Top Ten National Parks for Wildlife Viewing

Big Bend National Park, Texas
By Nicole Daro

Best for: Rare whitetail deer, mountain lions, beavers, and turtles.

If you're looking to escape the hustle of everyday life and experience real quiet and wide-open spaces, Big Bend National Park has what you need. There's plenty of room to roam here; you just have to share the wilderness with the beavers, deer, mountain lions, and other animals that call this fascinating landscape home. The park covers river, desert, and mountain habitats that are home to unique animals adapted to the park's environmental niches. The river and the mountains are oases in the desert and are where most of Big Bend's wildlife live.

Hikers and wildlife alike find that the cool Chisos Mountains are a welcome respite from the harsh desert climate. The Sierra del Carmen whitetail deer that live here are unique to the mountainous areas of the Rio Grande region. The mountains are also the realm of mountain lions, who are most frequently seen around Panther Pass.

Along the big bend of the Rio Grande, for which the park is named, you'll see beaver, toads, and turtles, plus some fish that don't exist anywhere outside of the park. The river serves as an oasis in the otherwise arid landscape, and a canoe trip along it is a fascinating way to get a glimpse of evolution at work.


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