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11958
Texas

Hiking in the Unspoiled Beauty of Big Bend

From desert vegetation to the lush floodplains of the Rio Grande, from dinosaur fossils to Native American pictographs, come hike and learn the story of Big Bend.
Program No. 11958RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,699
Texas

Hiking in the Unspoiled Beauty of Big Bend

From desert vegetation to the lush floodplains of the Rio Grande, from dinosaur fossils to Native American pictographs, come hike and learn the story of Big Bend.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,699
Program No. 11958 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
Activity Level: Outdoor: Spirited (7)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 24 - Oct 29, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Nov 14 - Nov 19, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Dec 5 - Dec 10, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Jan 9 - Jan 14, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Jan 23 - Jan 28, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Feb 6 - Feb 11, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Activity Level: Outdoor: Spirited (7)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Oct 24 - Oct 29, 2021
Starting at
2,289
Nov 14 - Nov 19, 2021
Starting at
2,289
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Dec 5 - Dec 10, 2021
Starting at
2,289
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Jan 9 - Jan 14, 2022
Starting at
2,299
Jan 23 - Jan 28, 2022
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Feb 6 - Feb 11, 2022
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Nov 6 - Nov 11, 2022
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

Hiking up to 6 miles daily over varied terrain; elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Activity Level: Outdoor: Challenging (5)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Nov 28 - Dec 3, 2021
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Jan 16 - Jan 21, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Jan 30 - Feb 4, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Dec 4 - Dec 9, 2022
Starting at
1,699
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Activity Level: Outdoor: Challenging (5)
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Nov 7 - Nov 12, 2021
Starting at
2,289
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Nov 28 - Dec 3, 2021
Starting at
2,289
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Jan 16 - Jan 21, 2022
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Jan 30 - Feb 4, 2022
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

Dec 4 - Dec 9, 2022
Starting at
2,299
Itinerary Note

Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain; Elevations up to 6,850 feet.

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Varies by date
Varies by date. Outdoor: Challenging – Hiking 7-12 miles daily over varied terrain. Outdoor: Spirited – Hiking up to six miles daily over varied terrain. Elevations up to 6,850 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • 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.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Alicia Wright
Alicia comes from a river family in Northwest Colorado. In 2013, she moved to Moab, Utah and became a full-time river leader on the Colorado Plateau. The Rio Grande enticed her to the Big Bend Region in the winter of 2017. Alicia fell in love with the Chihuahua Desert, the diverse cultures of the international border and the vibrant history of Texas. Her passions have propelled her to lead hiking groups through the Big Bend National Park and share what she has learned.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Alicia Wright
Alicia Wright View biography
Alicia comes from a river family in Northwest Colorado. In 2013, she moved to Moab, Utah and became a full-time river leader on the Colorado Plateau. The Rio Grande enticed her to the Big Bend Region in the winter of 2017. Alicia fell in love with the Chihuahua Desert, the diverse cultures of the international border and the vibrant history of Texas. Her passions have propelled her to lead hiking groups through the Big Bend National Park and share what she has learned.
Profile Image of Joe Lorenz
Joe Lorenz View biography
Joe Lorenz hails from northern Wisconsin. He attended St. Norbert college, graduating in 2015 in biology. After working a year at the University of Colorado-Boulder, he completed a Master of Science in Molecular Biology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He completed wilderness medicine training through NOLS in Lander, Wyoming, earning his EMT license, which led him to Terlingua, Texas, working as an EMT and river guide. Since then, he has worked as a football coach, substitute teacher, wildland firefighter, and in safety management.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Naturalist's Big Bend
by Roland Wauwe
An introduction to the trees, shrubs, wildflowers, cacti, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects of the Big Bend.
Big Bend, A Homesteader's Story
by J.O. Langford
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.
Beneath the Window: Early Ranch Life in the Big Bend Country
by Patricia Wilson Clothier
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".
The Story of Big Bend National Park
by John Jameson
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
by Carol E. Sperling
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, A History of the Last Texas Frontier
by Ron C. Tyler
A study of four centuries of human society-Indian, Spanish, Mexican, Texas and American - in a region remote and little known.
God's Country or Devil's Playground
by Edited by Barney Nelson
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.
Big Bend Vista, A Geological Exploration of the Big Bend
by William MacLeod
Hiking Big Bend National Park
by Laurence Parent
Comprehensive guide to 44 most popular hikes in the national park as well as three hikes in Big Bend Ranch State Park
I'll Gather My Geese
by Hallie Crawford Stillwell
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.
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Big Bend Country
D
Motor Inn Guest Rooms @ Big Bend Resort & Adventures

Activity note: Check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Dinner: At Far Flung Outdoor Center’s Oasis Lodge, located next to Big Bend Casitas. We will have chili, cornbread, salad, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, and water. Vegetarian option available upon request (must note meal preference on participant information form at least 3 weeks prior to the program).

Evening: Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All transportation will be provided via 15 passenger vans. All hikes will be led by a hiking instructor. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Please note: all dinner locations (with one exception, noted below) have alcohol available for purchase onsite. If you wish to have a drink during dinner that is not included with the meal, please be sure to purchase your beverage from the establishment. If you wish to buy your own supply for down time, you are more than welcome to do so, but please do not bring outside beverages to the dinner meals. The only exception is the dinner at Rio Bravo at the end of Day 2. You may bring your own alcoholic beverage to that particular establishment.

DAY
2
Hike - Grapevine Hills, Hike "The Window"
Big Bend Country
B,L,D
Motor Inn Guest Rooms @ Big Bend Resort & Adventures

Activity note: Morning hike approximately 2 miles round trip with a 1/2 mile portion walking through sand with a short, but steep hike up granite. Afternoon hike approximately 4.5 miles with a 500 ft. elevation gain and several stream crossings.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided in Oasis. Menu of breakfast items will include a variety of options including a choice of eggs, breakfast meats, muffins, bagels, assorted cereals, yogurt and oatmeal, plus coffee, tea, juices, water.

Morning: Heading out into Big Bend National Park, we will hike Grapevine Trail. After walking through sand during the first part of the hike, we will reach one of the most photographed sites in the National Park, Balanced Rock.

Lunch: At the Chisos Basin, seated at picnic tables with a view of the mountains, our food will include sandwiches, sides, fruit, and dessert, plus water.

Afternoon: In the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park, we will hike “The Window” trail. It's a bit of an "opposite" type of hike in that we hike down the mountain – following Oak Creek Canyon to our destination of the famed pour off and then into the "Basin" and then have to hike back up at the end of the afternoon. This hike 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.

Dinner: Enjoy an authentic Mexican Food Dinner at Rio Bravo Restaurant located next door to Big Bend Casitas.

Evening: Night Sky Talk

DAY
3
Historic Hot Springs, Boquillas Canyon
Big Bend Country
B,L,D
Motor Inn Guest Rooms @ Big Bend Resort & Adventures

Activity note: Hikes are approximately 4.5 miles total with minimal elevation change with a portion along a canyon wall with sheer cliffs on one side of the trail. Bring swimwear if you wish to swim at the hot springs; there are restrooms to change in. Bring a hat and sunscreen as there are long portions of the hike with little shade.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided in Oasis.

Morning: Today our morning hike brings us along the Rio Grande to Rio Grande Village on the east side of the river and the historic Hot Springs. At the Hot Springs there will be plenty of time to view the restored buildings of the early settlement and health resort from 1900 to 1940 as well as Native American rock art. There will also be time to soak and relax in the springs before our afternoon hike.

Lunch: During our hike, we will have a sack lunch that we build ourselves including a sandwich, fruit, chips, and cookies.

Afternoon: Hike to the entrance of Boquillas Canyon. As we hike, we will have a cultural experience and great views of the river as it forms the border between the United States and Mexico. In the mid afternoon, we will return to our lodging for some time to freshen up and relax before dinner. In the mid afternoon, we will return to our lodging for some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: La Kiva, a local favorite with a fun atmosphere unique to Terlingua. We will have a choice of entrée, plus coffee, tea, water.

DAY
4
Hike Ward Springs, Santa Elena Canyon, Terlingua Ghost Town
Big Bend Country
B,L,D
Motor Inn Guest Rooms @ Big Bend Resort & Adventures

Activity note: Morning hike up to 2.8 miles on uneven terrain and crossing multiple creek beds. Afternoon hike up to 2 miles with approximately 200 ft. elevation gain and multiple steps along a canyon wall.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided in Oasis.

Morning: Our first hike of the day begins at the scenic overlook to a large rock formation known for its uncanny resemblance to the ears of a mule. A great desert hike with some stream crossings along the way and a stop at a lovely hidden desert spring. Many historical viewing opportunities along the way as we encounter the old structures used by the Castolon Ranching Properties many years ago.

Lunch: At the Castolon/Cottonwood area of Big Bend National Park, we will sit at picnic tables and have wraps, soup, sides, and cookies, plus water and fruit punch. 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: Our next hike along the Santa Elena Canyon Nature Trail begins at the end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive on the west side of the park. Hike through the famous canyon as the walls rise to 1,800 feet. Once inside the canyon, our expert will offer a brief presentation on the Rio Grande, forming part of the United States–Mexico border. We will then return to our accommodations at the end of our hike for a quick moment to freshen up before driving into Terlingua and the Starlight Theater. Here, a local guide will lead a short presentation on the mining history of the area. Once a city of 2,000 people, all that remains from the mining days are a ghost town. The Starlight was built in 1931 as the movie theater for the mining community and was resurrected from ruins as a restaurant in 1991.

Dinner: At the Starlight Theater, we will have a choice of entrée, plus coffee, tea, water.

DAY
5
Presentation - BBNP Early History, Hike - Lost Mine Trail
Big Bend Country
B,L,D
Motor Inn Guest Rooms @ Big Bend Resort & Adventures

Activity note: Morning presentation led by a Big Bend National Park Ranger at the park’s main headquarters, Panther Junction. Some standing and walking, mostly indoors. Afternoon hike approximately 5 miles at an elevation up to 6,850 ft. Long portions of the hike is uphill; the trail differs between rocky and a well-worn trail with some steep declines in terrain on one side.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided in Oasis.

Morning: We will be joined by a staff member of Big Bend National Park at the main park headquarters for a presentation on a variety of topics related to Big Bend. Programs vary from week to week and can be anything from the history of Big Bend National Park, to dinosaurs, birding, and geology.

Lunch: In the heart of the Chisos Mountains, at the Basin Lodge Restaurant, we will enjoy a buffet lunch including soup, salad, breads, and dessert. Coffee, tea, and water are included with other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: In the Chisos Mountains, we will set out for a spectacular hike along the Lost Mine Trail. One of the most popular hikes in the park, we will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Sierra del Carmen and Pine Canyon in Mexico. On a clear day, one can see hundreds of miles!

Dinner: At Far Flung Outdoor Center’s Oasis Lodge, we will have a special barbeque dinner and farewell event.

Evening: At leisure following the conclusion of the farewell event.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Big Bend Country
B

Activity note: Check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Big Bend Casitas. The program concludes with breakfast. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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