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Big Bend National Park - May 2013

Big Bend National Park is located on the Texas / Mexico Border and offers over 800,000 acres of high desert landscapes for camping, hiking, exploring, canoeing, rafting, or simply picture taking.


We spent a week exploring, hiking, and relaxing in the park and could have spent 2 weeks without seeing everything.  Below are some pictures and descriptions from our trip.  Santa Elena Canyon, Boquillas Canyon, The Chisos Mtns, Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa, the Terlingua Ghost Town, and miles & miles of clear blue skies.


The BSO Team would highly recommend Big Bend for any of our customers in Texas or New Mexico who are looking to explore vast open spaces, a change of scenery, and a little adventure. 



Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon is a short 1.6 mile hike  on the far western edge of the park with spectacular views of the Rio Grande.  Across the canyon is Mexico.  As you drive along the “Scenic Road” leading to the trailhead, the sheer rock face of the canyon is visible for 15 + miles. 


In late May, the temp easily topped 100 every day, but a light breeze in the canyon offered a little relief….  The trail is roughly 1/2 uphill to 2,800 ft altitude with concrete steps poured up the steepest parts.  This iconic attraction is a must for anyone visiting Big Bend.

Boquillas Canyon & Hot Springs

Boquillas Canyon is on the far eastern side of the park.  The trail is roughly 2 miles & follows the Rio Grande and Mexico Border.  On the way to the canyon trail head, you pass the Hot Springs on the Rio Grande.  I must admit, the 105 degree water would be much more relaxing if it weren’t 105 degrees outside…


The Hot Springs trail is only 1 mile and is well worth the side trip to see the old buildings, shops, along the trail.  The border crossing into Mexico was open, should you wish to cross, so bring your passport on the trip.  Along the Boquillas Canyon trail, we were serenaded by “Jesus the Singing Mexican”, but I must admit to chuckling when he began singing “Ceilito Lindo” - I couldn't help but sing along with “Frito Bandito”.   1970’s American Marketing...

Tuff Canyon

Along the “Scenic Drive” to Santa Elena, you will pass Tuff Canyon.  This short 1-2 mile hike leads you into a slot canyon.  Presumably formed by lava flow, the rock types change drastically from white limestone into black lava rock. 


In an area with very few shady spots, the overhangs in the canyon provide a welcome respite from the Texas sun and heat.  The overall hike wouldn’t take long simply walking, but, just like all things in life, it’s about the journey, not the destination. 


We took the trail into the canyon and the “short” way out...a little dust and steep loose-rock climbing and we arrived at the overlook & vehicle parking. I wouldn’t recommend the “short” way out….

Chisos Mountains

The Chisos Mountains and Emory Peak stand out in the center of the park.  Complete with Visitors Center and Lodge, you can enjoy cool mountain breezes even on the hottest of days.  At over 6,000 ft elevation, the views are spectacular.  The  nervous feeling begins your first time traveling up the mountain road when you pass a signs saying “Trailers over 20 ft or dual wheeled vehicles” and “10 mph” not recommended on this road. 


Bear and Mountain Lions are spotted regularly in this area of the park.  In fact, a black bear had just birthed several cubs when we visited and signs were posted all round for visitors to be cautious in the area. 


Whether you hike a trail in the mountains or simply want to grab lunch at the restaurant, you will want to take the drive—if only for the view.

Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa

17 miles from Terlingua. Texas and a Big Bend Park entrance, is the small town of Lajitas & the Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa.  The resort sits on 27,000 acres of high desert landscapes.  Due to a knee injury, I was unable to play golf during our stay, but plan to return in the future. 


We met lots of interesting people at the resort from all walks of life, even though summer is their offseason.  Afternoon dips in the pool took the edge off and help to relax your legs after long hikes in the park.


Lajitas sits on the highway between Terlingua and Presidio.  The 50 mile drive to Presidio was voted one of the most scenic drives in the US.  It follows the Rio Grande and Mexico border through mountains and valleys.