Barton Warnock Visitor Center


Barton Warnock Visitor Center

  • Barton Warnock Visitor Center
    Pick up permits and get acquainted with the Chihuahuan Desert at the visitor center.
  • Barton Warnock Exhibits
    Browse exhibits on the rich cultural and natural history of the Chihuahuan Desert.
  • Barton Warnock Desert Garden
    Learn about the plants that thrive in this harsh terrain in our two-acre desert garden.

Desert Gateway

Deep in the Chihuahuan Desert lies a special place: Big Bend Ranch State Park. Learn about this unique environment at the park’s eastern entrance, Barton Warnock Visitor Center, before setting out on your desert adventure!

Things to Do

Pick up permits for backpacking and camping, purchase river-use permits and licenses, and find information about the Big Bend region. Tour our visitor center, then wander through our two-acre desert garden.

In the park, you can hike, bike, camp (drive-up or backpack), paddle the river, and more. Learn more on Big Bend Ranch’s website.

Take the scenic route along River Road (Hwy. 170 between Lajitas and Presidio). National Geographic calls this one of the Top 10 Scenic Drives in the U.S.

For serious hikers, the 6.4-mile Fresno Divide Trail showcases the badlands region of the park. If you are less serious, try the Closed Canyon or one-mile Hoodoos trails. These are the only two dog-friendly trails in the park.

Visiting the park

The park is divided into two areas: River District and Interior District.

Keep these things in mind when planning your trip:

For reservations (day passes and camping):

Obtain backcountry camping permits when you arrive; you cannot reserve these permits in advance.


We receive less than 10 inches of rain per year. Rains mostly occur as summer storms and creek beds are prone to severe flash flooding.

Plan carefully for your visit. Temperatures can fluctuate by 40 degrees in one day.

Expect extreme heat from April to September. Temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees by late morning and can reach as high as 130 degrees in the sun. Heat remains dangerously high even after sunset. Our trails do not have reliable shade.

Stay safe:

  • Don’t hike in the afternoon during these months.
  • Always carry extra water.

Visitor Center, Interpretive Center and park store

The Visitor Center is a one-stop shop for information. Rangers are on hand to help you plan your visit and obtain permits. The park store sells t-shirts, postcards, books and souvenirs.

The exhibit “Una Tierra – One Land” illustrates the natural history of the Big Bend region. It features interactive displays for the entire family. Most information is in English and Spanish.

Outside is a two-acre garden showcasing the plants of the Chihuahuan Desert.

Get involved

Volunteer at the park, online, or join the Friends of Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Donate to the Friends of Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Ranger Programs

Take a self-guided tour through the interpretive center and desert garden. Request a guided tour for a groups with at least two weeks’ notice.


Become a Junior Ranger!


This is a Texas Aquatic Science Certified Field Site.

Area Attractions

Nearby points of interest include Big Bend National Park, Terlingua Ghost Town, and Lajitas on the Rio Grande. For more information on this region, download the Texas Historical Commission's The Land of Endless Vistas | PDF.

graphic Dark Sky Park logo

21800 FM 170
Terlingua, TX 79852

Latitude: 29.269902

Longitude: -103.757351

(432) 424-3327

Entrance Fees
  • 13 years and older: $5 Daily
  • Child 12 Years and Under: Free

Open daily

We often reach capacity; reservations are highly recommended for camping. To guarantee entrance,
 reserve and pay for day passes and camping permits online or by calling the customer service center, before you visit.

Office Hours for
Big Bend Ranch State Park

East entrance:
Barton Warnock Visitor Center
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily


West entrance:
Fort Leaton State Historic Site
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily


Sauceda Ranger Station
9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily 
Closed Dec. 25.


Note: The Sauceda Ranger Station is 27 miles of rugged, dirt road from FM 170. This is the only way in or out of the interior of the park. Motor homes and trailers are not recommended.


Average rainfall is 8.9 inches. January average low temperature is 36 degrees. July average high temperature is 99 degrees. Prepare for extreme summer heat. Temperatures typically exceed 100 degrees by late morning and can reach as high as 130 degrees in the sun. They remain at dangerous levels even after sunset.

National Weather Service forecast for this area

2364 feet