Big Bend – Desert Mountains

On the way back from Santa Elena canyon, I took the scenic route which is called Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. I knew that there were a few overlooks along this road that would be good for some pictures. In the image below, the yellow highlighted route shows the more scenic highway through the park that I took compared to the Old Maverick Road in gray to the west. This road takes a path through the mountains with several scenic overlooks and hiking trailheads along the way.

The first place that I stopped was a desert overlook not far up the road from the Santa Elena area where I had stopped on a previous visit to the park and took a panorama that I liked. I decided to try this view again in different conditions and see what I could get. The image below is a panorama stitch of about 9 images taken at 85mm with the camera turned vertically.

Desert Mountain Panorama at Big Bend

I do like the clouds hovering close to the mountains and the multiple craggy ridges adding depth to the image. I thought about doing this in black and white, but I like all of the color in the foreground with the morning sunlight.

I backed up and took a wide shot taking in some ocotillos with the mountains in the background. In hindsight, I wish I had moved over to the right a bit to get the ocotillos on the other side of the frame with the large mountain remaining on the right side.

Ocotillo at a Desert Overlook in Big Bend National Park

Another stop I made was to shoot the Mule Ears, which are couple of very distinctive peaks in the park. There is a hiking trail out to them that would like to come back and do some day. The below image started out as a panoramic merge of three vertical images to get the entire scene in, but, I decided later that I like the tighter crop of ears with the greenery in the foreground. So, this image is parts of three images stitched together.

Mule Ears in Big Bend National Park


I then stopped farther down the road to take in the mountains in the morning sun. I climbed up to a spot above the highway and took several images for a panorama. Part of this panorama included shooting very nearly into the sun, so there is quite a lot of lens flare in the image. The road is just out of shot to the bottom of the image.

Panorama of Mountains in Big Bend National Park

The next day as I was heading home, I passed a large field of yellow wildflowers with the desert mountains in the background. I couldn’t resist stopping to try to shoot an image of this scene. I don’t remember but I think that I had the polarizer on during this photo judging by how blue the sky is.

Yellow Flowers with Mountains in the Distance at Big Bend National Park

After this, I headed out of the park and back home. These aren’t my last pictures, but these are my last pictures of Big Bend National Park that I am going to post. I do have some photos of Big Bend Ranch State Park that I am still sorting through and processing.

Previous Big Bend Posts from this expedition:

Big Bend – The Window

Big Bend – Rio Grande Overlook

Big Bend – Ernst Tinaja and the Boquilla Overlook

Big Bend – Santa Elena Canyon Sunrise


25 thoughts on “Big Bend – Desert Mountains

    1. Thanks. It was a surprise for November. I was just driving along and saw them all and had to find a place to turn around and find a place to park.
      I am planning a spring trip, hopefully, to try to see the wildflowers.


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