Big Bend National Park …. “getting our ‘hike’ on”

Hiking the Dog Canyon











After 22 years living in Texas and four years on the road we finally made it to Big Bend National Park .  It is big – just over 800,000 acres and remote.  You have to really want to visit here – it is located in Southwest Texas on the Mexico border.  The remoteness and vastness are similar to Denali,  Great Basin, and Death Valley.  2017 was a record year – 440,000 visitors compared to Yellowstone’s 4 Million it makes it seem like being in a K Mart versus a Walmart.

Because we travel without plans, we did not make reservations and were not even sure  where we would camp.  February is a busy time for the park (March and November are the busiest months) and we arrived on a long weekend Friday, so we couldn’t snag a site in one of the three campgrounds in the park or a dispersed back country site.  We lucked out and stayed at Stillwells Ranch about six miles outside of the NE entrance.  After looking at the campgrounds in the park we felt like we would stay there again.  The campgrounds in the park are tight spots with low clearance issues (unless you stay in a dispersed back country site).  We even checked out  camping options in Terlingua  which were all gravel/dirt parking lots with tight spaces. Stillwells was off the highway and quiet with plenty of space to get some privacy if you dry camp.

Our BIG truck, little truck combo at Stillwells

This is the only option for camping near this entrance but has wonderful vistas and a bargain at $22 a night.  This is not a park to visit if you don’t have a vehicle you can drive around since many of the trailheads are located away from the park campgrounds.  If you stay outside either entrance, you will be putting in some miles getting into park trailheads too.

This was our chance to hike longer day hikes again and we took in several. and auto tours.  Our favorite hike was the Windows which is  popular because it originates at the Chisos Basin Campground and has a cool spring that flows down part of the canyon.

Wild flowers were in full bloom

Texas beauties – Blue Bonnets









The wildflowers were all blooming since this desert region had rainfall for several consecutive months – a rarity.  Even blue bonnets were out which surprised us.  We were able to see javelinas (my special treat), mule deer, jack rabbits, hawks and road runners.

Besides hiking, you can take a soak in a hot springs on the Rio Grande or get rowed across the Rio Grande in a small boat and take a burro into a small remote Mexican town.  The hot springs was too crowded  and the rowboat experience seemed a little too touristy for us s so we spent time driving and hiking.

Perched with G’s help!


Javelina sighting!



Beautiful vistas for sunsets

Yarrow Cactus



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4 Responses to Big Bend National Park …. “getting our ‘hike’ on”

  1. Simon & B says:

    Simon & B like this post 🙂

    We came through BBNP 3 years ago, and like you guys, were mightily impressed by it.

    Not quite sure where the wall is going to go, though.

  2. Leo Christl says:

    I have enjoyed following your blog over the years. We. Still have not made it to the south west corner of North America but we will hence the enjoyment following you two.
    Might I ask how much of an increase in mileage did you experience when you started pulling the small truck. I am concerned my 6.0 litre gas engine on the 3500 GMC dually would be to small to consider what you are towing. We have a 1181 Lance. Cheers

    • gconthemove says:

      Hi Leo – We lost about 3/4 – 1 MPG with the tow vehicle. The F350 diesel tows it like a dream – never lags a big. Not sure how a gas engine would do – would depend on terrain and weight in towed truck. We carry about 650 lbs in and on the truck.

  3. Richard Behling says:

    Great write up. You should be in marketing!! HAHA.
    Saw the great wedding photos.

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