Big Bend: In a four day weekend (from Austin)

I left a piece of my heart in Big Bend and pop in for a visit every once in a while. While the optimal experience is spending a week or two in the desert, making the most of a four day weekend is also a great way to go.

I typed both hiking and boating options up for a client the other day. Please go enjoy one of Texas’s greatest attractions and remember to respect the area. Pack it in, pack it out. Thanks!



Saturday – Sunday

1)      Break camp – or not – and hike the chisos

2)      Hike up laguna meadows (less steep, more switchbacks) easier with gear and water

3)      Camp at NE4

4)      Break camp

5)      Climb to Emory Peak (closer to Pinnacle)

6)      Descend down pinnacle and get sad because your trip is coming to an end

Sunday night

1)      Grab some beer from the Chisos Basin general store

Reward yourself with a soak in the hot spring (15 mi drive, but worth it) – the hike in is short with few obstacles and can easily be done at night –

  • ( if you see a ranger – springs close at 7 or something terrible like that – hide the beer unless they are cool and they take you on a longer hike to the executive hot springs – true story)


2)      Go to La Kiva – “The cave” and get your swever on


  • Get some breakfast in Terlingua
  • Hit the road


 NOTE – you can plan your trip around this – if you hit up the chili cookoff as you get out of the water on fest’s last day, prepare yourself for a night of debauchery and mardi gras mayhem (bring beads to throw)


 Saturday – Sunday

  • Break camp pretty early to get to outfitter – it’s not the longest of drives but the speed limit in the park is damn slow – allow an hour of driving – must be at outfit at 8:45
  • Camp on either MX or USA side at the opening of the canyon above the rapits – YOU WILL see the opening start and there
    • Note – if I remember right there is a guardian and a false guardian – wait until you see the opening of the canyon to make camp


                Take your time – the float isn’t too, too much longer – enjoy your day

  • God speed through the “ROCK SLIDE”, baby!!!!!! – USE CAUTION – STAY OUT OF HYDRAULICS
  • Lunch – Hike Fern Canyon – crawl through the hole in the rock to get to the top – worth it if you don’t have big shoulders and aren’t too claustrophobic (sucks for us)
    • You may see a boat or two stopped there already – do it anyway.
  • Meet your shuttle and unload gear

Night time options –

1)      Camp and eat at Terlingua Chili cook-off

2)      Hot springs (above)

3)      Shitty camping outside of Chisos Basin

4)      Stay at Hotel in Easter egg village

5)      Go to La Kiva – above

6)      Go to in Terlingua Ghost town.

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