Texas Hiking – Big Bend National Park & Beyond
7 days
From $ 3599
Duration7 days

Spend seven days hiking from the Chisos Mountains to the Chihuahuan Desert in Big Bend National Park and west Texas. Located in the southwestern corner of Texas, Big Bend National Park has long lured hikers with its iconic trails, uniquely diverse geology and ecology, as well as the peaceful, all-encompassing isolation from the daily hustle and bustle. Our journey takes us from the magnificent border city of El Paso to eclectic Austin. In route, we travel the Texas Mountain Trail, exploring both the natural wonders of Big Bend National Park and some of the region’s most iconic towns – Marfa, Fort Davis, Alpine and Terlingua. Each night is spent in distinctively Texan accommodations, from gorgeous historic hotels, to a restored ghost town mansion and a park lodge nestled high in the Chisos Mountains.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 7 days
    Service level: Standard
  • Starts in: Howard Johnson Fort Erie On
    Physical Grading: Average
  • Ages: 18+
Texas Hiking – Big Bend National Park & Beyond - Tour Map


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Day 1: Hike Fort Davis National Historic Site and explore Marfa, Texas.

Start place: Howard Johnson Fort Erie On

Our adventure begins in the multi-cultural border city of El Paso. We meet our guides at our host hotel in the historic downtown area. After brief introductions we begin the three-hour journey to our first hike at the Fort Davis National Historic Site. The sprawling park offers visitors the chance to explore one of the finest examples of a frontier military post in the American Southwest. During our visit we’ll learn how the fort served as a key military encampment during western expansion. We’ll also hear stories about legendary residents such as the Buffalo Soldiers. As an alternative, spend the afternoon in Marfa and learn about the legacy of artist Donald Judd and his vision of transforming the sleepy ranching town into a world renowned Minimalist art center. After a day of exploration, relax at the historic Hotel Paisano in Marfa. Our after dinner treat—the mysterious Marfa Lights! Lunch and dinner included.
Hiking 2.5 – 3 miles; 320’ elevation gain and loss; transfer time 3 hours.
Meals: D
Day 2: Explore Big Bend National Park and Chisos Mountain Lodge.
Leaving Marfa, we journey into Big Bend National Park. Our first hike is the Persimmon Gap Trail, featuring the oldest exposed rocks in the park. We’ll then enjoy lunch at the Fossil Bone Exhibit, celebrating 120 million years of paleontological history. We’ll wrap up the day in the Chisos Mountains hiking the breathtaking Lost Mine Trail. We’ll spend the next two nights at the Chisos Mountain Lodge, set at the base of the towering Chisos Mountains. The lodge provides unparalleled access to trailhead, scenery and high mountain serenity. All meals included.
Hiking 6.75 miles; up to 1,300’ elevation gain and loss; transfer time 2.5 hours.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 3: Hike Texas’s famed the South Rim Trail.
Our destination this morning is the most famous hike in all of Texas: the South Rim Trail. The biological diversity and geologic history adds to the grandeur of the Chisos—the only mountain range in the U.S. which is fully contained within the boundaries of a national park. We’re rewarded with countless dramatic viewpoints which span miles into the Sierra del Carmen Mountains of Mexico and thousands of feet below to the Chihuahuan Desert floor. After a long day on the trail, we are rewarded with another hearty meal at the Chisos Mountain Lodge.
Hiking up to 12 miles; 2,000’ elevation gain and loss. All meals included.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 4: Hike the Chisos Mountains, Chihuahuan Desert and Santa Elena Canyon.
Today we experience the Big Bend “triple treat”: mountains, desert and river floodplain. We start on the Window Trail, which descends through a beautiful canyon surrounded by breathtaking mountain peaks. Photo opportunities abound as we make our way out of the Chisos Basin eventually connecting to the picturesque Oak Springs Trail on the desert floor below. We’ll lunch under the shady trees of a desert oasis before transferring to the next segment of our adventure. After a quick visit to the Castolon Historic District we make our way to the mouth of spectacular Santa Elena Canyon along the mighty Rio Grande River. Today ends at our historic accommodation, a restored mansion in the ghost town of Terlingua. All meals included.
Hiking up to 10 miles; 740’ elevation gain and 2,100’ elevation loss.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 5: Paddle the Rio Grande and hike Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Today starts with a trip along Highway 170, one the most scenic drives in the United States. We split the day between a hike in beautiful Big Bend Ranch State Park and a float through Dark Canyon along the Rio Grande River. Paddling this easy stretch of the river allows us to experience the scenic wonders of the floodplain. Likewise, our hike celebrates the amazing beauty and diversity of Big Bend Ranch State Park. Back in Terlingua at day’s end, we explore the Ghost Town and enjoy a meal at the iconic Starlight Theatre. All meals included.
Hiking 2 miles; 200’ elevation gain and loss. Paddling 3 – 4 miles, 3 hours.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: Hike Mesa de Anguila and explore Alpine, Texas.
An early start to the day helps us avoid the desert heat as we hike up the Mesa de Anguila Trail. The mesa sits high atop Santa Elena Canyon and marks the western border of Big Bend National Park. The trail culminates with fantastic views of the awe-inspiring bends of the Rio Grande and provides a brilliant example of how the park got its name. Our afternoon will be spent in Alpine, Texas, where several options to explore the town or do a guided hike are available. We enjoy a final dinner at the famous Reata Restaurant before tucking ourselves into our comfortable accommodations at the historic Holland Hotel. All meals included.
Hiking 4 miles; 700’ elevation gain and loss; optional 1.4 mile hike. 330’ elevation gain.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 7: Explore the Caverns of Sonora and travel to Austin, Texas.
We embark on the final leg of our journey from El Paso to Austin. In route we visit the Caverns of Sonora. Included in the National Register of Natural Landmarks, the caverns are a world-class cave system with stunning crystal formations. After a guided walk in the cave, we make our way to Roosevelt, Texas, for an authentic Texas country store lunch. Then it’s “on the road again,” to Austin, the Live Music Capital of the World, where we’ll say our final goodbyes. Breakfast and lunch included.
Hiking 1.5 miles; elevation gain and loss 400’. Transfer time 6.5 hours.
Meals: B, L



  • Lodging and meals as indicated on the itinerary
  • transportation from the meeting location in El Paso,Texas, to the drop off location in Austin, Texas
  • park entrance fees
  • Accommodation

    Historic Texas hotels: 4 nights, Mountain lodge: 2 nights

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