In the year 2021, my family and I decided to take a trip and search for an exciting destination. My children, who were around 15 years old, wanted a thrilling adventure. As I was looking for options, I came across an article about the longest hiking trails in North America
and was immediately drawn to the idea of visiting a desert. After considering the different options, I decided on Big Bend National Park in Texas.
While many people in Texas have heard of Big Bend, only a small number have actually been to the park. It is about a 8 hour drive from Austin, where I live, and even farther from the major cities of Houston and Dallas. The drive from my house to the campsite at the park was 500 miles, or 800km. It is not a trip that can be done in a single weekend, as we spent 2 days traveling there and back and 2 days exploring the park. From Houston, the distance to Big Bend is 600 miles, 970 km. From Dallas, it is 530 miles, or 850 km. And from San Antonio, it is 400 miles, approximately 660 km.
In addition to the distance, finding accommodation at the park can also be a challenge. Big Bend has limited options, including The Summit at Big Bend
, where I booked a dome for my family. My kids were excited about the idea of stargazing from our accommodation.
Big Bend has an extensive network of trails, many of which are several miles long and require an overnight stay. The park's journal, which is provided upon arrival and payment of the entrance fee, lists the day hikes available. One of the trails we chose was the Lost Mine Trail, on the Lost Mine Basin Road. This trail is 4.8 miles, or 7.7km, long and takes approximately 3 hours to complete, with an elevation gain of 335m. We did not complete the entire trail, but just the first mile marker, which was already a great hike with stunning views of the southeast part of the park. The trail was wooded and full of wildflowers, and offered beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. It was on this trail that we met a family who saw bears, but they continued on to the end of the trail while we turned back.
I hope to come back and share more about my trip to Big Bend National Park in the future. Thank you for reading.