When you are planning your Big Bend vacation there are many options for BIG fun! Big Bend National Park is all about wide open spaces where you can do many things on your own. Following are some of the most popular activities for your vacation to Big Bend.
No horses are available inside the park, however, you can bring your own horse to the park. In order to bring a horse you will need to obtain a backcountry use permit and certain restrictions apply. Stables in Study Butte, Lajitas, and south of Marathon offer guided trips outside of the park.
Several companies offer guided river trips ranging from one-half day to one week. You can also bring (or rent) equipment and obtain a backcountry use permit to do your own river trip. Because river levels and conditions vary, check current conditions before going off on your own.
You can soak in the ruins of the old hot springs bath house (near Rio Grande Village) which has a constant temperature of 105°F. Overnight camping is not allowed at Hot Springs. Alcoholic beverages, nude bathing, and pets are also prohibited. When the Rio Grande rises above three feet, the hot spring is inaccessible.
NOTE: Swimming in the Rio Grande is not recommended. The river can be hazardous, even in calm-looking water. Strong undercurrents, deep holes, and shallow areas with sharp rocks and large tree limbs are common. Water-borne micro-organisms and other waste materials occur in the river and can cause serious illness. However, if you choose to enter the river, wear a life jacket. The end of the Boquillas Canyon Trail and the Santa Elena Canyon trailhead area may be suitable for wading at certain times of the year (always check river conditions first).
You can fish in the Rio Grande. Catfish are common. Jug fishing is not permitted, and you are not allowed to bring live bait into the park. Bait can usually be purchased at the Rio Grande Village Store.
Much of the wildlife in the park is active at night, but dusk is a good time to look for deer, fox, and javelina. The Window View Trail in the Basin is especially good. Rio Grande Village is a good place to see coyotes and javelinas and is good for birding throughout much of the year. Do not feed any wildlife in the park.
Stay near the Big Bend National Park at the Premier Lajitas Resort on the border of the park! There are also several other great resorts and hotels near Big Bend National Park including, Chisos Mountains Lodge, Ten Bits Ranch, The Mining Company, Big Bend Resort and Adventures and The Gage Hotel. With so much to see you’ll really want to stay close to all the beauty!