Home to Big Bend National Park and the adjoining Big Bend Ranch State Park, this borderland is characterized by rugged mountain ranges, grassland, and immense tracts of desert. The region's exotic qualities has long attracted Hollywood: Recent films No Country For Old Men
and There Will Be Blood
were filmed in the area, and the landscape prompted one 1930s inhabitant to call it "America's Abyssinia," perhaps for the African-style terrain and abundant wildlife. The route starts in the oil town of Fort Stockton, continues to Alpine—gateway to Big Bend National Park—and through Paisano Pass to the quirky town of Marfa. From here it threads south past the ghost town of Shafter into the border town of Presidio, then continues along scenic River Road (FM-170) through Terlingua to Study Butte. Turning onto Hwy. 118/Maverick Road, the drive unspools into that Texas jewel, Big Bend National Park. From here choices include detours to Chisos, a not-to-miss mountain chain, and the funky old cattle town of Marathon.