Every 2-3 years my family rents a cabin with family friends at Big Bend National Park. We’ve had this tradition since I was a kid and I know this remote piece of Texas like the back of my hand. We’ve done nearly every hike in the park and we’ve shown friends the park on numerous occasions. As such, I wanted to share with you my all time favorite hikes-the ones we return to year after year. The ones that if you’re headed to Big Bend, you definitely can’t miss.
In no particular order, the 5 best hikes in Big Bend National Park. Enjoy!
Distance: 5.6 miles round trip
Begin at the Chisos Basin Trailhead
The Window offers stunning views of the vistas below. The formation was formed from a waterfall and when it rains it can still get quite slick! Trail says moderate which is accurate but you hike down to the window, and then hike back up to Chisos Basin meaning the tough part is at the end. This area of Big Bend is relatively green and where most of the wildlife hangs out. I spotted a brown bear one year on this very hike! Bring lunch to eat at the bottom where you can admire the view.
Distance: 2.2 miles round trip
Begin 6 miles down Grapevine Hills road
Buckle up. The dirt road to get here is bumby! But it’s worth it for this nice easy trail that ends with this iconic balancing rock formation. This walk through the desert is beautiful, easy, and offers lots of opportunities to climb up rocks. If that’s your thing.
Distance: 4.8 miles round trip
Begin at the 5.1 marker on Basin Road
Lost Mines is maybe my favorite. The hike up offers scenic fiews of Chisos Basin below and surrounding valleys. It’s green and leads you through plenty of forest. Lots of deer hang out up here! The panoramic views at the top make this hike well worth the effort.
Santa Elena Canyon
Distance: 1.7 miles round trip
Begins at the end of Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
This river hike is easy and beautiful. The start has a climb up but theres a staircase and rail making the canyon accessible to all ages. And besides, the drive to the start of the hike isn’t called a scenic drive for nothing!
Soak in the Hot Springs
Distance: 1.0 mile round trip
Begins at end of Hot Springs Road
The Hot Springs are a popular place to warm up in winter! The natural springs are in the Rio Grande River and while you soak you can admire the shores of Mexico. I love this activity as an easy thing to do after you’ve had a long night-say, New Years? Fossils also line the path to the springs. If you’re looking for an actual hike, try the Hot Springs Canyon Trail. This trail is 6 miles round trip but it’s an easy walk along the canyon rim of the Rio Grande. You’ll be rewarded with a dip in the springs at the end!
And that’s it! My favorite trails of all time at Big Bend National Park! Let me know if you’re headed over there soon. Or if you’ve been, let me know what your favorite trail is. 🙂