Way out in West Texas, magnificent Big Bend National Park (www.nps.gov/bibe) encompasses the Chisos Mountains, as well as a remote 3,243 sq km chunk of the Chihuahuan Desert. Named for a meandering stretch of the Rio Grande river, which forms the US-Mexico border, Big Bend is filled with prickly cactus, high-altitude pine forests, hidden waterfalls, rocky cliffs, abundant birdlife and other wild animals. But you don’t have to be a nature lover to appreciate this landscape. Picture-perfect scenery, magical sunsets and incredible solitude are all within easy reach. An excellent introductory drive follows the 65km Ross Maxwell Scenic loop, which visits historic ranches and volcanic formations as it wends its way to Santa Elena Canyon. Park staff, as well as professional guides, can provide assistance. Stay at the Chisos Mountain Lodge (www.chisosmountainslodge.com) for a treat.