Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive: Big Bend National Park Professional Review and Guide
"A 30-mile paved road through the rugged mountain and desert country of Big Bend National Park. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, one of the most scenic roads in Texas, was named after the first superintendent of Big Bend National Park. The drive begins in the western foothills of the Chisos Mountains and winds down to the valley of the Rio Grande, ending at the spectacular gorge of Santa Elena Canyon. Big Bend National Park sprawls across 800,000 acres, an area larger than Rhode Island, in the least populated part of Texas. Because of its remote location, it is not swamped with visitors even though it is one of the premier national parks in the country.
The park and the region were named for the big curve or bend in the Rio Grande. At the south side of the park at Mariscal Canyon, the river makes an abrupt turn northeast. Desert covers the vast majority of the park, but the heights of the rugged Chisos Mountains support a small woodland and hidden springs hide lush oases. The Rio Grande, the dividing line between Mexico and the United States, winds its way across the desert, creating a narrow ribbon of emerald green vegetation."