NearandFarAZ

Even though the big in Big Bend National Park refers to a giant curve in the Rio Grande, it could just as easily refer to the park itself (bigger than the state of Rhode Island), the views (immense and sweeping), or the river (definitely grande!).

Big Bend National Park was the main reason for my recent Texas road trip, but the other park that I added along the way – Guadalupe Mountains National Park – turned out to be wonderful too in its own way.

Big Bend had been on a my travel radar for a while – ever since I watched the 2014 Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke movie Boyhood. For some reason, the movie scene of a sunset hike along the Rio Grande stuck with me through the years. It turns out the scene was actually shot at the nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park, not the national park, but the effect was the same. I just had to visit the area.

Early in the summer of 2021, I finally began planning a trip to Big Bend. Since I was going to be in West Texas, I decided to check out the state’s other big national park, Guadalupe Mountains, as well.

Before I knew it, I had the makings of an epic national park road trip. From my base in the west-Texas city of El Paso, I headed first to Guadalupe, then to Big Bend. (I also ended up adding New Mexico’s lovely White Sands National Park to the trip, but that’s the topic of another story!)

Here’s how my 2-parks-in-4-days road trip went:

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