Pickup on Day 1 of our tour is in Midland, Texas – the nearest airport to Big Bend. Part of the allure of the national park is its remoteness, which will be apparent as we take 4 hours to get to the entrance! We’ll have time to stop at the visitor center for a picnic lunch and time to enjoy the displays, then we continue our journey on the scenic drive to our first day’s hike. This is a downhill hike through the narrowing canyon atop Burro Mesa to the spectacular pour-off at the mesa’s southern edge (4 miles). After our hike we will retire to our lodge in Terlingua – truly “in the middle of nowhere”.
Our Day 2 hike to the views of Mule Ears Peaks will showcase the incredible beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert at a time when the Chihuahuan well may be in full spring bloom. The variety of cacti, yucca, ocotillo and other desert plants along the trail is truly amazing (6.5 miles). Following our Mule Ears hike, we’ll drive to the end of the Ross Maxwell Road and hike along the Rio Grande into the mouth of Santa Elena Canyon (2.5 miles).
Early the following morning on Day 3, we’ll head into the heart of the Chisos mountains on the South Rim trail. This is the quintessential mountain hike in Big Bend, and the views from the trail across much of the Big Bend country extending into Mexico are unsurpassed (13 miles).
On Day 4, we’ll join Big Bend River Tours for a day of canoeing or rafting, depending on river flow, on the Rio Grande, riding the border between Mexico and the United States. Our exact itinerary will depend on conditions at the time.
Day 5 is relatively moderate hike to Lost Mine in the Chisos highlands (4.8 miles). In addition, we’ll travel the Grapevine Hills Road to view Balanced Rock where the photo opportunities are endless. Tonight we’ll experience the Terlingua Ghost Town, with time to explore this old mining camp before an awesome dinner at the Starlight Theater.
After a final night in “new” Terlingua, we have a bit of a drive for our shuttle back to Midland. But wait – we have one more surprise in store. At the north end of the park is a little used trail the disappears into some rugged canyons similar to a slot canyon. We start towards Dog Canyon, then veer into the dramatic limestone Devils Den. After a bit of exploring both in the canyon and along the rim, we return to the van. We’ll hurry out to Marathon for a delicious deli lunch, before finishing our drive back to Midland, where our Big Bend National Park Hiking Tour concludes.