
The interior is remote and rugged; roads are unpaved and services are limited. Consider the following recommendations to make your tirp safe and enjoyable:
- Make sure your vehicle is in good working condition.
- Match your vehicle and driving skills to road types. Road types can be found on the Big Bend Ranch State Park Discovery Map.
- Carry extra fuel or budget your fuel consumption accordingly.
- Carry a GPS satellite communicator or satellite phone. Cell services are limited or nonexistent.
- Bring shoes and clothing appropriate for outside conditions, even if you are driving.
- Carry additional food, water, clothing layers and sun protection.
- Plan your excursions according to the time of the year, terrain conditions and your own abilities.
- Let others know where you’ll be. Remember to check with rangers on park conditions before heading out.
How do I pack out my trash?
Trash receptacles are available at the Sauceda Ranger Station. Please do not leave trash, including leftover food, at campsites or inside composting toilets. No grey or black water dumping is permitted in the park interior. A dump station is located at Barton Warnock Visitor Center and the privately run Loma Paloma RV park near Presidio.
How do you reach the interior of the park?
The road into the park interior located several miles east of Presidio off FM 170. It’s approximately 27 miles from the turn off on 170 to the interior headquarters at Sauceda. The road is unpaved but maintained, the speed limit is 15 mph which makes it approximately a two hour drive to Sauceda. Once you reach Sauceda, prepare for additional time to reach your designated campsite. Be sure to check in at Fort Leaton or Barton Warnock before you head into the interior!
What are good hikes in the interior?
The most popular hikes are Ojita Adentro, Cinco Tiniajas, and the Freson Canyon West Rim Overlook.
Check out the book Half Day Hikes: Big Bend Ranch State Park by Robert and Jenny Fuller. A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book goes directly to Friends of Big Bend Ranch State Park! It’s available on Amazon.
Where can I shower in the park interior?
Getting dirty in the park interior is encouraged! Public showers are available in the park interior at the Sauceda Ranger Station. Showers are accessible 24/7.
Where can I get ice?
Free ice is available outside the Sauceda Ranger Station. During peak visitation, ice may become scarce. In lieu of selling ice, the park has a donation box on the counter inside the Sauceda Ranger Station.
Are there toilets? How do we dispose of human waste?
Public restrooms are available 42/7 at the Sauceda Ranger Station. Additionally, there are eight composting toilets dispersed throughout the park interior. If you are camping at a site without a composting toilet, you are required to have a self-contained toilet system in order to occupy a site. Park staff may verify your toilet system or ask that you purchase one from a visitor center prior to checking in. Burying human waste at campsites is an offense subject to enforcement. Used and properly sealed Waste Alleviating Gel bags may be disposed of in the trash receptacles at the Sauceda Ranger Station.
What are the essentials to use the 4x4 accessible trails in the park?
If you plan to venture off the main park road to Sauceda in the park interior, the park recommends the following:
10 ply all terrain tires (6 ply minimum)
At least one full size spare, air compressor, and tire plug kit.
A good offroad jack suitable for your vehicle
Shovel, traction boards, tools, and recovery gear for desert environments
Knowledge to navigate high clearance obstacles and use your gear.
Please math your vehicle and driving skills to the road designations on the Big Bend Rand State Park Discovery Map (available at check in). The 4×4 high clearance and unmaintained roads are rough and stranded visitors may be stuck for several hours or days. Stay on marked roads at all times; never drive around obstacles into the desert or create your own roads. Be prepared for overgrown vegetation in areas that may scratch paint finishes.
Is cells service available in the park?
There is spotty service at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center in Lajitas and a bit at Fort Leaton in Presidio but in the park interior and along FM 170 there is limited to no cell services. Keep that in mind as you plan your adventure!