Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking
Picture of Big Bend Exploring and Hiking

Big Bend Exploring and Hiking

Destination: Big Bend National Park

The Big Bend region of Texas is untouched, under-touristed, and just a little bit funky. This trip brings you into the heart of the region with hiking in Big Bend Rand State Park and Big Bend National Park (which border each other), paddling along the Rio Grande, a trek up into the Chisos Mountains- a trail that Backpacker Magazines includes in their ‘100 Best Miles of Hiking in the US’, and a half-day visit to the tiny, isolated town of Boquillas del Carmen, Mexico. You will experience the eclectic style of West Texas people, nature, and history. We will spend a night in luxury tipis and look for the unexplained Marfa Lights, learn about the ranching history of Texas, and paddle through the dramatic Santa Elena Canyon beneath 1000-foot cliffs on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande. This desert that on first glance seems so lifeless is filled with hardy vegetation and a myriad of desert creatures. We’ll spend a day hiking up into the Chisos Mountains and from the south rim we will gaze into Mexico and look forward to soaking our tired feet in the natural hot springs right near the border. We’ll even cross the border into the tiny Mexican town of Boquillas for the world’s best tamales and sotol. We think the Big Bend Region is a world set apart and suspect you will too. This late winter destination is one of the few places in the US where outdoor activities are encouraged in February. We agree with the the folks in the Big Bend region- “West Texas is the Best Texas!”

Highlights

  • Experiencing the breathtaking beauty of Big Bend National Park on foot
  • Paddling along the Rio Grande River and admiring the the natural border between Mexico and the United States
  • Visiting one of the many natural hot springs in the area
  • Visiting the Mexican town of Boquillas and the local artisans
  • Hiking in the Chisos Mountains along the South Rim Trail
  • Star gazing in the desert darkness

Inclusions

  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Six nights lodging in lodges, bunkhouse and the teepee!
  • All meals from dinner the first night through lunch on the last day, with the exception of one lunch and one dinner. We will go out to restaurants for a most meals and the guides will cook for a few meals.
  • Round-trip transportation from El Paso to the Park
  • Park entry fees

Not included: Travel to and from El Paso, one lunch, one dinner, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities and travel insurance

Departures

Accommodations

NOTE: There is limited availability on single supplements and we cannot confirm availability at time of booking.

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This trip is designed for women who enjoy hiking in the mountains and desert surrounded by breathtaking scenery. We will be hiking 6 - 10 miles a day in hilly terrain with steep ascents and descents, along rocky and uneven terrain. Previous hiking experience is extremely useful, as is having a sense of adventure and a good level of physical fitness. A rating of 4 requires aerobic conditioning for at least 40-50 minutes 4-5 times a week. Additional endurance exercise (e.g. going for a 2-hour hike once a week) and/or strength training is appropriate.  Rating: 1 2 3 [4] 5.

This trip combines hiking with an immersion into the uniqueness of this fascinating area - there is no better way to understand the this park than by foot and from a kayak. Some of the hikes are quite challenging in terms of length and elevation gain, and it is an excellent trip for fit intermediate and experienced hikers who like hikes of intermediate or longer length.

The lodging on this trip will vary as much as the landscape. The accommodations will include a historic hotel, a bunk house, luxury tipis (they really are lovely) and a National Park lodge. All but the bunkhouse will be 2-bed rooms. Most will have en suite bathrooms although the tipis and bunkhouse will have a nearby shared bathhouse. There is an option at an additional cost to get a single room at some of the lodges. There is not a single supplement available for the entire trip. You can select this option at registration.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
We start our trip at the El Paso airport at 2pm! Your guides will meet you in the lobby of the airport and after brief introductions the group will begin the journey east with a three-hour drive to Marfa- a former sleepy ranching town that has exploded onto the art scene. We'll check into our lodging at the historic Hotel Paisano, chat about the trip, share dinner downtown and maybe even spy the mysterious Marfa Lights. (L,D)
DAY 2
Leaving Marfa, we'll depart for Big Bend Ranch State Park. From there, we will hike between seven and nine miles to the overlook of Mexicano Falls, a view of the Solitario and its flat irons, and a peek down onto Madrid Falls. Along the way we will encounter historic Apache rock art from the 18th century and dip between multiple ecosystems. We'll spend our evening at the Sauceda Bunkhouse for dinner prepared by the guides. (B, L, D)
DAY 3
After a hearty Texan breakfast we'll take off for one of the most spectacular hikes in the National Park- the Mesa de Anguila. We'll hike the south side of the dramatic 10-mile hike up the Mesa de Anguila Trail. The mesa sits high atop Santa Elena Canyon and serves as the western border of the national park. It's a long day of hiking to the top of the mesa but the views into Mexico and across the river are worth the effort. (B, L, D)
DAY 4
From yesterday's eagle-eye viewpoint we spied the Rio Grande and today we'll be paddling in it! Depending on water levels we will canoe or kayak through Santa Elena Canyon or Dark Canyon and explore the 2000 foot cathedral-like walls that create a natural border. This full-day paddle lets us explore the riparian zones of the Rio and you have a free evening to explore Terlingua. (B, L)
DAY 5
We've been peeking into Mexico for several days- today we'll actually visit it! The group will depart from Terlingua after a hearty breakfast and drive to the natural hot springs near Rio Grande Village. While there, you can jump right into the river! After some time in the water we'll load up and drive to the Boquillas Border Crossing and take a short boat ride across the Rio into Mexico. We'll spend several hours in Boquillas- enjoying lunch, visiting with artisans, and maybe even riding a burro! If you're looking for a rest day, though, this is the perfect day for it. There are several trails of varying lengths that leave directly from the lodge. You can choose to sleep in, read a book, take a hike on your own, and meet up with the group for dinner at the lodge. (B, L, D)
DAY 6
We're saving our most spectacular hike for last. Today we explore the South Rim Trail which brings you up and into the Chisos Mountains- the only mountain range that is entirely encompassed in the borders of a US National Park! We can choose a to hike between 9 and 14 miles this day and the beginning of the climb is steep but the views are entirely worth it. You'll be rewarded with dramatic vistas of the Sierra del Carmen Mountains of Mexico as well as the rolling foothills of the Chisos as they settle into the flat floor of the Chihuahuan Desert thousands of feet below. It's a long day and a tough hike, but you won't regret it. (B, L, D)
DAY 7
The trip may be ending but the journey isn't over! After a breakfast at the lodge we'll load up and drive two hours to Alpine, where we'll stop for an early lunch before three more hours in the car brings us to El Paso. You can plan to fly out after 3pm. (B, L)

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  1. Where do we eat?
    Most meal breakfasts and dinners will be in restaurants where you can order off the menu. Lunches will either be packed lunches (guides will put out lunch fixings in the morning) or picnic style. Some dinners will be prepared by the guides.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?
    We can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-intolerant although we can not guarantee a completely gluten-free diet, if we know well in advance. If you’re severely allergic or if you have other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register. If you’re vegan, you may want to bring some additional protein bars.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?
    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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