Texas' Best Kept Secret: Big Bend National Park

Texas’ best-kept secret: Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is one of the best-kept secrets in Texas. It's a scenic, rugged park that offers much more than hiking. It's a place to explore canyons, observe wildlife, and go for a dip in the hot springs! The name Big Bend comes from the location along the Rio Grande, where the meandering waters have formed a large bend in the river. 

Big Bend became a national park on June 12, 1944, and only 1409 people visited the new park in its first year of operation. The annual visitation has since increased to over 500,000 people, according to 2021 data.

Whether visiting the Chihuahuan Desert, the Rio Grande, or the Chisos mountains, there are many things to do in Big Bend National Park. We'll give you a quick rundown of some of the best things to do while you're visiting.

Cattail Falls:

Depending on the season, this 5.7-mile roundtrip trail leads hikers through a desert of shrubs and beautiful flowers. The trail ends at an 80-foot waterfall that will make your jaw drop! To access the trailhead, drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive just North of Sam Nail Ranch.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive:

This 30-mile road takes you to the Santa Elena Canyon and Castolon Historic District. The drive provides incredible views of rock formations and wildlife along the way, including bighorn sheep!


Boquillas Point of Entry:

Have you ever wanted to visit Mexico? You can access Boquillas del Carmen by crossing the Rio Grande. You can pay a $10 roundtrip fare to hop in a rowboat and visit the village to purchase goods and souvenirs or have lunch. The National Park Service and the U.S. Border Patrol operate the port of entry.