Big Bend National Park – Hiking and Starry Night Skies

Beautiful Big Bend in Winter

Big Bend National Park has increasingly drawn in travelers from all over the world over the years. It is clear to see why when you make your first visit, driving into the desert valley, surrounded by mountains and wildlife. It is a true escape from society, creating a peaceful environment to relax, hike, camp, stargaze, and simply get back in touch with nature.

When it comes to choosing the right time of year to visit Big Bend National Park, winter is truly the secret gem of a season to travel. Most people would think that visiting a national park in the winter means cold temperatures and lots of snow, but Big Bend in winter is full of clear blue skies and temperatures reaching into the 70s. The cooler temperature makes it the perfect time to explore the trails, hot springs, and night skies without overheating in the Texas summer heat!

Big Bend Station: Your Getaway Adventure

When you are planning your trip to Big Bend National Park, finding the perfect basecamp is essential. Big Bend Station is the ideal spot to set up camp, with newly renovated accommodations. It is located right outside of the park with lodging, RV, and campground options to spend the night. Ensuring a relaxing stay after long days of adventuring and travel, Big Bend Station offers a cozy bed for the night or a place to pitch a tent and gather around the campfire.

Not only does Big Bend Station offer great accommodations and activities all around, there is also the Big Bend Station Grill and Convenient Store with all the fixings you need for a home-cooked style meal. Stop in at the convenient store and grab snacks and water for the trail, or all the ingredients you will need for s’mores over the campfire.

Stargazing in Big Bend

Renowned for its dark skies, Big Bend is the top location for stargazing in the southwest. Because the park is in remote West Texas, miles from big cities and all the light pollution that comes with them, you are able to look up at the big bright stars of Texas. Not only is this the best location to see the Milky Way on a clear night, but in the winter you can see much more than a normal night during the year. Winter months often come with opportunities to view meteor showers, such as Geminids and Quadrantids. You are also able to see different planets like Jupiter, Saturn, and even Mars.

If you are traveling with the family, make sure to look through the many ranger-led programs that National Park has to offer. Some programs include guided night sky walks, telescope viewing, and history lessons on the land and night sky. Check out the calendar for more rangers’ day and night events here.

Winter Trails in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is made up of three main types of terrain within the park; mountains, desert, and river canyons. There are many trails to choose from highlighting each unique terrain and winter provides a less crowded and less hot environment to explore them. A couple of trails you don’t want to miss are:

  • Lone Mountain Trail: This 2.7-mile loop is a perfect way to see the base of Lone Mountain. Starting at the trailhead parking area, this rated easy, mainly flat trail takes you to views of Dead Horse and Chisos Mountains.
  • Chisos Basin Loop Trail: If you are up for a more challenging trail, this moderate 1.8-mile hike takes you from the Chisos Basin trailhead up and through the oak and Mexican pine trees. There are many chances to see wildlife during this hike!
  • Hot Springs Historic Trail: A short but rewarding trail to add to your list. This hike is a great way to see the history of the land as well as take a dip and enjoy the 105-degree hot springs on a nice winter day.

Exploring Terlingua: The Ghost Town

Located outside of Big Bend National Park, the ghost town of Terlingua has been a captivating destination for travelers far and wide. Once a thriving mining community, now sits a deserted town filled with abandoned buildings and many tales. But don’t worry, a ghost town doesn’t necessarily mean nothing to see or do. Terlingua has many local events that bring life back to the town throughout the year from music festivals to cook-offs.The year kicked off with the 33rd annual Black-Eyed Pea Off that was held on New Year’s Day. Check out more events throughout the year here.

Visit Big Bend This Winter

Hiking, stargazing, and exploring Terlingua are just a few ways to fill your days in Big Bend. From the many Ranger-Led Programs to boating, rafting, and wildlife viewing, you will have plenty to choose from. Winter in Big Bend brings a beautiful transformation to the land as the wildflowers bloom and the birds begin to migrate. You and the family won’t want to miss out on the trip of a lifetime during this exceptional time of year.

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