Big Bend National Park
Serving as a natural border between Texas and Mexico, Big Bend National Park is a Texas gem lodged in the far southwest corner of the state. Big Bend National Park was established in 1944 by Congress and contains 800,000 acres of unique terrain. Rivers, canyons, waterfalls, hot springs, mountains, desert and forest all combine to make this geological feat. As Ludwig Bemelmans described it, "No words can tell you, and no painter hold it. It is only to be visited and looked at with awe, it will make you breathe deeply whenever you think of it, for you have inhaled eternity."
While simply driving through the park is a treat, getting out and engaging with the land is what makes Big Bend come alive.
Here are some ways to do so:
- Kayaking/Float Trips
- Horseback Riding
- Off-roading/Jeep drives
For more info on how Willow House can connect you to these adventures, please visit our activities page.
Chisos Mountains - the heart of Big Bend. The Chisos are jagged formations, rich in rusty reds and green vegetation. Word has it that the name “chisos” stemmed from a Castillian word meaning "enchantment”. We understand why.
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive - you'll likely take this drive when traversing west across the park to Santa Elena Canyon. Try to strike it at golden hour and take a stop at the Sotol Vista overlook. Then try not to shed a tear.
Santa Elena Canyon - many consider a trip to Big Bend wasted if you miss this beauty. She's a sight to see afar but also offers a trail inside the edge stunning canyon. Walk or swim across Terlingua Creek (flowing perpendicular to the canyon) to begin the trail.
Boquillas Hot Springs - a fun way rest after a day of hiking, 105°F natural hot springs exist on the bank of the Rio Grande on the far eastern side of the park. Sit, make some friends and enjoy the cross-river view into Mexico.
hiking is second nature to some and highly intimidating to others. Whatever your comfort level, we recommend making some tracks on your trip to BBNP.
WH top picks Sorted by level of difficulty:
Easy - The Window Trail - 5.6 miles round trip. Beginning from Chisos Basin lodge. A downhill descent to one of the most jaw-dropping, panoramic views of the park. A great sunrise or sunset hike. Also a paved .3 mile, wheelchair accessible path exists with a Window view.
Moderate - Lost Mine Trail - 4.8 miles round trip. A half-day hike, this trail is quick ascent to the one of the best view aerial park views. The top is a large, flat granite rock perfect for a restful picnic.
Strenuous - South Rim - 12-14 miles round trip. A full-day trip, South Rim is a breathtaking loop around park offering views of stunning vistas and into Mexico. Definitely worth it.
Honorable Mention - Emory Peak - 10.5 miles. The highest peak in the park. Can also be an off-shoot from a South Rim trip. A steep hike to 360 degree views of the park.
Fun Facts + Helpful Articles
BBNP has the least light pollution of any National Park in the lower 48 states. It is considered to be one of the best places for stargazing in North America.
Big Bend has its own mountain range- the Chisos Mountains. They are the only mountain range in the United States to be completely contained within a national park.
There are over 450 different species of birds in Big Bend National Park - more than any other national park in the U.S. Thus, Big Bend is one of the top destinations for bird watchers in America.
A colorful history marks Big Bend. Banditos, murders, military maneuvers, ranching, mining, and an international border that you can cross without going through checkpoints. The true Wild West.
Looking to do more research before your trip?
Checkout the BBNP website & these helpful articles: