Stunning Photos of Big Bend National Park

Dramatic cloud formation

Visiting Big Bend National Park for four days offered us ample time to explore this vast and beautiful area.Spanning over 800,000 acres, the park boasts diverse landscapes: rugged mountains, deep canyons, and the Chihuahuan Desert. In four days, we hiked iconic trails like Santa Elena and Boquillas Canyon, capturing stunning photos. Big Bend National Park map included.

While traveling through West Texas one of the highlights of the drive was a sculpture by Elmgreen and Dragset that looked like a Prada store outside of Marfa Texas on US Route 90. For the start of this road trip go to Along the Southern Border.

  • The Facts
  • Location.         Texas
  • Size.      1,252 Sq, miles  
  • Elevation.           1,800 to 8,000 feet 
  • Closest airport.         Midland/Odessa. 200 miles
  • Founded.         June 12th 1944
  • Fee.        $30.00 per private vehicle good for 7 days

Big Bend National Park map

Arriving at Big Bend National Park we checked in at Rio Grande Village RV Park on the eastern side of the park. There are 20 sites with no hookups that need to be reserved at recreation.gov. We stayed here for 4 days. Click here for reservations. Chisos Basin Campground is another option for smaller trailers and RVs under 20 feet.

To use this map click on the icon in the upper left corner to pull down the menu and select points of interest from there.

Our campsite at Big Bend national Park showing are jeep  and trailer

The Rio Grande is one of the most striking features of the park, forming its southern boundary and offering numerous opportunities for rafting and kayaking. During our visit, we enjoyed two sunset hikes on the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail, where we were treated to stunning views of the river and surrounding mountains in the warm glow of the golden and blue hours. The unique cloud formations added to the atmosphere, making for a truly memorable experience.

Sunset with the Rio Grande river in the foreground and orange cliffs in the background at big bend national park
View from Boquillas Canyon Overlook
Two wild burros on the hillside

Sunset with the Rio Grande river in the foreground and orange cliffs in the background at big bend national park

Sunset with the Rio Grande river in the foreground and orange cliffs in the background at big bend national park

Nevada Barr Big Bend Mystery Novel is a great fiction novel on the park.

Boquillas Canyon Trail

Hiking the Boquillas Canyon Trail in Big Bend National Park was a highlight of our visit to the park. It winds along the scenic Rio Grande, offering stunning views of the towering canyon walls, unique rock formations, and crystal-clear waters of the river. The trail is relatively easy, making it accessible to hikers of all skill levels, and offers a chance to explore one of the park’s most beautiful natural wonders up close. Mexican vendors would cross the Rio Grande River from Ojo Caliente to sell their wares to hikers.

Lorna hiking Boquillas Canyon Trail with Grass and Canyon walls at big bend national park

 Boquillas Canyon Trail along the river with steep canyon walls

Lorna with a vendor on the trail under a tree

Santa Elena Canyon

Santa Elena Canyon topped my list for awesome photos. We drove across the park for a daytime visit. Seeing the canyon, I planned a sunrise photo shoot. The sunrise was stunning, and we captured amazing photos in the river. Afterward, we hiked into the canyon, mesmerized by the views and reflections.It was a truly unforgettable experience.

Mick photographing Santa Elena Canyon, with other photographers in the Rio Grande river at big bend national park

soft sunrise light on the canyon walls with the river in the foreground

hiker at the entrance to the canyon next to the river

cliff walls reflected in the river

On our way back and forth across the park we stopped at various viewpoints. We also did a drive up Basin Junction Road to check out the Chisos Mountains Lodge and Campground.

Big Bend Landscape of Hills mountains and a cloudy sky at big bend national park

bluebonnet flowers with ocotillo and cactus with  sunrise light on the mountains

Conclusion

Big Bend National Park beckons with stunning vistas, unique formations, diverse wildlife, and endless recreational opportunities for all travelers. Whether you are seeking a relaxing getaway or an adventurous outdoor experience, the park has something to offer. The Rio Grande, Santa Elena Canyon, and Boquillas Canyon Trail are must-see highlights for exploration. Take your time and cherish lasting memories.

On to Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

During the drive to Big Bend, I learned a huge lesson. It was our second day of long drives, with few stops. At one gas stop, I got out and immediately found myself in great pain. It was impossible to get back in the truck. I had to walk for about an hour and stretch before the pain subsided enough to get back in the truck, where I continued to stretch. I now get out and stretch and walk for 10-15 minutes at least once every 2 hours. We find shifting drivers every 2 hours keeps us more alert. We look for quirky stops, such as the Prada display in the middle of nowhere. It is worth the extra time. Putting some heat on my back also helps. Our truck’s heated seats work well for this.

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