But the Basin is special and offers an environment unlike almost anything else in Texas. Besides the Basin, you can probably only find this type of environment in selected areas of the Davis Mountains and Guadalupe Mountains.
To reach the Basin, turn south off the main park road just 3 miles west of Panther Junction, the headquarters for Big Bend National Park. At first, the road is like other park roads, but you soon notice that you are climbing steadily. Lower peaks begin to close on both sides of the road, and after a few miles, real trees begin to appear. There are 2 or 3 places where you can stop for photo opportunities along this route.
|There aren't many places in Texas where you will see a sign like this. This is the approach road to the Basin. Notice there are no trees near the road.|
|Casa Grande looming ahead. Note tree growth along roadside. The farther up we go, the more numerous and taller the trees. Compare this picture to the previous one. This one is just a mile or so farther along than the previous one.|
- Emory Peak -- 7,825 feet
- Toll Mountain -- 7,415 feet
- Casa Grande -- 7,325 feet
- Ward Mountain -- 6,890 feet
|Emory Peak at 7825 ft is the tallest point in the Chisos Mountains and Big Bend|
|Donna and the Window|
The second photo op is Casa Grande, an imposing mountain that looms above the Basin. It is the most recognizable of the mountains in the area.
|Casa Grande looms over the Basin at 7325 ft.|
There is also a convenience store offering basic items. The Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant serves up some very good food. It also offers one of the most spectacular views from the dining room of any place in Texas.
|The Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant at the Basin|
|View of the Window from our table in the Chisos Mountains Dining Room|
If you plan to visit the Basin, be forewarned that it is a different environment and climate from the lower elevations of the park. During warmer months, it provides a welcome relief; during cooler months, it can be colder. On our trip, temps in the Basin were about 15 degrees lower than along the main park road. I've been in the Basin before during spring when the lower elevations had 90 degree temps with sunny skies, but the Basin was misty with temps in the lower 50s or upper 40s. Dress appropriately.
|From left to right, motel rooms, convenience store, and ranger station.|