Top 8 Things to Do in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Madison is a content writer, editor, and small business owner living in Okinawa, Japan. She focuses primarily on Texas, Colorado, and Japan travel destinations as well as budget-friendly guidelines and hiking trips.
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Big Bend National Park is Texas’ most popular national park. Located in West Texas, this remote and secluded national park is found in a desert environment full of rolling hills and mountainous terrain. From hiking to stargazing to rafting the Rio Grande, there are so many great ways to enjoy this incredible Texas park. Enjoy your time in west Texas by experiencing these 8 best things to do in Big Bend National Park.
One of the main reasons people head to Big Bend National Park is to enjoy the number of incredible hiking trails. The park is home to a number of trails perfect for the beginner or even advanced hikers. If you’re looking for a difficult trek, take the South Rim Trail, which offers incredible views of the Chisos Mountains. For a short yet scenic hike, choose to walk Santa Elena Canyon, which is a 1,500-foot deep gorge.
Although not actually located in the park, Terlingua is a ghost town located just outside of Big Bend. Enjoy a hot meal at the Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Saloon and explore the abandoned buildings that gives Terlingua a distinct ghost vibe. At the turn of the century, Terlingua was a thriving mining towns, now it’s just a rest stop for park goers and photographers.
Enjoy Big Bend National Park from the inside of your car by going on the hundreds of miles of scenic roads here. From paved roads to four wheel drive dirt roads, you’ll find a scenic drive perfect for you. One of the most popular scenic rides is the Ross Maxwell Drive, which offers up some of the best views of the park. This 30 mile drive will bring you to pioneer settlement spots and to scenic outlooks overseeing Santa Elena Canyon and even Mexico.
The mighty Rio Grande River runs on the border of the park, and the border of the United States and Mexico. The river draws a number of rafters to Big Bend National Park. Take a canoe or kayak down the river, which has spots perfect for beginner and intermediate rafters. There are also some outfitters in the area that offer raft rentals and event guided trips down the Rio Grande.
Some of the trails in Big Bend National Park are open to horseback riders, and even some campsites are equipped with corrals. Visitors with their own horses are allowed to ride in the park with a proper permit. However even if you don’t have a horse, you can still find nearby outfitters that offer guided horseback riding tours, which can range from a couple hours to a couple days.
Big Bend National Park is known to have the least light pollution out of any national park in America, therefore it’s perfect for stargazing once the sun sets. Photographers, astronomers and star enthusiasts regularly head to the park to view millions of stars, moving satellites, planets and other celestial objects in the Milky Way. No matter if you view the stars from your campsite or a nearby hotel in the area, it’s sure to be breathtaking.
Big Bend National Park isn’t home to a golf course. However a nearby resort, Lajitas Resort, has an 18-hole championship course that regularly draws golfers year round. With incredible views of west Texas, this golf course will be both scenic and challenging. The resort itself offers luxury accommodations and an on-site spa.
Although Big Bend National Park is in a desert environment, visitors during the fall and winter regularly experience cold weather here. Therefore after a nice hike, soak your muscles and warm your bones at Langford Hot Springs. This natural hot spring, located in Big Bend National Park, is a great way relax during those chilly winter days.