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Trip Report

Visiting Big Bend National Park

Visiting Big Bend National Park over 5 days including the surrounding western towns. Terlingua, Marfa, and Alpine, Texas.

by bonvoyagejackieAbout Me:Hi, I'm Jackie, creator of the blog Bon Voyage Jackie. I created my blog in 2018 to share my experience balancing working as a full-time professional with my love of travel. I work remotely, but keep a home-base in Baton Rouge, LA. My f... read more

North AmericaUnited States4 days / November 2021

Highs & Lows

Hiking the varied landscapes of Big Bend!

Not sure if we witnessed the Marfa lights... or just headlights.

Itinerary Overview

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes visiting Big Bend National Park. Spanning over 1200 square miles, there was plenty to explore here during my 5  day trip. In November 2021, I visited with a group of friends ready for an adventure. What an adventure we had! Even with 5 days in the national park, we barely scratched the surface on all the amazing hikes and natural beauty to be had. 

We based ourselves in the town of Alpine, Texas.  The town was lovely and I am glad we had the opportunity to visit. However, the distance from the national park made for some very early mornings and we all could have benefitted from a little more sleep. In the future, I will be sure to book far ahead if I’m looking for accommodation for a big group. 

Each day of the trip, we enjoyed spending our mornings and afternoons hiking. After our hikes, we took some time to explore, and sample the food, in Big Bend’s surrounding towns. On this trip we visited Terlingua, Marfa, and Marathon.

  • Day trip: Big Bend National Park
    Visiting Big Bend National Park for hiking and enjoying nature
  • Day trip: Terlingua
    See the Terlingua ghost town
  • Day trip: Marfa
    See some art and catch a sight of the Marfa lights
  • 4 Nights: Alpine
    Lodging options and visiting nearby towns

Q & A

  • What would you have changed?

    While I loved visiting the town of Alpine, the drive to Big Bend was a little further than my liking. We booked our accommodations in September for a trip in November. Next time, I would book earlier to have more options nearby. Terlingua and Marathon are the two closest towns, each located on opposite park entrances. Marathon has a few hotel and airbnb options. Terlingua is full of unique Airbnb and glamping options, like sleeping in a bubble tent under the stars.

  • What tips would you give a friend?

    Many areas of Big Bend are very remote and have limited cell service. I recommend downloading offline Google Maps to help with directions and also to have a physical map (you can pick one up in the park offices) just in case.

  • Packing tips?

    Be prepared! Visiting Big Bend National Park is very remote and cell service is limited. Pack your car and your hiking pack with plenty of water and emergency provisions, just in case you get stuck.

  • Transportation Tips?

    Not exactly nearby, the closest airport to Big Bend is 3.5 hours away in Midland, Texas. Major airlines Southwest, United and American Airlines all operate flights through Midland International Air & Space Port (Yes, that’s right, the Midland airport is also a space port. How cool is that?) Renting a car is a necessity for this trip. Big Bend National Park is huge! It took us about an hour’s drive from one side of the park to another.

  • Booking details?

    Book your accommodation well in advance. Visiting Big Bend National Parks is popular and options are limited. We waited until September to book accommodations for a large group of 8 and had to stay in Alpine, which was a 2 hour drive to some areas of the park. Airbnb has the most options. If you'd like to stay inside the park, there is a lodge near the Chisos Basin Visitor's center as well as many campsites.

Lodging