In Big Bend National Park all roads end at the Rio Grande River, the boundary between the United States and Mexico. But far more than two nations meets here.
Three states come together at Big Bend: Texas in the United States and Coahuila and Chihuahua in Mexico.
Many of the park’s famous, expansive vistas mix scenes belonging to both nations. One of the park’s best-known features, Santa Elena Canyon, is only half a canyon on the United States side. Its canyon walls on the river’s south side tower high above Mexico.
Big Bend National Park also marks the northernmost range of many plants and animals, such as the Mexican long-nosed bat. Ranges
of typically eastern and typically western species of plants and animals come together or overlap here. Here many species are at the extreme
limits of their ranges.
Latin American species, many from the tropics, range this far north, while northern-nesting species often travel this far south in winter. Its location on a bird migration route between South, Central, and North America makes the park excellent for birdwatching.
The Rio Grande River corridor also provides a migration highway by which many species pass through the desert.
Contrasting elevations create additional, varied micro-climates that further enhance the diversity of plant and animal life and the park’s wealth of natural boundaries.
Birders and other wildlife watchers know that the greatest numbers of species are often found at the ecotone (transition area) between adjacent ecological communities or habitats. In Big Bend National Park the varied ecotones formed by river, desert, and mountains result in an outstanding diversity of wildlife.
Read more about the park and regions: The Rio Grande