(NEXSTAR) — Have you ever wished you could completely unplug from the world and hear total silence? Well, you don’t need to find a deserted island to get away from the world — you can do it right here in the Lone Star State.
While Texas contains many remote wilderness areas one of them is the most remote of all: Big Bend National Park — particularly its southeastern edge on the U.S.-Mexico border.
As the National Park Service explains, Big Bend is composed of 801,163 acres (or about 1,252 square miles) of land in the Chihuahuan Desert area. NPS explicitly advises: “While the isolation of Big Bend National Park is a draw for many visitors, it also means your trip must be well prepared and carefully planned.”
So just how remote is it?
Nearest towns include Alpine (72-81 miles, depending on which road you take) and Marfa (around 98 miles), according to Google Maps data. Neither of these towns are major hubs, either. U.S. Census Bureau estimates Alpine’s 2021 population was 5,815, while Marfa’s was 1,750 residents. Depending upon the town, at any time inside Big Bend National Park, a visitor could be 1.5-2 hours away from the nearest town by vehicle.
The nearest big city is El Paso, which is up to 6 hours away, depending on your route. Most conservative driving estimates place El Paso at 4.5 hours and 292 miles away from Big Bend National Park.
NPS explains that there is no public transportation to or inside the park. The nearest airports with major airline services are located in Midland/Odessa (235 miles away) and El Paso (330 miles away).
If you’re considering a trip to Big Bend, make sure you keep its distance in mind.
The popular Texas destination hosted 518,254 visitors in 2022 alone, the park says. Per park data, tourism and stays appear to have spiked from the 350-400,000 range pre-pandemic to the 500,000 range both years since 2020.
According to NPS, campers are allowed to occupy a specific site for up to 14 nights a year. Visitors can stay in the park for up to 14 consecutive nights “at either a front or backcountry site” but stays are limited to 28 total nights in the park each calendar year.