Big Bend must sees
November 24, 2018 5:37 PM   Subscribe

My main squeeze and I planning a 4-day river trip through Boquillas Canyon on the Rio Grande in Big Bend Nat'l park. The trip will be bookended with a day or two to explore. Where should we go? Camping, hiking, cool stuff to see, etc. We like water and dramatic sights and stunning hikes of any intensity.

We'd love not to like drive to the other side of the park because we've already got 10 hours of driving to get to and from Big Bend.

Really pretty and private campsites, either accessible by road or a hike in of less than 3 miles, would be GREAT.

We'll be driving a 4WD truck, so park roads shouldn't be a problem if they're dry.

We'll be putting in at Rio Grande Village and taking out at Heath Canyon.

The hot springs near Rio Grande Village are already on the list.
posted by Grandysaur to Travel & Transportation around Big Bend National Park, TX (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I like car camping at Grapevine Hills; there’s an easy hike at the end of Grapevine Hills Road with very cool, otherworldly rock formations.

A drive into the Basin of the Chisos Mountains is a scenic 45 minutes from Rio Grande Village and will get you to the Window and the Lost Mine Trails, both of which are beautiful and a lot of fun. The South Rim hike is also spectacular but takes the entire day.

Getting to see the very different environments of the desert, the mountains, and the river on the same day is part of what makes the park so special IMO. Have a blast!
posted by Tuba Toothpaste at 6:13 PM on November 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not outdoorsy but we went for a few days last year and it was magical.

+1 on the Chisos Basin for the Windows trail. Not intense for serious hikers, but great views.

I think the most famous sight in the park is probably Santa Elena Canyon but it's a long drive. The view of the Sierra del Carmen mountains from where you'll be or on the drive back from the Chisos Basin if you go is flabbergasting in the same way.
posted by Smearcase at 2:29 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're in the Chisos Basin anyway and are seriousish hikers, then weather permitting go up Emory Peak. Strenuous-ness-wise it's more or less like an Appalachian hike. I expect the air isn't the same as it was when I was there in 92, but either in the basin or near the top of Emory Peak there was a little display of "If it looks like this, the visibility is X miles" pictures and on our day it was the 200 mile picture. Also when we were there the top was just swarming with ladybugs and we discovered that when emboldened by each other ladybugs bite.

Not too far from the entrance to Boquillas Canyon there's a very shallow cave partway up the American side with a big pile of sand "coming out of" it. Scrambling up the big pile o' sand to look around the very shallow cave is fun. One one is up there, one faces the decision about how best to descend the big pile o'sand. I suggest everyone should hop like a wee little birdie and thereby race down. It is undignified but fun.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:02 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

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