Chisos Mountain Basin in Big Bend National Park

Chisos Mountain Basin in Big Bend National Park
The Chisos Basin comprises the heart of the Chisos Mountains, a volcanic uplift entirely contained within Texas' Big Bend National Park. The scenery's dramatic, the Chihuahuan Desert wildlife and vegetation diverse and the recreational opportunities endless.

Geography

The Chisos Basin sits roughly in the center of the national park, which itself lies along the U.S. portion of the Rio Grande's "Big Bend" on the far southwestern tip of Texas.

Geology

The basin was excavated by stream erosion from the volcanic Chisos Mountains. All drainage in the Basin funnels through the Window, a narrow canyon gap topping a 200-foot plunge.

Vegetation

The Basin provides a good jumping-off point for exploring the remarkably diverse plant life of the Chihuahuan Desert that enfolds Big Bend. The Chisos area is home to the drooping juniper, the only place where this mainly Mexican species reaches the U.S.

Wildlife

The Chisos harbors another rare organism, the Carmen Mountains white-tailed deer, a subspecies of whitetail found only here and in the Sierra del Carmen across the Rio Grande in Mexico.

Facilities

The Chisos Basin supports a number of park facilities, including a 60-site campground, lodge, store, visitor center and even an eatery, the Mountain View Restaurant.

Recreation

Explore the network of trails winding from the Basin. Hike to the Window for its dramatic view or trek to the summit of Emory Peak, which, at 7,832 feet, is the highest point in the Chisos Mountains and in the park.

Article Written By Ethan Schowalter-Hay

Ethan Schowalter-Hay is a writer and naturalist living in Oregon. He has written for the "Observer," the Bureau of Land Management and various online publishers. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife ecology and a graduate certificate in geographic information systems from the University of Wisconsin.

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