Camping in the desert at Stillwell Store, TX
Stillwell Store at daylight. We could hear coyotes howling in the distance.
The drive from Fort Stockton to Big Bend National Park is 100 miles of nothing but flat, treeless, desert gray and brown emptiness with a few mostly bald mountains far off in the distant haze.
There are no services. Take my word for it: there is nothing. No service stations, grocery stores, people or animals. We passed only 10 cars on the trip south toward Big Bend National Park. However, locals know of Stillwell Store which is reachable about eight miles off Highway 385 and although not a grocery store like we are accustomed, Stillwell sells some canned food stuffs, beer, ice and gasoline and that’s about all the inventory. It is also a great night sky viewing area since there is no man-made light interference.
A vulture greets the morning sun on a fence post along Texas Highway 385.
Stillwell Store is also a campground and camping destination for visitors to Big Bend in addition to rock hounds who dig in the nearby endless desert and campers heading to Black Gap State Wildlife Preserve. From here, it is still about 25 miles to Big Bend National Park Visitors Center and more of the same scenery. Again, I cannot stress enough that we are smack dab in the middle of nowhere.
We are however, determined to see one of the nation’s largest national parks.
Highway 385 cuts through the mountains near Stillwell Store, TX.
NEXT: Discovering the wilds of Big Bend