Julie United States 24 Comments

If you are planning a trip to Big Bend National Park, one of the first things you might ask is “how many days do I need?” Three days in Big Bend gives you just enough time to visit all three sections of the park, go hiking, and day trip into Mexico. In this Big Bend itinerary, we cover everything you need to know plan your perfect visit.

Overview of Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is located in southwestern Texas right along the border with Mexico. For 118 miles, the Rio Grande forms the boundary between Mexico and Big Bend National Park.

Due to its remote location, it takes at least four hours to drive to Big Bend National Park from the closest airport. Since it takes so much time to get here, this is not the type of national park that can be visited on a quick day trip. Plan to spend at least 2 days in Big Bend, although more time is better.

This is a fairly large national park with three distinct areas: the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive region, Chisos Basin, and the sights in and around Rio Grande Village. Most of the things to do fall within these regions, with a few outliers here and there. The best way to spend 3 days in Big Bend is to spend one day in each of these three areas of the park.

Big Bend National Park

View from the trail to Emory Peak | Big Bend Itinerary

How to Get to Big Bend National Park

The closest airport is Midland International Air and Space Port in Midland-Odessa, Texas. It takes between 3.5 and 4 hours to drive to Big Bend, with a distance of 220 miles.

El Paso is a farther away but might be a better option, since it is a larger airport with more flight options. It takes 5 hours to drive to Big Bend, with a distance of 315 miles.

We flew into El Paso and drove to Big Bend National Park. It is somewhat of a monotonous drive, on a mix of multi-lane highways and two-lane roads. The speed limit is high (usually around 70 mph) so you can cover a lot of distance quickly.

San Antonio is another option. From here, it takes just over 6 hours to drive to Big Bend National Park.

Best Time to Visit Big Bend National Park

Fall and spring are the best times to visit Big Bend National Park. Temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night. March is one of the busiest months in the park, because of the great weather conditions and the influx of spring break travelers. There is more rainfall during the autumn months, so if you want clear skies, spring is a slightly better time to visit Big Bend.

Summer and winter are the off seasons in the park. From May through September it can get very hot in Big Bend National Park. During the winter months, expect cold temperatures with near freezing conditions at night.

We visited Big Bend National Park the first week of March. This was just before the start of Spring Break. Many hotels were completely booked and crowds were quite large in the park. However, if you have visited the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone at peak season, Big Bend will still feel empty in comparison.

Big Bend National Park appears in our Best US National Parks Month-By-Month series as a great park to visit in March, April, and November.

3 Days in Big Bend Itinerary

With 3 days in Big Bend, I recommend spending one day in each of these sections of the park: the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive region, Chisos Basin, and the Rio Grande Village. You can do these days in any order.

Big Bend Itinerary Day 1: Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive is a 30-mile road through some of the most beautiful landscapes in Big Bend National Park. Even if you never get out of your car, this is still one of the top experiences in the park.

However, I highly recommend getting out of your car. With numerous overlooks, short hiking trails, and one of the most iconic views of Big Bend National Park, there is a lot to keep you busy today.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive starts at Panther Junction Road. It ends 30 miles later at Santa Elena Canyon. Here are the recommended overlooks and hikes along the drive.

Note: All driving routes in this Big Bend itinerary start in Terlingua, since this town has several hotels and restaurants, making it one of the most popular places to stay on a visit to Big Bend National Park. 

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (places to go and the driving route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Sotol Vista Overlook

This overlook is worth the quick stop. From here, you get almost panoramic views of the park and can see the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive twisting and turning through the Chisos mountain range.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Sotol Vista Overlook | Big Bend Itinerary

Lower Burro Mesa Pour-Off

Distance: 1 mile | Difficulty: Easy | Time: 45 minutes

This quick and easy hike takes you through a large canyon, ending at the base of a giant cliff. At the end of the trail, you are standing at the base of Burro Mesa and the spot where the water pours off of the cliff during rainstorms.

Pour Off

Lower Burro Mesa Pour-Off | Big Bend Itinerary

Mule Ears Viewpoint

The Mule Ears are a unique rock formation that looks like, you guessed it, mule ears. You can see the Mule Ears from an overlook along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive but for a closer view, hike the Spring Trail (3.8 miles, moderate, 2 to 3 hours).

Mule Ears Big Bend

Mule Ears | Big Bend Itinerary

Tuff Canyon

Distance: 0.75 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Time: 30 minutes

We really liked this. It’s a short, easy stroll to a viewing platform where you can look into Tuff Canyon. The upper trail makes a loop to overlooks of the canyon. If you want to explore more, take the spur trail and walk through the canyon.

Tuff Canyon

Tuff Canyon | Big Bend Itinerary

Santa Elena Canyon Overlook

You will drive right by this viewpoint as you approach Santa Elena Canyon, so if you are curious, it only takes a few minutes to stop and take in the view.

In my opinion, it’s not all that impressive. What you are about to see next is much more thrilling. So, if you skipped anything on this drive, the Santa Elena Canyon Overlook would be the thing to skip.

Santa Elena Overlook

Santa Elena overlook | Big Bend Itinerary

Santa Elena Canyon

Distance: 1.7 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Time: 1 to 2 hours

This is one of the big highlights of the day. When you see photos of Big Bend National Park, this is what you commonly see…the mighty Rio Grande River coursing through this canyon.

This short, easy hike takes you right alongside the Rio Grande River. There is one brief climb but it’s worth it…the views over the Rio Grande are breathtaking. The trail ends at a beautiful viewpoint of the Santa Elena Canyon.

Rio Grande Overlook

The view from the top of the climb


Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon | Big Bend Itinerary

Optional: Canoeing on the Rio Grande

One of the best ways to experience the Santa Elena Canyon is to float through it on a canoeing trip. Big Bend River Tours offers a guided canoeing trip on the Rio Grande in Santa Elena Canyon. Learn more about this one day tour here.

Return to Terlingua

There are two ways to return to Terlingua. You can either retrace the driving route on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive or you can drive Old Maverick Road.

Old Maverick Road is a 14-mile improved dirt road that is suitable for most vehicles. Depending on road conditions, the national park service warns that this can be rough and washboarded. Old Maverick Road starts near the Santa Elena Canyon Overlook and heads north towards Terlingua. It takes an hour to drive this road and goes past several historic sites.

By now it is around early to mid-afternoon, if you opted not to go canoeing on the Rio Grande. You can spend the remainder of the day exploring Terlingua or visiting Big Bend Ranch State Park. Or, add on the quick and easy hike to Balanced Rock.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Hiking the Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park

Big Bend Itinerary Day 2: Chisos Basin

If you are a hiker, this just might be your favorite day in Big Bend National Park. Rugged, jagged mountains rise up from the desert, creating a wonderland of hiking trails and beautiful landscapes. This is where you will find some of the most exciting and challenging hiking trails in Big Bend National Park.

There are several great trails that start in Chisos Basin. Take your pick from the list below. I recommend getting an early start because the parking lots do fill up fast during peak season.

Lost Mine Trail

Distance: 4.8 miles | Difficulty: Moderate | Time: 2.5 to 3.5 hours

The Lost Mine Trail is an extremely popular hike in Big Bend National Park. Most of the hike is an unexciting, steady uphill walk, with occasional views across the Chisos mountain range. However, once at the top, the views really open up. Your reward is a panoramic view over the mountains and valleys of Big Bend National Park.

Lost Mine Trail

Lost Mine Trail | Big Bend Itinerary

Emory Peak

Distance: 10.4 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Time: 5 to 7 hours

If you want to stand on the highest peak in the Chisos Mountains and Big Bend National Park, put Emory Peak on your list. This is a tough hike but the views over the park are awesome. Learn more in our Guide to Hiking Emory Peak.

Emory Peak Big Bend Itinerary

Emory Peak | Big Bend Itinerary

South Rim Trail

Distance: 12.6 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Time: 6 to 8 hours

Starting in the Chisos Basin, you will steadily climb up to the South Rim, where jaw-dropping views of the Chihuahuan Desert await. This hike is done as a loop and you have the option to add on Emory Peak. Learn more in our Guide to the South Rim Trail.

South Rim Trail Big Bend itinerary

South Rim Trail | Big Bend Itinerary

Emory Peak + South Rim Trail

Distance: 15.6 miles | Difficulty: Strenuous | Time: 7.5 to 9.5 hours

This is the ultimate hiking experience in Big Bend National Park. Hike the complete South Rim Trail and top it off with the climb up to Emory Peak for unbeatable views of the Chisos Mountain Range and Chihuahuan Desert. Learn more in our Guide to the South Rim Trail.

Chisos Basin Loop

Distance: 1.8 miles | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Time: 1 to 2 hours

This loop hike weaves its way through the Chisos Basin valley. You will hike in and out of a forest of oak, juniper, and Mexican pine with occasional views of the mountains that surround the basin.

The Window Trail

Distance: 5.6 miles | Difficulty: Moderate | Time: 3 to 4 hours

The Window Trail is a moderately strenuous hike that ends at the Window. From here, you have stunning views of Big Bend National Park.

Window View Trail

Distance: 0.3 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Time: 20 minutes

Not to be confused with the Window Trail, the Window View Trail is a paved, flat trail leads to a viewpoint of the Window, a cut-out in the Chisos mountains. This is a popular sunset destination in Big Bend National Park.

The Window Big Bend Itinerary

View from the Window View Trail | Big Bend Itinerary

For more information about these hikes, check out our Guide to Hiking in Big Bend National Park.


Depending on which trail(s) you chose to hike, you could be finished anywhere from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. If you still have plenty of time left in the day, consider hiking the nearby trail to Balanced Rock, visiting the Fossil Discovery Exhibit (great if you are traveling with kids), soaking in the hot springs near Rio Grande Village (just note that it will be a very long drive to get back to Terlingua or Lajitas), or exploring Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Best Hikes in Big Bend

Balanced Rock | Big Bend Itinerary

Big Bend Travel Guide

Big Bend Itinerary Day 3: Rio Grande Village

Rio Grande Village is located in the eastern section of Big Bend National Park. There are a few hiking trails and scenic overlooks, but the big draw are the hot springs and the chance to cross the border to visit the Mexican town Boquillas del Carmen.

Before heading right to the Rio Grande Village, I have an optional side trip to recommend. Hiking to Ernst Tinaja was our favorite experience in Big Bend National Park.

Optional: Ernst Tinaja

Distance: 1.6 miles | Difficulty: Easy | Time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Ernst Tinaja is a series of water holes that are tucked away in a remote canyon. With its colorful limestone rocks and canyons, this area looks much different from the rest of Big Bend National Park.

Hikes in Big Bend

To get here, you will drive Old Ore Road, a rough, primitive dirt road. The national park service recommends having a high-clearance 4WD vehicle for this drive.

Once at the trailhead, it is a short, easy hike through a slot canyon to get to the water holes. Those looking for a little more adventure can continue the hike past the water-filled pools and rock scramble their way to the back of the canyon.

Boquillas Canyon Trail

Distance: 1.6 miles | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Time: 1 to 1.5 hours

Drive to the end of Boquillas Canyon Road. This road dead-ends at a parking lot and the trailhead for Boquillas Canyon.

This hike is similar to Santa Elena Canyon in that it follows along the edge of the Rio Grande. The first part of the hike is the most challenging, a steep but brief climb up and over a good-sized hill. The view from here is very nice, as you look out over the Rio Grande River, and honestly, it’s better than the view you will have from the nearby Boquillas Canyon Overlook (next on this itinerary). Then, it is a mostly flat and scenic walk along the river.

How Many Days in Big Bend

View from the top of the first climb


Rio Grande Big Bend Itinerary

Boquillas Canyon | Big Bend Itinerary

Boquillas Canyon Overlook

Drive back down Boquillas Canyon Road just a short distance until you reach the Boquillas Canyon Overlook. This view isn’t quite as good as the view you just had from the Boquillas Canyon Trail, but it’s still worthwhile. From here, you look out over the Rio Grande and off in the distance you can see Boquillas del Carmen in Mexico.

Boquillas Overlook Big Bend Itinerary

Boquillas Canyon Overlook | Big Bend Itinerary

Visit Boquillas del Carmen

Boquillas del Carmen is a very small town in Mexico. To get here, you will cross the Rio Grande by row boat. Spend the afternoon drinking margaritas, eating Mexican food, and shopping.

In order to do this, you will go through Border Control, so you must have your passport.

Park at the Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry. You will pass through the Port of Entry building and then walk a short distance along the Rio Grande to the river crossing.

There are several men operating row boats to shuttle visitors back and forth across the river. Once on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, you pay your fee ($5 per person, cash only, round trip), are given a ticket, and you will show this at the end of your visit, when you are ready to cross the Rio Grande again.

Crossing the Rio Grande Big Bend Itinerary

Rowboats crossing the Rio Grande

To get into town, you can walk or you can ride a donkey or a horse. We chose to walk, and from what we saw, it takes about the same amount of time, since the donkeys and horses do not move very fast.

It is a 0.6-mile walk (one-way) along a sandy road. The road is covered with donkey poop and the trucks that drive back and forth kick up dust into the air, making this very unpleasant, whether you are walking or riding a donkey.

Boquillas del Carmen has a few restaurants that have terraces with views of the Rio Grande. There are also several small souvenir shops. Many people who come here love hanging out at one of the restaurants, eating Mexican food, and having drinks.

Boquillas del Carmen Big Bend Itinerary

To return to Big Bend National Park, cross the river by rowboat and go through the Port of Entry. Your passport will be scanned and then you will be on your way.

From November 2 through April 30, the Port of Entry is open Wednesday through Sunday 9 am to 4 pm. From May 1 to November 1, the Port of Entry is open Friday through Monday from 9 am to 4 pm. Get updated hours on the National Park Service website before you go. 

Important Note: The Port of Entry closes at 4 pm (6 pm during the summer months) so you cannot come here for dinner. You need to make sure you are back at the Port of Entry no later than closing time or you will be spending the night in Mexico. If you plan to spend the night in Mexico, you will need a temporary visa.

Planning Your Visit: This will take about 4 hours of your time, if you do a little shopping and have lunch in town. The shops and restaurants accept US dollars and it is helpful to have small bills. Confirm the closing time of the Port of Entry so you know when you must cross back to the US side of the Rio Grande.

Rio Grande Hot Springs

If you still have time and energy after your visit to Boquillas del Carmen, visit the Rio Grande Hot Springs.

To get to the hot springs, it is a 1-mile easy walk (one-way) on the Hot Springs Historic Trail. This takes about 2 hours, including time for the hike and time in the hot springs.

US National Parks List

Where to Stay

We spent 4 nights in Big Bend, splitting our time between two different properties, simply because there were two accommodations that looked great and we had a hard time deciding between the two.

Lajitas Golf Resort

Located just outside of Big Bend National Park, this 4-star hotel has a golf course, multiple onsite restaurants, and an equestrian center. Some rooms can accommodate up to four people.

We spent two nights here and really enjoyed our stay. The property offers free WiFi. It worked great around the main lobby and the Boardwalk area of the resort. However, farther out, near Calvary Post, we were not able to get a signal. If you think that you will need WiFi during your visit, request a room in the Lajitas Boardwalk area of the resort. By the way, there was very limited cellular service here so don’t depend on this as a back-up.

The Local Chapter

Three yurts, each one secluded from its neighbors, sit along a plateau and from here, you have outstanding views of Big Bend National Park. The owners went above and beyond, furnishing the room with plush towels, a very comfortable bed, and even a telescope to peer into the night sky. When you lay in bed, you can stare up at the stars through the skylight in the ceiling.

Big Bend Yurt Big Bend Itinerary

We loved staying in the yurt and we recommend it. However, our only complaint is that it can be noisy if it is a windy night. On our second night a storm rolled through the area and it sounded like the yurt would blow away. The noise of the wind rattling the yurt was so loud that we could not sleep until the storm passed. If you are a light sleeper, you might want to look elsewhere.

Learn more about the Local Chapter here.

Terlingua Ranch Lodge

If you are looking for a budget place, Terlingua Ranch Lodge gets decent reviews. It is a 45-minute drive (a portion of which is unpaved) to the center of Terlingua and the west entrance into Big Bend National Park. So, plan accordingly if you want to make use of the restaurants, grocery store, and gas station located in the heart of Terlingua.

Inside the Park

Inside of Big Bend National Park, you can stay at the Chisos Mountains Lodge, which has a great central location in Chisos Basin. There are also campgrounds at Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin, and on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive (Cottonwood Campground). 

Marathon, Texas

Marathon, a small town that is about a 45-minute drive north of the north entrance of Big Bend National Park, also has several highly rated hotels to consider. The Gage Hotel is a historic and very highly rated hotel. It has received numerous accolades, such as the #1 Small Hotel in Texas, “Best Hotel Bar” in Texas, and it was voted the #1 hotel in Texas by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler. 

Practical Information

Park Hours: Park entrances are open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

Park Fee: $30 per vehicle, valid for 7 days

Get updates on trail closures and park conditions on the National Park Service website as you plan your trip and just before your visit. 

While in Big Bend National Park, please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

If you have any questions about this Big Bend itinerary or how to spend 3 days in Big Bend, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information about Big Bend & Texas

If your visit to Big Bend is part of a bigger road trip, here is more information for your trip to Texas.

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK: Get started with our article Best Things to Do in Big Bend for great things to do in the park. We also have information about the best hikes in Big Bend, including the South Rim Trail, how to hike to Emory Peak, and how to hike to Balanced Rock.

HIKES IN GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS: Learn how to hike to the “Top of Texas” our guide to Guadalupe Peak. The Devil’s Hall Trail is a fun hike to unique looking canyon. We also have detailed guide on how to hike the McKittrick Canyon Trail to Pratt Cabin, the Grotto, and the Notch and the Permian Reef Trail is one of the most underrated hikes in the park.

CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK: Learn how to plan your visit in our article Best Things to Do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

ROAD TRIP IDEA: Learn how to combine Guadalupe Mountains, White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, and Big Bend National Park in our 10 day Texas Mexico Road Trip Itinerary.

NATIONAL PARKS: In our Guide to the US National Parks, get the full list of national parks with important travel planning information, such as things to do in the parks and sample itineraries.

Read all of our articles about the United States in our United States Travel Guide.


Big Bend National Park Itinerary Texas


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Comments 24

  1. Avatar for Joe

    Hi Julie !

    I’m trying to make this my 43rd national park. If I could give just 2 full days – do you think I should just skip what you had suggested for day 3 (i don’t want to travel to mexico)


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, that would be the best day to skip, in my opinion. The viewpoints are just OK and crossing over the border into Mexico is interesting but not a must-do. The only thing you’d be missing out on that day is Ernst Tinaja, which was one of our favorite experiences, but you would also need a 4×4 to do it. There’s a chance you could squeeze it into another day if you were still interested in doing it. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Joe

        Thanks !
        Do you think if i do just 2 full days – i should skip south rim/emory peak (I hear south rim has bette views?) – ie should give higher weightage to Lost mine and window hikes instead ?

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

          That’s a good question. Lost Mine is a very popular hike. However, we liked South Rim and Emory Peak more, but we also enjoy long, strenuous hikes to the highest viewpoints of the parks, so that’s just our preference. The Lost Mine Trail is shorter so it would give you more time to add on a few other short hikes. If you haven’t seen it yet, we also have a Big Bend hiking guide. Cheers, Julie

          1. Avatar for Joe

            Got it – Ty 🙂 I just did Mt Leconte via rainbow falls and bullhead (up and down) – so definitely up for some good long hikes 🙂 It is just that since I might only spend 2d there, I wanted to fit in as much as I can 🙂

  2. Avatar for Clay

    You missed a lot in the park! Maricel mines for one old ore trail, Dog canyon, the prehistoric drawing on the rocks in Boquius canyon the holes in the ground that they used to grind up dry goods.

    How about the awesome Dinosaur exhibit? Shows the Dinosaur bones that have been found around the area and how it was once all covered by an inland ocean. The Elk by mile marker 10 heading South from persimmons Gap! How about persimmons Gap and the history behind it?

    History of how the military used to use camels around there or that there are still stopping where you can see where American troops dug into the ground during the Spanish/American war. Also did not warn people that Terlingua is not the safest town to be in!

    It’s 10 feet long and maybe a foot deep to cross over into Mexico you can see where vehicles cross all the time! Terlingua is full of unusual people a lot of them moved down there so no one will know who or what they did!

    If you do any of the longer hikes like South Rim or peek it’s a good all-day hike Average hiker doing that full loop without Emery peak is a good 7 hours if you’re in good shape and moving!

    Windows hike is easy to get to because it’s all downhill but coming back whips most people, especially older people and people who thought this would be a nice little easy hike.

    Carry water everywhere you go! Not talking about your 20 oz plastic bottles! Have a hydration pack! Did so many S&R for dumb people who think that 3 miles in the open desert and when they have shade they are getting the heat from the sandstone reflecting you!

    Want to save time? Stay in the park and skip Terlingua it’s a 39-mile drive to Panther Junction and 47 miles to Terlingua to Santa Elena Canyon Overlook. From Panther Junction to Santa Elena is 43 miles. Each place is going to take you an hour to get to! Now on the East side or North end, it’s 70+ miles from Terlingua that’s just about two hours of driving!

    A lot of time is wasted driving around the park to get to one part or another! That’s not mentioned at all and that time can add up quickly. On the first day, Terlingua to Panther Junction is 43 miles so 1 hour from there to the West Canyon is 47 miles another 1 hour you are on this road and you have rubber neckers who don’t care so let’s say 1.5 hours. Did you bring food? If not that’s going back to Panther junction or Terlingua 43 or 47 miles one way and another 1 or 1.5 hours. So by early afternoon, you would be driving more then you will have the chance to see or hike

    I know I’m not some article writer but feel after living in Big Bend National park as a Park Ranger and having hiked every tail some not even open to the public I have a lot more insight than someone who was there for three days and did not even see the Dinosaur exhibit right off the road! Or the huge bolder that’s off the side of the mountain. They are about the size of a large house or building. Or even went down Old Maverick road which has an old house you can go into the guy who built it and lived there with his wife and 7 or 9 kids.

    The best advice is to get the Falcons to guide you to Big Bend it has every public hike there how many miles and elevation? It also has some great information on trails that are not used much and how you know you’re going the right way.

    Last advice if you do go out to the mines there are a lot of interesting things out there like the engine and body of an old Model -T Ford and parts of clay pots laying all over. DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING around there it’s an old quicksilver mine we call this day Mercury and it’s all over the place.

    In 1945 or 46 when they closed it down they shot all the mules and tossed their bodies down the mine shaft. As most of them were blind and had horrible tumors growing on them. The average life of a mule there was about a year. It’s an awesome trip and it’s just about in the middle so you can see the East and West Canyons also the Chisos mountains , old Mountains of Mexico

    1. Avatar for Darla Clark
      Darla Clark

      Hi Clay. My husband, daughter and myself are headed to Big Bend in March. We are going to be staying near the Persimmon Gap entrance but of course want to see as much as the park as possible. We are staying in an RV but I could not get a reservation at the Rio Grande RV park. Any other advice you would like to give? We are super experienced hikers so we won’t be doing any7 hour long hikes or overnighters. Thank you

  3. Avatar for Maricarmen

    Great guide! Do you know if we can bring our dogs along for easy hikes? Also, did you encounter any wildlife we should be on the lookout for? Looking forward to our 4-day vacation at Big Bend.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      It’s possible to see coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions at Big Bend, but these are rare appearances, from what I know. It’s more common to see a group of javelinas, which look like small, furry pigs. Pets are not allowed on the hiking trails and you can read more about where you can take your dogs here (but it will be best to leave them at home or at your hotel, if they allow it). I hope you have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

    2. Avatar for Clay
  4. Avatar for Tyler Srubar
    Tyler Srubar

    This is the information I was looking for! A 5-day trip to Big Bend, 3 -day itinerary. How do I get a copy of your Big Bend National Park, ultimate 3-day itinerary? Thank you. -Rhonda

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      We don’t have a printable version of this itinerary but you can save it as a PDF (just be aware that the website is not optimized for printing). Press CTRL+P (command+P on a mac) to bring up the printer dialog box. From here you can print it or save it as a PDF. I hope you have a great trip to Big Bend! Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Bronna Lipton
    Bronna Lipton

    We just returned from Big Bend (March 2022) and the information provided by Earth Trekkers beforehand was invaluable!! We loved the recommendations and very specific directions which helped save us time and enhanced our trip. Especially loved Balanced Rock photo recommendations and the hints for rock scrambling in Ernst Tinaja. On the South Rim Trail, if it were not for their alert to look out for the spur trail with their photo of the trail, we would have missed the most incredible view of the entire 12.5 mile hike! Also was so happy we took their reco and hiked Closed Canyon, outside the park. Loved it!!

    Thank you again for all your great insights and info. We are grateful!!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Bronna. Thanks for writing in! You are very welcome and I am glad you had a great trip to Big Bend! Cheers, Julie

    2. Avatar for Clay

      They are allowed anywhere there is a vehicle trail! Know the laws and the places and you can bring your dog with you! I’d not recommend it as a lot of places where vehicles can go are not the best places to hike unless you know where you are going.

  6. Avatar for Cindy

    Great article! It sounds like the trip into Mexico won’t really give you local flavor because it’ll be full of tourists. Is that right?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      That’s how we felt. It is a town totally dedicated to tourism. It’s a nice idea, and a cool way to spend the afternoon, if you want Mexican food and margaritas, but I think there are better things to do while in the area. Cheers, Julie

    2. Avatar for Clay

      No! Where else can you buy goat tacos made fresh? How many people do you think cross over each day? On average per year maybe 40 people a day from open to close to over. Spring break or near that then it’s different!

      Falcons place awesome tamales best I have ever had they do something with the mase and it’s so good! Across from them is the goat taco shop! Again another awesome meal! Don’t forget to buy fresh tortillas!

      The cool story the lady who makes them received money from an organization that helps rural woman-owned businesses helped her get started with her tortilla-making business!

      Don’t feel bad or buy the junk that is on trails or near the river it is illegal to export! The people over in Mexico have an opportunity to receive their licenses for free and the park was even willing to allow them to sell at the border crossing but the majority did not apply for it! All free on the USA’s dime or should I say our taxes.

  7. Avatar for Jason

    This itinerary was PERFECT!!! We’re a bit out of shape so we only did the easy to moderate trails but we really enjoyed our three days there and I have you to thank for it!!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
    2. Avatar for Thomas

      Very nice trip to the Big Bend / Terlingua area . The area is also known for having the largest chili cook off in the world . The motor lodge , national park and Lajitas stores and gift shops sell Tom Dozier’s ghost town chili . An excellent gift to oneself or to friends to truly remember the southwest Texas experience.

  8. Avatar for Carl Fredrickson
    Carl Fredrickson

    Thank you for sharing this information. A few of us are heading to Big Bend in March 2022 to do some night sky photography.

    I use Google Maps extensively and have a number of saved maps that I’ve shared with others. The maps that you show can’t be saved as a favorite (star). Can update the article or post another link to the maps?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We just updated the maps in the article and I tested them and they all seem to be working.

      I logged into my google account in one browser tab and then I loaded the article in a separate browser tab. On the embedded map in the article I was able to click the star next to “Earth Trekkers” in the header of the map. Then within the Google Maps app on my mobile device I was able to select “Your places” in the menu and then the “Maps” tab. The Big Bend maps now appear in that list. Please give it another try and see if it is working for you now.

  9. Avatar for Sam

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