The River Road

So the adventure begins….  The highlight of my trip to Big Bend country was going to be a day long trip well off the beaten path – and that’s saying something in Big Bend country when you’re pretty well off the beaten path to begin with!

My goal for the day was to hop onto the river road near Dugout Wells and proceed south and then west to the Mariscal Mine.  Overall, the road is not terribly bad – it’s pretty rough in places, a lot of corrugated road surface, a ton of rocks and miles and miles of cactus that are guaranteed to scratch up your car; that being said, I wouldn’t think of driving anything other than a truck or SUV on the road!

The scenery along the road absolutely can’t be beat if you like mountains and high desert.


the river road


The first signs (and first of very, very few) of human interaction with the environment is a corral near Glen Spring, just past the Black Gap road which is labeled as 4 wheel drive only (and not maintained).

It’s a beautiful place and I spent 20-30 minutes wandering around looking for signs of what might have been there at one time.  There’s a wonderful little canyon just beyond the corral that had water in it and like everywhere else in the park, a helluva view.


'round 'em up


For some reason, I enjoy finding these places where men have attempted to bend the environment to their will – and where the environment is reclaiming its own.  At times like these, I can’ t help but recall African hunter Robert Ruark’s phrase “the hyenas get us all”.


~ by Derrick Birdsall on December 7, 2010.

2 Responses to “The River Road”

  1. I like the way you purposely got as far off on the dirt roads as you could away from human civilization. That said, my favorite of these is the old fence/corral.

    • Thanks David – how I envy your trips with your father when you were a young man….. talk about off the beaten path.

      I’m glad you like the one with the corral – I had to think for a bit before posting that one as I wasn’t sure I liked it enough…. The first one is more or less a snapshot of what the road is like – but the corral one is really growing on me.

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