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Behold the Beauty of Big Bend National Park

Quick Guide: Learn about a hidden Texas gem, rich in history, that many don’t know about

Big Bend National Park has been an important part of my family since the early 60s with my grandfather going with a friend every 5 years, then bringing his family then the grand kids. My first memories were as a baby being carried around by all the grown ups and then as an elementary kid behind the camera recording all the fun with my cousin and sister. With adventures like hiking, birdwatching, wildlife searching, astronomy, scenic driving, biking, paddling, horseback riding, and fishing, there is more than enough to create many memories.

While Big Bend is a hidden gem, those who know about it book cabins at the lodge many many months in advance so make sure to ask Kat about planning the perfect trip to explore the wonders of Big Bend National Park.

NOTE: The Mexican state of Chihuahua across the border of Big Bend is a perfect pre/post adventure to explore the world’s largest canyon system, which includes the famous Barrancas del Cobre or Copper Canyon.

A Little Bit of History

Big Bend is America's fifteenth largest national park, boasting 801,163 acres of protected land, making it the largest protected portion of the Chihuahuan desert in the United States.

The Chizo, Mescalero Apaches and Comanche Indian tribes were known to have lived in the area from the 1500s to late 1800s. The well known Comanche Trail served as a major thoroughfare between the US and Mexico. Many Spanish forts were established along the Rio Grande in the late 1700s but were soon abandoned when Anglo settlers began arriving in the 1800s to begin ranching operations and eventually mining of mercury. You can find remains of old buildings, pictographs and other unique items from the park's history.

Big Bend eventually became a National Park in 1944 after many years of Texas and Civilian Conservation Corps helping make the park the place it is today.

Places to stay

Our family always booked many months in advance to stay in the stone cottages that the Chisos Mountains Lodge provided. The lodge accommodations were built around the inception of the park and have been a perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the park. The views and close proximity to trails, store and restaurant are perfect.

There are also 4 developed campgrounds in the park. The National Park Service (NPS) operates three campgrounds that provide drinking water and restroom facilities. Forever Resorts operates a full hookup RV camping area. There are also many off park camping/RV/lodging locations if the park is too full or another location is desired.

Another fun option is to get a permit for backcountry camping or utilizing a primitive roadside campsite. This is a great option for those who like to get away from everyone and enjoy more of the nature around them. Don't forget to bring more than enough water when doing this.

South Rim Loop Trail

Starting this trail before the sun comes up is highly advised to make the most of the cooler morning temperatures and avoid the hottest parts of the day. This 12-14.5 mile trail is well worth the 2,000 foot gain, as midway are the amazing views from the South Rim into Mexico. Ascend either the steeper Pinnacles or more gradual Laguna Meadows Trail or additional views and scenery. During Peregrine Falcon nesting season around March-April, the Northeast and Southeast portions of this trail are closed. Always bring more than enough water on any hike.

Check out AllTrails latest info on the Lost Mine Trail.

Lost Mine Trail

This 4.8 miles round trip trail provides an introduction the many plants and animals of the Chisos Mountains. Hike to marker 10 (about 1 mile), where a saddle offers stunning views of Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon. The trail climbs steeply in and out of juniper, oak, and pine forest with many flowers in the spring. The trail levels out at the ridge with spectacular views of Pine Canyon and the Sierra del Carmen in Mexico. This trail also has a lot of areas to scramble up some rocks to get great views.

Hiking the Lost Mine Trail in Bid Bend National Park, Texas
The cousins hiking in style

Check out AllTrails latest info on the Lost Mine Trail.

Window Trail

At the end of the Window Trail at Big Bend National Park, Texas.
Close to the edge of the Window

This 5.6 mile round trip trail descends through Oak Creek Canyon to the Window pour-off which frames panoramic desert views. During the wetter seasons Oak Creek may be flowing, and must be crossed several times. Use caution on this trail: the top of the Window pour-off is slickrock with no railings, and the return hike is uphill. I didn't bring enough water and got dehydrated. BRING WATER!!

Check out AllTrails latest info on the Lost Mine Trail.


For more pictures of my latest trip to Big Bend check out Polarsteps


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