Big Bend National Park is a desert park with plenty of hikes, activities & sights to see! We put together a list of our top 3 recommendations when visiting the park.
Soak in the Hot Springs
Hike the Santa Elena Canyon
Hike the Lost Mine Trail
Big Bend Hot Springs
If you only have time for one activity during your trip to Big Bend we recommend soaking in the natural Hot Springs in the Historic Hot Springs District, right on the Rio Grande river.
The Springs are on the far side of the park (when entering from the Study Butte/Terlingua entrance) near Boquillas Canyon, but well worth the scenic drive to get there!
The Hot Springs Trail is rated easy. It's a 1.2-mile loop trail. However, the Hot Spring is only a .3 mile walk from the lower parking lot.
Upon arrival, you will drive on a dirt road with cliffs - an adventure unto itself. When you get to the parking lot you will see ruins from the past. Getting to the actual Hot Spring is only a brief .3-mile trek, with a lot of bang for your buck!
On your way to the Hot Spring you get to see historic buildings, the Rio Grande River, beautiful plants & scenery, petroglyphs & pictographs from native Americans, Mexican souvenirs (bring cash if you'd like to buy authentic Mexican carved & painted walking sticks, ceramics, & other crafty items), & potentially wildlife like frogs, lizards, free-range horses, wild burros, butterflies & more. You can hike the entire 1.2 loop trail, or you can stop at the Hot Springs & spend your time there. It's a popular spot - so be prepared to share the space.
The Hot Spring itself is nature's hot tub. Wear your bathing suit so you can soak in the spring (known for its healing waters), & climb into the river to cool down.
*Pro Tip* Visit for sunrise or sunset to get cooler temps & a less crowded experience.
Santa Elena Canyon
Arguably one of the most iconic views at the park, the Santa Elena Canyon draws thousands of visitors year-round. The hike is approachable for most fitness levels - rated easy & a relatively short trail at 1.4 miles out & back. It features a large canyon & the Rio Grande river separating Mexico & USA.
Upon arrival, there are restrooms at the parking lot. When you enter that trail you will walk on a sandy path that leads directly to the Rio Grande river & Canyon. Stop here for some epic photos! Then, continue on the path & head up in elevation on the canyon. There are fossilized sea shells embedded into the canyon worth stopping to see on your way up. You'll pass through a bamboo forest & end up at the base of the Rio Grande River - a fun spot to hear the echos in the canyon.
*Pro Tip* When water levels are high you may need to wade through 10-20 ft of shallow water. Wear your water shoes for a seamless experience!
The Lost Mine Trail
To climb to the top of a mountain, experience wonderful panoramic views & reach the summit is such a gratifying experience. That's why we recommend this epic hike. Yes, it's a climb to the top, & all downhill on the way back. It's SO worth it once you summit the mountain & see the vast & epic desert mountain views.
The hike is rated moderate. It is an out & back trail - totaling 4.8 miles.
This hike is the most common area for black bear sightings in the park. Be sure to make noise on your way up & keep an eye out in the distance for the potential to see some of the park wildlife!
Make sure to bring water & snacks for when you reach the top. It's the perfect place to rest, have a picnic, and enjoy the views.
That's a start... but doesn't even scratch the surface
for more tips & info on the Big Bend region stay tuned & check out our other blog posts.
StarStruck Glamping is the perfect place to lay your head while exploring the Big Bend region. Check out our calendar here & reserve your stay!
Big Bend Lodging ranges from primitive campsites, roadside motels & standard RV parks, to luxury glamping at StarStruck Glamping.
We are located 30 minutes North of the entrance to Big Bend National Park. Our location is best for someone looking for a remote desert experience with stunning mountain views, dark skies without light pollution, & an extremely peaceful setting off the beaten path.
To lodge with us, book here.
What are your Top 3 Experiences to Not Miss out on when visiting Big Bend?
We'd love to know!