Julie United States 22 Comments

Isolated, remote, wild, rugged…this is Big Bend National Park. Located on the southwestern corner of Texas, within the Chihuahuan Desert, is an extraordinary mountain range that is a haven for hikers, backpackers, and outdoor enthusiasts. In this post, learn about the best things to do in Big Bend National Park with tips to help you have the best experience.


While in Big Bend National Park, please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trails, pack out what you bring to the hiking trails, 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.


Interesting Facts about 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.

Big Bend National Park gets its name from the prominent bend in the Rio Grande along this border.

This is one of the largest, most remote, and least visited national parks in the United States. In 2023, only 510,000 people visited the park. It might sound like a lot, but compare that with the 5 million people who visited Zion and the 13 million people who visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park that same year!

Big Bend officially became a national park on June 12, 1944.

Due to its remote location and low level of light pollution, Big Bend was designated as an International Dark-Sky Park in 2012. Measurements have shown that Big Bend has the darkest skies in the lower 48 states. Gazing up at the night sky is one of the best things to do in Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend National Park Sign

Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is a fairly large national park with three distinct areas: the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive region, Chisos Basin, and the Rio Grande Village. Most of the things to do fall within these regions, with a few outliers here and there. This list is organized by geographical location.

Best Things to Do along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Cruise down 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.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

However, there is a lot to do as you drive along this road. Scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and short strolls will keep you busy as you drive along this road.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive starts at Panther Junction Road and ends at the beautiful Santa Elena Canyon.

You can drive out and back along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive or you can drive one direction along Old Maverick Road. This is a dirt road that connects Santa Elena Canyon with the Maverick Junction entrance into Big Bend National Park (the west entrance near Terlingua). Old Maverick Road can close due to flooding.

Hike Santa Elena Canyon

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

Hiking Santa Elena Canyon is one of the best things to do in Big Bend National Park. It’s short, it’s easy, and this is the best up-close experience with the Rio Grande.

Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

For most of this hike, you walk along the edge of the river. There is one brief climb but it’s worth it…the views over the Rio Grande are breathtaking (check out the cover photo for this post). The trail ends at a beautiful view into the Santa Elena Canyon.

Santa Elena Canyon Overlook

I heard great things about this overlook, but in my opinion, it did not live up to the hype. The view is nice but it doesn’t come close to what you see if you hike into Santa Elena Canyon.

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.

Santa Elena Overlook

Santa Elena Canyon Overlook | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

Tuff Canyon

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

This super easy stroll offers views of Tuff Canyon. You can walk the short loop to overlooks of the canyon, or, take the spur trail and walk through the canyon.

Tuff Canyon

Tuff Canyon | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

See the Mule Ears

The Mule Ears are a unique rock formation that looks like 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. This trail ends a spring, so it does not take you all of the way to the Mule Ears.

HIKING STATS FOR THE SPRING TRAIL: 3.8 miles long. Moderate. Allow 2 to 3 hours

Mules Ears

Mules Ears | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

Hike the Lower Burro Mesa Pour-Off

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

This pretty little hike wanders 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.

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.

Sotol Vista

Sotol Vista Overlook | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

Best Things to Do in Chisos Basin

Chisos Basin was our favorite area of the 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.

Watch the Sunset at the Window

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

The Window View Trail is a paved, flat trail leads to a viewpoint of the Window, a cut-out in the Chisos mountain range that is one of the best sunset points in the park.

Hike the Window Trail

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

Not to be confused with the Window View Trail, the Window Trail is a moderately strenuous hike that ends at the Window. From here, you have stunning views of Big Bend National Park.

Hike the Lost Mine Trail

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

The Lost Mine Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the 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 | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

Hike the 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. If you have plans to hike to the South Rim or Emory Peak, the hike will start on this same trail. Beware of bear and mountain lion.

Emory Peak, the Highest Point in Big Bend

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

Emory Peak is the highest peak in the Chisos Mountains and Big Bend National Park. It’s a tough hike but the view over the park is unbeatable.

Best Hikes in Big Bend

Emory Peak | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

There are two different ways to do this hike. The quickest and most direct way is to hike out-and-back to Emory Peak from the Chisos Basin Visitor Center. Option #2, a full day adventure, is to hike the South Rim Trail and add on the detour to Emory Peak.

Hike the South Rim Trail

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

The South Rim Trail is one of the best ways to experience Big Bend National Park. Starting in the Chisos Basin, you will steadily climb up to the South Rim, where jaw-dropping views of the Chihuahuan Desert await. Add on the short but steep climb up Emory Peak for an even more epic experience.

South Rim Big Bend

South Rim Trail | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park


South Rim View Big Bend

Best Things to do near 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 and visit the Mexican town Boquillas del Carmen.

Rio Grande Hot Springs

Distance: 1 mile | Difficulty: Easy | Time: Allow 30 minutes for the hike, longer to relax in the hot springs

Soaking in the hot springs is one of the best things to do in Big Bend National Park. The Hot Springs Historic Trail is a short, easy trail that takes you to 105°F hot springs.

US National Parks List

Visit Boquillas del Carmen

Cross the Rio Grande into Mexico and visit the small town Boquillas del Carmen. This is a very popular thing to do in Big Bend National Park.

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.

Boquillas Rowboat

Crossing the Rio Grande | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park


Boquillas River Crossing

View of the rowboats on the Rio Grande, photo taken from Mexico

To get to Boquillas del Carmen, 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 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.

Road to Boquillas

The small town 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.

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 before 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.

Boquillas Restaurant

To get back into the park, return to the Rio Grande, 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. 

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.

About Our Experience: This was one of our least favorite experiences in Big Bend. The walk to get to and from the town was annoying and the town was very touristy and lacked any real charm. I guess a few margaritas would have made it more worthwhile, but Big Bend National Park is such a beautiful place that we would rather explore the trails by day and have those drinks later, once the sun set.

Planning a visit to the US national parks? Visit our Guide to the National Parks to learn more about the parks, with important travel planning tips, sample itineraries, advice on when to go, where to stay, and more.

Rio Grande Village Nature Trail

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

This short hiking trail loops through a marshy area on the edge of the Rio Grande. This is a great place for wildlife viewing, with the chance to see fish and birds.

Boquillas Canyon Overlook

For a view of the Rio Grande, pop out of your car at this overlook. Below is the view you can expect. It’s OK, but if you want a better view, and you don’t mind a little hiking, drive a little farther to the Boquilllas Canyon Trail.

Boquillas Overlook

Boquillas Canyon Overlook | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend Travel Guide

Hike the Boquillas Canyon Trail

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

This trail is similar to Santa Elena Canyon in that it follows along the edge of the Rio Grande. The start (and end) of this hike is the most challenging, with a steep but brief climb up and over a good-sized hill (enjoy the view…it’s a better view than what you get at the nearby Boquillas Canyon Overlook). Then, it is a mostly flat and scenic walk along the river.

Rio Grande

Boquillas Canyon

Boquillas Canyon | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

Rio Grande Overlook

This is skippable, but I am including it just to be thorough, since it is a popular viewpoint. It’s called the Rio Grande Overlook, although you really are nowhere near the river at this viewpoint. If you plan to visit the Boquillas Canyon Overlook, hike the Boquillas Canyon Trail, or cross the river into Mexico, you will have much better views of the river than from this viewpoint.

Rio Grande Overlook

Ernst Tinaja

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

This was our favorite experience in Big Bend National Park.

This is a short, easy trail through a slot canyon, featuring a series of waterholes located within colorful layers of limestone rock. 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.

Ernst Tinaja

Ernst Tinaja | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park


Ernst Tinaja Hike

Getting here can also be an adventure. The Ernst Tinaja trail is located on Old Ore Road, a rough, gravel road that is only suitable for high-clearance vehicles with four-wheel drive. So, in order to do this hike, you will need a 4WD vehicle.

More Things to Do in and around Big Bend National Park

Fossil Discovery Exhibit

Journey through 130 million years of geologic time and learn about the plants and animals that once called this area home. In this exhibit, you can see the fossils of sea creatures (from a time when a shallow sea covered this area), dinosaurs, and mammals.

Hike to Balanced Rock

Distance: 2.2 miles | Difficulty: Easy to moderate | Time: 1 to 2 hours

This short, relatively easy hike is one of the best things to do in Big Bend National Park. There is a brief section of rock scrambling that is fun for kids and adults and it features one of the most unique rock formations in the park.

Balanced Rock Big Bend

Balanced Rock | Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

To get here, you will drive 6.3 miles on a well-maintained gravel road named Grapevine Spring. This road starts on Gano Springs Road, near Chisos Basin and Panther Junction.

Go on a Rio Grande Canoe Trip

Floating along the Rio Grande is one of the best experiences in Big Bend National Park. Your options range from half-day excursions to multi-day canoeing trips along the river. Learn more on the national park website. 

Rio Grande Canoe Trip

Go Star Gazing

With the least amount of light pollution than any other national park in the lower 48 states, Big Bend is one of the best places to view the night sky. Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies and then enjoy the view of constellations and even the Milky Way.

Terlingua Ghost Town

Located just outside of Big Bend National Park is the Terlingua Ghost Town. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Terlingua was home to a thriving mining company. That eventually came to an end, the miners left, and this became a ghost town.

People began returning in the 1960’s. Now, Terlingua hosts a famous Chili Cook-Off, which put it back on the map.

Spend an hour wandering through the town. There is an old graveyard and numerous shops and restaurants. The best thing to do here is to have dinner at the Starlight Theatre Restaurant (get here early and expect to wait in line to get in).

Terlingua Ghost Town

Visit Big Bend Ranch State Park

It might be hard to pull yourself away from the amazing hiking trails and landscapes in Big Bend National Park, but right around the corner is the just as beautiful and much less crowded Big Bend Ranch State Park. With short hiking trails, slot canyons, and another gorgeous scenic drive, this is worth at least a few hours of your time. 

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Closed Canyon Trail


10 Best Things to Do in Big Bend National Park

From everything on this list, here are our top 10 experiences to have in and around Big Bend National Park.

1. Hike the Ernst Tinaja Trail
2. Enjoy the view from Emory Peak
3. Hike the South Rim Trail
4. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
5. Hike Santa Elena Canyon
6. Hike to Balanced Rock
7. The Lost Mine Trail
8. Big Bend Ranch State Park
9. Go star gazing
10. Soak in the Rio Grande Hot Springs

Best Things to Do in Big Bend: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (things to do in Big Bend). 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.

How to Get to Big Bend National Park

Big Bend has a very remote location. To get here, expect to do a lot of driving.

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.

Where is Big Bend

Location of Big Bend

How Much Time Do You Need in Big Bend?

If you want to explore all three areas of the park (Chisos Basin, Rio Grande Village, and along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive), you will need a minimum of three days. More time is better, as this allows you to go on longer hikes, visit Big Bend Ranch State Park, and thoroughly explore the park without feeling too rushed.

When to Go to Big Bend

Fall and spring are the best times to visit Big Bend National Park. Temperatures are mild during the day and cool at night. There is more rainfall during the autumn months. March is one of the busiest months in the park, because of the favorable weather conditions and spring break travelers.

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, 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, even during peak season. 

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.

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.

Map Big Bend NPS

Map of Big Bend from the NPS website.

About Cellular Service

Cell service is extremely limited in the park. We had no service at the Rio Grande Village, near Santa Elena, and on the majority of the hiking trails. We did have a low signal near Panther Junction and Chisos Basin. Don’t rely on cellular service while you are in the park.

Outside of the park, cellular service is not much better. We could get a signal in Terlingua, but it wasn’t reliable. Outside of that, even in Lajitas and other small towns, we had very little cellular service. If you think you will need cellular service or an internet connection, stay in a hotel that offers reliable WiFi.

Where to Stay

We stayed at two different locations 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

Like the idea of staying in a yurt? This is not any old yurt. This feels like a cross between staying in a 4-star hotel and camping in a remote location.

Where to Stay in Big Bend

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.

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.

In 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.

If you have any questions about the best things to do in Big Bend National Park, let us know in the comment section below!

More Information about Big Bend National Park

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK: We also have a 3 Day Big Bend Itinerary, plus information about the best hikes in Big Bend including how to hike to Emory Peak, how to hike to Ernst Tinaja (one of the best underrated experiences in the park), and things to do in nearby Big Bend Ranch State 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.

AUSTIN & SAN ANTONIO: Learn about the Best Things to Do in Austin and where to eat in our Austin Restaurant Guide. If San Antonio is on your list, learn how to spend 24 Hours in San Antonio.

GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS: Read our article Best Things to Do in Guadalupe Mountains National Park for a full list of things to do, plus important information and helpful tips to plan your visit here.

VISIT THE US NATIONAL PARKS: Looking for your next big adventure? Read our post Best National Parks, where we narrow down the long list into 15 must-see parks. You can also learn more about the national parks (and get the full list) in our Guide to the US National Parks. Finally, if you are traveling as a family, here are the best national parks to visit with kids.


If this is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, visit our Texas Travel Guide and United States Travel Guide for more inspiration and travel planning tips.


Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park Guide


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Comments 22

  1. Avatar for Cate

    Thank you for your very helpful website!! How bad really is the Old Ore Road to get to Ernst Tinaja?? I don’t have a 4WD vehicle but would love to do this! Thank you in advance for any details you can provide!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Cate. Old Ore Road is rough in spots. We did this in 2020 and it wasn’t too bad, but road conditions can change frequently. There is a giant sign posted by the National Park Service at the start of the road that says “a four wheel drive is required.” Hopefully you can rent a 4×4 for Big Bend so you can do this. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Monica

    Would going in early July be a bad idea due to the weather? Our family is pretty fit and doesn’t mind heat, but we’ve never experienced summer desert heat. We’re going for the night sky and some shorter hikes. Will we be able to enjoy the day time hours? Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      I did a quick search on weather in Big Bend in July. The high temp gets up to an average of 102 degrees and at night it gets down into the low to mid 70’s. So, it’s hot. If you only plan to do short hikes and don’t mind the heat, you could hike first thing in the morning, take a break or do scenic drives midday, and then go back out at night. If 102 doesn’t sound terrible to you (it sounds terrible to me 🤣), then you can plan your visit for July. Just do your best to start and end early and carry lots of water. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Sharon CLARK
    Sharon CLARK

    Please revise your comments about visiting the Balanced Rock. In 2019, we rode our Harleys and were told the road was gravel and OK for motorcycles. Well, that is not so! About half way there the rocks were so large that three bikes went down…this is definitely NOT advisable for motorcycles!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      The national park service states that Grapevine Road is suitable for all vehicles, until you get to the Balanced Rock trailhead, at least as of 2021. Maybe road conditions were different when you did this in 2019. But thank you for sharing your experience. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Travis Morgan
    Travis Morgan

    Planning a trip for Thanksgiving week. Have a hunting camp in Sanderson so me and family will be there for 9 days. Plan on spending 3 days in the park. Would it be wise to stay all 3 nights in the lodge in the park? Or should I stay in other places? I know you said going accross to Mexico was not fun but was it just because of the dust? My kids I think would love that type of Adventure.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      3 nights and 3 days in the park is perfect. In fact, on my to do list is to write a 3 day itinerary for Big Bend NP. You can stay in a lodge or campground in the park, or stay outside of the park in and around Terlingua. One place is perfect and there is no need to move around, in my opinion. You will have some long drives but really it’s not bad.

      Spend 1 day in Chisos Basin, 1 day along Maxwell Scenic Drive, and 1 day at the Rio Grande Village with the day trip to Mexico. We just weren’t big fans of the entire experience to Boquillas del Carmen…from the dusty road to the touristy town. We love hiking and just felt like our time would have been better spent on another trail. But that’s just us. There are many people who do this and love it. With 3 days, I think it’s worth it…how often do you get to day trip across the border to Mexico and drink margaritas? 😊

      Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Rose

    I have looked at so many websites trying to plan our trip to Big Bend and have been so overwhelmed.. This is exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you for such a concise and helpful write-up. Now I’m able to look forward to our visit!!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  6. Avatar for Priya

    Planning to go in March. I did not see your favorite places to eat around Big Bend other than Starlight? Any more recommendations?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      There aren’t a whole lot of places to eat. We ate at the High Sierra Bar and Grill in Terlingua and it wasn’t very good. We also ate at a Mexican restaurant in the same town, can’t remember the name, but it was also mediocre. So then we just had the rest of the meals at Lajitas Golf Resort. The food here is pretty good. You can look on Trip Advisor for more recommendations. Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for Denise G
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  8. Avatar for Lora

    Thanks for this article. Hope to visit later this year. I will have two days here so what are your suggestions of how I spend this time. Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Hello Lora. On day 1, I recommend driving Maxwell Scenic Drive and hiking several of the short hiking trails along this road. Santa Elena Canyon is a must-do. Have dinner at the Starlight Theatre Restaurant in Terlingua. If you like hiking, spend the next day hiking the Lost Mine Trail or the South Rim/Emory Peak Trail. If hiking is not your thing, go to Rio Grand Village and consider visiting Boquillas del Carmen. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for Richard Liu
    Richard Liu

    We came back from Big Bend a week ago. It was a great pleasure and experience, we followed your steps and your photos, everything seems so familiar, everyone in our group enjoyed the trip very much. Thank you so so much.
    Since people (total 13) in our group are between 65 to 82, with regrets. we skipped Emory Peak trail, South Rim trail, and Ernst Tinaja (car rental company did not have 4X4 at pickup location as they promised).
    Anyway, it was great memories for all of us, extraordinary beautiful scenery views, nice weather (40-65F), no rain, good food (ordered to go from Starlight Theatre Restaurant).
    Again, thank you so much for your kindly help.

    BTY, How can I send you some of the pictures from this trip?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  10. Avatar for Richard Liu
    Richard Liu

    Thanks for the detail tour descriptions about Big Bend National Park. So so great. we’ll visit the place around the Thanksgiving time this year and definitely will follow your steps.
    Just one quick question, are there plenty of rest rooms on the roads?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, there are restrooms located throughout the park (at Visitor Centers and popular viewpoints/trailheads). Sometimes they are just pit toilets with no running water so it’s a good idea to have hand sanitizer and maybe even some toilet paper with you. Have fun!! Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Richard Liu
        Richard Liu

        Thanks a lot, this will really help, because we have several people over 70′ in our group. I’ll let you know the experience of Big Bent after back to Houston. Can’t wait. Smiles

        1. Avatar for Julie Post

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