I just bought an America Beautiful pass for a year at the entrance station of Big Bend National Park. It is located 15 minutes away from Terlingua. The entrance of Big Bend National Park is by the Maverick Junction. It leads to Panther Junction road, the main road of Big Bend National Park.
In this video, visit Big Bend National Park in 9 minutes. This is a weekend recommendation in Texas. All the sights here were visited in 2 days. Here are the 8 things to see in Big Bend National Park:
1. Ross Maxwell Drive Ross Maxwell Drive is a 40 minute drive that leads to Santa Elena Canyon. From the Maverick Junction Entrance Station, it is about 17 minutes. Drive this majestic route and experience the view of the mountains and the desert. There are epic rock formations to see and vast plantation of the desert. Be careful as there are animals crossing. You may be able to see a road runner, jack rabbit and a kangaroo rat. The golden eagle soars high in the sky often. There are trails and canyons here to stop for if you like. A common stop is the Tuff Canyon and the Castolon Visitor Center.
2. Santa Elena Canyon One of the most beautiful things to see here is the Santa Elena Canyon. This is in the southwest part of Big Bend National Park. The Santa Elena Canyon trail is a popular easy activity here. Others bring or rent kayaks for the Rio Grande, the boundary between United States and Mexico.
3. Ghost Town, Terlingua Although this is outside the Texas National Park, it is a good place to have delicious hot food wether you are craving for Tex Mex, BBQ or grilled food. Terlingua is the closest town in National Big Bend National Park. They do not have Walmart or Costco but they have ample supply and enough merchandise to survive the park. A secret I can share with you is that Cotton Wood market here serves Keurig coffee cups.
4. Rio Grande Village At the far end of Big Bend is the Rio Grande (big river) village. It is about an hour drive from the Maverick Junction Entrance. Once you drove through the tunnel, you know you are near. You can stop at the Rio Grande overlook and see a beautiful view of the desert, mountain and river. This river, Rio Grande, is the boundary between 2 nations, USA and Mexico. There is a trail where you can see the overlook. It is only less than a mile. If you want to see more, then you can do the loop trail. The loop trail will access you to plantation, wildlife and the river.
5. Hot Springs The entrance road to the Boquillas hot spings has been closed for a year ow due to Covid. I have not tried it personally but it is possible to access it through Rio Grande or by hiking.
6. Panther Junction Visitor Center Gas, food and water supply are far between. If you are worried about this, Panther Junction Visitor Center is the right place to be. It is the only place in the middle of Big Bend National Park where you can gas up. There is also a souvenir store here. The actual store is closed but you can access it outside.
7. Balanced Rock This beautiful work of nature is found in the Grapevine Hills Trail. It is about 6 miles from the turn after Panther Junction road. It is rough, dirt road but a sedan could survive. The usual travel time here is about 25 minutes. Be careful of the dips along the road. The Grapevine Hills Trail hike starts flat for a mile and there is .25 mile challenging hike to go up to Balance Rock. Once you get here, the view is rewarding and also your photos.
8. Chisos Mountain One of the most scenic and powerful sight you can see in Big Bend National Park is the Chisos Mountains. The trails that are popular here are Emory Peak, Lost Mine Trail and Window trail. For sunset, the Window in Chisos Mountains is a sight to see. Chisos Mountain Lodge is also the only hotel here in Big Bend National Park.
I hope you enjoy your visit at this amazing American National Park. Click here for the video.