Big Bend National Park is an awe-inspiring destination that offers visitors the opportunity to experience diverse ecosystems, stunning landscapes, and a variety of outdoor activities. Spanning over 800,000 acres in the great state of Texas, Big Bend is a true natural wonder that attracts adventurers and nature lovers alike. When planning your visit, finding the perfect place to stay can significantly enhance your experience, as you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in the park’s unique atmosphere and explore its vast expanse.
There are several lodging options to choose from, catering to different preferences and budgets. Chisos Mountains Lodge is the sole option available within the park itself, offering a rustic retreat nestled amidst the scenic Chisos Basin. On the other hand, if you’re seeking accommodations beyond the park’s boundaries, the fascinating ghost town of Terlingua is a popular choice among travelers, providing a glimpse into the region’s mining history. For those wanting a more off-the-beaten-path experience, the Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa is a luxurious option located about 20 miles from the Maverick Junction park entrance.
As you plan your trip to Big Bend National Park, it’s essential to consider the various lodging options available, ensuring you find the perfect home base to explore this incredible natural haven. With so many opportunities for adventure, such as hiking, stargazing, and wildlife watching, there’s no doubt that your stay in Big Bend will be an unforgettable experience.
Where To Stay
Reasons to Visit Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a true gem, offering visitors a unique experience of majestic landscapes and rugged wilderness. Located in Far West Texas on the U.S.-Mexico border, it may be one of the least-visited national parks in the country, but that only adds to its charm and allure.
The ideal time to visit Big Bend is during late fall to early spring when the weather is more moderate. The park is especially inviting in the winter, with January temperatures averaging around 61°F for highs and 38°F for lows.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Did you know that the nearby ghost town of Terlingua is a popular place for Big Bend visitors to stay? It’s close to both the Rio Grande and the Mexican state of Chihuahua, giving you a taste of the region’s rich history and culture. Today, Terlingua is largely abandoned but its fascinating remains draw countless adventurers.
Things to do
Big Bend National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, promising unforgettable activities for all ages and interests. Here are just a few highlights:
- Hiking: With over 150 miles of trails, you’ll find paths that cater to all levels of hikers, from easy strolls to challenging treks.
- Wildlife spotting: Keep an eye out for various species of birds, mammals, and reptiles that call the park home.
- Stargazing: The park is known for its incredibly dark skies, making it a prime location for awe-inspiring stargazing opportunities.
- Scenic drives: Immerse yourself in the diverse landscapes of the park by taking a scenic drive along well-maintained roads.
- Cultural experiences: Don’t miss the chance to learn about the park’s rich history and cultural heritage through ranger-led programs and self-guided tours.
In summary, Big Bend National Park is a remarkable destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant history, and diverse activities, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience.
Accommodations in Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park offers a variety of accommodations for visitors, ranging from lodges to camping options and RV parks. Here, we will explore some of the most popular choices to help you plan your stay at this unique and beautiful destination.
Chisos Mountains Lodge
Chisos Mountains Lodge is located in the heart of Big Bend National Park and is the only lodging available within the park. The lodge provides modern amenities, including WiFi, at a reasonable price, making it a popular choice for visitors. Additionally, there is a restaurant on-site, allowing for a convenient dining option during your stay.
Big Bend National Park also offers various camping options for those who prefer a more rustic experience. Here are some popular choices:
- Primitive roadside campsites: The park has numerous primitive roadside campsites located throughout the park, which allow for a more secluded and immersive experience. These sites require a backcountry permit, and they are on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Developed campgrounds: The park has three developed campgrounds: Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin, and Cottonwood. These campgrounds offer facilities such as restrooms, picnic tables, and grills. Reservations are recommended, particularly during peak seasons.
- Backcountry camping: For more adventurous visitors, the park offers backcountry camping permits for those looking to explore the more remote areas of the park.
For visitors traveling with RVs, Big Bend National Park has several options available. Two campgrounds within the park, Rio Grande Village and Chisos Basin, have some RV sites with hookups available. However, keep in mind that these sites can fill quickly during peak times, so reservations are strongly recommended.
Outside the park, there are also several RV parks in nearby communities that cater to RV travelers, such as Marathon and Terlingua. These parks offer additional amenities and services while still providing convenient access to the national park.
Fun Fact: Big Bend National Park is home to more than 1,200 species of plants, over 450 species of birds, and about 75 species of mammals, making it a hotspot for biodiversity!
Things to do: While visiting Big Bend National Park, be sure to explore the many outdoor activities the park offers, such as hiking, rafting on the Rio Grande, wildlife watching, and stargazing at the park’s internationally recognized dark skies.
Choosing the Right Accommodation
When visiting Big Bend National Park, choosing the right accommodation is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable stay. This section will help you make an informed decision by discussing factors to consider, providing a fun fact or interesting story, and mentioning the top things to do during your visit.
Factors to Consider
There are several key factors to consider when selecting where to stay in Big Bend National Park. These factors will help ensure your chosen accommodation is suitable for your needs and preferences:
- Location: Proximity to the park is important, especially if you plan to explore it extensively. For example, Chisos Mountains Lodge is the only accommodation situated within the park itself.
- Amenities: Some visitors will prefer accommodations with modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and on-site restaurants, while others may want a more remote or rustic experience.
- Budget: Accommodation prices can vary significantly, so choose a place that fits your budget.
- Traveling Companions: Consider the needs of your group or family. Some accommodations offer kid-friendly amenities or are more suitable for group travelers.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Did you know that Big Bend is one of the lesser-visited national parks in the United States? Although it’s remote and not as well-known as some other parks, it offers an incredibly diverse range of landscapes, from deserts and canyons to mountains and forests. This uniqueness makes it an exciting and rewarding destination for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Things to Do
Big Bend National Park offers numerous activities to suit a variety of interests. Some top things to do include:
- Hiking: Explore the many trails, such as the Lost Mine Trail and The Window Trail.
- Scenic Drives: Take in stunning vistas along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.
- Wildlife Watching: Spot some of the park’s diverse fauna, such as black bears, mountain lions, and a variety of bird species.
- Stargazing: With its remote location, Big Bend offers unparalleled stargazing opportunities, especially at the Rio Grande Village campground.
Remember to plan ahead, considering the factors mentioned above, to ensure that you choose the most suitable accommodation for your Big Bend National Park adventure.
Nearby Towns for Accommodations
When planning a trip to Big Bend National Park, finding the perfect place to stay can be a bit challenging. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with some of the best nearby towns for accommodations.
Terlingua, located near the park, offers a variety of unique accommodation options for all budgets. From quirky desert rental homes to the Chisos Mining Co. Motel and La Posada Milagro, you’ll find a comfortable place to rest after exploring the park.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story: Terlingua is known for its famous annual chili cookoff, which draws participants and spectators from all around the world.
Things to do: While you’re in Terlingua, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the nearby ghost town, hike some scenic trails, or stargaze in the dark sky.
Study Butte is another great option for accommodation near Big Bend National Park. Although smaller in size, it provides a charming atmosphere and a close proximity to the park’s western entrance.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story: Study Butte is named after a local mine owner, Will Study, and the local pronunciation of “butte” is “byoot,” which rhymes with “beauty.”
Things to do: Visitors staying in Study Butte can take advantage of nearby attractions such as the Terlingua Ranch Lodge or head over to Big Bend Ranch State Park for some outdoor adventures.
Alpine is located about 100 miles north of the park but offers a wider variety of accommodations, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. Some popular options include the El Dorado Hotel and Gage Hotel.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story: Alpine is known as the “Gateway to the Big Bend,” due to its location and welcoming atmosphere for travelers visiting the area.
Things to do: Alpine offers a range of activities, including exploring the town’s art galleries, attending live music events, or taking a scenic drive to the neighboring town of Marfa.
Remember, when visiting Big Bend National Park, you’re in for an unforgettable adventure. Choosing the right town for accommodations will ensure that you have a comfortable and enjoyable experience.
Things to Do in Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a vast park with three main areas to explore: the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive region, Chisos Basin, and the Rio Grande Village. Each area offers unique activities and experiences. Let’s dive into some fun things to do during your stay in Big Bend National Park.
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive Region
This region is known for its stunning drives and breathtaking vistas. Explore the Santa Elena Canyon, where you can go on a guided river trip, take a walk along the canyon trail, or simply marvel at the towering canyon walls. Don’t miss the historic Castolon area, where you can learn about Big Bend’s history, and visit the Cottonwood Campground for a peaceful picnic.
Hiking enthusiasts will love Chisos Basin, where you’ll find a variety of trails to suit all levels of experience. One popular hike is the Lost Mine Trail, offering fantastic panoramic views of the park. Another must-visit site is the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, where you’ll find park information and a gift shop. Additionally, the Chisos Basin Campground and Lodge provide comfortable lodging options within the heart of the park.
Rio Grande Village
The third main area in the park, Rio Grande Village, boasts more gorgeous hiking trails, as well as access to the Rio Grande for kayaking and canoeing. The Boquillas Canyon Trail is a favorite for its fascinating geographic features and scenic views. At the nearby Daniels Ranch, you can enjoy birdwatching and wildlife spotting, making this area perfect for nature enthusiasts.
Did you know that Big Bend National Park is home to the entire Chisos Mountains range? That’s right – it’s the only national park in the United States to encompass an entire mountain range. This unique feature draws visitors to Big Bend year-round to explore its captivating landscapes and diverse ecosystems. So, pack your bags and embark on the adventure of a lifetime in Big Bend National Park!
Safety Tips and Park Regulations
When visiting Big Bend National Park, your safety should be a top priority. Here are some essential safety tips to follow:
- Make sure to carry a map and compass and know how to use them.
- Keep a flashlight, first aid kit, and signaling devices like a mirror and whistle with you.
- Avoid narrow canyons or dry washes, as flash floods may occur during thunderstorms.
- Stay low and avoid ridges during lightning storms to minimize your risk.
In addition to safety concerns, visitors should also adhere to the park regulations to ensure a positive experience for everyone:
- A pass to Big Bend National Park costs $30 (for up to 15 passengers per non-commercial vehicle) and is valid for seven days. An annual pass costs $55 and is valid for one year from the purchase date.
- Plan your stay according to the park’s road conditions and seasonal weather fluctuations.
- Remember to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially during hot summer months.
- Keep pets leashed and restricted to specific areas, as per the park’s pet regulations.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Big Bend National Park got its name from the large bend that the Rio Grande River takes at the end of the Rocky Mountains, forming an impressive natural boundary between the U.S. and Mexico.
Things to Do
While staying at Big Bend National Park, some popular activities include:
- Taking a float trip on the Rio Grande to explore the park’s stunning river scenery.
- Exploring the Chisos Mountains and its many hiking trails.
- Viewing the diverse wildlife in the park, such as javelinas, roadrunners, and even mountain lions.
- Stargazing at night, thanks to the park’s exceptionally dark skies and minimal light pollution.
Now that you’ve learned about some safety tips, park regulations, and exciting activities to do while visiting Big Bend National Park, you’re ready to begin planning a memorable trip!
In summary, there are several accommodation options available for visitors to Big Bend National Park. The Terlingua area is considered the overall best place to stay, offering a variety of lodging options and proximity to the park’s highlights.
For adventure seekers, Chisos Basin is an excellent choice, with camping facilities and access to various hiking trails. Lajitas is another place to consider if you are looking for a more off-the-beaten-path experience.
There are also numerous camping options within the park, including Chisos Basin, Rio Grande Village, and Cottonwood. These campgrounds have drinking water and restroom facilities, providing a more rustic experience for those looking to be immersed in nature.
For a more secluded stay, consider the Terlingua Ranch Lodge, located about 45 minutes from the park entrance. The mountain cabins at this lodge offer a peaceful atmosphere and minimal cell coverage, providing a true escape from city life.
Fun Fact or Interesting Story
Did you know that Big Bend National Park is home to over 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, and around 75 mammal species? This biodiversity makes it a heaven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife watchers.
Things to Do
During your stay at Big Bend National Park, there are numerous activities to enjoy. Some of the most popular things to do include:
- Hiking: With more than 150 miles of trails, you can explore deserts, mountains, and rivers at your own pace.
- Stargazing: The park is a designated Gold Tier International Dark Sky Park, offering some of the most stunning night skies in the country.
- River trips: Take a guided or self-guided rafting, canoeing, or kayaking trip along the Rio Grande.
- Wildlife watching: Keep an eye out for species like black bears, javelinas, and mountain lions during your exploration of the park.
Remember to pack your sense of adventure and curiosity when visiting Big Bend National Park. The unique landscape, diverse wildlife, and plethora of activities will leave you with many incredible memories of this magnificent place.