back to articles | April 04, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Useful Automotive Information

14 Things to Do on Your Big Bend National Park Road Trip

Big Bend national park is situated in southwestern Texas, bordering Mexico. It offers an entire mountain range, geographical contrasts, and top views, making it a fantastic wonderland for road trips.


Big Bend national park is situated in southwestern Texas, bordering Mexico. It offers an entire mountain range, geographical contrasts, and top views, making it a fantastic wonderland for road trips. The ultimate national park road trip does not mean just having a ride; there are a lot of activities you can engage in to make the trip fancy. This article covers several things you can undertake during your Big Bend national park road trip.

1. Hiking

The topmost activity to take at the Big Bend national park is hiking. The park offers a number of hiking trails. The park is simply a hikers' paradise, and it is good to know which parts of the park you would like to discover while hiking. Some of the most visited parts are; the Chisos Mountains, which offer a 1.8 miles' trek that accommodates a short hiking experience. Also, you may hike through the Chimneys trail, which passes through the desert, or the Santa Elena Canyon trail, which gives you a broad view of the park's river.

2. Taking a scenic drive

You may want a quick thrill of Big Bend National Park and all it offers in the comfort of your car. Your best pick would be the famous Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive that spreads across 30 miles around the park. The route serves you with a highlight of the rivers, mountain, and desert regions. The fact that this route is entirely paved makes the drive even more enjoyable without worrying about any harsh terrain. This drive is perfect for you, especially when you have planned a one-day trip to Big Bend. For the best experience, get out of your vehicle and enjoy the beautiful landscapes throughout this drive.

3. Border Crossing

If you are a lot more adventurous, your road trip to Big Bend might get even more interesting by giving you a chance to cross over the Boquillas border. The park borders Mexico, and this is your chance to visit the neighboring town of Coahuila. You only need to pay $5 to get a row boat across the Rio Grande. Also, ensure you carry your passport to avoid any problems with the authorities at the border crossing. After crossing the border, you can visit the renowned Jose Falcon restaurant to get a taste of Mexican food. You can also buy a lot of souvenirs from the place.

4. Ranch visiting

Big Bend national park is known for historic ranching. A good example of a ranch you can visit during your road trip is the Sam Nail Ranch, which gives you a snippet of the former homestead for Jim, Sam, and Nena Nail. The homestead provides historic remnants, such as a chicken coop and wooden windmills, which still functions today. This is a great place to re-imagine the life of the Nails family.

5. Photography

With its dramatic landscape, the Big Bend National Park offers the best photography spots during your road trip. All you need is a good camera, a tripod, and your creative skills to capture the park's spectacular views. Some spots where you can take photos are deserts, mountains, ranches, and rivers. This is a good way to keep memories of your road trip to the park.

6. Drawing and painting

Big bend National Park offers a wide range of landscapes. Drawing and painting landscapes may be useful if you want to connect with your inner self. These activities will boost your creativity and give you a chance to connect with nature intimately and pay attention to your surroundings. If you are having a road trip with your friends, this activity may be a great way of team building and eliminating boredom.

7. Bird watching

The Big Bend National Park is home to over 450 species of birds. Bird watching is naturally calming and helps you be mindful of the ecosystem. Water is one of the primary resources for supporting bird life which the park offers freely. Some bird-watching spots in the park are; Rio Grande Village, Chisos Mountains, Sam Nail Ranch, and Cottonwood Campground.

8. Enjoying the hot springs

Another activity to partake in during your road trip is visiting the hot springs district in the park and soaking in them. This activity is therapeutic to your body and soul. It also gives you a chance to study rock art. However, it would help if you took caution while bathing in water to avoid accidents. You should also get familiar with the rules that apply to the hot spring areas in the park.

9. Wildlife spotting

Apart from bird watching, the Big Bend National Park has a variety of mammals. Some animals in the park are lions, javelins, kangaroo rats, foxes, and black bears. Papalote Escondido is a spot in the park designated for wildlife viewing. Most wildlife comes out during autumn.

10.Exploring history

The Big Bend National Park hosts captivating historical sites such as the Fort Leon State Historic Site, old ranches, and Hollywood movie sets which are great places to explore. History is visible in pictographs, the roads, and trails and depicts the early life of the indigenous people. This includes how colonization took over the place and how the ownership of the place changed and led to long disputes. If you love history, this is a great activity for you to take during the road trip.

11. Fishing

The Rio Grande River holds a variety of species. You can go fishing during your road trip as the river runs through the park. You may not catch a fish, but this is a great activity to spend a lazy afternoon. It is also a great chance to catch a glimpse of the fish and turtles.

12. Stargazing

The park offers spectacular sky views at night. If your road trip involves camping, stargazing is one of the activities you should consider. With the park being identified as one of the dark skies preserve, the sky views, especially during moonless nights, are an experience to remember.

13. Visiting Barton Warnock Visitor Centre

The visitor center is a great stopover for you during your road trip. This is more of a resource center where you get to know more about the park's origin, the kind of wildlife it hosts, plants found in the area, and the previous inhabitants of the park. At the visitor center, you can also purchase a map to guide you through the park and permits for horse riding and fishing. It also offers a water refill point and dumpsite.

14. Camping

Camping at the Big Bend National Park is memorable, with incredible day and night views. This is a great activity to incorporate into your road trip. You will enjoy more scenic views and solitude as most campsites within the park are offered in the most remote areas. Camping is a lot more exciting as it lets you see incredible sunset and sunrise views.

Summing it up

Big Bend National Park has lots of experiences to offer when it comes to exhilarating things to do. However, to enjoy the above activities while taking your road trip to Big Bend National Park, you need to prepare well before the trip. Get familiar with the seasons and what they offer, make reservations for camping, and carry the required attire for activities such as hiking.

The best way to explore and get around Big Bend National Park is to drive your own car. Fortunately, you can get up to 4 offers for a new or used auto loan, which can help you own your dream car for your Big Bend National Park trip.