Big Bend offers many exciting activities, from simply sightseeing in the family car and enjoying the amenities of a comfortable lodge, to hard-core wilderness adventures, and everything in between. People visit Big Bend to hike, camp, ride horses, paddle the river, pedal bicycles, ride motorcycles, look for wildlife, look for nightlife, and to get a life. Some work hard at it, others let professionals do the heavy lifting. A small community of experienced outfitters and activity providers arrange excursions of all descriptions, as well as provide good local information for visitors in general.
Big Bend offers a variety of hiking opportunities, everything from short interpretive walks, to rugged, multi day excursions. Big Bend National Park alone features a system of over 150 miles of improved hiking trails. Hikers are allowed to travel off trail if they want to; there are two short but very scenic ADA accessible paved trails. Day hikes require no permit in Big Bend National Park.
Five spectacular river canyons in Big Bend offer incredible opportunities to kayak, canoe or raft the Rio Grande. The river is not difficult for beginning and intermediate paddlers at normal river flows, and some sections are ideal for novices. Bring your own gear, rent equipment from local outfitters, or take a fully equipped guided trip from two hours to ten days.
There is no better way to see Big Bend than from the back of a horse. Horse rides as short as one hour in length are available right outside Big Bend National Park in Study Butte. For the more adventurous trips from 3 hours to multi-day camping trips are available in Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Big Bend offers many opportunities for bicycle travel and sport. Scenic paved highways with low traffic are ideal for skinny tire road bikes with lots of gears. The extensive back road system in Big Bend National Park offers great mountain bike access. Lajitas Resort and the adjacent Big Bend Ranch State Park offer over 100 miles of designated single track mountain bike trail.
There’s a lot of country to cover in Big Bend. Big Bend National Park has 100 miles of paved road, and at least 150 of backcountry dirt roads. Highway 170 between Lajitas and Redford is one of the most spectacular drives in the US. Guided tours are available in a variety of vehicles, from luxury SUV’s to rugged open air Jeeps with cloth canopies.
Motorcycles are very popular in Big Bend. The winding mountain highways, amazing vistas and low traffic are a perfect combination for motorcycles of all descriptions. The extensive back roads in the area offer loads of challenging fun for the dual sport crowd. Above all, local businesses are extremely motorcycle friendly, and sponsor two well attended rallies per year.
There is more to Big Bend than can be seen in a lifetime. Big Bend National Park is the main destination, and together with neighboring Big Bend Ranch State Park, there are a million acres of spectacular vistas, shadowy canyons, and rugged desert mountains that visitors explore by road, river, and trail.
Retired National Park Ranger and pilot Marcos Paredes has founded Rio Aviation www.rioaviation.com to show folks a bird's eye view of Big Bend. From the air, you view the unobstructed geology of this amazing region, and can imagine the powerful process that made and continue to shape our planet. Rio Aviation is licensed to conduct tours over both the Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Though many take the pilot's recommended routes for maximum scenery, guests also customize flights to see their favorite Big Bend landmarks from the air. 432-557-9477 or e-mail
Big Bend National Park is the most bio-diverse park in the entire system. Within its boundaries, one finds more species of butterflies, bats, reptiles, plants, ants and birds. Over 450 avian species either live in Big Bend National Park, or migrate through at some point in the year. The variety of habitat with desert mountain and river makes for ideal conditions for a truly remarkable diversity.