Spend 3 Awesome Days In Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Big Bend is located in West Texas, and it’s the largest national park in Texas, and covers over 800,000 acres. Big Bend National Park is known for its beautiful scenery, diverse wildlife, and fascinating history. Big Bend region offers a variety of outdoor activities for the outdoor enthusiasts, including backpacking, river trips, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more.
Big Bend National park is open 24 hours daily, all year.
If you’re planning a trip to Big Bend National Park, here are three awesome days that you won’t want to miss:
Day 1: Hike the Santa Elena Canyon Trail
There are a lot of hiking trail but Santa Elena Canyon Trail is my favorite.
The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is one of the most popular trails in Big Bend National Park. The views from the trail are simply breathtaking
Difficulty: Moderate; Distance: 1.7 miles round trip
Begins at terminus of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
This trail leads into the mouth of stunning Santa Elena Canyon. After crossing Terlingua Creek, the trail ascends on paved steps to a vista, then descends back to the water’s edge, continuing into the canyon until the canyon walls meet the water. A Big Bend classic. Be prepared for mud. Trail is impassable when Terlingua Creek floods.
If you’re up for a challenge, you can continue hiking past the Santa Elena Canyon and onto the South Rim Trail of the Chisos Mountains. This hike is approximately 14 miles round trip and is considered to be one of the most strenuous hikes in the park. However, the views from the South Rim Trail are well worth the effort.
If you don’t have time to hike, you can easily reach the Santa Elena Canyon Overlook by driving the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive all the way to the end.
For a longer and moderate hiking trails, you can hike the Lost Mine Trail.
Difficulty: Moderate; Distance: 4.8 miles round trip. Begin at mile 5.1 on the Basin Road, limited parking.
This trail serves as an outstanding introduction the flora and fauna of the Chisos Mountains. With limited time, hike to marker 10 (about 1 mile), where a saddle offers stunning views of Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon. The remainder of the trail climbs steeply in and out of juniper, oak, and pine forest. The trail abruptly levels out at the ridge with superb views of Pine Canyon and the Sierra del Carmen in Mexico.
South Rim Difficulty:Strenuous; Distance 12-14.5 miles round trip. Begin at Basin Trailhead.
This challenging trail is well worth the 2,000 foot gain, as midway are the stunning vistas from the South Rim. Ascend either the steeper Pinnacles or more gradual Laguna Meadows Trail. During Peregrine Falcon nesting season, the Northeast and Southeast portions of this trail are closed.
Day 2: Take a scenic drive through the park
Big Bend National Park is home to some of the most scenic drives in the United States. The park has over 150 miles of paved roads, and there are plenty of pull-offs where you can stop and enjoy the views.
Some of the highlights of a scenic drive through Big Bend National Park include the Chisos Basin, Santa Elena Canyon, and the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the way!
Day 3. Take a day trip to Mexico, the village of Boquillas.
You can visit Mexico for a few hours or spend the day since it’s located on the Texas Mexico border.
Currently open Wednesdays through Sundays 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Passport required.
Boquillas, Mexico is a small village located just across the Rio Grande from Big Bend National Park.
Visitors to Boquillas can enjoy Mexican food and souvenir shopping. To get to Boquillas, you can take a rowboat across the Rio Grande from the park for $5 p/p roundtrip.
Once you are across the Rio Grande you can walk 1/2 mile to the village or pay an additional fee to ride on a burro or a horse. There are a lot of local guides there to assist or guide you for a fee.
We visited a few years ago. We walked to the village, ate at the local restaurant, enjoyed a shot of homemade Sotol at the local bar and checked out their hot springs (more of a warm pool).
Once you are back in Big Bend National Park, stop and relax at the Hot Springs on the Historic Trail.
Difficulty: Easy; Distance: 1 mile round trip
Begin at Hot Springs parking lot.
This trail passes remains of a resort, pictographs, homestead, and hot springs; a brochure at the trailhead offers more information. The 105°F springs are a popular destination (0.5 mile roundtrip), but one can continue to where the trail forks, leading to the top of the bluff and back to the parking lot.
Why do they call it Big Bend?
It’s called Big Bend because it’s the biggest bend on the Rio Grande River.
Big Bend is a wonderful location to “discover” history, whether you’re visiting prehistoric sites dating back nearly 10,000 years, ranches, wax camps, military outposts, or mining operations from the 20th century.
What is the best time of year to go to Big Bend?
The best time to visit Big Bend is during the winter months when the temperatures are cooler and the crowds are thinner. Late winter, especially February and early March, offers an ideal time to visit west Texas.
It’s a popular destination for Texans, especially during Spring Break, but it’s virtually unknown outside the Lone Star State – with under 300,000 visitors a year, it’s one of America’s least visited national parks.
Can you camp anywhere in Big Bend?
There are campgrounds in Big Bend where you can camp, reservations are required for all.
Rio Grande Village Campground
Chisos Basin Campground
There are several other camping and RV parks outside Big Bend National Park. We stayed at an RV park outside the park called Maverick Ranch RV park in Lajitas, TX (picture below). This park has full hookups, pool and the night sky was gorgeous! This RV park is very popular, book way ahead. Lajitas Golf Resort boasts some of the best upper-class lodgings in the area.
What’s special about Big Bend National Park?
There are a few things that make Big Bend National Park special. First, it’s the largest national park in Texas. Second, Big Bend includes the largest protected expanse of Chihuahuan desert in the US, with more than 1,200 species of plants, 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. Third, it has some of the darkest night skies in the country.
Big Bend National Park is recognized as one of the best places in North America to observe the stars. In fact, it has the least light pollution of any other national park unit in the lower 48 states. One factor that makes this possible is simply the sparse human occupation of this region. The obvious impression one gets of wildness in the Big Bend is the lack of visible lights indicating a house or a town. Most urban areas have such an abundance of light that very few stars can be seen. Big Bend National Park is a refreshing exception.
The National Park Service organizes Big Bend park rangers led stargazing programs aimed at both adults and children – otherwise, just head to the visitor centre, get a backcountry camping permit, wait for darkness… and look up!
Big Bend National Park is a great place to visit if you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. There’s plenty to do in the park, whether you’re interested in hiking, camping, stargazing, or simply taking in the scenery. The Fossil Discovery Exhibit is a small outdoor exhibition area, with a covered section with illustrated information signs, fossil and dinosaur bone replicas , including a T-Rex skull and the skeleton of a giant flying dinosaur! If you’re planning a trip to Big Bend, be sure to make your camping reservations ahead of time as the park can get quite crowded during peak season.
Thank you for reading! You may also enjoy: 15 Fun & Exciting Things To Do in Estes Park Colorado.