14 Most-recommended Things To Do At Big Bend National Park

The park is located on the border of Mexico Separated by a massive twist along the Rio Grande river, Big Bend National Park is one of Texas’ most stunning natural marvels.

Desert, mountains and the river mix to make this region an ideal outdoor recreation area for campers, hikers and canoers, birders and even nature enthusiasts in general.

If you’re just interested in a drive through the park, you’ll discover fascinating sights and scenic views on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, as well as a visit to the Fossil Discovery Exhibit or a dip at the warm springs will be a great day.

If you’re not satisfied you can take a quick trip on a boat to Mexico to eat lunch, then discover the ideal spot to take in the sunset, and then stay in a luxurious lodge. Make sure you stop by any of the visitors centers to get an overview of the park, as well as details about conditions. After that, go out and explore the park, by following our list of things that you should do within Big Bend National Park.

1. Hike Santa Elena Canyon

One of the Big Bend National Park’s most stunning hikes, and definitely the highest reward-to-effort ratio of any hike within the park can be found on The Santa Elena Canyon Trail.

This amazing 1.7-mile circular walk is a walk along the shores of the Rio Grande River into the Santa Elena Canyon, where the sheer 1,500-foot-high walls rise up on every edge of the river, above the river.

If the river isn’t flowing and the river is low, you can swim out towards the canyon at the other side of the path. The hike climbs up a total of 80 feet providing stunning views over the river close to the point of beginning.

2. Soak Up The Hot Springs

The natural hot springs near Rio Grande Village are one of the most popular activities in the area. The waters measure 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you are too hot, cool off with a short swim in the river. The pool, which is primitive, is at .25 millimeters from the parking area on a path that passes images and the remnants of an old resort dating back to the early 1900s.

If you’re able to spare the time and would like to take in some breathtaking views across The Rio Grande and mountains, it’s worth it through the .75-mile Hot Springs Loop. The scenic trail climbs on a ridge over the hot springs, and provides views down and up the river.

3. Find Out More About The Area’s Natural History At The Fossil Discovery Exhibit

As you travel down the road from Marathon to the north towards Panther Junction, be sure to visit Panther Junction. Make sure to stop at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit to learn about the park’s geology. It was inaugurated in 2017 and the exhibit has outdoor rooms that are adorned with educational plaques and exhibits.

The most striking objects are the bronze skulls of a huge alligator as well as a Bravoceratops dinosaur as well as on the ceiling of an area is an enormous pterosaur, which is the largest flying creature discovered.

4. Take A walk Along Through The Nature Trail At Rio Grande Village

If you’re looking for an easy, short beautiful trail that is close to Rio Grande Village, you will not be disappointed by it with the Nature Trail. Beginning from the campsite it takes you through the pond and you will see turtles enjoying the sun, or fish swimming beneath the bridge’s low level that runs across the water.

The lush area is strikingly different from the desert surrounding it and is an excellent spot to observe birds. The other shore is where the trail passes through the desert landscape and offers views back to the pond and out towards the Rio Grande River and distant mountains. The trail continues to a viewpoint.

It’s possible to do an easy walk to the bridge, or you can do the complete walk, which totals 75 miles.

5. View The Sunset From The Window

The Window is a large V-shaped notch on the mountainside, giving an amazing view of distant desert and sky further away. Starting from Chisos Basin Visitors Center Chisos Basin Visitors Center, the .3-mile trail leads into The Window View, a favorite place to view the sunset.

Despite being wheelchair-accessible at any time of year, the short trail to the Window is especially beautiful at night, when the rocks form a silhouette against the colorful background.

6. Take A Trip To The Hiking Trails

For those who love hiking, it is important to set aside time to hike. For those who are fit and looking for bigger adventures can arrange multi-day hikes or take on amazing day hikes like Emory Peak or the South Rim.

Day hikers who want less strenuous hikes will be able to enjoy breathtaking views along hikes such as Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Lost Mine Trail, or the Windows Trail.

If you’re looking to weave some history to the area and maybe a dip in the hot springs, you should try to take the Hot Springs Trail. For more details and a comprehensive look at the trails available check out our guide on the best hiking trails that you can do in Big Bend National Park.

7. Sleep In A Tent For The Night Beneath The Dark Skies

Big Bend National Park is an official National Dark Sky Park. It is free of light pollution, the night sky appears to be an ocean of diamonds and the constellations can be seen in stunning clarity.

Camping at one or all of Big Bend campgrounds will give the opportunity to be in the front row to this spectacular nighttime display especially when there is no moon. Camping also gives the chance to view some of the wildlife in the park.

Although javelinas and roadrunners are frequent guests, if you choose to camp at the Cottonwood Campground, you have an excellent chance of seeing several fascinating birds. Watch for vermilion flycatchers during the morning and look for Horned Owls at night.

Reservations are highly recommended in the peak season, which runs from January 1st through April 15th. Sites are booked as long as six months ahead on a rolling basis.

8. Take A Hike, Eat Or Shop For Souvenirs At Chisos Basin Area. Chisos Basin Area

There is a Chisos Basin Area, in the mountains, not too far from Panther Junction, that offers a variety of amenities. There is a restaurant in a beautiful setting with a view of the Window at Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant and Patio. Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant and Patio and pick up everything from food items for souvenirs to jewelry, and clothes in the Basin Convenience store, or start one of the many hikes in Chisos Basin Trailheads. Chisos Basin Trailheads.

From here there is the possibility of hiking Emory Peak, South Rim, Chisos Basin Loop, Window View, and Window Trail hikes.

The area is also where you will find Chisos Mountain Lodge. Chisos Mountain Lodge, and beneath it there is also located the Chisos Basin Campground. In close proximity is the entry point of Lost Mine.

9. Canoe Trip Along The Rio Grande

It is said that the Rio Grande winds its way through the border of Mexico and, when it reaches Santa Elena Canyon, it has cut through the earth and created walls that are 1,500 feet high. The canyon can be explored by kayak, and offers an interesting glimpse into the geography of the region and provides an unforgettable experience.

The tours start in Lajitas, the city of Lajitas and finish at the end of the canyon. The tours generally last for all day long and include lunch. Tours can be scheduled within Lajitas or Terlingua which is located on the west part of the park.

If you own your own equipment, a “boomerang” trip could be the best option. It involves paddling up the canyon, then sliding back down. Permits are required and cost-free.

10. Explore The Surrounding Ghost Town Of Terlingua

Study Butte as well as Terlingua are three or four miles away from the west end of the park. The Terlingua Ghost Town is six to seven miles up the road from here.

To experience a little of what it’s like to live in this small town in this region in West Texas, a quick stop to eat lunch in The Terlingua Ghost Town can be a great excursion, especially if you are on the west part of the park.

Terlingua Trading Company Terlingua Trading Company is one of the largest establishments in town, and offers plenty of items such as souvenirs, jewelry, crafts and other odd objects.

The next door is The Starlight Theater Restaurant, which offers the option of dining inside and live music. The nearby Posada Milagro, a very delicious breakfast and an early lunch break with a gorgeous outdoor patio.

11. Give Yourself A Night At The Nearby Resort

Big Bend National Park offers an incredible outdoor experience however, it is an exhausting task. Going back to a luxurious hotel or charming historical lodge could be a delightful delight at the end of the day.

The charming town of Marathon located to the north of the park is a true experience featuring a few art galleries, as well as the stunning Gage Hotel. This historical property is a tranquil oasis as well as a reason for itself to travel to this part of Texas.

The hotel was built in 1927. Gage Hotel is a wonderful spot to sit in a fireplace during the evening with guests. sit by an open fireplace in one the comfortable common rooms, escape the heat by the swimming pool. You can also indulge in some of the most exquisite food in the region in the hotel’s 12 Gage Restaurant.

It’s an ideal spot to stay the entire excursion, or perhaps just a few hours after your hike, or even a few nights of sleeping in the parks.

On the other hand, on the west-facing part that is located in the West is Lajitas Golf Resort which has the 18-hole golf course created by golfing legend, Lanny Wadkins. This resort has various activities including horseback riding and canoe rides. It’s also a great location to lounge around the pool, or have delicious food.

12. Bird-Watching

Big Bend National Park is the perfect spot to observe birds while they travel across the area on their way between the north and south. The park is located at the center of one of America’s best principal flyways, and having its Rio Grande as a permanent source of water It’s a great stopover spot.

The park is home to a large assortment of birds throughout the year, but spring season is when you’ll see the largest variety. The most important species to look out for include the Colima warbler as well as the rufous-crowned and summer tanagers and Western screech Owls.

The best places to spot wildlife in parks are on the Nature Trail at Rio Grande Village close to Santa Elena Canyon, the Cottonwood Campground, and the Chisos Mountains. If you’re camping, you will see roadrunners as frequent visitors, particularly when you have food on your campsite.
Big Bend National Park is the ideal spot to watch birds while they travel across the area on their way south and north. The park is located at the center of one of America’s most beautiful main flyways. With its Rio Grande as a permanent water source, it’s the perfect stopover spot.

The park hosts a diverse assortment of birds throughout the year, but spring season is when you’ll see the most variety. A few of the species worth watching for include the Colima warbler as well as the rufous-crowned and summer tanagers, as well as the western screech owl.

The best places to spot birdlife in the parks is along the Nature Trail at Rio Grande Village close to Santa Elena Canyon, the Cottonwood Campground, and the Chisos Mountains. If you’re camping, you will see roadrunners as frequent visitors, particularly when you have food on the campsite.

13. Take On The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

If you want to enjoy a breathtaking ride through the park go along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, passing through stunning desert scenery along the route towards Castalon as well as Santa Elena Canyon. Santa Elena Canyon area.

Mountain views extend in the distance over into the Chihuahuan Desert. Make sure to stop at the Homer Wilson Ranch Overlook to observe the old homestead but also to admire the views.

It is believed that the Mule Ear Springs Trail is accessible via this highway. However, if you’re not interested in the trek, you could visit the overlook to look at these two mountains, which are the cores of volcanoes that date back to ancient times.

14. Visit Boquillas, The Mexican Boquillas Village Boquillas

Make sure to take your passport with you if you plan to make an unplanned excursion to a Mexican village. In Boquillas Crossing, a border guard will check your passport prior to walking across the river to take a rowboat ride from the shores to the left. The boat will take you to the river and transport passengers to the Mexican shores of the Rio Grande River, from which you can catch to ride on a donkey, donkey, horse, or even a car. The cost of transportation is $5.00 for each person.

It’s 1 mile until the village. It is possible to walk the route at your own pace however the walk is mostly uphill. It is possible for you to purchase the trip to the village and return down. The journey to town in a pick-up or with a burro cost $5.00. If you’d like to ride a horse the cost is $8.00.

There are a few restaurants that serve beverages and food. This is a great little lunchtime outing.
The most ideal time to go to Big Bend National Park

The ideal season to go to Big Bend National Park is between the beginning of January and mid-April. This is when you can be able to enjoy warm days and sunny evenings, and also see the desert in full bloom.

May through September is regarded as the season of rain and, unsurprisingly, it is also hot in the summer. Temperatures can be as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit during June, July and August. However, heavy rains can help cool things down.

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