|With over 200,000 square miles that extends into three U.S. states and two different nations, the Chihuahuan Desert region is the largest desert in North America, and the most lonely.
Larger than California, this arid land is also North America's easternmost desert and its southernmost.
Most of the Chihuahuan Desert lies south of the international border. In the U.S. it extends into parts of New Mexico, Texas and sections of southeastern Arizona.
It is this vastness, perhaps, in concert with it's sparse population density, that makes the region seem so utterly isolated. It's the kind of place where you expect to find nothing - and are rarely disappointed.
Unlike many deserts of the world there is great diversity in the Chihuahuan landscape. Its minimum elevation is above 1,000 feet, but the vast majority of this desert lies at elevations between 3,500 and 5,500 feet. And desert mountains range from slight prominences to soaring highlands, including the Sierra Madre Occidental range and bordered on the east by the Sierra Madre Oriental.
While summer temps soar well above 100-degrees, winters are harsh and extreme as well with over 100 days of below freezing temps recorded each year on average.
In spite of its sparse population, endless miles of desert landscape, and penetrable loneliness, there are both good reasons and great places to visit in this desert zone. RVers and campers especially will find the majesty of the region mesmerizing with its big skies, massive elbow room and varied wildlife.
Here are a few of our favorite picks:
Big Bend Ranch State Park, over 299,008.38 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness, extends along the Rio Grande from southeast of Presidio to near Lajitas in both Brewster and Presidio Counties. Enjoy the wide open spaces and natural wonders of Far West Texas from the comfort of your rig!
Terlingua, (Brewster County)
Lodging / RV Parks
Home of International Chili Cook-Off Championship, Rafting down the Rio Grande River, Desert Plants, Mountains, Wild Life, Bird Watching, Mountain Bike Races and Scenic Drives. Just west of Big Bend National Park.
Bootheel of New Mexico
The U. S. Forest Service maintains several campsites within the canyon, including some with trailer spaces, restrooms, tables and drinking water. Call the Douglas, Arizona, Ranger District (1-520-364-3468) for additional information. The Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (1-520-558-2396), located in the canyon’s North Fork, makes a few of its rooms available to the public at certain times during the year.
735 S. Hwy. 285, Fort Stockton
Full Pull-through • Showers • Laundry • Tent camping
Fort Davis, Texas
Camping, sightseeing, nature study, picnicking, hiking, backpacking, day and overnight equestrian use, mountain biking, and interpretive programs. Attractions include scenic drives, two scenic overlooks, and 4 miles of hiking trails connecting with Fort Davis National Historic Site. Stargazing after closed hours on Skyline Drive is allowed.