Prickly pear cactus, Big Bend National Park, Texas
© Tim Fitzharris/Minden Picture
Happy birthday, Big Bend National Park!. Big Bend National Park's birthday
Happy birthday, Big Bend National Park! Since this humongous park was established in Texas in 1944, it has welcomed millions of nature lovers and adventure seekers. The park's southern boundary is marked by the Rio Grande, which separates Texas and Mexico. If you look at a map, it's clear how the area got its name. The river has a drastic change in course, bending from southeastern to a northeastern flow around the park's boundaries.
Big Bend includes many archaeological sites that offer a glimpse of its rich history, from abandoned mines and ghost towns to Indigenous relics from nearly 10,000 years ago. It also offers some of the clearest skies in the US and is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park, making it a popular destination for stargazers. With its huge canyons, desert areas, and forested mountains, it is also a popular destination for adventure sports like hiking, river rafting, and horseback riding.