Camino del Rio, or River Road is state highway 170 between Lajitas and Presidio. For over 30 miles, El Camino twists and winds with the Rio Grande, crossing arroyos, climbing mountains, and hugging canyon walls.
The “Big Hill” has one of the steepest grades on a highway in Texas, and at the top, the view looks east to the Chisos Mountains 75 miles, and west into Colorado Canyon and mountain ranges deep into Mexico. Much of the route is within Big Bend Ranch State Park. Along the way, there are several scenic pullovers and river access points. Stop in at the Barton Warnock Center in Lajitas for information and interpretive literature.
Use extreme caution on the River Road. The roadway is narrow and there are few shoulders. The “Big Hill” can be a challenge for motor homes, motor coaches, and trucks hauling trailers. Make sure your brakes work well; there has been a number of fatal accidents over the years. Open grazing is allowed, and it is not unusual to find cows, horses, burros or mules on or right next to the pavement. Drive slowly, smell the flowers.