Big Spring State Park

Pavilion at Big Spring State Park

Dramatic views off of the 200-foot bluff and from the park’s loop road are among the featured attractions of this 382-acre park. Early morning or sunset, joggers, walkers, and cyclists circle the loop, enjoying these views as they exercise. An elaborate Fourth of July fireworks display is one of the largest in the region. Other activities include picnicking, nature study, and sightseeing.

The park has a Group Pavilion available for reservation; it is on top of the hill and holds up to 50 people.

Big Spring Area Attractions

Nearby attractions to Big Spring State Park include Lake Colorado City State Park, Comanche Trail Park, and Historical Spring, Moss Creek Lake, Heritage Museum/Potton House, One Mile Lake with the Sandhill Crane Sanctuary Observation Area), a unique 18-hole golf course for golfing enthusiasts, and the cities of Midland and Odessa.

Directions

The park is located 36 miles east of Midland and 100 miles west of Abilene. From Midland, take Interstate 20 East to Big Spring, take Business 20 exit eastbound (exit #174), and turn right onto FM 700. The park is located on the right. For westbound I-20 traffic, take exit 181A. The park will be on the left. For traffic off of U.S. Highway 87, follow the brown park signs to turn onto FM 700; you will make your turn near the VA Hospital.

Big Spring State Park Address:
No. 1 Scenic Drive
Big Spring, TX 79720

The Park HQ is located at:
Latitude: 32.232288
Longitude: -101.490728

 

Entrance Fee

There is no entrance fee for Big Spring State Park. Texas does have a Texas State Parks Pass where you and your guests can have unlimited visits to more than 90 State parks. This is a great saving over the daily fees and will also allow you to receive additional discounts. Call the park or park information (1-800-792-1112) for more information.

Big Spring State Park Group Site

The park has a pavilion group site designed for 50 people. There are four picnic tables inside as well as a couple more outside. There are a few more in the area as well. You will find outdoor grills, restrooms, and a playground next to the Pavilion.

The Group Pavilion, nearby restrooms, and all picnic areas are wheelchair accessible.

The playground can be accessed by a short traverse over hard ground or a caliche surface.

Plants & Animals at Big Spring

Howard County and Big Spring State Park are located in an area where three ecological regions merge. To the north and east are the western Rolling Plains; to the south is the Edwards Plateau, and to the west are the Southern High Plains (also known as the Llano Estacado or the Staked Plains).

The mixing of ecological regions results in a variety of plant and animal life since representatives from each region are often found overlapping in a relatively small area. Domestic livestock has not grazed the parkland since the 1920s, and as a consequence, vegetation typical for the semiarid region blankets the park. Large woody plant species include mesquite, shin oak, skunkbush sumac, and redberry juniper. Prickly pear and other cacti are common on the rocky slopes of the park. Common wildlife such as cottontails, jackrabbits, ground squirrels, and roadrunners can often be seen, particularly early or late in the day. Many of the area’s numerous and varied bird species can also be observed. Watch for wildlife near our ponds. A prairie dog and burrowing owl population can be observed at a nearby airpark.

You will have plenty of opportunities to see many bird species at the park including Turkey Vulture, Mississippi Kite, Scaled Quail, Sand Hill Crane, Mourning Dove, White-winged Dove, Chine Swift, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Western Kingbird, Purple Martin, and many more. There are also numerous other species of birds that are a little more uncommon or even rare that will see during various seasons and time of the year.

Geology of The Area

Much of west-central Texas is a relatively flat, dry region noted for its geographic monotony. At Big Spring State Park, however, the northern limit of the Edwards Plateau is reached, culminating in a series of bluffs rising 200 feet above the rolling plains. The Edwards Plateau is a vast, relatively flat upland area stretching as far southeast as Austin and San Antonio. Thick beds of Lower Cretaceous limestone form the plateau, deposits of an ancient sea that once covered much of Texas. The eastern and southern parts of the plateau have been cut into hilly terrain known as the Hill Country. Big Spring State Park caps one of the limestone bluffs at the northern edge of the plateau. Below the bluff, known as Scenic Mountain, sprawls the town of Big Spring, named for a large spring which served as the only watering place for herds of bison, antelope, and wild horses within a 60-mile radius.

History of Big Spring State Park

Big Spring State Park is 381.99 acres located within the city limits of Big Spring in Howard County. Both city and park were named for a natural spring that was replaced by an artificial one. The park was deeded by the city of Big Spring in 1934 and 1935 and opened in 1936.

Comanches and earlier Indian groups frequently visited the park area in the past, probably attracted by the permanent source of spring water. Spaniards may have first visited the area as early as 1768. However, the first recorded mention of the spring is from an Oct. 3, 1849, entry in the journal of Capt. R.B. Marcy of the U.S. Cavalry on his return excursion from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Other visitors to the park and spring include cattle drovers and immigrants moving to new territories, as can be seen by carvings they left behind (circa 1917, turn of the century). Today the city of Big Spring occupies the area and is involved in several businesses such as agriculture, tourism, and the refining of petroleum. Nearby, Interstate 20 transports high volumes of traffic east and west across Texas.

Shortly after the State of Texas acquired the park property in 1934, the park was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The CCC was created during the Great Depression to employ young men unable to find jobs. Using limestone quarried on the site and quality workmanship, the CCC built the pavilion, headquarters, residence, pumphouse, and restroom. Their biggest project was the three-mile drive that loops around the mountain following the ledge of limestone rimrock capping the bluff. Retaining walls for the drive were built using large blocks of limestone, some weighing as much as two tons, and mortarless masonry techniques.

Texas State Parks

See more Texas State Parks at our Texas State Parks page