Road Scholar : Home
On the Road: San Antonio to Big Bend National Park

Program Number: 20562RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/3/2013 - 11/9/2013; 2/28/2016 - 3/5/2016; 4/3/2016 - 4/9/2016; 10/23/2016 - 10/29/2016;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Price starting at: $1,498.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Explore Texas nature and culture from San Antonio’s Riverwalk to the mountains of Big Bend National Park. Cross the Chihuahuan Desert as a naturalist interprets all you see and scale the Chisos Mountains to explore Big Bend’s rugged landscapes. Visit Terlingua ghost town, Fort Davis National Historic Site and much more.


• Explore the darkest skies in the country in a star party with an expert at the McDonald Observatory.
• Travel back in time with a visit to Fort Davis National Historic Site.
• See a wide variety of plants and wildlife as you journey through deserts and mountains of Big Bend National Park.

Activity Particulars

Walking and hiking up to one mile, standing up to one hour, climbing two flights of stairs. Getting on and off coach several times each day. Able to carry your own luggage. Elevations up to 7,000 feet.

Consider enrolling in Signature City San Antonio, #1981, Out and About in San Antonio, #22003, or San Antonio: Heart of the City, Heart of the Hill Country, #22272 before our after this program to extend your exploration of Texas!

Date Specific Information


Discover why San Antonio is one of Texas' most visited cities by enrolling in Signature City San Antonio the week before or after you adventure to Big Bend. Stay at a lovely river walk hotel and explore the city's multi-cultural heritage in one of our most popular programs.


Extend your stay in Texas by enrolling in a San Antonio based program before or after this program. All programs begin in the same great River Walk hotel!
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


Extend your adventure in Texas by signing up for program #22003 Out and About in San Antonio the week before this program begins, or program #22272 San Antonio: Heart of the City, Heart of the Hill Country. Both begin and end in the same great River Walk hotel!

Itinerary Summary

Arrival San Antonio, 1 night; coach to Fort Davis, 1 night; coach to Terlingua, 1 night; coach to Alpine, 1 night; coach return to San Antonio, 1 night; departure.

Coordinated by University of Texas at Austin.

San Antonio

Explored in 1691 and 1709 by Spanish expeditions that named the San Antonio River and San Pedro Creek, the city of San Antonio today incorporates its colorful past into its present, offering the bustling River Walk, botanical gardens of native Texas flora, and the Missions National Historic Park, which includes the famous Alamo.

San Antonio: Three-star hotel on Riverwalk. Alpine: Three-star hotel. Terlingua: Resort near Big Bend National Park. Fort Davis: Historic, recently renovated hotel.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Bruce Martin

Bruce Martin is a native Texan who has lived in San Antonio for more than 30 years. A Texas Master Naturalist, he leads informative and entertaining explorations throughout San Antonio’s downtown, historic districts, cemeteries, missions, and natural areas, as well as the nearby Texas Hill Country. A keen observer of the built environment, Bruce shares his appreciation for San Antonio’s architectural details and public artwork, as well as some scandalous stories that are very much a part of local history. Bruce drives a white pickup and tries not to take himself too seriously — he and his wife Barbara live in a 1937 white stucco house near the San Antonio River.
Lonn Taylor

Lonn Taylor is a historian and writer who retired to Fort Davis, Texas, with his wife, Dedie, after 20 years as a historian at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Lonn has authored several books and writes a weekly column about Texas called "The Rambling Boy," for the Marfa Big Bend Sentinel.
Liz Rogers

Liz Rogers grew up on a sheep and goat ranch in Uvalde County. After graduating from Texas A & M and South Texas College of Law, she moved to El Paso, where she lived over 20 years. In 2001, she relocated to Alpine, where she continued her work with the Federal Public Defender's office, from which she recently retired. She just completed a trip around the world by train and freighter in 73 days. Liz is a Master Naturalist as well as a Quail Master. She serves on the board of trustees of the Texas Nature Conservancy, and is a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas.
Meals and Lodgings
   Drury Plaza Hotel
  San Antonio, Texas 1 night
   Hampton Inn Alpine
  Alpine, Texas 1 night
   Lajitas Resort
  Terlingua, Texas 2 nights
   Hotel Limpia
  Fort Davis, Texas 1 night
   Drury Plaza Hotel
  San Antonio, Texas 1 night
 Drury Plaza Hotel
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The hotel's riverside doors offer direct access to the beautiful San Antonio River Walk. Enjoy historical elegance and spectacular views along the famous River Walk. The Drury Plaza Hotel is the restored 1929 Alamo National Bank Building, located on the River Walk, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Using Art Deco ornamentation and the principles of the Beaux-Arts, the architects designed the twenty-four story skyscraper and incorporated the Texas Stars and southwest patterns. This architectural masterpiece has been a landmark in the San Antonio skyline since its construction. The basement still contains three of the original bank vaults. The outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, on the hotel's 24th floor, features city-wide views.
  Contact info: 105 South St. Mary's Street
San Antonio, TX 78205 USA
phone: 210-220-2990 xor2102202993
  Room amenities: All rooms feature a microwave and refrigerator, iron and ironing board, flat panel LCD TVs, hair dryer, coffee maker, Internet access.
  Facility amenities: Amenities at the Drury Plaza include a full hot breakfast buffet with scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, juice, fruit, yogurt, cereals, coffee, and tea, complimentary Hot Food & Happy Hour 5:30 pm daily, complimentary 24-hour business center, fitness room and Guest Pantry, on-site covered valet parking is available for an additional charge, free fountain soda and fresh popcorn each afternoon in the lobby, beautiful rooftop pool and Jacuzzi with citywide views, and guest laundry.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact the hotel directly. Best seasonal price available. Please telephone hotel representative directly (210) 220-2990 or e-mail for rates and availability.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Contact the hotel directly. Best seasonal price available. Please telephone hotel representative directly (210) 220-2990 or e-mail for rates and availability.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

 Hampton Inn Alpine
Type: Three-Star Hotel
  Description: Rated as one of Texas' top-ten small towns by Texas Highway magazine, Alpine is framed by the towering Davis Mountain range to the north and west, and the Chihuahuan Desert to the south. Located near Big Bend National Park, named for the vast curve in the Rio Grand River, the Hampton Inn® Alpine offers convenient access to some of the most unique landscape in West Texas.
  Contact info: 2607 West Highway 90
Alpine, TX 79830 USA
phone: 432-837-7344
  Room amenities: Spacious non-smoking room features one king or two queen beds, 32" LCD HDTV, easy to operate alarm clock/radio and large work desk. The free high-speed internet access will help you stay connected while on the road. If you prefer not to work at the desk, you can use the convenient lapdesk instead. You'll also enjoy the convenience of having a coffee maker and iron/ironing board in your room. In the bathroom, you'll enjoy fluffy towels, a WaterPik showerhead and curved shower rod that allows more light and space in the shower.
  Facility amenities: Hot breakfast, free high-speed internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Lajitas Resort
Type: Resort
  Description: Lajitas Resort and Spa is a 27,000 acre private estate community set against the beauty and majesty of the Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park.
  Contact info: HC 70
Lajitas, TX 79852 USA
phone: 432-424-5000
  Room amenities: Each room is uniquely designed with individuality, offering stunning views of the valley, Rio Grande River or mountain range. Rooms are decorated with a "cowboy bordello" interior of iron beds, red velvet comforters and Mexican-tile bathrooms. All rooms offer Cable TV, Coffee/Tea Maker, Complimentary Bottled Water, Clock Radio, DVD Player, Hair Dryer, In-Room Safe, Iron/Ironing Board, Phone, Refrigerator, Wireless High-Speed Internet (Complimentary).
  Facility amenities: 24-Hour Business Center, Audio-Visual Equipment, 24-Hour Front Desk, Outdoor Ampitheatre, ATM/Banking, Complimentary Coffee In Lobby, Fitness Center, Laundry Facilities, Onsite Spa, Saloon, Cowboy Art Gallery, Equestrian Center, General Store, Gift Shop, Golf Course, Rio Grande Walking Trail, Swimming Pool, Fossil Museum.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Hotel Limpia
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hotel Limpia, an historic, restored hotel built in 1912, is located in mile high Fort Davis, nestled in the scenic Davis Mountains of southwest Texas. We currently have 31 rooms including suites. Our accommodations are fully restored with private baths, period furnishings and free Wi-Fi. The hotel setting provides a peaceful and comfortable hideaway from the busy outside world. The courtyard garden, fragrant with roses and herbs, the glassed-in veranda with its flourishing plants, and the porches with their rocking chairs are favorite places for guests to relax and enjoy the tranquility of a by-gone era of Texas. The main building of the hotel complex was built of pink limestone in 1912. Included in the interior architecture are rounded walls upstairs and 12-foot ceilings with ornamental pressed tin. The main building houses 31 rooms and suites, including a 1100-square foot master suite–all decorated in late Victorian reproduction furnishings. For guests’ pleasure are porches with rockers, a glassed-in veranda and a parlor with a fireplace. The rest of the week coffee and pastries and a breakfast plates are available at the Hotel’s Blue Mountain Bistro.
  Contact info: 101 Memorial Square
Fort Davis, TX 79734 USA
phone: 432-426-3237
  Smoking allowed: No

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00PM You will be staying at Drury Plaza Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
7:00 AM Program ends with breakfast in our hotel on your own schedule. You may book an early departure flight if you wish. Or, stay an extra day and enjoy Signature City San Antonio beginning on Sunday You will be staying at Drury Plaza Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. To participate in your Road Scholar program, you are required to complete the Participant Information Form, which includes your health and safety information, lodging and meal preferences, and more. Please either complete and submit this online form or complete and mail back to your Program Provider a hard-copy version of the form included in your Preliminary Information Packet. Participants are also required to sign a University of Texas-mandated Release and Indemnification Agreement.
  Parking availability:
Parking is available for an additional fee. Our San Antonio hotel offers only covered valet parking. We have a special parking rate for our program.
To Start of Program
  Location:  San Antonio, Texas
  Nearest airport:  San Antonio
  From End of Program
  Location: San Antonio, Texas
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

To hotel


From Airport




Yellow Cab
phone: 210-222-2222


Per Person/One Way:


Taxi service from San Antonio International Airport $27-30 one way - 2 or more ride for price of 1
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes-1 hour, depending on traffic 




10 miles


Taxi service from San Antonio International Airport $27-30 one way - 2 or more ride for price of one.


To hotel


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Go Airport Shuttle
phone: 210-281-9900


Per Person/One Way:


$20.25/one way. $36.50/round trip per person. Cost subject to change.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic 




10 miles


Go Airport Shuttle from San Antonio International Airport to hotel $20.25/one way. $36.50/round trip per person. Cost subject to change. Website: Reservations are not required from airport to hotel. Reservations required from hotel to airport and can be made after your arrival in San Antonio. Reservations made online at are discounted $1 less one way and $2 less round trip.

Driving Directions
  From San Antonio International Airport: To Drury Plaza Hotel Riverwalk 105 South St Mary's Street San Antonio, TX 78205 from San Antonio Intnl Airport: travel 8 miles South Take Highway 281 South Take the Commerce St Exit #141a Turn Right onto E Commerce St Hotel is 6 blks ahead on Commerce St Enter hotel on Commerce St
  From the East, 1-10 to San Antonio Traveling West on I-10: Take US-281 North, Exit 574 Take the Commerce St Exit #141a Turn Left onto Commerce St Hotel is 6 blks ahead on Commerce St Enter hotel on Commerce St
  From the North, Hwy 281 Traveling South on U.S. Hwy 281: Take the Commerce St Exit #141a Turn Right onto E Commerce St Hotel is 6 blks ahead on Commerce St Enter hotel on Commerce St
  From the North, I-35 to San Antonio Traveling South on I-35: Take I-37 South/US-281 South Take the Commerce St Exit #141a Turn Right onto Commerce S Proceed 6 blks on Commerce St to hotel Enter hotel on Commerce St
  From the South, 1-35 to San Antonio Traveling North on I-35: Take the Durango Blvd Exit towards Downtown (Exit #155b) Turn Right onto Durango St Turn Left onto St. Mary’s St Turn Left onto Commerce St Hotel is 1 blk on Commerce St Enter hotel on Commerce St
  From the South, Hwy 281 Traveling North on U.S. Hwy 281: Take the Commerce St Exit #141a Turn Left onto Commerce St Hotel is 6 blks ahead on Commerce St Enter hotel on Commerce St
  From the West, I-10 to San Antonio Traveling East on I-10: Take the Frio St Exit towards Downtown (Exit #569b) Turn Right onto N Frio St Turn Left onto W Martin St Turn Right onto W Pecan St Turn Right onto N St Mary’s St Turn Right onto Commerce St Enter hotel on Commerce St
Elevation Note: Elevation up to 7,000 ft inside Big Bend National Park

Equipment Requirements: Participants will ride in 4-6 person jeep rides, on unpaved roads. Ride will include some bumps.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival & Check-in, Registration & Orientation, Welcome & Introductions, Texas Tales and Myths
(Sunday, November 3)

Note: Must be able to walk on uneven surfaces up to a mile each day, stand in museums for a few hours, handle your own luggage, and climb on and off motor coach without difficulty.

 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK-IN: Available from 3:00pm.

REGISTRATION & ORIENTATION: 4:30p on 4th floor conference room. Pick up your Road Scholar arrival packet containing your name tag, up-to-date schedule, list of participants, maps, and other important information we will review.

Your group leader will greet you with a warm Texas welcome, introduce everyone, and provide key staff contact names and phone numbers. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. If you arrive late, pick up your packet at the hotel front desk.

During this program, you will explore the rugged beauty of the Big Bend National Park area, learn about the diversity of the geology, plant, and animal life of the area, and get an insider’s tour and a private star viewing at the McDonald Observatory,

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to weather and other local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. 5:30 p.m. Enjoy the kickback reception on the 2nd floor of the hotel, featuring free hot food and cold drinks.

 Dinner: Meet other participants and get to know your group leaders at a welcome dinner at a river walk restaurant near the hotel
 Evening: Sit back and relax as our storyteller regales you with tall tales and stories. You’ll hear legends, folk tales and amusing anecdotes as you begin your journey through the Lone Star State.
Accommodations: Drury Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Travel to Big Bend Region; Scenic stops along the way
(Monday, November 4)
 Breakfast: We enjoy a hot breakfast buffet before boarding our motorcoach.
 Morning: Begin your excursion into the least-populated area of Texas by motor coach. We’ll stop along the way as we cross the scenic Hill Country and enter the dramatic Chihuahuan Desert. Your guide is a Texas Master Naturalist, who will be with you on the entire trip and provide instruction about plants, animals and birds of the area during your journey.
 Lunch: Weather permitting, we’ll stop to explore a state park along the way and take a short hike to a picnic area and eat a box lunch at an overlook with spectacular views.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Discover what archeologists know about life in this area from over 4,000 years ago during a brief stop at the Lake Amistad National Recreation Area visitor center near Del Rio, Texas. See what art on nearby rock shelter walls can teach us about early human and animal life in the area. Continue your journey across the desert and see first-hand the remoteness of the area.
 Dinner: After you arrive in Alpine, you’ll have a hearty meal and a well-deserved chance to stretch your legs.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: A rock art specialist from the Center for Big Bend Studies will share her collection of digital images of rock art found in the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos areas. See how scholars have documented the early rock art of the region and learn what it can tell us about Native American life centuries ago.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn Alpine
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Big Bend National Park: Driving and Hiking Tours; Visitors Centers
(Tuesday, November 5)

Note: Today’s activities involve a choice of hikes, the longest being approximately 2 miles. The hikes will be near the Chisos Mountain Lodge, elevation approximately 5,000 feet.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel in Alpine, named one of the top ten small towns in Texas, before beginning your drive into the national park.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Head south through the mountainous desert to the Persimmon Gap entrance station to Big Bend National Park. Stop at a visitor center for an introduction to the plants, animals and birds found in the area. Head up to the Chisos Mountain Basin.
 Lunch: Lunch at the restaurant in the Chisos Mountain Lodge, built in part by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
 Afternoon: PRESENTATION: Get a personal introduction to the Big Bend National Park from a park ranger, who will provide an overview of the park and answer any questions you might have about this large and diverse natural wonder. FIELD TRIP: Take the hike of your choice from the Chisos Basin visitor center. You may join the group leader on a hike up a portion of the Lost Mine Trail to see stunning vistas, or select a shorter hike and enjoy more time in the visitor center. FIELD TRIP: Sit back and relax as your motor coach takes you on a portion of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. You’ll travel down from the western foothills of the Chisos Mountains toward the river valley. Marvel at the views offered at the Sotol Vista overlook before heading to the fabulous Lajitas Resort and Spa to check in for the night.
 Dinner: Our stop at the ghost town of Terlingua includes dinner at the famous Starlight Theater. With little light pollution, Terlingua's evening skies display brilliant stars. The restaurant features a front porch with rocking chairs to sit and admire evening skies.
Accommodations: Lajitas Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Big Bend Ranch State Park, Naturalist Guided Jeep Tour; Free Time at Lajitas Resort and Spa
(Wednesday, November 6)

Note: Safari-style jeep seats 4-6 persons with a naturalist as your personal guide. The 3-hr ride over primitive mountain roads has some bouncing and roughness.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a full breakfast at your hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Visit the largest state park in Texas, the Big Bend Ranch State Park, encompassing more than 300,000 acres of rugged terrain. Explore the interpretive exhibits of the newly opened Barton Warnock Visitor Center to find out how the history, geology and landscape have shaped the region. Displays at the center interpret 570 million years of geological history and were built with support of state and national park staff from Texas and the surrounding Mexican states. PRESENTATION: A park ranger will explain how humans, animals and plants survive in and adapt to the harsh desert conditions of the region. Develop a better understanding of the region as the ranger tells you about clues discovered through the study of geology, plant life and animal life in the area.
 Lunch: A picnic box lunch is provided at the Big Bend Ranch State Park.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Get ready for action as you venture out on an interpretative jeep tour with a naturalist guide. You’ll get an inside look at rocks, plants and other natural features as your guide enlightens you about the cultural and natural history of the region. You may see evidence of wildlife and spot some birds as you venture into the wilderness. Return to the Lajitas Resort and Spa for some free time to relax or engage in activities offered at the resort, at your expense. You can choose from horseback riding, mountain biking, swimming, or treat yourself to a facial or massage at the Agave Spa.
 Dinner: Choose one of several options at the resort for dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Lajitas Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Lunch at Historic Indian Lodge; Private Tour and Star Viewing at University of Texas McDonald Observatory
(Thursday, November 7)

Note: Behind-the-scenes tour of observatory involves two hours of walking to and standing in buildings and telescope/viewing areas- some uphill/downhill walking. Evening star viewing in amphitheater area, during which time you can opt to walk to telescopes on plaza, some of which require climbing 5-10 steps to reach viewing platform.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at the resort before leaving for Fort Davis area.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Visit the Fort Davis National Historic Site, where you will develop a new appreciation of Buffalo Soldiers, early settlers, and native inhabitants of the region. Hear about life on a frontier military post, and the importance of mail coaches and freight wagons during the westward expansion of the United States.
 Lunch: Those for an eye for architectural detail will revel in a visit to the historic Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains State Park. The lodge was originally built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and has recently been renovated to update the building’s features, while carefully preserving details such as cane and log ceilings and casement windows. You’ll eat in the Black Bear restaurant and have some time to enjoy the lodge and the surrounding views.
 Afternoon: PRESENTATION: Hear a local author share amusing stories about life in the big country. The author is a retired historian and Smithsonian Institution employee who has an interesting perspective on life out west. FIELD TRIP: Head for the hills as you set out for the McDonald Observatory to take a private tour. You’ll see several of the large, state-of-the-art telescopes and hear about the research conducted there, where scientists and university students continue to make important discoveries. After your tour, spend some time looking through exhibits in the visitor center as you contemplate new advances in the world of astronomy.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: Just before dark, a staff astronomer will lead a private star party in the outdoor amphitheater. Don’t miss this memorable opportunity to see stars and planets from one of the darkest and clearest night skies in the country with an expert guide. You’ll be able to see some objects with the naked eye as our expert describes objects in the sky, and get a chance to view others through the myriad of telescopes around the plaza. After the star party, you’ll stay in Fort Davis at the Hotel Limpia, first opened in the 1880s, when the fort was an important post-Civil War outpost.
Accommodations: Hotel Limpia
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Return to San Antonio by bus
(Friday, November 8)

Note: Primarily a travel day. Return to San Antonio via Interstate 10, with occasional rest stops along the way.

 Breakfast: Enjoy breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Bid a fond farewell to the sprawling Big Bend region as you head back to civilization by bus. You’ll stop at points of interest and a scenic Hill Country town.
 Lunch: Stop at a restaurant en route to San Antonio.
 Afternoon: Complete your return to San Antonio. Your group leader will have some educational videos for you to watch as you travel and will share some thoughts to wrap up your westward journey. 5:30 p.m. Enjoy the kickback reception on the 2nd floor of the hotel, featuring free hot food and cold drinks.
 Dinner: Pamper yourself with dinner in at the hotel after the long trip. Your group leader will lead a final discussion and present a slide show of photos collected during the week to wrap up your experience as you enjoy a catered meal.
Accommodations: Drury Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Enjoy a hot breakfast buffet before farewells and departure.
(Saturday, November 9)
 Breakfast: A hot breakfast buffet is included.
 Morning: Free Time: Optional morning independent activities include a River Walk stroll along our hotel; or visit the Alamo or Historic Market District, which are located within walking distance from our hotel. Departures. Hotel check out is 11:00 a.m. We hope you have enjoyed this very special event and will return for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Photographing Big Bend National Park: A Friendly Guide to Great Images

Author: Kathy Adams Clark

Description: With its combination of desert and mountain landscapes, the dramatic canyons of the Rio Grande, ancient pictographs, and remnants of pioneer ranch life, Big Bend National Park presents a wealth of subjects to the photographic eye. Professional nature photographer and frequent Big Bend traveler Kathy Adams Clark offers this handy and beautiful guide to maximizing the photographic experience of this visually stunning landscape.

Driving Southwest Texas: On the Road in Big Bend Country

Author: Byron Browne

Description: Byron Browne's book is a great ride through the harsh yet beautiful landscape of the Big Bend and Davis Mountain areas of Texas. No other part of the state is as rugged, or remote, as this land nestled in the bend of the Rio Grande. Browne is thorough on his subject, knowledgeable about the rich history of the area, and thoughtful about those he encounters on his journey.

The Big Bend: A History of the Last Texas Frontier

Author: Ron Tyler

Description: Ron Tyler's seminal work on the Big Bend of Texas is required reading for anyone who plans a trip to the "Texas Outback". This enchanting out-of-the-way part of Texas has invited explorers and adventurers for years and Tyler's historical treatment brings all the mystery and drama of the region to the surface for the modern traveler. The maps and historical photographs blend with the text to give the reader a "sense of place" that separates the Big Bend area from other southwestern landscapes.

Little Big Bend: Common, Uncommon, and Rare Plants of Big Bend National Park

Author: Roy Morey

Description: Plant life in Big Bend National Park is incredibly diverse. The wide range of habitats within the park—desert, foothills, mountains and moist woodlands, river canyons and floodplain—as well as the Big Bend’s three major blooming seasons of spring, summer, and fall—guarantee a stunning show of botanical variety throughout the year.

Big Bend Tales

Author: Mike Cox

Description: Travel deeper into the Texas outback with writer-historian Mike Cox as he recounts the lesser-known stories from Alpine, Fort Davis and Marfa. Revisit the grandeur of Alpine's Holland Hotel, peer through the telescope at the McDonald Observatory and dip your toes in the water hole at Ernst Tinaja--if you dare. Travel back to a time when the Comanche Trail stretched one thousand miles from Kansas to Mexico, making the Big Bend difficult to defend and impossible to resist trying.

Chess with Carrizo

Author: J. W. Stephens

Description: I wanted to write a book about a married couple that did not involve an extra marital affair or divorce or even a "meet cute" scenario. A married couple that felt real to me and hopefully, to you, the readers. A marriage is built on humor,trust and love and is a partnership no matter what the circumstances happen to be. When the circumstances turn unfortunate, what happens to the marriage? Which moral choices do you make and which do you regret? And I wanted to tell a story about west Texas and the Big Bend area along the border with Mexico. The Chihuahua Desert is one of the last true wilderness areas in the US and almost unspoiled even today which allows for amazing hiking, horseback riding and storytelling.

Cactuses of Big Bend National Park

Author: Douglas B. Evans

Description: This book is just what the non-botanist needs to identify and enjoy the "cactuses" of Big Bend NP. It is concise, accurate, and beautifully illustrated with photos taken within the park in natural habitats,...not in artificial greenhouse settings as with other cactus books.

Blood Meridian

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Description: Cormac McCarthy's masterwork, Blood Meridian, chronicles the brutal world of the Texas-Mexico borderlands in the mid-nineteenth century. Its wounded hero, the teenage Kid, must confront the extraordinary violence of the Glanton gang, a murderous cadre on an official mission to scalp Indians and sell those scalps. Loosely based on fact, the novel represents a genius vision of the historical West, one so fiercely realized that since its initial publication in 1985 the canon of American literature has welcomed Blood Meridian to its shelf.

Rock Art of the Lower Pecos

Author: Carolyn E. Boyd

Description: This author takes research on rock art and makes it concise and understandable for all of us who are interested in rock art in the Americas. But more than that, she takes us to the next level and gives us a basis for understanding WHY the images were produced in the first place and what function they served for the culture. This is must reading for anyone who wants to understand these images and who wants to go to the next level in understanding rock art world wide.

Lonesome Dove

Author: Larry McMurtry

Description: A love story, an adventure, and an epic of the frontier, Larry McMurtry’s Pulitzer Prize— winning classic, Lonesome Dove, the third book in the Lonesome Dove tetralogy, is the grandest novel ever written about the last defiant wilderness of America. Journey to the dusty little Texas town of Lonesome Dove and meet an unforgettable assortment of heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers.

New Cowboy Poetry: A Contemporary Gathering

Author: Hal Cannon

Description: Whether you consider yourself a real cowpoke or a western romantic, you are going to enjoy this batch of new cowboy poems. Reading them aloud, it's easy to get caught up in the spirit of the West.

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History

Author: S. C. Gwynne

Description: S. C. Gwynne’s Empire of the Summer Moon spans two astonishing stories. The first traces the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history. The second entails one of the most remarkable narratives ever to come out of the Old West: the epic saga of the pioneer woman Cynthia Ann Parker and her mixed-blood son Quanah, who became the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.

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Plus these special experiences...

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And included with all Road Scholar programs:

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