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Big Bend National Park

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J F M A M J J A S O N D

193 mi 310 km of trail 16 Featured Hikes

Gems 6 Gems Easy Trails 39 Trails Intermediate Trails 25 Trails Hard Trails 0 Trails

Big Bend National Park is home to a diverse and varied landscape. The park is known for coal black night skies and the amazing shrine-like fissures that the rivers have carved into the karstic limestone. A land of geological wonder, visitors can explore the rich history of the land and its sea fossils, dinosaur bones, and volcanic dikes that break the desert landscape. The park is also a land of borders - a place where countries and cultures meet and where hundreds of bird species take refuge in the solitary mountain range and determined cactus bloom in the weather-beaten desert. Visitors will enjoy exploring the meandering river corridor of the Rio Grande, the expansive desert floors, and the impressive sky island ridge tops that reach for the stars.

To learn more about Big Bend National Park, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
  • Chisos Basin: Open daily from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Closed for lunch. Reduced hours on Christmas day.
  • Panther Junction: Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Reduced hours on Christmas day.
  • Persimmon Gap: Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm. Closed for lunch.
  • Castolon: Open seasonally from November to April, 10 am to 4 pm. Closed for lunch.
  • Rio Grande Village: Open seasonally from November to April, 8:30 am to 4 pm. Closed for lunch.

Visiting Tips

Big Bend National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Entrance fee stations have variable hours and seasons. Big Bend's busy season is generally November through April, and the park is often full to capacity during Thanksgiving week, Christmas holiday season, and spring break (mid-March). Advance reservations for camping and lodging are highly recommended. To maximize your visit, plan ahead and have a flexible itinerary.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.

Camping & Lodging

Camping:
The park operates three developed campgrounds. A limited number of campsites in Rio Grande Village and the Chisos Basin campgrounds are reservable from November 15 to April 15. Reservations may be made up to 180 days in advance by visiting recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations. For more information on reservations, click here. The concession-operated Rio Grande Village RV Campground (with full hook-ups) is also located at Rio Grande Village. For reservations call 1-877-386-4383 or 432-477-2293.


Backcountry Camping:
Big Bend has a number of primitive campsites along backcountry roads. While some sites are accessible to most vehicles, a high clearance and/or 4-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to reach others. Primitive sites offer excellent views, solitude, and a flat gravel space to set up camp next to your vehicle. No shade, toilets, or other amenities are provided. A backcountry use permit is required to camp at any of these sites. More information can be found on the park's website.

Lodging:
The Chisos Mountains Lodge, operated by Forever Resorts, Inc., is located in the Chisos Basin at 5,400 feet elevation. The lodge offers a variety of rooms and cottages, plus a gift shop and dining room. The lodge is open year-round. Reservations can be made online or by calling (877) 386-4383 or (432) 477 2291.

Food & Drink

The Mountain View Restaurant, located in the Chiso Mountain Lodge, provides the only full-service dining inside the park. The restaurant has a grand vista of the basin and surrounding peaks and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, there are three convenience stores located at the Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin, and Castolon which carry basic camping supplies and groceries. Two gas stations are located at Panther Junction and Rio Grande Village. For visitors looking for additional dining options, the nearby towns of Terlingua and Study Butte have plenty of options.

Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

Big Bend National Park offers a variety of ranger-led programs that vary by season. All programs, unless otherwise specified, are free and open to the public. To learn more about these ranger-led programs and to see the current events calendar, click here.

REI Adventures:
REI offers over 30 national park trips led by expert guides capable of taking you off the beaten path to discover hidden gems that many visitors never see.

Check out REI Adventures' national park offerings here.

Other Activities

With over 100 miles of paved roads, 150 miles of dirt roads, and about 200 miles of trail, Big Bend Nationa Park offers nearly limitless opportunities for scenic driving, hiking, running, camping, backpacking, horseback riding, bird watching, wildlife observation, and stargazing. Additionally, the Rio Grande borders the park for 118 miles providing options for half-day floats to extended excursion by raft, canoe, or kayak. More information on river trips can be found on the park's website. For visitors looking for other opportunities for outdoor recreation outside the park, be sure to check out the nearby options for rock climbing and mountain biking in the area.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download the park's free visitor guide to help plan your visit, click here.

Areas Within Big Bend National Park

Gems in Big Bend National Park - 6

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

gem Favorite Santa Elena Canyon Trail

Santa Elena Canyon Overlook

(48) Lajitas, TX
gem Favorite Bask in the views from this overlook along the Oak Springs Trail.

The Window

(31) Big Ben…, TX
gem Favorite Balanced Rock is one of the top sunrise hikes! With views to the east the mountains of Sierra del Carmen light up a spectacular purple. Contrasted with the light, bouldered desert landscape it is a sight to behold.

Balanced Rock

(26) Big Ben…, TX
gem Favorite Ernst Tinaja

Ernst Tinaja

(16) Big Ben…, TX
gem Favorite South Rim

South Rim Viewpoint

(15) Big Ben…, TX
gem Favorite Tornillo Creek Meets the Rio Grande

Langford Hot Springs

(22) Big Ben…, TX

Featured Hikes in Big Bend National Park - 16

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Hikes

Favorite Lost Mine Trail looking south down Pine Canyon
Intermediate

Lost Mine Trail

4.6 mi 7.4 km • Out and Back • 1,057 ft Ascent 322.3 m Ascent

(77) Big Ben…, TX
Favorite Sunset from The Window trailhead
Intermediate

Window Trail

5.6 mi 9.1 km • Out and Back • 914 ft Ascent 278.58 m Ascent

(74) Big Ben…, TX
Favorite South Rim overlook, Big Bend Nat'l Park
Intermediate/Difficult

Chisos Mountain Loop

16.6 mi 26.8 km • Loop • 3,323 ft Ascent 1012.97 m Ascent

(45) Big Ben…, TX
Favorite Santa Elena Canyon Trail
Easy/Intermediate

Santa Elena Canyon Trail

1.0 mi 1.5 km • Out and Back • 167 ft Ascent 50.94 m Ascent

(46) Lajitas, TX
Favorite Sunset from The Window trailhead
Intermediate/Difficult

Outer Mountain Loop

31.5 mi 50.7 km • Loop • 6,589 ft Ascent 2008.31 m Ascent

(23) Big Ben…, TX
Favorite Sunset from The Window trailhead
Intermediate/Difficult

Emory Peak

9.3 mi 14.9 km • Out and Back • 2,415 ft Ascent 736.17 m Ascent

(29) Big Ben…, TX
Favorite Balanced Rock is one of the top sunrise hikes! With views to the east the mountains of Sierra del Carmen light up a spectacular purple. Contrasted with the light, bouldered desert landscape it is a sight to behold.
Easy/Intermediate

Balanced Rock

2.0 mi 3.1 km • Out and Back • 236 ft Ascent 71.83 m Ascent

(26) Big Ben…, TX
Favorite Boquillas Canyon
Easy/Intermediate

Boquillas Canyon Trail

1.3 mi 2.1 km • Loop • 121 ft Ascent 36.97 m Ascent

(31) Big Ben…, TX

Trails in Big Bend National Park - 48

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

1.4 mi 2.2 km #1Lower Straw House Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
1.4 mi 2.2 km Big Bend National Park, TX
3.1 mi 5.0 km #2Pinnacles Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
3.1 mi 5.0 km Big Bend National Park, TX 12 
1.7 mi 2.8 km #3Oak Spring Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate/Difficult
1.7 mi 2.8 km Big Bend National Park, TX
2.5 mi 4.0 km #4Boot Canyon Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
2.5 mi 4.0 km Big Bend National Park, TX 11 
1.0 mi 1.6 km #5Cattail Falls
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
1.0 mi 1.6 km Big Bend National Park, TX
0.7 mi 1.1 km #6Indian Head Trail
Easy
Big Bend National Park, TX
Easy
0.7 mi 1.1 km Big Bend National Park, TX
4.0 mi 6.4 km #7Laguna Meadow Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
4.0 mi 6.4 km Big Bend National Park, TX 11 
1.8 mi 3.0 km #8Upper Burro Mesa Pour-off Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Easy/Intermediate
1.8 mi 3.0 km Big Bend National Park, TX 11 
6.2 mi 10.0 km #9Juniper Canyon Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate/Difficult
6.2 mi 10.0 km Big Bend National Park, TX
6.2 mi 9.9 km #10Mariscal Canyon Rim Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate/Difficult
6.2 mi 9.9 km Big Bend National Park, TX
5.7 mi 9.2 km #11Blue Creek Canyon Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate/Difficult
5.7 mi 9.2 km Big Bend National Park, TX
11.5 mi 18.5 km #12Dodson Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
11.5 mi 18.5 km Big Bend National Park, TX
2.0 mi 3.3 km #13Pine Canyon Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
2.0 mi 3.3 km Big Bend National Park, TX
0.4 mi 0.7 km #14Dorgan Sublett Trail
Easy
Lajitas, TX
Easy
0.4 mi 0.7 km Lajitas, TX
9.7 mi 15.7 km #15Elephant Tusk Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
9.7 mi 15.7 km Big Bend National Park, TX
0.5 mi 0.9 km #16Lower Burro Mesa Pour-off Trail
Easy
Big Bend National Park, TX
Easy
0.5 mi 0.9 km Big Bend National Park, TX
3.0 mi 4.9 km #17Devil's Den Wash
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
3.0 mi 4.9 km Big Bend National Park, TX
0.8 mi 1.2 km #18Colima Trail
Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Intermediate
0.8 mi 1.2 km Big Bend National Park, TX
2.3 mi 3.7 km #19Dog Canyon Trail
Easy
Big Bend National Park, TX
Easy
2.3 mi 3.7 km Big Bend National Park, TX
0.5 mi 0.8 km #20Rio Grande Village Nature Loop
Easy/Intermediate
Big Bend National Park, TX
Easy/Intermediate
0.5 mi 0.8 km Big Bend National Park, TX

Photos of Big Bend National Park - 284

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

South Rim overlook, Big Bend Nat'l Park
Sep 29, 2015 near Big Ben…, TX
This gem of a rock formation lies just past the large tinaja.
Feb 17, 2017 near Big Ben…, TX
Ernst Tinaja
Sep 29, 2015 near Big Ben…, TX
Sunset from The Window trailhead
Jun 28, 2018 near Big Ben…, TX
The Crown Mountain Fire burns below the Northeast Rim Trail.
May 24, 2017 near Big Ben…, TX
Bask in the views from this overlook along the Oak Springs Trail.
Mar 7, 2017 near Big Ben…, TX
hiking Rio Grande River beyond trail
Mar 7, 2018 near Lajitas, TX
Balanced Rock is one of the top sunrise hikes! With views to the east the mountains of Sierra del Carmen light up a spectacular purple. Contrasted with the light, bouldered desert landscape it is a sight to behold.
Feb 17, 2018 near Big Ben…, TX

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