We came across Devil’s Bend National Park, a region design by Aiden Caudron and occupying a Full region using the full region land capacity bonus, after poking at the Recently Added category of the Destination Guide.
Intended to offer the look and feel of a rugged national park, the setting is an interesting mix of public and residential spaces (the former well scattered across the region so as not to interfere with exploration). Raised into a high plateau, the park is a series of dusty trails running under rich fir foliage and over deep ravines by means of wooden bridges, together with wooden board walks that wind through the ravines and cling to the sides of cliffs as they rise and fall through the park.
The landing point sits at the visitor centre, a small lodge sitting at the side of one of the dusty roads. From here lie a choice of routes – one of which is reasonably short inasmuch as it crosses a bridge to reach two of the rental properties before coming to an end. Taking the road in the other direction is more constructive for explorers, as it winds much further through the park and offers a means to reach some of the wooden walkways.
This is a place with a curious (in an interesting way) feel to it: open spaces, winding trails, and walks that are in keeping with the overall theme of a national park; but at the same time, the rental properties have something of a run-down feel to them; fenced gardens are overgrown, the houses faded by the sun and looking a little the worse for wear.
Meanwhile, the north-east and northern side of the region are closed to public access – that is, the road is unexpectedly blocked by the wreck of a school bus. This appears to be less to do with matters of privacy and more with the fact that a major bridge has partially collapsed. Whether this is the result of an earthquake or rockfall – or both – is unclear; but the damage is such that it does bring the route to an abrupt end. Nevertheless, the use of the wrecked bus to block the road, together with the dilapidated state of the buildings beyond it suggest perhaps another narrative for this northern side of the region.
Follow the roads and the wooden board walks up to the summits of the park, and you may find yourself passing through at least one tunnel boring through the rock. It leads the way to a zip line that can be used for riding past a waterfall and back to the road below. Should you miss the tunnel, you can make your way to the radio mast on the highest peak – but be aware that the radio station close by is now a private home.
I mention the tunnel, as tunnels are very much the secret to the park – threading through its rocky mass is a network of them, together with chambers. Some are interconnected, others run on their own. Whilst most of the chambers do not hold a secret waiting to be found, they and the tunnels add a dimension to exploring the park that can keep visitors engaged for no small amount of time.
Rich in detail and offering numerous opportunities for exploration (and a café where visitors can rest should walking get a little too much), Devil’s Bend makes for an engaging visit. The texture load can have an impact if you’re running with all of the viewer’s bells and whistles engaged (particularly shadows), but this shouldn’t be a reason for not visiting, nor does it detract from the rugged charm of the region.
- Devil’s Bend National Park (Last Tomorrow, rated Moderate)