Policies on Dogs at Big Bend Ranch State Park
The following rules apply to all Texas Parks & Wildlife Department sites.
- Dogs must always be on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length
- Dogs are not allowed in any buildings (at this park that includes the Big House and Bunkhouse at the Sauceda Headquarters)
- All dog feces must immediately be picked up with a bag and properly disposed of in a trash can
- Never leave your dog unattended.
- Do not allow your dog to approach any wildlife
- More information is available on our Texas State Parks Rules and Regulations web page
The following rules apply to Big Bend Ranch State Park.
- Dogs are only allowed to be ¼ mile from campsites or designated roads, and only on the Closed Canyon Trail and the Hoodoos Trail
- Dogs are not allowed to be on hiking trails, in the backcountry, or more than ¼ mile from campsites or designated roads - with the exception of the Closed Canyon Trail and the Hoodoos Trail on FM 170
Note: Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, these policies do not apply to those persons relying on service dog.
Why the Rules?
Dogs have an effect on the wildlife of our park
- The presence of dogs at Big Bend Ranch S.P., whether from direct or indirect interaction, puts stress on wildlife
- The presence of dogs can make wildlife feel threatened, increasing the chances of a wild animal attacking a dog or human
- Dogs can pass and receive diseases and parasites to and from wildlife through direct interaction (physical contact), or indirect interaction (contact with feces, etc.). These include fleas, ticks, worms, parvovirus, and many more
Dogs have an effect on other visitors
- While you may love your dog, not everybody does. The park is for the enjoyment of all visitors, and the presence of dogs can inhibit the enjoyment of some people
- Dogs scare birds, decreasing the possibilities of bird watching (which many people come to this park for)
- Dogs feces in the park can result in an unpleasant stench around campsites, along the roadside, and on the bottom of shoes
One last thing to consider
Many state parks in Texas do allow dogs in the backcountry and on hiking trails. If you are wondering why Big Bend Ranch S.P. has stricter dog policies than others. The first reason is the Big Bend Ranch S.P. is a vast and wild area unlike any other Texas park. We strive to maintain the beauty, solitude, and natural feeling of the wilderness. Our dog policy helps us to continue to offer a park experience of solitude and wilderness, unlike any other. The second reason is your dog’s comfort and safety. Big Bend Ranch S.P. is a remote park located in a desert climate. With summer temperatures averaging over 100° F, dry air, and rough, rocky terrain, the park conditions can be very difficult on dogs. Many dogs live in air-conditioned houses or a differing climate than that of the Chihuahuan Desert. Thus, the heat can be strenuous on them. Many dogs are used to walking on sidewalks, manicured lawns, and in maintained city parks. This results in these dogs having tender foot pads (bottom of foot). Walking on our trails can be painful and wearing on a dog’s feet. You love your dog, but often times the best way to love your dog is to leave them at home when coming to Big Bend Ranch State Park.