Road Scholar : Home
Hiking in the Unspoiled Beauty of Big Bend

Program Number: 11958RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/30/2014 - 12/5/2014; 12/7/2014 - 12/12/2014; 12/14/2014 - 12/19/2014; 1/11/2015 - 1/16/2015; 1/18/2015 - 1/23/2015; 1/25/2015 - 1/30/2015; 2/1/2015 - 2/6/2015; 2/8/2015 - 2/13/2015; 2/15/2015 - 2/20/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas
Price starting at: $969.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

Hike your way through Big Bend National Park, one of the most remote, wildly beautiful and peaceful places in America. Geological history spanning millions of years and a discussion of the “brief” era of the dinosaurs will add to the appreciation and mystique of what the early Spanish explorers called “El Despoblado” — the empty land.




Highlights

• Explore historic Terlingua, a former “ghost town” that is now a quaint desert town, and its Starlight Theater restaurant built in 1931 as the movie theater for the mining community.
• Hike through three ecosystems — mountain peaks to desert springs and river trails.
• See Native American rock art and soak in the Hot Springs after a six-mile hike along the Rio Grande.



Activity Particulars

Activity level varies by date. See below.



Terrain varies from desert floor to mountain trails, generally rocky and uneven. Due to the size of Big Bend National Park, full days with a field lunch are spent away from the accommodations. Single rooms only offered on some dates.




Date Specific Information

11-30-2014, 2-1-2015, 2-8-2015, 2-15-2015

This date is Moderately Challenging with daily hikes up to 6 miles a day; 5 - 6 hours of physical involvement. This program will be based at the Chisos Mountains Lodge, the only accommodation in Big Bend National Park. Group size no larger than 20.



12-7-2014

This date is Challenging with rigorous and demanding hikes, each at 8-10 miles for 6-8 hours daily. Expect elevation gains of more than 2,400 feet and scaling large boulders. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.



12-14-2014

This date is Moderately Challenging with daily hikes up to 6 miles a day; 5 - 6 hours of physical involvement. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.



1-11-2015, 1-25-2015

This date is Moderately Challenging with daily hikes up to 6 miles a day; 5 - 6 hours of physical involvement. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.



1-18-2015

This date is Challenging with rigorous and demanding hikes, each at 8-10 miles for 6-8 hours daily. Expect elevation gains of more than 2,400 feet and scaling large boulders. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.




Big Bend National Park

Bordering the Rio Grande, Big Bend is one of the largest and least visited national parks. Its dramatic canyons, desert expanses and Chisos Mountain range are home to exceptionally diverse plant and animal life. Big Bend offers a unique opportunity to experience an ancient and austere landscape in relative solitude.



Accommodations
Varies by date. Either a charming casita ("little house" in Spanish) with two queen beds, kitchenette, and 200-square-foot porch with rocking chairs facing a landscaped courtyard, or full-service lodge in Big Bend National Park.
Meals and Lodgings
   Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center
  Big Bend Country 5 nights
 Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: Far Flung Outdoor Center in Study Butte/Terlingua, pronounced Stew-dee Beaut and Tur-ling-wa, is conveniently located just three miles outside the western entrance to Big Bend National Park and minutes away from the Historic Terlingua Ghost Town as well as Big Bend Ranch State Park.
  Contact info: 1 Adventure Lane, FM 170
P.O. Box 337
Terlingua, TX 79852 USA
phone: 432-371-2633
web: www.bigbendfarflung.com
  Room amenities: Wireless Internet Quality bed linens 32" Flat-Screen LCD TV Dish Network TV Alarm clock Coffeemaker, coffee, filters, creamer and sugar Microwave Small refrigerator Dinnerware / flatware Drinking glasses / wine glasses Kitchen sink / bar towels Toaster Bathroom with shower Blow dryer Towels Soap/shampoo/conditioner Central Heat/AC Porch with two rockers
  Facility amenities: Each casita ("little house" in Spanish) is designed with a roomy open 400-sq ft. floor plan complete with full bath, two queen beds, kitchenette, flat screen satellite TV, housekeeping service and free WiFi as well as a 200-sq ft porch with rocking chairs facing into a landscaped courtyard. Courtyard has many native plants and trees as well as a small pavilion with 2 gas grills, 2 picnic tables and ice machine.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $129 per night, plus tax Please identify yourself as being with a Road Scholar program.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $129 per night, plus tax Please identify yourself as being with a Road Scholar program.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in between 3:00-5:00 pm. You will be staying at Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center that night.
  End of Program:
After breakfast which is served between 6:00-10:00 a.m. You will be staying at Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants will be sent Far Flung Outdoor Center's Liability Release Form in orientation packet. It must be filled out, signed and sent back to Far Flung prior to program date. No exceptions.
  Parking availability:
Free parking on site.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Big Bend Country
  Nearest city or town:  Terlingua
  Nearest highway: Highway 118
  Nearest airport:  El Paso or Midland, Texas
  From End of Program
  Location: Big Bend Country
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Midland, Texas to Far Flung Outdoor Center

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals
see list below
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

 

Distance:

 

239 miles

   

No shuttles available and renting a car is required. Avis - (432) 563-4700 www.avis.com Budget - (432) 563-1640 www.budget.com Dollar - (432) 561-5995 www.dollar.com Enterprise - (432) 561-5172 www.enterprise.com Hertz - (432) 563-0110 www.hertz.com National - (432) 563-0378 www.nationalcar.com Thrifty - (432) 561-5454 www.thrifty.com

 

El Paso to Far Flung Outdoor Center

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals
see list below
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

 

Distance:

 

300 miles

   

No Shuttles available and renting a car is required. Advantage 800-777-5500 - 915-781-7690 Alamo 800-222-9075 - 915-778-4401 Avis 800-230-4898 - 915-779-2700 Budget 915-779-2532 Dollar 800-800-4000 - 915-778-544 Enterprise 800-261-7331 - 915-779-2260 Hertz 800-654-3131 - 915-775-6960 National 877-222-9058 - 915-778-9417 Thrifty 800-847-4389 - 915-778-9236

 
Driving Directions
  El Paso, Texas to Far Flung Outdoor Center Take Interstate 10 east to Van Horn, 118 miles. Turn south on Texas Highway 90 to Alpine, 102 miles. Turn south again on Texas Highway 118 to Study Butte/Terlingua, 80 miles. As you enter Study Butte/Terlingua turn right or west on FM 170 for 1/2 mile. Las Casitas of the Far Flung Outdoor Center will be on the left. Look for the big, yellow FFOC sign. The drive from El Paso is approximately 5 hours.
  Midland, Texas to Far Flung Outdoor Center Take Interstate 20 west to Monahans, 47 miles. Turn south on Texas Highway 18 to Fort Stockton, 46 miles. Merge onto Interstate 10 West for approximately 10 miles. Turn south on Texas Highway 67 to Alpine, 56 miles. Turn south again on Texas Highway 118 to Study Butte/Terlingua, 80 miles. As you enter Study Butte/Terlingua turn right or west on FM 170 for 1/2 mile. Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center will be on the left. Look for the big, yellow FFOC sign. The drive from Midland is approximately 4 hours
Elevation Note: Highest hiking elevation, 6650 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Good hiking boots or strong walking shoes, Camelbak or equivalent, Day pack, Flashlight, Hiking stick or trekking poles (strongly recommended), Zip-lock bag with toilet paper and hand sanitizer
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: Welcome and Orientation
(Sunday, December 14)
   
 Arrive To: Check-in at Far Flung Outdoor Center's office no earlier than 3:00 pm and no later than 5:00 pm at which time the office closes.
 Dinner: Introductions and welcome dinner at Far Flung at 6:00 p.m.
 Evening: Orientation meeting following dinner.
   
Accommodations: Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Hike Grapevine Hills Trail/Hike "The Window" Trail
(Monday, December 15)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast provided in casitas. Menu of breakfast items will be given to participants upon arrival. Items to include but not limited to: yogurt, fruit, granola, bagels, oatmeal, bread, bacon, sausage, hard boiled eggs, jelly, butter, milk, coffee, tea, hot chocolate.
 Morning: Hike Grapevine Hills trail in Big Bend National Park; hike is approximately 2.2 miles round trip with little elevation gain. One of the most photographed sites in park, "Balance Rock" can be seen at the end of this trail. Degree of Difficulty - Easy
 Lunch: Deli Style Picnic Field Lunch
 Afternoon: Hike Window Trail in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park: hike is approximately 4 miles round trip with a 500 foot elevation gain. It's a bit of an "opposite" type of hike in that we hike down the mountain - into the "Basin" and then hike back up; offers great views of the Window - a break in the mountain range looking out across the desert; the end of the hiking trail crosses several streams of water. Degree of Difficulty - Medium
 Dinner: Authentic Mexican Food Dinner at Rio Bravo Restaurant located next door to Las Casitas.
 Evening: Learn how emergency services are managed in the 3000 square miles of the Terlingua Fire & EMS area.
   
Accommodations: Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Full Day Hike, Historic Hot Springs
(Tuesday, December 16)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast provided in casitas. Menu of breakfast items will be given to participants upon arrival. Items to include but not limited to: yogurt, fruit, granola, bagels, oatmeal, bread, bacon, sausage, hard boiled eggs, jelly, butter, milk, coffee, tea, hot chocolate.
 Morning: Hike Hot Springs trail on the east side of the park along the Rio Grande - with great views of the river - from the historic Hot Springs to Rio Grande Village and back; hike is 6 miles round trip with some elevation gain. Most strenuous hike of the week. There will be plenty of time after the hike at the Hot Springs for participants to view the restored buildings of the early settlement and health resort (1900 to 1940) as well as the Native American rock art. Participants wishing to soak in the Hot Springs should bring swimwear. There are restrooms for changing. Degree of Difficulty - Medium
 Lunch: Sack lunch carried by participants
 Afternoon: Hiking continued.
 Dinner: La Kiva, the only underground eatery in the Big Bend area.
 Evening: Listen to or join the rising stars of Big Bend at La Kiva's weekly karaoke night.
   
Accommodations: Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Hike Mule Ears Spring/Santa Elena Canyon/Mining History/Ghost Town.
(Wednesday, December 17)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast provided in casitas. Menu of breakfast items will be given to participants upon arrival. Items to include but not limited to: yogurt, fruit, granola, bagels, oatmeal, bread, bacon, sausage, hard boiled eggs, jelly, butter, milk, coffee, tea, hot chocolate
 Morning: Mule Ears Trail on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in the western part of the National Park is a 3.8 mile round trip hike through open desert and has no significant elevation gain, but does cross several arroyos (creek beds). Primitive trail ends at a natural desert spring and old stone corral which was once part of the Castolon Ranching Properties. Degree of Difficulty - Medium
 Lunch: Deli style picnic field lunch at the historic Castolon/Cottonwood area in the southwest section of the National park. Castolon was an old cavalry post built in 1920. The military withdrew in 1921 and it then became a frontier trading post. There is a store that is still open today.
 Afternoon: The Santa Elena Canyon Nature Trail begins at the end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive on the west side of the park. Although a short hike (1.7 miles round trip with an elevation gain of approximately 200 feet) there are quite a few steps on this trail into the canyon where the walls rise to 1800 feet. Once inside the canyon a brief presentation on the Rio Grande will be given by your guide. Degree of Difficulty - Medium
 Dinner: Prior to dinner at the well known Starlight Theater restaurant in the historic Terlingua Ghostown, a short presentation on the mining history of the area will be given. The Starlight was built in 1931 as the movie theater for the mining community and was resurrected from ruins as a restaurant in 1991. It is considered by most visitors to the area as a "must see." Y
 Evening: The Starlight Theatre has hosted musicians such as Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson. Tonight one of our own local musicians, Cowboy Doug will provide entertainment. Who knows, he might just be the next Willie!
   
Accommodations: Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: BBNP-Early History/Hike Lost Mine Trail/Farewell Dinner
(Thursday, December 18)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast provided in casitas. Menu of breakfast items will be given to participants upon arrival. Items to include but not limited to: yogurt, fruit, granola, bagels, oatmeal, bread, bacon, sausage, hard boiled eggs, jelly, butter, milk, coffee, tea, hot chocolate
 Morning: Presentation on the Early History of Big Bend National Park by David Elkowitz, Chief of Interpretation.
 Lunch: Lunch in the heart of the Big Bend at the Chisos Mountains Lodge Restaurant where stunning views abound.
 Afternoon: Hike the Lost Mine Trail located in the Chisos Mountains. This spectacular hike of approximately 5 miles is one of the top hikes with all visitors as well as locals to the national park. Once the top is reached and at an elevation of 6850 feet, one can see on a clear day hundreds of miles. Degree of Difficulty - Medium
 Dinner: Dinner will be a special event at the offices of Far Flung Outdoor Center in Terlinugua.
   
Accommodations: Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure
(Friday, December 19)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast coupon given to participants to be used at India's Cafe located in Study Butte/Terlingua, about 2 miles from Las Casitas. Breakfast is served from 6:00 - 10:00 am. Participants can go and eat at their convenience.
 Morning: Check out at Las Casitas is required no later than 10:00 am
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Big Bend Country Big Bend National Park
Official Website For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/bibe/home.htm
  Big Bend Tourism
Official website of the Big Bend area. For additional information, visit www.visitbigbend.com
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


Naturalist's Big Bend


Author: Roland Wauwe


Description: An Introduction to the trees, shrubs, wildflowers, cacti, mammals, birds reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects of the Big Bend.



The Big Bend, A History of the Last Texas Frontier


Author: Ron C. Tyler


Description: A study of four centuries of human society-Indian, Spanish, Mexican, Texan and American - in a region remote and little known.



The Story of Big Bend National Park


Author: John Jameson


Description: This book offers a comprehensive, highly readable history of the park from its founding in 1944 up to the present.



Big Bend, The Story Behind The Scenery


Author: Carol E. Sperling


Description: This book is dedicated to all who find Nature not an adversary to conquer and destroy, but a storehouse of infinite knowledge and experience linking man to all things past and present. They know conserving the natural environment is essential to our future well being.



The Big Bend of the Rio Grande


Author: Ross Maxwell


Description: The most definitive overall guide to the Big Bend by the park's first superintendent, Ross Maxwell who was also a geologist.



Hiking the Big Bend National Park


Author: Laurence Parent


Description: Comprehensive guide to 44 most popular hikes in the national park as well as three hikes in Big Bend Ranch State Park



Big Bend, A Homesteader's Story


Author: J.O. Langford


Description: A story of the Langfords' life in the rugged and spectacularly beautiful country which they came to call their own. This account is told with the help of Fred Gipson, author of Old Yeller.



I'll Gather My Geese


Author: Hallie Crawford Stillwell


Description: The New York Times identified Hallie Stillwell (1897-1997) as a "rancher and a Texas legend." At the age of nineteen, Hallie decided to take a job teaching school in the remote border town of Presidio, Texas. Her father thought it a dangerous proposition and told her she was getting into a wild goose chase. She responded, "Then I'll gather my geese." After teaching for a year, she got a proposal from an old-fashioned rancher twice her age, Roy Stillwell. Hallie's escapades as a bride in the rough environs of the Big Bend ranch have appealed to thousands of readers.



Beneath the Window: Early Ranch Life in the Big Bend Country


Author: Patricia Wilson Clothier


Description: A memoir by Patricia Wilson Clothier. Before it became a national park, the Big Bend was home to a number of ranches and mining operations. On the Wilson ranch, which stood at the center of the current park, Mrs. Clothier spent her youth exploring the wonders of ranch life in the Chisos. Patricia's richly detailed memories, coupled with a backdrop of Depression era hardships, bring the Big Bend to life in this original and vivid description of a childhood spent "Beneath the Window".



Big Bend Country, Land of the Unexpected


Author: Kenneth B. Ragsdale


Description: Ragsdale's stories cover a half-century, roughly 1900 to 1955, from wagon trains to the filming of an epic movie, a time in which the face of the Big Bend changed: the quicksilver mines closed, a national park was established, isolation and cattle gave way to vacation ranchettes and tourists.



Exploring the Big Bend Country


Author: Peter Koch & June Cooper Price


Description: Photographer-naturalist Peter Koch first visited the new Big Bend National Park in February, 1945, on assignment to take promotional pictures for the National Park Service. He planned to spend a couple of weeks—and ended up staying for the rest of his life. Koch's magnificent photographs and documentary film-lectures Big Bend, Life in a Desert Wilderness and Desert Gold introduced the park to people across the United States, drawing thousands of visitors to the Big Bend. His photographs and films of the region remain among the best ever produced, and are an invaluable visual record of the first four decades of Big Bend National Park. In this highly readable book, Koch's daughter June Cooper Price draws on the newspaper columns her father wrote for the Alpine Avalanche, supplemented by his photographs, journal entries, and short pieces by other family members, to present Peter Koch's vision of the Big Bend. The book opens with his first "big adventure," a six-day photographic trip through Santa Elena Canyon on a raft made from agave flower stalks. From there, Koch takes readers hiking on mountain trails and driving the scenic loop around Fort Davis. He also describes "wax smuggling" and other ways of making a living on the Mexican border; ranching in the Big Bend; the prehistory and Native Americans of the region; collaborating with botanist Barton Warnock on books of Trans-Pecos wildflowers; and the history and beauty of Presidio County, the Rio Grande, and the Chihuahuan Desert.



God's Country or Devil's Playground


Author: Edited by Barney Nelson


Description: In this anthology of nature writing, Barney Nelson gathers nearly sixty literary perspectives on the landscape and life of the Big Bend region, broadly defined as Trans-Pecos Texas and northern Chihuahua, Mexico. In addition to Leopold and Webb, the collection includes such well-known writers as Edward Abbey, Mary Austin, Roy Bedichek, and Frederick Olmsted, as well as a wide range of voices that includes explorers, trappers, cowboys, ranch wives, curanderos, college presidents, scientists, locals, tourists, historians, avisadores, and waitresses. Following a personal introduction by Barney Nelson, the pieces are grouped thematically to highlight the distinctive ways in which writers have responded to the Big Bend.



Hikers Guide


Author: Park Staff


Description: Covers all major trails in the park, from short self guiding nature trails to strenuous backpacking routes.



Hiking Big Bend National Park


Author: Laurence Parent


Description: Comprehensive guide to 44 most popular hikes in the national park as well as three hikes in Big Bend Ranch State Park



The Big Bend Guide


Author: Allan C. Kimball


Description: Whether spending two days or 10, Kimball provides the skinny on what to do, what to see and how to get there.





You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768