The Chisos Mountains are one of the main features of the park, located right in the middle of it. They are beautiful jagged mountains, culminating at Emory peak at 2388 m (7835 feet). You can drive up to "the Basin", a sort of elevated valley or circque surrounded by the main Chisos peaks. The only dent in this cirque is "the Window", a V shaped canyon to the West. All these mountains are igneous in origin.
Lodging facilities are available in the Basin. Many trails crisscross the Chisos. The Chisos are a favorite for hiking and camping as their elevation makes them cooler than the surrounding desert.
If you are staying overnight in the Chisos Basin, you have to go see the sunset through the "window", it's a tradition! Sometimes the sun sets right in the middle of the window (I'll have to check what month that would be), sometimes a little off. When I went in September, it gave beautiful colors even if it was not right in the middle!
Below the motels of Chisos Basin, there is a little paved trail (Half a mile in length, less than 1 km) with benches along it for views on the window. In the campground, the picnic table located at the beginning of the window trail is also a good spot to watch the sunset.
This wonderful 2 hours easy hike leads you to the very tip of the Chisos window, basically where this canyon abruptly ends at a cliff (a water fall during rainy times). It is amazing to hike between the canyon walls while still having the marvellous view on the desert below to the West. The trail is 5.2 miles (8 km) round trip, and is downhill on the way in, and uphill on the way back, but never very steep.
Avoid to do this hike if rain or thunderstorms are coming, as the narrow canyon would fill up so quick, you could drowned!
The Chisos Basin Road cuts through the central part of the park from the main east/west road. The road leads through the Chisos Mountains which rise up to 7385 vfeet above sea level. The chain form a kind of circle around the Chisos Basin. At the end of the road is a lodge, and camping, and a store. The drive is beautiful. There are also several great hiking trails along the way.
There is another visitors center located at Chisos Basin. The visitors center is a little smaller than the one at Persimmon Gap or Panther Junction but the rangers are just as helpful. It too, is a great place to gather information to help you plan and enjoy your visit.
There are a few displays in the visitors center too. They mostly explain about the animals and plants of the area. I really liked the Mountain Lion. I do not want to meet him on the trail (at least not too closely).
These are the focus of the park. Easily seen from almost any vantage point and most park roads lead you to the Chisos. There is a ranger station both at the foot of the Chisos and then again up in the Basin at 5500 feet. The Chisos are great to explore whether at the desert base level or up high in the peaks.
The Chisos Basin Store is a typical store for a campground area. There are some basic groceries, camping stuff, gifts/souvenirs, and items like that.
One of the best hikes to me was the Lost Mine Trail. I went into more detail on the trail in my Sports Tip; but I wanted to show you the spectacular views here too.
Just outside the entrance to the Chisos Basin Visitors Center is a very nice sculpture of a life-sized Peregrine Falcon ready for take-off. The Peregrine Falcon is an endangered species.
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