Meep meep! Just like in the cartoons, roadrunners love to run and can reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour. They can fly for short distances but prefer to remain on the ground where they hunt for prey. Cute in a goofy kind of way, roadrunners are very fierce predators. They will eat pretty much anything they can catch, including mice, lizards, scorpions, rattlesnakes and other birds. This one at Big Bend National Park in Texas grabbed this snake snack to present to a potential mate. How romantic! Photo by Lee Jaszlics (www.sharetheexperience.org).
You’re so close to the holiday weekend!
Each year, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles like this one are released as part of a recovery program on Padre Island National Seashore in Texas. The seashore is part of the longest stretch of an undeveloped barrier island in the world. The area provides vital habitat to turtles Photo by the Padre Island National Seashore Division of Sea Turtle Science and Recovery, National Park Service.
If you find yourself surrounded by dunes, canyons and four of the highest peaks in Texas, you’re at Guadalupe Mountains National Park! The park has one of the world’s best examples of a fossil reef, dating back to the Permian period. Over millions of years, the elements of wind and rain have eroded sediments leaving the resistant limestone of ancient reef exposed. Beautiful from all sides, El Capitan is one of many photogenic features to enjoy. Photo by Shu Xu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Today Big Bend National Park turns 75 years old! This rugged Texas treasure was established as a park in 1944. From the riverbed of the Rio Grande River to the heights of the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend offers visitors a chance to explore massive canyons, vast desert expanses, forested mountains and an ever-changing river. While Big Bend is famous for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities, the park is also rich in cultural history. It has been home to people for many centuries, long before it became a national park. Pictographs and archeological sites give clues to the history of this amazing place. Photo courtesy of Aaron Bates
The sunset paints the sky with complementary colors along the Grapevine Hills Trail leading to Balanced Rock. Big Bend National Park in Texas offers a chance to explore the Chihuahuan Desert while surrounded by the Chisos Mountains. Though a desert landscape, this place is far from deserted, so look for signs of wildlife. Grapevine Hills Trail is an easy walk that turns into a hike leading you up through beautiful boulder arrangements to the iconic Balanced Rock. In the spring, bluebonnets, paintbrush, bi-color mustard, desert marigold, yucca and cacti blossoms add color to the desert landscape. Photo courtesy Matt Smith.
Bluebonnets spread the splendor at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Getting to this wildlife refuge is just a short drive from Austin, where you can enjoy walks to the Shin Oak Observation Deck or look for birds at Warbler Vista. The refuge’s roadsides and prairies transform to brilliant wildflower gardens each spring, and in turn, attract a myriad of butterflies. Photo by Melissa Cheatwood, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Rising 8,751 feet, high above the dry plains of West Texas, Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in the state. From the top of Texas, visitors can see the wide expanse of Guadalupe Mountains National Park and stand on an ancient reef, born under an inland sea over 250 million years ago. The geology, history and views in this park are all spectacular. Photo by E. Jackson, National Park Service.
It’s the first day of spring! We’re excited about the promise of warmer weather and gorgeous wildflower blooms. Winter is still holding on in many places, but at Big Bend National Park, Texas bluebonnets blanket the hills in impressive numbers. Seeing the official state flower of Texas in full bloom across the landscape is a luxurious sight that you will never forget. March is a favorite time to visit the park, as the desert floor is covered in white, yellow and purple flowers. Just remember, as you explore, please be aware and careful – getting distracted by beauty is a real thing. Photo courtesy of Lee McMullen.
Talk about a long walk on the beach; Padre Island National Seashore stretches across 70 miles of sandy coastline near the southern tip of Texas. Under the endless sky, visitors can fish in the surf, camp along the dunes and spot incredible wildlife like migrating birds and nesting sea turtles. Put it on you winter recreation bucketlist. Photo by Sue Wolfe, National Park Service Artist-In-Residence.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park has the four highest peaks in Texas, an ancient fossil reef, desert, dunes, canyons, wildlife and a touch of fall color. In McKittrick Canyon, the maples put on a show this autumn. With lots of trails for hiking and horseback riding, you’ll find the perfect place for your fall pictures. Photo by National Park Service volunteers.