Big Bend National Park Guide
If you’re looking for somewhere in Texas to go hiking, Big Bend National Park is a great choice. Especially if you’re looking for somewhere more warm during the winter months.
Where is Big Bend National Park?
In the middle of nowhere. Or at least, that’s what it feels like.
Big Bend National Park is in south west Texas, right by the border of Mexico. The closest town is called Terlingua, TX.
It’s also about an hour and a half south of the famous town, Marfa, Texas.
You may also like: Visiting Marfa, Texas: How I Spent A Day There
When is the best time to visit Big Bend National Park?
The best time to visit Big Bend National Park is during the spring or the fall. The park is in the middle of the desert so the summer time will be HOT. Since there is a lot of hiking to be done, I would not suggest hiking in the heat as much as possible. I went during Thanksgiving weekend and I was sweating like crazy.
Speaking of Thanksgiving weekend, it’s one of the busiest times of the year for Big Bend. Along with spring break week. These are the two time periods where people are off school and it’s not blazing hot. If you’re not wanting to worry about a crowd, I suggest avoiding those two weeks.
Where to stay in Big Bend National Park?
I have two suggestions of where to stay based on what type of environment you’re looking for.
If you’re looking to stay in the actual park, I suggest pitching a tent. They have many campgrounds that can be reserved for only $14 a night. This is a cheap stay. I would suggest reserving a spot in Chisos Basin if you can!
If you’re looking for a normal house-like experience, check out Airbnbs in Terlingua. Terlingua is the closest town to Big Bend National Park with places to stay and restaurants to eat at.
Emory Peak was definitely my favorite hike that I did while I was at Big Bend National Park. The hike was about 5 miles up and once you got to the top, it showed an amazing view of the park (see picture above).
I’m not going to lie, it was a difficult hike. I got about half way up there and realized that I didn’t have enough water to make it all the way up. Luckily a couple people that were hiking offered me more water and finished the hike with me. Let me tell you, it’s a ton easier when you’ve got fun people by your side hiking with you.
Santa Elena Canyon Trail
The Santa Elena Canyon Trail hike is much easier than Emory Peak. It was a 1.5 mile hike that can be done by both adults and children. I also found it much more relaxing because there was a spot for you to chill out by the water.
What’s cool about this hike is that the Santa Elena Canyon Trail is on the border of Texas and Mexico! Therefore if you can find your way in the river, you can be in two places at once!
The view at the end of the hike was also beautiful. So if you’re looking for an easier hike with a view, this is a great choice.
The Window Trail
The Window Trail hike was pretty easy in my opinion. Although, it is 5 miles from the beginning to end, I didn’t actually hike the entire thing. I walked for a bit until I found my way to Emory Peak.
The Window Trail is a great trail for a relaxing walk while checking out the scenery.
Sotol Vista isn’t really a hike but more of a place to drive your car and park, but I’m adding it to the list because it’s a great place to sit and watch the sunset at the end of the day!
Once I noticed the sun starting to set, I drove down roads until I found a spot I thought was great. Turns out, I wasn’t the only one who thought this was the spot to be at during sunset. I ended up being next to a wedding that was happening and they were getting wedding pictures with the sunset in the background. Trust me when I say it was beautiful!
There is a restaurant inside of the park called Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant.
If you find yourself hiking the Emory Peak trail or the Window trail, you’ll find yourself close to the Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant.
The restaurant has a bar inside along with seats that show a beautiful view of the mountains surrounding the restaurant. It’s a great place to eat with a view.
There are a few things that would have made my trips easier if I would have known ahead of time. These things include:
- Stop. At. Any. Gas. Station. You. See. I didn’t know that the close I got to the East side of Texas, the harder it was to find gas stations… or any towns at all. There was a point where I was afraid I would run out of gas with nothing around me. Do not make that mistake. Always stop at the gas station!
- Expect to lose phone service. I use my phone a lot when traveling. I use it for keeping track of plane tickets, taking pictures, GPS, etc. but once I got closer to the park, much of what I just listed was limited. I highly recommend pre-downloading google maps before going for this reason. If you download google maps before you lose signal, you can still use it without service. It’s a traveler’s best friend. Also, if you do have any tickets or reservations, be sure to take a screenshot so you can still see the information without needing to load it without signal.
- However much water you think you’ll need… bring more. You will be in the desert. It will be hot. You will need to be hydrated. Drink water.
- Bring your passport. There is an entrance way to get into Mexico from Big Bend National Park but if you don’t have your passport, you can’t cross the border! If you’re looking to be adventurous, bring it just in case.
So what are you waiting for? Buy the Plane Ticket to Big Bend National Park in Texas!