A Plan for Your Big Bend National Park Trip

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Hiker catches a photo as we head toward the trail of Santa Elena Canyon.
Whoever said” It’s the voyage along the way that things” must’ve been from Texas. You can reasonably expect that it will take you at least two hours to arrive at your target, regardless of where you are in the position. Then, if you have your sights set on Big Bend National Park in south Texas, son are you in for an adventure.
One of the harshest plains you’ll climb, Big Bend, but the views are spectacular at night. Let me tell you a little about it. The animals and insects are out of this earth, and you’ll feel the World all around you at the bottom of the canyon. One moment you’ll be scorching warm, and the next you’ll experience precipitation. One thing is for certain, you can never overplan your journey to Big Bend Texas.
Table of Contents: ( Hide )
Best Time to Visit Big Bend
Reservations are Then Available for Apartments
What should I bring with me to Big Bend?
Great Bend and its location
Setting Up Camp
Best Viewing Paths
Respect Wildlife From a Distance
Do n’t Forget to Look Up,
Great Off in the Rio Grande
Training on Story at Historic Websites
Keep No Spur

the Santa Elena Canyon’s Rio Grande River flows through it.
Best Time to Visit Big Bend
The best time to visit Big Bend is in the fall or spring, like any plains. The times are also windy, but the beautiful days are not as harsh. Another time to travel in the winter is when you could, but get prepared with warm garments and blankets. As someone who has hiked in Palo Duro during 120- degree Centigrade weather and hardly survived, I’ve always attempted Great Bend in the summer, nor does you.
I’ve just visited Big Bend once during the winter, and once during the spring split. The first time I went was with a girl. We chose to vehicles tent in various locations throughout the area because the weather was perfect. It took about 40 minutes to drive to each trail, which is why we did n’t stay at one campground the whole time. A partner and I made the decision the next time to keep to one path for three days. That day, the wind was n’t so good to us and I learned my lesson about waters, but more on that later.
Opinions of Emory Peak from the South Rim
Reservations are Then Available for Apartments
Create apartments before leaving Big Bend. Reserve your campsite weeks – – even months – – in advance as no walk- up camping passes are handed out. The cost per campsite is about$ 16 per night. A$ 30 entrance fee is also required to get into Big Bend National Park. These fees help to promote protection and protect the garden.
The Rio Grande Village Campground is popular with individuals but if you can, try to get a ticket at Chisos Basin Campground. This park is set among the hills and surrounded by animals.
You need a force from the museum’s visitor facility to go through the wilderness. I have permission to hike along Emory Peak Trail immediately. The force is$ 10 a day but is first come, first offer. I had a second plan as a backup, so it was fortunate that mandates were n’t away when I arrived. Consider that as your signal to have a backup plan if you’re trying to briefcase several days and nights through Big Bend.
If going camping is n’t your thing, you can hike nearby lodges and resorts or use daytime trails. The ancient Chisos Mountains Lodge is a popular place to stay, but consider that Chisos Mountains Lodge is undergoing repairs starting in late 2024 and is predicted to take at least two years to complete.
What should I bring with me to Big Bend?
Tent: If you do n’t already have one, you need to find one that is light and durable. Do n’t forget the stakes or a hammer, or there will be no tent to sleep in.
A sleep plate is essential. It’s the only thing separating you from the cold, hard plain surface.
Get an enclosed, light sleeping bag for your needs. When you zip yourself up at night, the sleeping bag may keep your body heat in, keeping you comfortable throughout the cloudy night.
Pillow and Blanket: Some lying bags come with “built-in” cushions, but traveling pillows provide a little more help. Thick traveling blankets are also great for those windy evenings as you wake up for the day and swallow your coffee.
When traveling traveling, package a variety of lights. I often have a lamp, a lamp, a lantern at the campground, and series lights for decoration.
Sunscreen: Wear sunscreen even on” foggy” time. No matter how popular it is, the sun is also sending damaging UV rays over to us on Earth. The only way to keep your body healthy is with sun safety and sunscreen. Wearing long sleeves and a scarf to reduce your exposure to the sun.
Toiletries: While traveling in the desert, you still need to brush your teeth. Pack light and take the essentials like soap, detergent, and dental care.
Hammock: Either place to put a tent on a road or at your campsite to unwind in the shade of the plants.
Tools: Have a mega- application helpful, along with pipe tape, further power cords, and lighters.
Camp heaters: You’ll need to package a camp stove and burner if you want warm food.
Pots and pans: Provision stores carry little pots and pans for traveling. Some are compact and can be tucked into packs, while others decline and fit inside your case.
Dishes: Unless you want to take with your hands, group a camping item set fitted with a knife, knife, and knife.
Salad soap: Pack a small amount of food soap for cleaning food or other items. A tip I learned just is to wash individual paper towels in food soap, let them clean, and then wrap them up and put them in a sealed plastic bag. Just wet your soaped-up paper towel when you’re ready to wash the dishes.
Camping mug: Bring one small tin mug to drink out of.
Water bottle: For hiking, a reusable water bottle and hydration pack are essential. You need to have access to water 24/7.
Battery-operated radios are necessary in order to prepare for unexpected weather changes, particularly in the summer. Make sure to pack a battery- powered radio and batteries so you can get weather alerts when you need them.
Speaking of emergency supplies, it is a good time to remind you that Big Bend is far away. It takes hours to get out to the desert, so be prepared with emergency supplies and medical gear. Although a defibrillator is not required, aspirin, ice packs, alcohol wipes, and bleeding control kits can be helpful.
When I go camping, I prefer to prepare meals. I make meals in my kitchen before my trip and pack them in a cooler. Beef kebabs, chicken paella, and salad wraps are the easy foods to heat and eat, according to research.
Here are a few other food staples I’ve found helpful and cost- effective.
Perfect for camping, canned salmon, tuna, and chicken are. They are pre- cooked and high in protein. It is also a versatile device. You can eat it with crackers and bread or form patties and cook burgers.
Packs of instant mashed potatoes are thin and light in comparison. You just need to add water, and depending on the package size, you can get about 4 servings out of each packet.
Protein bars: They are inexpensive and light. They also come in a variety of flavors so you will find a kind to please each member in your camping party.
Fruits with skin: The best fruits to bring on camping trips are peaches, bananas, apples, oranges, and bananas. Frozen grapes are also perfect because they are packed with water and a refreshing frozen snack.
The list of camping supplies and food options could go on and on. Review the Complete Hiking Packing List to ensure you’re ready to set out on your hike.
Grab More Water If You Think You’ll Need It.
Hydration is key. The second time I went to Big Bend, one of my most notable camping trips occurred. On our second day hiking the Emory Peak Trail, my friend and I took a rest stop. Two amiable, older gentlemen were present there. When we told them our plan and where we were headed, they were shocked by our water supply.
They gave us their supply and insisted that we would n’t need it. We did n’t want to take these elderly men’s water from them, but they were full of spirit and told us they hiked this daily. After that, I never ran out of water on a camping trip. If we had n’t taken their water, we would have run out with a day and a half left in our trip.
Make sure you have enough water with you because you’ll only have access to the water you bring with you. A good rule of thumb is 1 liter of water for every five miles. That’s roughly 33 ounces of water every two hours. Most hydration packs hold up to 3 liters of water, so you’ll want to bring additional water for the entire day. You do n’t want to drink Rio Grande water, so there are no water fountains along the trails in the backcountry! However, there are water bottle refilling stations at Panther Junction, Rio Grande Village, and Chisos Basin Visitor Centers.
Big Bend and its location
Big Bend is only accessible by car so you’ll need to rent a vehicle or plan on driving your own through the park. On a good day, I can travel from Central Texas to Las Cruces, New Mexico, in about 7 hours.
If you would rather fly, the nearest airport is in Midland/Odessa which is still a three- hour drive. The next best option is to drive four hours, to El Paso International Airport.
You’ll know you’re getting closer to Big Bend when your cell signal starts acting funny and you see less and less civilization. However, do n’t worry about gas. Just make sure to fill up at one of the stations off US- 90 before entering the park. The Panther Junction Service Station also has gas.
Setting Up Camp
I enjoy seeing my campsites when I first enter a park. I want to get out of the car, stretch, and see where I will rest my head for the night. When will I set up camp and pitch my tent to make it cozy. I like to decorate with string lights, my hammock, a fan, and a portable speaker. Keep valuables and food in your car when you are traveling by car, especially when you are not there. I’m always afraid a bear or animal will raid my camp, but it’s never happened (yet )!
Casa Grande Peak in the evening.
Best Viewing Trails
It’s difficult for me to decide which Big Bend trail is the best. There are more than 150 trails, all with unique views, wildlife, flora, and fauna. It will take about two hours to complete the moderately challenging trails at Big Bend. These trails are Lost Mine and Willow.
The Emory Peak Trail was enjoyable despite its challenging and lengthy nature. It is miles and miles long but offers peaks into different parts of the park you would n’t see otherwise. On that challenging round-trip hike, I never got bored.
The next time I return to Big Bend I want to see the Balanced Rock of Grapevine Hills. How did the rock discover that it was balanced between two more substantial rocks? I am not sure, but maybe seeing it in real life will give me some ideas.
Antelope with a pronghorn
Respect Wildlife From a Distance
Prey and predators abound in Big Bend. Mountain lions and bears lurk in the same places deer eat and vultures scavenge. Keep your distance and do n’t make any loud noises if you see a large animal. You are in their environment, so it’s best not to disturb them. Animals occasionally cross over to block the path and cross the road. You can try to honk your car horn to scare the animal, or just wait it out and enjoy the view.
I enjoy seeing smaller critters, so getting up close and personal with them is not a bad thing. Unless they fly or have big pinchers, then I will just snap a quick picture and go along my way. No one enjoys flying pests or mosquitoes when it comes to the campsite. The best way to get rid of mosquitoes in Texas is to eliminate standing water. When you remove their breeding grounds, mosquitoes can breed in as little as a teaspoon of water, which lowers your chances of waking up with itchy bites. Mosquito nets are also useful when draped over tents, cabin windows, and doors.
Do n’t Forget to Look Up,
Stargazing is my favorite pastime in Big Bend. Because it is so far away from any major cities or light pollution, the country has one of the darkest skies. Ranger- led stargazing trips are the perfect fun, educational, and free activity. Because the Rangers are much more knowledgeable about the stars than I am, I prefer to have someone direct me and explain what I am seeing. If traveling with a mate, consider planning a romantic night under the Texas sky. Just because you’re in the middle of the desert does n’t mean that love is dead.
Mexican Jay
Big Bend Rock Wren
Birding was an unexpected hobby I picked up during my first trip to Big Bend. Big Bend is home to more than 450 different bird species. I saw blue, purple, red, and yellow birds, and never the same bird twice. You’ll find different ecosystems throughout the park because Big Bend is so big and more than Rhode Island. That means you can travel to other campsites and see completely different species than you previously saw. Keep a journal in your pocket so you can record every bird you see.
Santa Elena Canyon view from the Santa Elena Canyon Trailhead.
Cool Off in the Rio Grande
The Rio Grande River runs through Big Bend National Park, offering hikers a chance to cool off in the summer and enjoy water activities even if it’s cool outside. Along with Santa Elena Canyon, which offers a moderate to advanced float trip experience, boquillas canyon is a popular spot for rafting and kayaking.
1500 ft vertical cliff walls of the Santa Elena Canyon.
For my one winter trip, I made the decision to kayak the Santa Elena Canyon, which is known for its breathtaking views of the steep gorge with 1500 ft vertical cliff walls on each side. For this trip, I decided I would do what’s known as a “boomerang” trip, involving upstream paddling and then downstream float. While one can travel as far as 8 miles into the canyon, I went with a shorter trip of about 3 miles.
Permits from Big Bend National Park headquarters or Lajitas, TX, are required along with a few other things which can be found on the National Park Service website here. I set off at 8 am so that I could enjoy the canyon, stop at a sandbar for a quick lunch, and then make my way back to the trailhead. It’s an affordable and unforgettable option for those seeking a self- guided trip without guides or outfitters whose landmarks include Smuggler’s Cave and Fern Canyon, suitable for camping.
I met an elderly woman who asked me to take a photo of her there, reminiscing about her early experiences of freely crossing the border between Mexico and America, and she was the highlight of my trip there. She told me she grew up in Mexico and as a kid, she would play and swim across the border without any issue. She wanted to capture this moment of her as an old woman and had n’t crossed the border since she immigrated to America as a young girl. I snapped her picture and we parted ways.
Santa Elena Canyon Trailhead, Santa Elena Canyon, and the Rio Grande River.
Lessons on History at Historic Sites
Big Bend National Park is a must-see for history buffs. The Castolon Historic District shows what life looked like for early settlers who found themselves in a strange desert inhabited by Indigenous peoples and Mexicans. Take your time to wander through the remnants of the old trading post and cavalry.
Indigenous peoples and settlers also frequented the Hot Springs Historic District. The springs were thought to treat ailments and promote relaxation. You can join the centuries- old tradition with a dip in the hot springs.
Leave No Spur
No matter where you are, you should always pick up after yourself. By sanitizing your campsites and leaving everything as you found it ( if not better ), follow the” Leave No Trace” pledge. Respect the environment and preserve Big Bend’s unique ecosystem by staying on designated trails and following park regulations.
With stunning scenery, a diverse wildlife, and a rich history, Big Bend National Park is a truly unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventurers. You need to set a week aside to explore the park, but even after going twice I still have n’t seen everything. You can visit Big Bend National Park more than once and still discover something new because of this.
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