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Overview

Bleakly beautiful, rugged, and remote, Big Bend National Park feels like the end of the world. Located on the U.S.-Mexico border where the Rio Grande in fact makes a big bend, the vast wilderness area has three ecosystems: the harsh Chihuahuan Desert, the Chisos Mountains (home to the best hiking trails in all of Texas), and that of the river itself. A haven for all sorts of wildlife, Big Bend is home to tarantulas, javalinas, mountain lions, and more than a dozen species of bats. For humans, hiking, river-rafting, and mountain biking are the prime recreational activities in the vicinity.

There is one lodging option in the park, ...

Bleakly beautiful, rugged, and remote, Big Bend National Park feels like the end of the world. Located on the U.S.-Mexico border where the Rio Grande in fact makes a big bend, the vast wilderness area has three ecosystems: the harsh Chihuahuan Desert, the Chisos Mountains (home to the best hiking trails in all of Texas), and that of the river itself. A haven for all sorts of wildlife, Big Bend is home to tarantulas, javalinas, mountain lions, and more than a dozen species of bats. For humans, hiking, river-rafting, and mountain biking are the prime recreational activities in the vicinity.

There is one lodging option in the park, as well as a few roadside motels in its gateway towns of Study Butte and Terlingua, but many visitors rough it in the park’s numerous campgrounds or stay farther afield in Marfa, Alpine, or Marathon, all three worthwhile stopovers and burgeoning arts communities. Of the three, Marfa is the most buzzed-about, thanks to the avant-garde installations at the renowned Chinati Foundation, but it’s also in many ways the same dusty border town it was when the James Dean flick Giant was shot around here in the 1950s.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Fall through spring is the best time of year to visit, with spring being the prime rafting season. The daytime temperature in midsummer is usually around 115 degrees Fahrenheit.