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48 Hours in Massive Bend Nationwide Park – What to Do and See

Welcome to Big Bend National Park. An explosion of color on the Rio Grande in the middle of nowhere West Texas. If you didn’t think Texas had sweeping mountains, dramatic peaks, and endless mountain views, prepare to be wowed. This is how to best spend 48 hours in Big Bend National Park, Texas. Dom Rock […]



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Welcome to Massive Bend Nationwide Park. An explosion of colour on the Rio Grande in the course of nowhere West Texas.

Should you didn’t suppose Texas had sweeping mountains, dramatic peaks, and limitless mountain views, put together to be wowed. That is how you can finest spend 48 hours in Massive Bend Nationwide Park, Texas.

Dom Rock

In a park as massive as Massive Bend, protecting over 150 miles, in the event you’ve solely bought a few days, you’re going to need to make some robust decisions. I really started within the Massive Bend State Park, which is correct subsequent door, with among the finest Rio Grande river views you will discover for the sundown.

This space is named huge hill, or in the event you test on Google Maps, it’s known as Dom Rock, named after a bottle of hidden Dom Perignon from the film Fandango

You should definitely get there round 45 minutes earlier than the solar really units, as a result of it goes down these canyon partitions shortly. From right here you’ll be looking on the view straddling Texas and Mexico, partitioned by the meandering river. Entry this one about 12 miles down scenic freeway 170 previous the city of Lajitas. 

Misplaced Mine Path

The subsequent morning for dawn, in the event you’re up for an early get up, which I extremely suggest, the Misplaced Mine path supplies gorgeous views. You solely must hike in a few mile in on the path to look at because the rising solar paints the rocks purple after which gold, sweeping out to the valley within the distance. 

This can be a pretty straightforward hike, and it’s finest to get there early, because the small parking zone fills up shortly.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

The Sotol Vista Overlook

The Ross Maxwell Scenic drive would require turning again in direction of the park entrance (however not too far) for among the finest drives in the entire park. Plus, it ends at one of many park’s most well-known options – the Santa Elena Canyon.

There are many stops all alongside the way in which with facet hikes and overlooks, just like the Sotol Vista pictured above, so give your self loads of time for this one. Optionally available facet hikes embrace:

  • Decrease Burro Mesa Path – A straightforward, 30 minute hike with beautiful canyon views and probabilities to see spring wildflowers.
  • Chimneys Path – One other quick and flat hike, although if deciding between Decrease Burro and this one, choose the Decrease Burro.
  • Mule Ears Springs Path – Pretty views of some distinctive rock formations and an ideal spot for night time images.
  • Tuff Canyon Overlook – This fast roadside cease seems down right into a white canyon. It’s one other fast, straightforward hike into the canyon in the event you’re eager.
  • Dorgan Home Path – Take a look at some previous buildings and ruins on this roadside pulloff.
  • Santa Elena Canyon Overlook – A fast cease in your approach right down to hike or kayak the Canyon.

Santa Elena Canyon

In all probability probably the most photographed and well-known function of Massive Bend, the Santa Elena Canyon gives an opportunity to play in, kayak on, hike via, or hike beside the Rio Grande. Benefit from the coolness of the canyon whereas being in two locations directly – cut up between Texas and Mexico.

Relying on how excessive the water is, you could have to get your ft moist to cross the Rio Grande with the intention to entry the path. For that reason, I'd suggest footwear that do effectively in water. I additionally observed individuals who introduced kayaks to kayak down the river and need to admit I used to be jealous.

Nonetheless, the view from alongside the path is gorgeous, and in the event you make it there for dawn, you possibly can catch an ideal glimpse of the rising solar over the river from a pair switchbacks up in the beginning of the path, simply after crossing the river. It’s a brief, straightforward path with a little bit of elevation loss and acquire that finishes at a pleasant view wanting additional into the canyon.

Sundown on the Home windows

The opposite hottest factor to do within the park is catching sundown on the Home windows. This can be a customer favourite because of the straightforward accessibility and the spectacular solar setting proper between this distinctive rock formation. For some additional train, hike a 5 mile path to get nearer to the home windows, or you possibly can have a look at them from the paved, straightforward loop accessible from the Chisos Basin Customer Middle parking space.

That mentioned, what you see pictured above is a special view. I knew that the nearly-full moon can be rising on the opposite facet of the home windows, so I selected to look at the sundown/moonrise from the west round mile marker 2 on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. This explicit photograph was taken down a mud highway nearer to mile 3, offering extra of a facet profile of 1 facet of the Home windows.

Though I severely thought of watching the sundown via the Home windows, I additionally wished to see what it will be like watching the solar paint the mountains purple with that well-timed moon rise. It meant barely much less driving after having fun with the Santa Elena Canyon as effectively!

That is additionally an choice if you wish to watch the dawn via the Home windows.

Grapevine Hills and Balanced Rock

For my second dawn, I made my approach out to the Grapevine Hills and Balanced Rock Path. That is one other straightforward, comparatively flat path with superb views on the finish, notably for the dawn. Although most individuals come right here to see the balanced rock, I used to be extra a fan of the Grapevine Hills view on the prime of the path.

with the intention to entry this space, you’ll want to show down a mud highway virtually adjoining to basin junction. If it has not too long ago rained I may think about this highway being impassible. Even with dry situations, the start of the highway was no downside, however then it began to get a bit bit washboardy and for my rental car, a bit too dangerous for the final half mile. Fortunately there was a pleasant little spot I may simply pull off and park, making it a simple hike in. It added a little bit of time to my hike, however the stroll out on the highway again to the automobile was good as effectively!

You’ve bought about an hour earlier than the dawn will illuminate the rock formations on this canyon, so that you catch a couple of additional Zs than you can if mountain climbing the Misplaced Mine path for dawn, by comparability.

South Rim and Emory Peak

The South Rim view by Davey Nin used below Artistic Commons

By far the longest and most difficult suggestion on this listing, the south rim hike supplies the largest reward when it comes to beautiful views. This hike is about 12 miles round-trip, and also you’ll have the choice so as to add on Emory Peak as effectively. Should you select to do that as a day hike, take note this isn't acceptable for {the summertime}, and also you’ll wish to go away proper at dawn so as to have the ability to full the entire thing, so that you may wish to select this one as a substitute of the Balanced Rock Path in the event you solely have 48 hours.

I used to be dying to do that hike, and below regular circumstances would have, however I had a protracted drive forward of me and simply barely didn’t have sufficient time to do it justice. That mentioned, if I have been to return, I’d obtain a backcountry permit and switch this into an in a single day hike, as there are a couple of established backcountry campsites alongside the rim. The most effective case situation for me can be the chance to look at the sundown, stargaze, and catch the dawn this unimaginable view.

Stargazing Ideas

Among the finest issues about being in such a distant location is the chance to see the night time sky in her full glory. The most effective time to see the well-known Milky Method core is from mid-March till mid-October, however anytime all year long is an excellent time to have a look at the night time sky.

Though I used to be there throughout a full moon, which presents its personal distinctive images alternatives, moonlight will severely inhibit your skill to see the celebrities, so just remember to go throughout a brand new moon in case you are going particularly to stargaze. I discover Moon Giant to be very useful for planning functions. Further factors in the event you go to throughout a brand new moon and a meteor bathe!

Close by – Eat and Lay Your Head

A part of the enjoyable visiting Massive Bend Nationwide Park is hanging out within the cities close by as effectively. They've a lot character and persona!

Terlingua is the closest city to the park and your finest wager for scrumptious eats. The most well-liked native spot for dinner is the Starlight Theater within the Terlingua ghost city. Individuals have a tendency to hang around for an hour or so earlier than it opens, ingesting beers from the close by reward store and taking part in music on the wood deck. Put together to attend a bit so as to have the ability to eat right here because it’s in style, however from what I hear it’s price it!

There’s an previous cemetery close by additionally price testing for a peek into the city mining historical past.

For breakfast, take a look at La Posada Milagro close by for espresso and breakfast burritos.


Should you’re planning on spending the vast majority of your time in huge Bend nationwide Park itself, probably the most handy choice are campground reservations within the park, though they have a tendency to e-book out fairly far prematurely in the course of the cooler months. There are additionally some choices in Terlingua.

I personally stayed on the Lajitas Golf Resort in Lajitas, which is conveniently positioned proper subsequent to Massive Bend State Park. They've a number of eating places on website, together with a golf course, zip lining, and different actions. This can be a nice household selection and an choice for individuals who need extra selection than simply hikes within the park.

You probably have extra time, the most effective case situation can be to remain throughout the park to discover the nationwide park, and on the Latijas Golf Resort to discover the state park.

On Your Method

Since Massive Bend Nationwide Park is in the course of nowhere, you'll have a protracted drive no matter the place you’re coming from. Most individuals fly into El Paso. On the way in which, I extremely suggest stopping in Fort Davis to interrupt up the 5-hour drive.

The Davis Mountains State Park gives beautiful views of the encompassing space and is a good place to catch the sundown. Drive to the top of the Skyline Drive for the most effective views.

Afterwards, I extremely suggest going to the McDonald Observatory for one among their star events (calendar here). This provides you a chance to look via their telescopes at stars and constellations. That is one other time when it will be prudent to take the moon phases under consideration, as darkish skies make for a a lot better stargazing.

Whereas in Fort Davis, I stayed on the Stone Village Tourist camp and ate breakfast on the Stone Village Market and cherished the pleasant ambiance. Should you’re a espresso lover, they promote scrumptious native, free commerce, natural espresso within the store!

Seasonal Issues

Massive Bend can get scorching in the summertime, with temperatures often topping 90°F. Summer season can be the monsoon season, when flash flooding and rain are extra frequent. Within the winter, put together for near freezing temperatures, particularly in a single day.

Round March, you could get fortunate sufficient to see some wildflowers within the park, together with cactus flowers! That mentioned, understand that that is round spring break, which might be one of the vital in style occasions to go to. I went in early February and was delighted by how uncrowded it was!

No matter if you go, Massive Bend presents a novel alternative for darkish skies, beautiful hikes, and delightful solitude.

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*This put up was dropped at you in collaboration with Travel Texas. All ideas on the great thing about Massive Bend are my very own.

Support author of this article and visit his post, originally published HERE

This post is originally published at Be My Travel Muse blog and it's not owned by this site! Respect content authors!