At first, taking a scenic drive through a national park seemed like a bit of a copout to me. You're surrounded by breathtaking hiking trails through nearly untouched landscapes, and you go for a drive on a paved road instead? Weak. However, after I really got a grasp on the sheer size of Big Bend, I realized that the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive really was the best way to see as much of the park as possible in just a few days.
Starting from the Chisos Mountain Lodge (the only place other than campsites to stay inside the park), the drive is about an hour long, but with many overlooks, short trails, and things to see along the way. After beautiful sights like the Sotol Vista overlook and Tuff Canyon, the drive ends at the Santa Elena Canyon on the border of the US and Mexico. We had so much fun seeing as much of Big Bend as possible and will remember this day forever. The car's air conditioning didn't hurt either.