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.
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Program No. 11958RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Big Bend Country
Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center

Dinner: At Far Flung Outdoor Center’s Oasis Lodge, located next to Big Bend Casitas, we will have lasagna, French bread, cranberry spring salad and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

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.

Hike - Grapevine Hills, Hike "The Window"
Big Bend Country
Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center

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 500ft elevation gain and several stream crossings.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided in casitas. 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 Mountians 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. Y

Evening: We will visit the Terlingua Fire & EMS headquarters and learn how emergency services are managed in the 3000 square miles of the Terlingua area.

Full Day Hike, Historic Hot Springs
Big Bend Country
Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center

Activity note: Hike approximately 6 miles round trip 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 casitas.

Morning: Today is our full day hike that 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 returning to our hike.

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

Afternoon: Continue our hike as we make our way back to Rio Grande Village. As we hike, we will have 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.

Dinner: La Kiva, a local favorite with a fun atmosphere unique to Terlingua. Varied dinner choices including Grilled Chicken Kale salad, pizzas, and The Cave Burger.

Hiking Mule Ears, Santa Elena Canyon, Terlingua Ghost Town
Big Bend Country
Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center

Activity note: Morning hike up to 4 miles on uneven terrain and crossing multiple creek beds. Afternoon hike up to 2 miles with approximately 200ft elevation gain and multiple steps along a canyon wall.

Breakfast: Breakfast provided in casitas.

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 historian 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.

Presentation - BBNP Early History, Hike - Lost Mine Trail
Big Bend Country
Big Bend Casitas at Far Flung Outdoor Center

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 6,850ft. 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 casitas.

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; other beverages available for purchase.

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

Program Concludes
Big Bend Country

Breakfast: Big Bend Casitas. The program concludes with breakfast. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Morning: Latest check-out is 11 am.

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