21363
Texas
The Best Treks of West Texas: The Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park
Discover the larger-than-life wonders of West Texas on expert-led hikes to stunning national parks and areas of a nature preserve not open to the general public.
Program No. 21363RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,089
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8 days
7 nights
20 meals
7 B 6 L 7 D
Getting There
See travel details and required documents
DAY
1
Arrive El Paso / Orientation
El Paso, TX
D
Hyatt Place El Paso Airport

Dinner: El Paso is famous for its Mexican food; a local restaurant will cater dinner at the Hyatt Place Hotel.

Evening: Orientation and get acquainted reception with fellow participants after dinner.

DAY
2
Davis Mountains Preserve / Star Party, McDonald Observatory
Fort Davis, TX
B,L,D
Mountain Trails Lodge & Outdoor Learning Center

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Travel to Fort Davis by way of Van Horn and Kent.

Lunch: Picnic in a scenic location.

Afternoon: Through special permission, explore the Davis Mountains Preserve, private property of Texas Nature Conservancy. Hike Jones Tank Fork in the shadow of Mt. Livermore, third tallest peak in Texas and site of the discovery of a cache of arrowheads. Hike among ponderosa pine, aspen and native oaks as you learn about this unique “sky island” ecosystem. Difficulty: Moderate; Approximately 3 miles round trip

Dinner: Traditional Tex-Mex fare at a popular local restaurant.

Evening: Star Party at world-renowned McDonald Observatory, operated by University of Texas at Austin.

DAY
3
Davis Mountains / Fort Davis National Historic Site
Fort Davis, TX
B,L,D
Mountain Trails Lodge & Outdoor Learning Center

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: Learn about botany and geology of the Chihuahuan Desert on interpretive trails at Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center. The hike into Modesta Canyon features permanent springs and pools, fascinating geology, and a rich display of flora and fauna. Atop Clayton’s Overlook, the highest point on the property, you can see miles of breathtaking scenery. An exhibit will tell you about the geology, geography, and history of the area you see before you. Difficulty: Moderate; 3 miles.

Lunch: Lunch at the Lodge.

Afternoon: Hike scenic trail beginning atop Skyline Drive, built by CCC workers who built the infrastructure of Davis Mountains State Park and Indian Lodge. Hiking trail continues into Fort Davis National Historic Site. Difficulty: Moderate; about 2.5 miles of rugged terrain with views of Fort Davis far below. Briefly explore this well preserved Indian Wars frontier military post.

Dinner: Texas BBQ dinner at the Lodge.

Evening: Overview of the Chihuahuan Desert, botany, wildlife, birds, astronomy and geology, presented by your guide in the Gathering Place at the Lodge.

DAY
4
Chisos Basin / Window Trail
Big Bend National Park
B,L,D
Chisos Lodge

Breakfast: Mountain Trails Lodge.

Morning: Check out of Mountain Trails Lodge and travel to Big Bend National Park by way of Alpine and Study Butte.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at a scenic location enroute.

Afternoon: Hike the Window Trail. This trail descends through Oak Creek Canyon to the Window pour-off which frames panoramic desert vistas. During wetter periods Oak Creek may be flowing, and must be crossed several times. Use caution on this trail: the top of the Window pour-off is slickrock with no railings, and the return hike is uphill. Difficulty: Moderate; approx. 4.6 miles round trip from the campground. Check in to Chisos Lodge.

Dinner: At Chisos Lodge.

Evening: Free time to explore the Chisos Basin.

DAY
5
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive / Santa Elena Canyon / Ghost Town
Big Bend National Park
B,L,D
Chisos Lodge

Breakfast: At Chisos Lodge.

Morning: Travel to Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Hike one of the many scenic trails along this drive: Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff, Mule Ears Springs or Tuff Canyon. The hike will be dependent on the group's ability and interests. Along the way, explore frontier trading post at Castolon, border crossroads.

Lunch: Picnic lunch in Big Bend National Park.

Afternoon: Hike Santa Elena Canyon Trail. After crossing Terlingua Creek (conditions permitting), the trail ascends on paved steps to a vista, then descends back to the water’s edge, continuing into the canyon until the canyon walls, rising 1,800 feet, meet the water. Difficulty: Moderate; 1.7 miles round trip. Travel to Terlingua Ghostown for a short tour of this fascinating historic cinnabar mining town.

Dinner: At Starlight Theater, originally built in 1931 as the movie theater for the mining community, and later becoming a site for gatherings under the stars as it remained roofless until the late 80s. After dinner, stay to enjoy live music (when offered), featuring local or visiting artists.

Evening: Return to the Chisos Lodge.

DAY
6
Rio Grande Village / Boquillas, Mexico
Big Bend National Park
B,L,D
Chisos Lodge

Activity note: IMPORTANT: Participants MUST have a current passport to be able to cross into Mexico and return to the U.S. at this newly reopened border crossing.

Breakfast: At Chisos Lodge.

Morning: Drive to Rio Grande Village and hike a portion of Hot Springs Trail. Difficulty: Moderate; Approximately 1 mile round trip, with a stop at a scenic overlook with beautiful views of the Rio Grande and Sierra del Carmen. A fabulous photographic opportunity!

Lunch: At recently re-opened Boquillas Crossing, ferry across the Rio Grande to Boquillas, Mexico. Hike, ride a burro or in a truck a short distance into the village of Boquillas, where locals will warmly welcome you with homemade authentic Mexican food and enthusiastic hospitality. Obtain Visa from Mexican officials and be entertained with a bit of history about this storied border town. IMPORTANT: Participants MUST have current passports to be able to cross into Mexico at this recently reopened border crossing.

Afternoon: Return to U.S. soil - Return Visa to Mexican officials and present passport to U.S. officials at border crossing in Big Bend National Park. Time permitting, hike along the road in to the Hot Springs and learn the history of one of Big Bend’s early anglo settlers.

Dinner: At the Chisos Lodge.

Evening: Free time to explore the Chisos Basin.

DAY
7
Lost Mine Trail / Marfa / Van Horn / El Paso
El Paso, TX
B,L,D
Hyatt Place El Paso Airport

Breakfast: At Chisos Lodge

Morning: Check out of the hotel, pack sack lunches and hike Lost Mine Trail. About one mile in, a saddle offers stunning views of Casa Grande and Juniper Canyon. The trail then climbs steeply in and out of juniper, oak, and pine forest. The trail abruptly levels out at the ridge with superb views of Pine Canyon and the Sierra del Carmen in Mexico. Difficulty: Moderate; 4.8 miles round trip.

Lunch: Picnic on the trail.

Afternoon: Return to El Paso by way of Alpine, Marfa, and Van Horn.

Dinner: At a popular restaurant.

DAY
8
Departures
El Paso, TX
B

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Independent check out and departures after breakfast. Hotel shuttles will return you to the airport.