When we first set out on grand journey TWO YEARS ago, we had the intention of visiting Big Bend National Park. After we spent five days in Marfa we were anxious to move on from the windy desert. Aafter two years, we finally made our way back and I am so glad we did.
We had the intention of staying of Lajitas, which is really just a resort town, on the outside of the park. The drive was roughly an eight and half hours from Waco so we decided we’d stop in Alpine for the night which was a nice resting point. Alpine is actually a super cute little town with a university which draws the usually college attractions such as breweries, food trucks, etc.
After leaving Alpine we set up shop at the RV park in Lajitas for the next few nights. We unhitched, turned on the AC and headed into the park.
When we got to the park we followed our trusty Google Maps to the trail head of Santa Elena Canyon. It told us to take an immediate right onto Maverick Ranch Rd after entering the park. Which was odd, because it was a gravel road but we thought maybe all of the roads in Big Bend were gravel. Again, this is our first experience visiting Big Bend, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. About 5 minutes into the 13 mile road, we were ready to turn around. It was super bumpy and you couldn’t go but 15 MPH. It was going to take us forever to get to the trail head it seemed. We kept on, and as the story goes, sure glad we did. It eased up a bit and we realized once you picked up a little speed, it was as bumpy. My favorite part was passing a new Audi sedan (with California plates) bumping down the same road. Hilarious.
Our first hike was a short one, coming in at around 2 miles, but it was super neat. You could see directly across the border into Mexico. It reminded us a little of hiking The Narrows in Zion National Park.
When we got back to the RV park, we actually utilized the swimming pool. As we were swimming we overhead various groups of people talking about how the area was expecting 75 MPH winds. Really?? Isn’t that hurricane or tornado worthy wind speeds? After doing a little research, the area was expected to get around 25 MPH winds. We aren’t super sure where these people were getting their information, but we were glad they were wrong. What does one do with their trailer when it’s that windy?!
The next day we set out to hike Lost Mine Trail which was deeper into the park. As we got further into the park the temperature started to drop which was a nice relief, because it was HOT outside the park. I had read two separate blogs about this hike and both bloggers had mentioned seeing rattlesnakes. Ugh. I mean I get it, it’s rattlesnake country out there, but I still don’t like the idea of seeing one. Fortunately, we didn’t. We had to park a little ways down the road because parking at the trailhead was completely full so this added a little to our mileage, but at the end of the hike we clocked around 5 and half miles. It was great hike!
After the hike, we headed back to the Airstream to let the dogs out and grab a late lunch. I’d heard fun things about Starlight Theatre in Terlingua so we planned on stopping there for dinner. Terlingua is a funky little ghost town that you’d expect to be desolate but it was hopping when we were there.
One thing we will do next time is stay in the park, and maybe visit in December. It was quite the commute from Lajitas to the actual park which made for long drives. This little mini trip has us very excited for our adventure this summer!