Big Bend Badlands – Dawson Creek

Part 4 of 4

My last badlands target was the low escarpment just south of Dawson Creek. This area is within the park boundaries, but it’s outside (west of) the west gate of the park. You can see this area to the LEFT of Highway 118 as you drive towards Study Butte. I emphasize LEFT because typically, the “painted desert” badlands area that most people think of is seen to the RIGHT.

I’ve not found a firm definition of the Painted Desert, a somewhat official term used by the locals, but I would assume it encompasses the whole area of badlands to the north AND south of Highway 118 just outside the park’s west gate.

out west
(click for larger version)

The shot above is looking east directly towards the west gate of the park. You can see the curves of Highway 118 as it snakes through the area.

Colored Hills
(click for larger version)

The view from atop this escarpment is amazing. Below the rim, badlands flow north and spread out towards Dawson Creek. In some spots, it’s feasible to hike down into the soft soil areas. It’s also possible to hike down to the desert floor and out towards the creek.

Maverick Mountain
(click for larger version)

I camped up top, just inside the rim, and enjoyed expansive views towards Study Butte and Maverick Mountain, and, of course, great views of the colored hills in the Painted Desert. This area was the most colorful out of the previous spots I’d visited and the hike was the easiest. It was interesting to be so close to civilization, yet completely alone. I saw not one person while out there.

That’s it for now. I have other photos from my badlands trip and will post those later. Eventually, I’ll update my photo website with this new content.

4 thoughts on “Big Bend Badlands – Dawson Creek

  1. This last image is the one that captures my imagination the most, it to me has a painterly feel.

    You can feel in your words that you have enjoyed yourself and are a reminder that i must get out into that open space and refresh the soul.

  2. Thanks, Stephen! Thanks for your comments. Glad you felt the emotion through my writing and photos here. Hope you get out into that open space soon and enjoy it! :-)

  3. TJ, another great set. I’ve got a maybe, in “Colored Hills” I would lighten the purple foreground curve just to bring it up a little, it’s a beautiful leading line.

  4. Thanks, Mike. I did lighten the foreground some, but I didn’t want to get too carried away. Thanks for your perspective, I think now I’d feel more comfortable about lightening it some more. That purple “curve” is an important part of the image. This is my second favorite shot from the whole trip.

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