Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Big Bend
Q:How can we take a river trip?
A: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 planning your own trip.
Q:Is there lodging inside Big Bend Park?
A:There is one in-park lodging option, Chisos Mountain Lodge. However, there are several options at the park's entrance to choose from.
Q:What are the entrance fees for Big Bend National Park?
This fee includes all occupants of a private, non-commercial vehicle and is valid for 7 days.
Fee applicable to one motorcycle and is valid for 7 days.
Fee applicable to one individual walking in or bicycling in and is valid for 7 days.
Q:What are the temperature variances at Big Bend National Park?
A:It can get as hot as 115-120° F along the river during late May and June. However, the temperatures will normally be in the range of 88-110° F during the hottest time of the year—the lower end of that range being in the Basin, the hotter temperatures along the river.
The winter months (December, January, and February) can bring cold weather, dropping temperatures down into the thirties, and occasionally bringing snow. However, interspersed with these cold spells are spells of very comfortable, warm weather (70s or 80s and even higher sometimes, down on the river). The nights, however, are commonly freezing or below—in the 20s or teens down on the river.
Q:What is the recommended stay duration?
A:Minimalist (3-4 days)
Driving/Sightseeing: 2 Day
Hiking/Exploring: 1-2 Days
Adventurist (6-7 Days)
Driving/Sightseeing: 3 Days
Hiking/Exploring: 2 Days
Attractions (Museums/History/Culture): ½ Day - 1 Day
Activities/Special Programs: ½ Day - 1 Day
Notes: Big Bend is BIG! There are four distinct regions of the park that each deserves a visit if you want to truly get the full 'Big Bend experience.' Driving around this vast park will 2 full days on its own (much more if you explore some of the more off-the-beaten-path roads). There are also too many great hiking opportunities not to take advantage of a few. You should definitely not miss the Chisos Mountains Basin and the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, which was engineered to take you past many of the parks geological and scenic highlights. Big Bend is also full of hiking opportunities with more than 150 miles of trails available. Other memorable Big Bend activities that shouldn't be missed include many informative Ranger-led programs, horseback riding through the desert, a river trip down the Rio Grande, and a visit to the old-west town of Lajitas just west of the park – take advantage of Lajitas world-class golf course while you are there! Also, don't forget to set aside some of your nighttime hours for staring at the skies! Big Bend is one of the best spots in the US for stargazing opportunities!
Q:When do the wildflowers bloom?
A:Generally, desert plants bloom in the spring, while plants in the Chisos Mountains bloom in the late summer, during the rainy season. March and April are probably the best time to see the park in bloom, but flowers can be seen almost throughout the year. Every year is different, depending on rainfall levels. Big Bend does not always look like the pictures on postcards. It is very difficult to predict when the best weeks will be.
Q:When is the busy season in Big Bend?
A:Spring is the busiest season at Big Bend National Park - during March and April and sometimes into May when the Texas colleges and universities are on spring break. Thanksgiving and Christmas can be extremely busy, also. Plan ahead and make lodging reservations early if you plan to visit Big Bend during any holiday period.