A clear and sunny day allowed us to have a wonderful visit to Big Bend National Park in March, 2020.
We were late making reservations to camp in the park so unfortunately Big Bend was completely booked along with all the RV parks in the small towns just outside the park. We found out that spring break is the busiest time for Big Bend likely due to the milder temperatures that time of year. We ended up staying in Marfa about an hour and a half north and taking a long day trip.
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We ended up staying in Fort Stockton for a week on our way back through Texas from New Mexico. Basically there isn’t a lot to do there but we did find several things to look at including the area around the Visitor Center, historic downtown including the courthouse, a frontier era jail, and the remains of Fort Stockton, an old frontier fort. We also visited the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum where we learned a lot about the history of the area. As with most frontier towns, there is a lot of interesting facts about the early pioneers that settled here and much of the early law typically had criminal histories as well. It’s fun to think about what life must have been like in those tough times.
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Site Quality: Gravel pads and roads. Our site was long enough for our rig and truck.
Access: Easy access from Interstate 10 about 2 hours east of El Paso.
Staff: The manager we checked in with was very friendly and helpful.
Amenities: There were Restrooms with showers and laundry facilities but we didn’t use them. Ice and filtered water machine on site.
Cellular/WiFi: Verizon and AT&T were very good. The park had WiFi but we did not use it.
Restaurants: At the recommendation of the park hosts we went to RJ’s Grill in town. Having been hailed as the best place in town to eat we were a bit disappointed. The food was acceptable but nothing special. There is a restaurant at the El Capitan Hotel that looked pretty good but it was pricey for a 1-star hotel. The hotel is historic within the town and looked better than 1-star to us but we decided not to spend the extra money to eat there.
What we liked: Ease of access along I-10. Full hookups during the winter. Nice views of the nearby mountains. Large park with some permanent residents and quite a few empty sites so it was easy to get in. We were given a range of sites and told we could pick whichever one we liked best.
What we didn’t like: The park is gravel and it rained most of the time we were there. Water puddled during the rain but it did not become muddy. The owner said they hadn’t had rain until then in months and it does tend to become dusty without rain. There is a train track nearby but noise was minimal and they didn’t seem to blow their horn going through town. There isn’t much to do in town – maybe a museum or two. This was a good place distance wise for us to stop overnight and we were able to get the trailer’s yearly inspection done at Virdell Tire and Tow in town. Typical for small towns, the guy dropped the job he was doing and quickly checked the trailer and had us on the way.
Verdict: We weren’t sure what to expect before we arrived. The park looked decent on their web site but we’ve seen many of those that just aren’t what the pictures portrayed. Mountain View was an exception. The park was clean and well laid out. Although gravel, it did not turn to mud in the rain. We were pleasantly surprised and would stay here again when passing through.
While staying in the Elephant Butte Lake RV Resort we met several of our neighbors and they were all into exploring the trails around New Mexico with their Side-By-Side ATVs. We were lucky enough that Doug and Susan, our next door neighbors, had a 4-seat unit and they invited us out for a couple of trips into the desert and mountain areas around Truth or Consequences and Caballo in the Rio Grande river valley.
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