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48 Hours in Big Bend National Park – What to Do and See

48 Hours in Big Bend National Park – What to Do and See

Welcome to Massive Bend National Park. An explosion of color on the Rio Grande in the middle of nowhere West Texas.

If you didn’t imagine Texas had sweeping mountains, spectacular peaks, and countless mountain views, prepare to be wowed. This is how to best expend 48 several hours in Large Bend National Park, Texas.

Dom Rock

48 Hours in Big Bend National Park – What to Do and See

In a park as substantial as Large Bend, masking above 150 miles, if you have only obtained a pair of times, you are going to have to make some difficult decisions. I essentially started in the Major Bend State Park, which is suitable up coming door, with a person of the very best Rio Grande river views you can find for the sunset.

This spot is regarded as huge hill, or if you examine on Google Maps, it’s identified as Dom Rock, named soon after a bottle of hidden Dom Perignon from the movie Fandango

Be absolutely sure to get there all around 45 minutes prior to the sunlight actually sets, mainly because it goes down individuals canyon partitions immediately. From here you are going to be on the lookout out at the perspective straddling Texas and Mexico, partitioned by the meandering river. Access this a single about 12 miles down scenic highway 170 previous the town of Lajitas. 

Misplaced Mine Trail

The upcoming morning for sunrise, if you’re up for an early wake up, which I hugely propose, the Lost Mine path supplies amazing sights. You only require to hike in about a mile in on the path to look at as the climbing solar paints the rocks purple and then gold, sweeping out to the valley in the distance. 

This is a rather easy hike, and it’s most effective to get there early, as the small parking large amount fills up quickly.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

The Sotol Vista Forget

The Ross Maxwell Scenic travel will have to have turning again toward the park entrance (but not as well far) for one of the ideal drives in the total park. Furthermore, it finishes at just one of the park’s most popular options – the Santa Elena Canyon.

There are a lot of stops all alongside the way with side hikes and overlooks, like the Sotol Vista pictured higher than, so give yourself loads of time for this one particular. Optional facet hikes include things like:

  • Lessen Burro Mesa Trail – An uncomplicated, 30 minute hike with attractive canyon views and possibilities to see spring wildflowers.
  • Chimneys Path – An additional shorter and flat hike, while if selecting among Decreased Burro and this one particular, pick the Lessen Burro.
  • Mule Ears Springs Path – Beautiful sights of some special rock formations and a wonderful location for night pictures.
  • Tuff Canyon Overlook – This swift roadside stop appears to be like down into a white canyon. It’s one more speedy, easy hike into the canyon if you’re eager.
  • Dorgan Household Path – Test out some old buildings and ruins on this roadside pulloff.
  • Santa Elena Canyon Ignore – A rapid cease on your way down to hike or kayak the Canyon.

Santa Elena Canyon

Almost certainly the most photographed and famous characteristic of Major Bend, the Santa Elena Canyon offers a likelihood to perform in, kayak on, hike as a result of, or hike beside the Rio Grande. Love the coolness of the canyon whilst being in two locations at at the time – split amongst Texas and Mexico.

Based on how large the water is, you might have to get your toes soaked to cross the Rio Grande in order to accessibility the path. For this explanation, I would suggest footwear that do perfectly in drinking water. I also recognized persons who brought kayaks to kayak down the river and have to admit I was jealous.

Nonetheless, the check out from together the path is beautiful, and if you make it there for dawn, you can capture a fantastic glimpse of the rising sun above the river from a couple switchbacks up at the starting of the path, just after crossing the river. It’s a brief, simple path with a little bit of elevation loss and get that finishes at a wonderful view searching even further into the canyon.

Sunset at the Windows

The other most well-known detail to do in the park is catching sunset at the Windows. This is a visitor favourite many thanks to the straightforward accessibility and the outstanding sun location suitable in between this exceptional rock development. For some added training, hike a 5 mile path to get closer to the home windows, or you can glimpse at them from the paved, simple loop available from the Chisos Basin Visitor Middle parking space.

That reported, what you see pictured above is a distinct see. I knew that the just about-entire moon would be soaring on the other side of the windows, so I selected to look at the sunset/moonrise from the west all around mile marker 2 on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. This distinct image was taken down a grime road closer to mile 3, supplying more of a facet profile of one facet of the Home windows.

Though I significantly viewed as viewing the sunset by way of the Windows, I also desired to see what it would be like observing the sun paint the mountains pink with that effectively-timed moon increase. It intended somewhat much less driving following experiencing the Santa Elena Canyon as perfectly!

This is also an choice if you want to observe the dawn by means of the Windows.

Grapevine Hills and Balanced Rock

For my 2nd dawn, I created my way out to the Grapevine Hills and Well balanced Rock Path. This is one more easy, fairly flat trail with awesome sights at the close, especially for the dawn. Though most people arrive in this article to see the well balanced rock, I was extra partial to the Grapevine Hills see at the top of the trail.

in order to accessibility this space, you are going to want to change down a dirt highway practically adjacent to basin junction. If it has recently rained I could consider this street currently being impassible. Even with dry situations, the starting of the street was no issue, but then it started to get a tiny bit washboardy and for my rental automobile, a bit too dangerous for the very last 50 percent mile. Fortunately there was a great little location I could effortlessly pull off and park, generating it an easy hike in. It added a little bit of time to my hike, but the walk out on the street back to the car or truck was awesome as perfectly!

You have received about an hour before the dawn will illuminate the rock formations in this canyon, so you catch a handful of additional Zs than you could if hiking the Lost Mine trail for sunrise, by comparison.

South Rim and Emory Peak

The South Rim view by Davey Nin made use of under Artistic Commons

By far the longest and most complicated recommendation on this listing, the south rim hike delivers the major reward in terms of magnificent views. This hike is about 12 miles round-vacation, and you’ll have the choice to add on Emory Peak as perfectly. If you decide on to do this as a day hike, hold in thoughts this is not proper for the summertime, and you will want to leave right at sunrise in buy to be capable to complete the total detail, so you could possibly want to decide on this 1 in its place of the Balanced Rock Trail if you only have 48 several hours.

I was dying to do this hike, and below ordinary conditions would have, but I had a lengthy push in advance of me and just barely didn’t have plenty of time to do it justice. That explained, if I had been to return, I’d get a backcountry allow and change this into an overnight hike, as there are a couple of established backcountry campsites alongside the rim. The best scenario scenario for me would be the possibility to enjoy the sunset, stargaze, and catch the dawn wanting at this extraordinary look at.

Stargazing Solutions

1 of the very best things about getting in such a remote locale is the possibility to see the evening sky in her whole glory. The ideal time to see the renowned Milky Way core is from mid-March until finally mid-Oct, but at any time during the yr is a superb time to search at the evening sky.

Though I was there for the duration of a comprehensive moon, which presents its possess special photography opportunities, moonlight will severely inhibit your capacity to see the stars, so make guaranteed that you go for the duration of a new moon if you are heading especially to stargaze. I find Moon Large to be incredibly useful for preparing needs. Further details if you take a look at all through a new moon and a meteor shower!

Close by – Try to eat and Lay Your Head

Component of the pleasurable checking out Major Bend Nationwide Park is hanging out in the cities close by as very well. They have so significantly character and identity!

Terlingua is the closest town to the park and your greatest wager for mouth watering eats. The most well-liked regional spot for supper is the Starlight Theater in the Terlingua ghost town. People tend to hang out for an hour or so just before it opens, ingesting beers from the nearby reward store and playing audio on the wooden deck. Prepare to wait a little bit in purchase to be capable to take in listed here as it is common, but from what I listen to it is value it!

There’s an aged cemetery close by also well worth examining out for a peek into the city mining background.

For breakfast, test out La Posada Milagro nearby for espresso and breakfast burritos.


If you are scheduling on paying the greater part of your time in huge Bend nationwide Park itself, the most effortless alternative are campground reservations in the park, though they tend to reserve out pretty considerably in progress in the course of the cooler months. There are also some choices in Terlingua.

I personally stayed at the Lajitas Golfing Vacation resort in Lajitas, which is conveniently located appropriate up coming to Big Bend Condition Park. They have a number of dining establishments on site, along with a golf class, zip lining, and other things to do. This is a great family members selection and an option for these who want a lot more wide range than just hikes in the park.

If you have much more time, the greatest circumstance state of affairs would be to remain within just the park to discover the national park, and at the Latijas Golf Resort to take a look at the condition park.

On Your Way

Considering the fact that Huge Bend National Park is in the center of nowhere, you will have a long generate no matter of exactly where you’re coming from. Most people today fly into El Paso. On the way, I extremely advise halting in Fort Davis to break up the 5-hour drive.

The Davis Mountains Point out Park features lovely views of the bordering area and is a terrific place to capture the sunset. Generate to the conclude of the Skyline Generate for the ideal sights.

Later on, I hugely recommend heading to the McDonald Observatory for a person of their star events (calendar right here). This gives you an prospect to glance by their telescopes at stars and constellations. This is an additional time when it would be prudent to choose the moon phases into account, as darkish skies make for a a lot improved stargazing.

Though in Fort Davis, I stayed at the Stone Village Vacationer camp and ate breakfast at the Stone Village Marketplace and beloved the pleasant atmosphere. If you’re a espresso lover, they provide scrumptious neighborhood, absolutely free trade, organic espresso in the store!

Seasonal Things to consider

Major Bend can get scorching in the summer months, with temperatures consistently topping 90°F. Summer season is also the monsoon season, when flash flooding and rain are more common. In the wintertime, get ready for near to freezing temperatures, primarily right away.

Close to March, you may possibly get fortunate enough to see some wildflowers in the park, which include cactus bouquets! That reported, maintain in head that this is close to spring break, which is almost certainly a person of the most preferred periods to check out. I went in early February and was delighted by how uncrowded it was!

No matter of when you go, Significant Bend offers a one of a kind option for dark skies, lovely hikes, and wonderful solitude.

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*This put up was introduced to you in collaboration with Travel Texas. All ideas on the elegance of Major Bend are my very own.