Much of Big Bend National Park is primitive roads requiring high clearance and off road tires. 4 wheel drive is a plus! Since Josh has popped several tires in the Park before, this time he decided to bring me (and my Jeep).
My favorite section was Black Gap Road. This area required 4 wheel drive to navigate and since we backcountry camped nearby, we had the road to ourselves. Black Gap Road traverses a rock canyon and we had a blast.
In the video below, you can hear me worrying about splashing Josh, and Josh worrying that I’m going to leave him behind. In any case, off-roading and exploring the backcountry and ruins was my favorite part of Big Bend National Park. rk
Big Balanced Rock is a cool rock formation at the end of the primitive road, Grapevine Hills. After camping in the backcountry site, we did the short hike to Big Balanced Rock where we watched the sun rise as we brewed coffee. This was a peaceful and beautiful beginning to our trip at Big Bend National Park.
One of the more popular and iconic hikes in Big Bend National Park is The Windows Trail. The Chisos Basin in the center of Big Bend is a secluded valley surrounded by the Chisos Mountains, with a small “window” in the mountains to see out into the surrounding area. The Windows Trail is the trail that leads to this notch. At 3.6 miles round trip, it is a fairly easy trail to navigate with some fun scrambles near the end through and around a stream.
It was foggy as we started the hike and I couldn’t even see the Windows which normally is visible from everywhere in the Chisos Basin. We parked near the campground and strolled through the campground to the trailhead. The trail was pretty much all downhill, but not a very steep grade. Of course that meant the return would be the opposite. The trail winded through some small stands of trees and other flora.
As the fog began to lift, I was able to start seeing the mountains around us and my first glimpse of “The Window”.
While the hike to this point had been fun, there hadn’t been to much that was notable other than the loads of fog. As we neared the Window, we caught up to a creek that the trail followed allowing us the opportunity to climb, jump and scramble with the risk of getting a little wet if we slipped in. This part was my favorite part of this hike.
The trail finally narrowed to just a gash with what seemed to be a huge immediate drop on the other end with the stream rushing through the gap. Other hikers went as close as they dared seeking the perfect instagram picture, risking what would be a certain and thrilling death with one slip down and out of the Chisos Mountains. I perched as close as I felt safe and got my picture and then we headed back the way we came.
The Windows Trail is a must do when visiting Big Bend National Park. You can knock it out fairly quickly and you get a much better feel for what the Chisos Basin is like from hiking this trail. Thanks for reading. rk
I was surprised how small the Rio Grande River was in Big Bend National Park. I saw some Mexicans crossing on horseback to refill their trinkets left for sale on the American side of the border along with one American tourist who just waded across so he could say he went to Mexico. Near Solis on the backcountry River Road, I settled for just throwing a rock across the Rio Grande. We camped one night at the Buenos Aires campsite just a few hundred feet from the river. rk
On my last trip to Big Bend National Park the moon kept rising around 5pm (almost two hours before the sun set). Here is a picture of the moon rising above the Chisos Basin.
Thanks! – Josh
This picture is of the Big Bend desert in Texas. I think the diversity of plant life in Big Bend is amazing!
Thanks! – Josh
This picture was taken in Big Bend National Park on New Year’s Day! It’s such a great memory to have spent a holiday at a National Park. I definitely recommend! That night we did a small hike and enjoyed some sunset and star views! It was exciting to start off the new year in nature, opposed to a city style celebration! – Anya