Top Things to Do in Big Bend National Park
1. Hike the Chisos Mountains
The Chisos Mountains offer breathtaking vistas and numerous trails for hikers of all skill levels. Don’t miss the iconic Window View Trail, which offers a stunning view of the desert floor below through a natural rock formation. The South Rim Trail is ideal for more experienced hikers, rewarding them with panoramic views of the park.
2. Soak in the Hot Springs
Head to the historic Hot Springs, where you can soak in warm and soothing waters while surrounded by magnificent desert views. These thermal springs were once used by Native Americans and settlers and provide a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate after a day of exploring.
3. Raft the Rio Grande
The Rio Grande, flowing through Big Bend National Park, offers exciting whitewater rafting opportunities. Join a guided rafting tour and navigate the thrilling rapids while experiencing the beauty of this iconic river. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning canyons and wildlife along the way.
4. Explore Santa Elena Canyon
Take a trip to Santa Elena Canyon, a magnificent natural wonder formed by millions of years of erosion. Hike through the canyon, surrounded by towering limestone cliffs that reach up to 1,500 feet. For a unique perspective, consider a guided canoe trip down the Rio Grande within the canyon.
5. Visit the Fossil Discovery Exhibit
Learn about the ancient history and paleontological discoveries within Big Bend National Park at the Fossil Discovery Exhibit. See life-sized replicas of dinosaurs that once roamed the area and marvel at the fossils found within the park. Take part in educational programs and guided walks to delve deeper into the park’s prehistoric past.
6. Photograph the Milky Way
With little light pollution, Big Bend National Park offers incredible opportunities for stargazing and astrophotography. Grab your camera and tripod, and head to locations like the Basin or the Santa Elena Canyon to capture stunning images of the Milky Way against the backdrop of the park’s dark skies.
7. Drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
Embark on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, a spectacular road trip that winds through the park’s stunning landscapes. Marvel at the towering cliffs, colorful rock formations, and diverse flora along the way. Don’t forget to stop at iconic viewpoints such as Sotol Vista and Mule Ears Overlook.
8. Go Birdwatching
Big Bend National Park is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 450 bird species recorded within its boundaries. Grab your binoculars and explore various birding hotspots like the Chisos Basin, Rio Grande Village, and the Hot Springs. Keep an eye out for rare and elusive species such as the Colima Warbler and the Elegant Trogon.
9. Camp under the Desert Sky
Experience the incredible solitude and serenity of Big Bend National Park by camping under the vast desert sky. Choose from a range of developed campgrounds or opt for backcountry camping to truly immerse yourself in the park’s wilderness. Listen to the sounds of nature and witness unforgettable sunrises and sunsets.
10. Explore Boquillas Canyon
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Boquillas Canyon, a breathtaking gorge formed by the Rio Grande. Take a scenic hike along the river and admire the towering cliffs and vibrant vegetation. Don’t forget your passport – you can even cross into Mexico and experience the cultural charm of the nearby village of Boquillas del Carmen.
Big Bend National Park offers a wide array of activities for nature lovers, adventurers, and those seeking solace in the desert. From hiking the Chisos Mountains to soaking in the Hot Springs, rafting the Rio Grande to exploring Santa Elena Canyon, there is something for everyone in this stunning national park. Explore the park’s rich history, marvel at its geological wonders, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking landscapes – Big Bend National Park is a true gem waiting to be discovered.