As an avid visitor of national parks, the most striking thing about Big Bend is the sheer magnitude. It's still amazing to me that in one of the park's busiest weeks of the year, we had several points in our quick trip where we were completely alone in a space or on a stretch of road. While some spots definitely had more concentrations of people, it never really felt crowded outside of the Thanksgiving buffet dinner line.
We decided to camp during our stay in the Rio Grande Village Campground. We arrived around 2 p.m. the day before Thanksgiving and had no trouble finding an open spot. The facilities were nice—no complaints. Our campsite was perfectly situated with a view of the mountains across the river, and tucked in the corner with trees blocking the sounds/lights of our neighbors. We especially loved the easy walk up to the lookout right by the campground.
One of the most memorable parts of our Big Bend experience was the unbelievable night sky. We took several long exposure photos to capture the Milky Way, but you could lean right outside the tent to see it throughout the night.
One of my concerns as a new camper was the cold. We don't have cold weather sleeping bags, but by doubling up on wool socks, sleeping in knit hats and layering on a couple extra blankets, we were fine, even though it got pretty cold (19°F).
All in all, I highly recommend Big Bend. You could spend weeks there, but even on a short trip, there's plenty to take away!
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