Big Bend National Park Offers Inspiring Vast Solitude

Night and day, solitude and stunning vistas prevail in one of America’s least visited parks.

The Milky Way is easily visible, and on a clear night more than 2,000 stars shine, leading travelers to reflect their place in the galaxy.

Big Bend has the least light pollution of any National Park in the lower 48 states, due primarily to its secluded location. The International Dark-Sky Association has designated it as a Dark Sky Park, meaning it has exceptional nighttime visibility.

The park is so far away and geographically diverse that the astronauts trained at Big Bend before Moon missions.

The long drive through Texas’ stark landscape toward the park might evoke similar feelings as the craggy Chisos Mountains slowly rise in the distance.

The stunning terrain and inspirational solitude often encourage repeat visits. One friend of mine, from San Antonio, has taken an annual trip to the park since 1995.

Chisos Mountains at sunset.

The Chisos Mountains turn bright orange at sunset.

Hiking Trails

If you only have time for one hike, consider the Lost Mine Trail. At 4.8 miles round trip, the trail rises 1,000 feet through juniper, oak and pine trees, ending with stunning canyon views.

My friend, Rick, says he has seen black bear and mountain lion on more than one occasion from the trail.

The Santa Elena Canyon Trail is another favorite hike. The easier 1.7-mile round trip journey ventures into a limestone canyon, which has dramatic 1,500-foot walls.

Big Bend National Park shares the border with Mexico for 118 miles along the Rio Grande River.

Visitors can venture across the border at the Boquillas Crossing station. Adventurous travelers can pay $5 to be rowed across the river and another $5 to ride a burro into Boquillas.

The Window at Big Bend National Park

The Window.

The houses are colorful in Boquillas, Mexico.

The houses are colorful in Boquillas, Mexico.

A Star-filled Night Sky

Dark and lonely places can be daunting but mesmerizing, often conjuring up thoughts of outerspace or late 1800s cowboy camp fires.

Strip away the distractions of daily life — smartphones, Wi-Fi, social media — and people are forced to look inward to confront feelings. This splendid isolationism is the appeal of Big Bend National Park in Texas.

Big Bend remains one of the largest, most remote and least visited of the parks.

Last year, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks drew more than 4 million visitors each; Big Bend attracted only about 350,000.

Relaxing in hot springs

Relaxing in hot springs

Stars in Big Bend National Park.

Stars in Big Bend National Park.

If you go for the solitude — the nearest major airport in Midland is three and a half hours away — you won’t be disappointed.

●A drive from San Antonio is about 6.5 hours.

●From El Paso, the drive is 5 hours.

●Austin is 7 hours.

● Dallas is over 8 hours.

One paved road connects the bookend canyons of Santa Elena and Boquillas, and little life is visible while driving through the desert and undulating hills.

But stop, look and listen. In the park’s mountain, desert and river environments, more than 450 species of birds have been recorded.

Mountain lions, bears, rattlesnakes and javelinas roam freely. You’re likely to encounter some of these on one of the many hiking trails.

Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park.



Use Code CLEVER10 for a 10% discount on Green Pasture products today!

Now Available CLICK Here!

For free email notice when we post a new article like this, sign


  1. I did not know that you could still cross over to Boquillas. I remember that they used to have a restaurant there. There was decent food at a cheap price. You are right that it is a beautiful park. Is there a lot of cartel activity such as drug smuggling?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. My son and his family camped there over spring break. He sent me some beautiful shots taken with his obligatory iPhone. MoMo and I plan a trip there in the future, maybe even give Marfa another chance to impress us.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.