Before it was Big Bend National Park, the area was dotted with families living and ranching on the land. Several homesteads can be seen off scenic Ross Maxwell Drive in the western end of the park. The park's website says this about Sam Nail Ranch: "One of the many homesteads that once dotted the Big Bend, the Sam Nail Ranch now provides shade and water for desert wildlife. A windmill still pumps water and attracts a great variety of birdlife. Sit quietly on the benches and listen for javelina, painted buntings, and hummingbirds."
Sam Nail came to the area in 1909 and stayed until 1946, and at one point, owned 15,000 acres. The trail is very short, but you'll want to linger and sit awhile among the pecan, walnut and willow trees; watch the birds and contemplate early life in the area.