Located in southwest Texas, Big Bend National Park spans the whole Chisos mountain range and includes a large portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. Spanning over 3,000 km2, the park comprises over 800,000 acres of river canyons, mountains, trails and deserts for visitors to explore, along with a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from and a rich wildlife community which is always a big hit with nature-lovers. Whether you’re passing through southwest Texas or staying in the state for a vacation, no trip to the area would be complete without a visit to this famous and much-loved National Park. Here are some of the main things that can’t be missed during your visit!
#1. Santa Elena Canyon
At 1,500 feet deep, the Santa Elena Canyon is a vertical gorge that was once dubbed the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas’. Visitors can access the spectacular view of the canyon from a designated paved road, and walking just 100 yards will lead you to the water’s edge. If you’re up for it, there’s a short hiking trail of 1.5 miles that takes you up a series of paved steps before heading inside the Canyon and back to the edge of the river, allowing you to explore the Canyon’s shadowy depths. Check out this Big Bend National Park Map to find your way to the Canyon.
#2. Lajitas and River Road
Winding its way through Big Bend National Park is the Texas Highway 170, which has been described by National Geographic as one of the most scenic drives in the U.S. If you are traveling through Texas by car then you can’t miss out on this stunning, awesome journey which begins at the popular Lajitas Golf Resort. Along the way, you can bask in the amazing views of the Rio Grande. At the finishing point, you’ll be over 1,000 feet above the river below.
A tiny Mexican village that overlooks the Rio Grande across from Big Bend National Park, Boquillas del Carmen has an official U.S. port of entry, which costs just $5 for a rowboat trip to the other side. Once you’ve crossed the border, you can ride a horse into town; everyone you’ll meet is on horseback and there’s no cell service, making for a great experience that feels like going back in time. Don’t forget to stop at the local restaurant for authentic burritos and tacos.
#4. Langford Hot Springs
After a long day hiking the trails or exploring the area on horseback, you can head to Langford Hot Springs, a historic bath that you’ll find hidden away down a two-mile dirt road in Big Bend National Park and located adjacent to the Rio Grande. Since the baths were first developed back in 1906, they have been a favorite spot amongst visitors and locals; the clean, naturally heated waters are renowned in the area for their healing powers.
If you are planning a visit to Texas, a trip to Big Bend National Park is a must for your itinerary.